Nearly 30 mentors came to California from all across the country. We had four great professional horse trainers plus a number of other interesting instructors. We had pens full of ungentled yearlings awaiting adoption.
They came, they gentled, they learned.
The senior trainer of the group was John Sharp of Prineville, Oregon. The
Pacific Wild Horse Club sponsored
John's participation; a deed for which we are truly grateful and which definitely shaped the workshop. At age 84, John can still gentle any horse which is sent down to his pen.
Next we had 1SG Mark Atwood who directs the
Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard at Ft. Riley, Kansas. He demonstrated a patient and consistent approach with horses, important as the animals he uses in the Color Guard and historic battle reinactments must be able to calmly withstand rifles and cannons blasting away from close quarters.
Our third clinician was Frank Bell of Larkspur Colorado whose unique style allows him to get "up close and personal" with the horses right away. He is heavy in to generating "left brain" activity, getting the horse to lower its head, think and consider that it really is in a fairly safe environment from the first horse-human contact on through the gentling and training process.
Rounding out the primary clinician list was
Dennis Bright, a traditional and soft spoken western trainer from San Martin, California who has command of the round corral on foot as well as while working ungentled horses from atop his big appy. Dennis' approaches are ideally suited to developing stock horses as his style emphasizes the interplay between the horse being trained and other animals (including the human). His work is broadly founded and he made good progress with all the horses which he worked.
The BLM set up the adoption pens inside the fairgrounds roping arena. This allowed activities to be view from the grandstands and all training to be within a secondary 6-foot enclosure. Pens lined a center aisle which ran east-west across the arena. The east end of the aisle ended at a loading chute and the west end terminated in a 50 ft. round corral.
On Sunday afternoon the BLM brought in 20 yearlings. We let them settle in for the afternoon and evening although prospective adopters were eyeing their potential prizes.
The mentors set up camp (or RV) in the horse barn area while Joyce and Ben North got the Wild Horse Cafe underway.
A young girl gets to touch a "wild mustang"
just gentled by Frank Bell
WHB Chief Tom Pogacnik
catching a ride on Aerial