Mustangs Made-Over

On Friday, I took a little trip north, to Fort Collins, to check out the Extreme Mustang Makeover event. I was interested to see what it was all about, and H&R regular Al Dunning happened to be one of the coaches, so it was a great chance to catch up with him.

I didn’t know much about the event, but I gathered that the trainers had picked up their horses 100 days prior and that the Mustangs would be sold at auction on Sunday, after the conclusion of the event.?

I arrived just as the trainer competitors were walking the trail course, which included things you’d expect from your average trail pattern: a bridge, serpentines, a back-through, turnarounds, and changes of leads and gaits. After their pattern, I caught up with Debbie Doneyson and her black gelding, Major (shown above right).

Debbie, from Utah, trains Quarter Horses and Paints for Western pleasure, trail, and reining, and this was her second Extreme Mustang Makeover project. To prep Major for the competition (which included trail, reining, and working cow horse), she took him to California to work on friends’ ranches.

“I mostly worked on the reining and trail portions,” Debbie shared. “He’s only been on a cow a total of two or three hours, but he loves?it. Major is full of talent and ability?he’s a real athlete and is a lot like any of the horses I ride on a regular basis. I’m really amazed at what a nice horse he is.”

Debbie wound up placing ninth overall in the top-12 clean-slate finals. She was delighted with a fifth-place finish in the cow work and said Major went to a good home here in Colorado where he’ll be a trail horse. Debbie hopes to enter the Fort Worth Extreme Mustang Makeover event next year?this year’s contest offers a $100,000 prize. Talk about an incentive!

You can learn more about the program and its events at

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