By Terri Seignious
The inspirational Rescue Horse! We are celebrating them as our April Breed of the Month on #YourDressage!
Dressage riders who choose Rescue Horses as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as the International Rescue Horse Registry is a participating organization.
Here, an adult amateur shares her story of rescuing a beautiful Mustang from an auction and their journey to becoming Adequan®/ USDF All-Breeds champions!
One morning, about six years ago, I was having my morning coffee when a Facebook post caught my attention. Someone in my friend group had shared a post for a stout buckskin Mustang for sale/rescue in the Bowie Texas Livestock Barn.
In the video he was being ridden in a rope halter down a cement chute. He honestly had the kindest eye and most agreeable demeanor of any horse I’ve ever seen. I probably watched his video about 30 times.
For the remainder of the day, I could not get this small Mustang off my mind or the fact that he would be shipped to slaughter if not purchased.
At this point I knew absolutely nothing about kill pen rescues or Mustangs.
I am an adult amateur rider and have ridden various horses, as well as disciplines over my lifetime, but really had no experience with the breed.
I did some quick online research on kill pens, reputable long distance shippers, and quarantine requirements. I did not know anything about the logistics of pulling these horses and safely getting one home to evaluate and train. But, my heart wouldn’t let go of this sweet horse’s image, so I decided it was worth the risk to pull him. If he turned out to be dangerous, damaged, or ill, at the very least I would offer him a more humane end than going to slaughter.
I entered into this purchase cautiously. I called a friend in Tryon, North Carolina, who is quite experienced in natural horsemanship and begged him to help me evaluate this Mustang after quarantine. We both agreed we would let him tell us what he wanted his job to be. It would be on his timeline.
I shipped Bucky to Rick Millweard for evaluation and his initial training. Rick could name the horse once he arrived.
Two months later, after he had spent time with Rick, we knew just how special Bucky was. He was sound, sane, beautiful and extremely trainable. His gorgeous buckskin color only improved with good nutrition. He stood like a soldier for the farrier, vet, and dentist.
I got brave one afternoon and called the previous owner whose name was on his Coggins. He relayed that he had owned the horse for about five years. He had been backed about a dozen times, but he was very green under saddle. His brand was photographed and sent off to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which revealed that Bucky was eight years old and had been born in captivity in New Mexico. He was not rounded up from the wild.
For the next few years, I continued his ground training and took him on lots of trail rides. He is the perfect trail horse. He simply stops at any unknown or spooky stuff, asks me what to do, and is incredibly sensible.
One of my mentors and trainers, Laurens Bissell, suggested we try him at low level dressage, since he had proven to be such a cute mover and so trainable.
Sarah Sharpe of Sharpe Dressage in Charleston took over his training, and put him in a systematic program so we could start showing him last year.
I had him officially measured and obtained his pony card – he is exactly 14.1hh.
He was shown in his first USDF-recognized show in 2022, and his scores at Training Level in the Open division were in the high 60’s and 70’s. At the end of the year, he brought home his first Adequan®/ USDF All-Breeds Championship Award.
During that time, we also put some of Sarah’s experienced students on Bucky, and he has proven himself to be a very kind school horse. Everyone loves Bucky!!!
Bucky’s first trainer, Rick, recently came to town. They hadn’t seen each other in about 6 years, but Bucky remembered him. It was so much fun to see them reunited.
Sometimes fate steps in and delivers us something we didn’t even know we needed. That is Bucky. He has taught me more than I could ever hope to teach him. I am so grateful I took the risk on this very cool little Mustang pony.