Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011

Faith is HOME!!!!

This morning started early.  Gabrielle got up early and completely brushed Faith all over.  Faith has a great winter coat coming in thick and woolly.  It has served her well here but she may not need as much in her new home in Corvallis, Oregon.  She will be there by the day's end. 

I said my goodbyes to her last night by hand feeding her oats to her while keeping away the rest of the herd.  Gabrielle likes to think they were around me because the boys love Faith so much but I know the way to the boys' hearts are through food and that is what I had.  Oats, and they wanted some.  However, last night they were all for Faith, it was the last kindness I could give her. 

Over the last 5 months I have been able to watch both these beautiful girls grow.  Both are taller, more confident and wiser.  They have both gained skills that will stay with them for a lifetime and I am convinced they will both go far in life and touch everyone they meet. 

Once we got to The Dalles, Gabrielle led Faith from our trailer to her new trailer.  In typical Faith fashion she was unflappable.  There was a large highway to the right of this picture and a very busy street to our left.  Faith just followed Gabrielle without question and loaded right up. 

Faith's new family was SO excited to see her and be able to take her home. They have been working and waiting for two months for this day.  They treated Faith to a bag of hay for her ride home and she was very thankful for that.  It was so much to see Alex, Chris, Morgan and Birdy's faces.  They had great big smiles and pats for Faith.  I am so happy for them and for Faith.

Faith is a family horse, but the idea is for Birdy and Faith to be able to grow up together.  This was Gabrielle's wish from the beginning of the Teen Mustang Challenge; for her horse to be wanted by a family and for Faith to get a girl of her own to love and spoil her.  This is the happy ending we wanted and prayed for. 

Birdy and her brother climbed right up to talk with Faith and look at her. 

This is the image that will stay with me.  I watched these two begin their bonding and can already see them growing up together and spending hours playing.  Faith will prove to be her best friend and greatest listener and hopefully comfort and encourage Birdy through all the stages of growing up.  They will learn to trust each other and soar higher together than they ever could alone. 

Welcome home Faith!  You will always be a part of our lives!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ocotber 13, 2011

Final Arrangements have been made

Last night we finally got the call we have been waiting for.  Faith's new family has completed all the paperwork that the BLM has required and they are ready to take her home with them.  We will meet in The Dalles this weekend and say goodbye to our beloved Faith. 

The best part is knowing how excited Alex and Chris are to bring her home and have a chance to play with her themselves.  They have worked so hard preparing a place for her and doing all the BLM asked of them.  The love that awaits Faith in their home is tremendous and we could not be happier. 

Our farrier is scheduled to come on Friday so Faith will have a fresh pedicure to help her feel her best.  If the  weather is cooperative we will bathe her and make her all pretty for her reveal.  She has already gotten a good winter coat going and is fluffy. 

I will post pictures of Faith and her new family when we return. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 5, 2011


The goal of the whole mustang challenge was to help Faith get a home of her own and it looks like that is going to happen after all. 

There was a family that saw Faith at the competition and really liked her.  They liked her looks, her color and her training.  They loved what Gabrielle had done with her.  Unfortunately they were unable to stay for the auction but did contact us afterwards and made Gabrielle an offer after they found out that we brought her home.  The family was even so understanding that they gave Gabrielle all the time she needed to make a decision especially considering she was involved in the local county fair.

Well, now that fair is over; Gabrielle decided that she wants Faith to be adopted by the family and is thrilled that Faith will have her own little girl to grow up with.  The family will now submit an adoption application and care lease agreement to the BLM and as soon as that is complete we will make arrangements for Faith to get to her new home in Corvallis, OR. 

This will be a wonderful ending for the training and preparation that Gabrielle has done with Faith, but a fantastic beginning with her new family.  I will keep you all posted until we can post a final picture of Faith with her new family.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September 2, 2011

Show Corrections

Today Gabrielle got a letter from the Teen and Oregon Mustangs and it was positive news.  They had indeed entered scores incorrectly.  They apologized and are sending everyone a letter with the updated placings.  She was 12th not 15th.  For the most part the change is no big deal but the effort they took to go back and look over it was nice and appreciated.  I really wish the error had not been made in the first place. 

The horses that auctioned in the corrected position sold for 100 and 125.  ( the actual 11th and 12th place horses were kept by their trainers but 10th and 13th places were auctioned for the above prices.  It was only the 14th, 15th, and lower horses that were not bid on as successfully.  It just means that most likely Faith would not have come home with us and we would not be faced with trying to figure out how to make it all work for the family that had seen or at the auction and wanted to buy her to get her and for Gabrielle to still get some money. 

It is a complicated process.  Technically we do not own her and are not able to accept money for her.  The BLM owns her for the next year and then we would receive her title and be able to sell her.  However when done through the competition, money is donated to Teen and Oregon Mustangs and they pay the transfer fee and then give the remaining money to the teen trainer.  So you see it gets complicated and muddy and once Fair is over and I have more ability to think and work on it (other than at midnight) I will. 

Gabrielle is still wanting Faith to have a home of her own and be able to be loved by her own little girl.  She is such a mature and fantastic young lady.  I am so proud of all the work she has done and how she continues to think about what is best for the horse even when her heart would like to keep her here. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Competition

Leaving for the competition

Friday morning before we left for the long drive to eastern Oregon, Gabrielle gave Faith her last bath.  She spent a great deal of time scrubbing and loving on her.  I suspect that she was talking to her and telling her to be a good girl and that she promised to give her to a good home.

As Gabrielle walked Faith to the trailer Beau came to say goodbye to his favorite lady.  Beau joined our herd one week before Faith and they were stalled next to each other.  Needless to say, they bonded. 

Faith loaded as faithful as ever, not having a clue about the changes ahead of her and all that we would ask her to do.  The first request is to ride for 7 hours on a hot day.

At one of the rest stops, Gabrielle decided that it would be nice to let Faith stretch her legs. 

Here she took her for a jog only feet from a highway and Faith stayed completely focused on Gabrielle and as rock solid as ever. 

Once we got to the Yamhill County Fairgrounds we were told by some other participants that there were swimming pools to practice with as there would be a water obstacle during the challenge.  Gabrielle decided to have Faith completely check out the pool. 

Faith was still hot even though she had already drank quite a bit.  She thought the pool was a wonderful water trough. 

With a little bit of work, she stepped into the pool . . .  and continued to drink.  (BTW there was no water obstacle, but this was a fun exercise any way.  Just shows that she is a calm and even tempered horse to be able to do this after traveling so long.)

Competition Day

Here is Faith's stall complete with decorations.

Gabrielle's KVEW interview played all during the competition and was commented on quite a bit by many.

Pictures of Faith, the newspaper articles and all the promotional materials used during the previous 98 days were on display.

I did get a chance to help Gabrielle with her hair before the competition began.

All the teens lined up before showmanship to have their horses' body condition judged by two vets.

Faith was viewed by one vet as being nicely conditioned if a little underweight.  The second vet felt she was more underweight than the other.  I say she has a high metabolism.  She was fed well and out in the field all day to eat. 

After body condition judging the teens competed in showmanship.  I have no pictures because I video taped her performance.  I surprised at the number of horses that bucked, reared and struck during this time.  (One of these horses actually placed higher over all than Gabrielle.  Not sure how that works but then I am not a judge.)

Prior to the in hand trail portion, the teens walked the course and were told what they were to do at each obstacle.

For the Y they were to trot into one side and back around to the other and walk out.  Gabrielle really enjoyed this one and Faith never touched a single log unlike most of the other competitors.

At the end of the trail course each contestant had 2 minutes to perform a freestyle routine.  Gabrielle led Faith by a rope around a front leg, swung the rope around Faith and threw it over her, laid her down and shot a cap gun off.  Several contestants attempted to lay their horses down, but Gabrielle was the only to succeed.  Most showcased how they had desensitized their horses to tarps, large balls and could lunge and jump.

Following in hand trail, the results of each portion were announced.  Gabrielle and Faith placed 10 out of 20 in body condition (worth 20% of the over all score), 12 out of 20 in showmanship (worth 30% of the over all score) and 10 our of 20 for in hand trail (worth 50% of the over all score).  In the end Gabrielle and Faith were placed 15th out of 20 with a body score of 80, showmanship of 60 and in hand trail 81 and an overall score of 59.  There's some new math for you.  I am not aware of a way to weight and average three scores and come up with a score lower than any of the other three scores.

Here Gabrielle prepares to go in and have Faith auctioned.  We have all said our goodbyes.  The horses are auctioned in the order of their placings.  The auctioneer took a few moments to try to explain to the bidders that this horse had some how been placed this low but that she was a far better horse than 15th.  Gabrielle demonstrated just how light she is by leading her with one finger changing directions and placing her nose on the ground with the same finger. 

But it was too little too late and unfortunately by the time Faith came up for auction several horses had been sold for the minimum fee of $25.  This is what she was destined to sell for as no one was bidding on her.  We as a family had already agreed that we would not let her go for less than $100 because we wanted her to go to a home where she was wanted.  So the grandma's who wanted Faith to stay with Gabrielle anyway, bid and bought Faith for $100. 

While last year's experience was such a positive one this one has been very different.  I am saddened and extremely frustrated by what I witnessed in the show ring (horses that bucked and reared, blowing pattern and forgetting parts of the pattern placing higher than Gabrielle) as well as outside the ring.  I believe the placing would be vastly different if judged on actually training and not just the show ring; but then again that was not the competition.  I did however have a lady catch me in the bathroom and comment on how well Gabrielle was doing and on her great attitude.  She was disappointed that a girl she was helping was not exhibiting such attitudes.  She said she wished that she could sponsor Gabrielle but felt it would be a conflict but wanted me to know how she felt. 

Even still, Gabrielle has learned so much and gained so much experience and confidence that I can't say that I regret participating in the past two years.  God is working this for good.  I just hope that she gets enough people asking her to start their horses here that she will be too busy to travel so far. 

Then the pot got thickened even more last night.  A family that was interested in Faith had to leave for work before the auction and they called to see how much she sold for.  When she found out that it was only $100 she was sad because she was willing to bid up to $500 for her.  That would have been the highest bid of the auction.  $475 was the highest.  When she found out that we had bought her and brought her home, she offered to buy her from us.  I told her that it would be Gabrielle's choice since she had had such a hard weekend and the emotions of being prepared to give her up, then to bring her home, and then to have an offer come through would be hard for a teen to sort out.  She has given Gabrielle all the time she needs to decide and as of right now Gabrielle is leaning toward giving Faith the family she always hoped for her; but no final decision has been made.  (Grandmas are still offering to support Faith so Gabrielle can keep her.)

So this story is not yet finished.  I will keep this blog going and updated as the life of Faith continues to unfold. 

Stay tuned . . . . . .

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 26, 2011


We have finally arrived at the hotel.  This is 3 hours earlier than last year and Faith's stall is decorated.  Well at least as decorated as we are going to get.

The highlight of the day's travel would have to be when Gabrielle got Faith out at a rest stop and walked her around.  Two dogs had more trouble with her than Faith did with anything including the fact that Gabrielle trotted her beside the highway with only a few yards of grass and a fence seperating them from the cars. 

We are all excited, tired and nervous about tomorrow.  I know both girls will do well, it is just so many of the other teens are from here and have been training together.  Well, tomorrow will come ready or not and they have put in many hours and hopefully it will show. 

until tomorrow . . . . goodnight.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25, 2011

Teen Mustang Challenge Bound

The competition is close at hand and soon we will find out if all the hard work Gabrielle has put into Faith will bring fruit. 

If I can read Gabrielle correctly her top goal and priority was to start Faith with solid basics and fantastic horsmanship and to find the best home for Faith that she could possibly find.  (I know she has accomplished the first part)

The second goal would be to place in the top 5 and then of course she would really like to win the whole competition. 

I would say wish us luck but honestly I hope we have had wisdom in what has been taught, and that both girls are able to show what they have learned and can do together.  I will post highlights and results just as soon as possible. 

Until then . . . . happy trails.