Matt and his previously wild BLM mustang, Bud, have made a lot of progress over the past three month's.

Photo: Alayne Blickle

Seriously, this Bud might be for you! This Bud is a mustang, not a beverage. And he’s part of the Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM) being held at the Ford Idaho Horse Park in Nampa, Idaho (aka, our backyard) on July 25 and 26, 2014. About 100 days ago my husband, Matt Livengood, signed up to be a part of the EMM and picked up Bud, his randomly assigned wild mustang, from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facility in Boise. I was out of town for work at the time, but I got his excited text about the long-legged dark bay gelding with three white socks--and how wild and distrustful of people he was.The photo he included told me he was quite big for a 3-year-old.

Matt has always been interested in the various mustang challenge events (of which there are several versions across the country) where you get a very short time to “tame” a wild mustang, but in 2012 seeing the movie "Wild Horse, Wild Ride" cinched it for Matt; he wanted to try it for himself. When we learned that the EMM was literally happening down the road from us Matt signed on. Matt’s goal has been to have a positive learning experience that he could grow from in terms of horsemanship skills and in turn give a Mustang a good start in life and help him find a good home.

By all accounts there are a lot of wild mustangs in western North America, something like 90,000, with about half of them in BLM holding facilities. The rest are on open range land managed by the BLM. By any measure this is a lot of horses, so kinda like with dogs and cats in shelters, we need to find a way to get the word out to the public that these horses make good mounts and get them into good homes. The foundations that sponsor these challenge events are trying to do just that; provide good, positive exposure for these horses and help them get adopted out.

When I first saw Bud, his sizable bone structure and feathery ankle hair gave him the appearance of having draft horse bloodlines, hence his name Bud, as in the stately Budweiser Clydesdales. Since he’ll be up for adoption at the end of the EMM and looking for a good home, we started calling him This Bud’s for You. The name just stuck.

Matt is one of 30 trainers selected to compete in the EMM. Trainers have approximately 100 days to gentle an arbitrarily assigned wild horse they picked up in early April and compete for an estimated purse of $10,000 in prize money as well as a custom-made Gist belt buckle. If you’ve not seen the movie nor any YouTube clips of past contestants, prepare to be stunned by what these people and their mustangs accomplish.In fact, it makes me think about my horses and how little I have achieved with them by comparison.

Mustangs competing in the EMM are available for adoption through a competitive auction on July 26. To qualify to adopt, individuals must be at least 18 with no record of animal abuse. In addition, adopters must have suitable facilities and can adopt no more than four animals. Adoption applications will be approved on site by the BLM during the event.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the EMM events to showcase the recognized value of Mustangs through a national training competition. For more information, visit the EMM website. And I bet you wouldn’t have to be here in person to adopt Bud--or one of his mates. Contact Mustang Heritage Foundation for more information.