Four years ago, Megan Weber was feeling discouraged about her event horse who didn’t seem to want to do the sport. She’d made the decision to find a new horse but found she was struggling to connect to the several she’d tried.
She reached out to a friend who had experience with adopting mustangs, and the idea of an untouched, green horse sounded like a fun idea.
The pair drove from Washington to Burns, Oregon, which had a herd of mustangs managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Warm Springs Herd Management Area.
Weber had an idea of which horses she wanted to look at and had a list of what she was looking for in terms of conformation and color. One was a chestnut with a flaxen mane and four socks.
“I thought I had found the horse in the pictures and was just still kind of stuck on him,” she said when she saw the chestnut. “I'm like, OK, that's the horse. I really felt drawn to him. And then I proceeded to get him in the trailer, get home and realize instead of having four socks, he only had two socks.”
The horse she’d brought home was actually WS Remington. “But you know, it was meant to be. Just something about him really stuck out to me. I just saw him in the crowds and got him up close, and he just seemed super quiet and laidback and something about him—I just kind of knew in my heart that that's the horse I wanted.”
Four years later, Weber and “Remi” are moving up the levels in eventing, with three Novices under their belts in 2023, but it took some time for the gelding to learn about human touch and trust his rider over fences.
Weber had a natural horsemanship background, and her friend helped her gentle the 4-year-old gelding during the first six months. Remi had lived in a holding pen and had never been handled, so he needed to learn how to wear a halter, pick up all four feet, lead, and load on the trailer before riding was even discussed.
“It was a lot of one step forward, four steps back with him,” said Weber. “It took us about two weeks to get a halter on him, and then from there, once he figured out that people were OK and they weren't going to hurt him and scratches were good and treats were yummy, he really came out of his shell. He just started picking up things so quickly. Trailer loading was always an issue, and now he's great with trailer loading. But just being exposed to everything, he learned quite quickly that not everything was out kill him.”
Weber backed Remi with the help of a former trainer and worked for the first year and a half on the basics of riding before she moved to a hunter/jumper barn two years ago and got more into jumping and went to some schooling shows.
“He would refuse; he would run out; he just wasn't confident with himself,” she said. “He would approach a jump, and he would either run out or stop the first time to every jump. We slowly worked through it that year. He was slowly getting more and more confidence. We were in Pony Club at the time and had done a little bit of Pony Club lessons and a little camp at the end of the year, and he was just getting exposed to jumping things and gaining the experience.”
The pair completed their first USEA-recognized event at Beginner Novice in September 2022, and Weber said Remi’s become very brave over the last year with the help of her current trainer Sarah Sullivan at Freedom Run in Snohomish, Washington.
“He's just been amazing,” she said. “He gets better at every event. We started out just doing three Beginner Novices before we moved up to Novice, and he's just been an absolute superstar.”
Weber, 22, works for Sullivan as a groom and hopes to move Remi up to Training level this season. She hopes more people will take a chance on mustangs for eventing, citing their hardiness and the strong bonds they form with their people if started correctly.
“I honestly feel like I trust that horse with my life,” she said. “It's like we've been through everything together. I was the first person to touch him. I feel so confident on him. Even if he does have a stop or a runout or whatever, I don't feel like my confidence was shaken. With my past horse I had a lot of confidence issues with jumping because she was a stopper and quite a nasty stopper, so I lost a lot of confidence on her. And then with him, he's just made me so confident, and I feel so secure on him. He's just so brave to everything that I just feel like I can jump anything. And I feel like he trusts me to get him to a safe distance, and if I point him at something, he’s like, ‘Alright, let's do it.’
“I feel like people don't give them enough credit just because they don't have a pedigree,” she continued. “But they're so incredibly hardy, and they have such a big heart. There's a saying in the mustang community that once you gain their trust, they will follow you to the ends of the earth, and I feel that is 100 percent true. I've seen it with so many mustangs and people who own them and work with them. They just they have such a big heart. You don't really know what you're getting into when you get it, and you can't tell if the horse can jump when you get them. But from the majority of what I've seen, most can jump, and they can jump quite well.”
The USEA is made up of over 12,000 members, each with their own special horses and experiences. The USEA's Now on Course series highlights the many unique stories of our membership. Do you and your horse have a tale to tell? Do you know someone who deserves recognition? Submit your story to Lindsay Berreth to be featured.
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