~ Extreme Mustang Makeover, Norco, CA 2011 ~
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This page is a running journal of Cindy and her mustang partner as they train for the competition in Norco on May 13th - 15th, 2011. Links will appear throughout the text to pages where you can find out more about anything you see here.

Wyatt has ninety days to go from wild to wonderful - follow his progress through days 1 - 30, 31 - 60, then 61 - 90 on the next pages!

Wyatt, Steve & Cindy, and everyone here at YVEC want to say a special hello to Dale Wallace and everyone in his unit, who have been following Wyatt's progess from their location in Afghanistan. Thanks so much for all you do guys!

Day 61: Tuesday, April 12, 2011. HIGH JUMP

So here we are, believe it or not - day 61! The last 30 day segment of Wyatt's training has begun, and in a big way.

In addition to Wyatt's normal arena work, he spent some time today dragging a log with Cindy mounted, and then he worked a bit on his high jump!

Cindy took him over some plastic barrels for the first time, and as you can see, he had no problem with them!

Wyatt's versatility continues to impress everyone at YVEC. For a young guy with just over 60 days training on him, Cindy has given Wyatt the kind of well-balanced workouts that are designed to take him in any direction.

He has a cute little reining stop on him, he jumps willingly, and he carries himself naturally round and forward, like a dressage horse. It's going to be exciting to find out what his ultimate sport will be when he's adopted!

Day 62: Wednesday, April 13, 2011. REVIEW

A day for polishing up and reinforcing everything he's learned so far. Today was a good practice day for Wyatt and Cindy.

Day 63: Thursday, April 14, 2011. FIRST TRIM

Another big day for Wyatt. Today he met Josh Dittmer, the farrier, for his first hoof trim.

In typical Wyatt fashion, he tested, figured it out, and adapted. When Josh first trapped his leg and began to use the nippers, Wyatt did have a bit of a panic - who wouldn't? He tried to take his leg back and thought about sitting down. But Josh approached again, and Wyatt learned quickly that nothing so terrible was actually happening. The rest of his trim went without incident!

Wyatt also had more mobility issues to think about today - Cindy introduced him to hobbles. Wyatt went into the soft sand of the arena and had hobbles placed on his front legs for the first time. Cindy gave him protective boots so he wouldn't chaffe his legs, and turned him loose.

There are many reasons to hobble break a horse - one of the most important is so that the horse can learn not to panic, and to wait for help, in similar situations. A horse that gets wrapped in wire or rope needs to stay still and wait to be unwrapped. A panicked horse can cause serious damage to himself, his handlers, and even break a leg.

So today Wyatt got the opportunity to figure out the best thing to do if your feet are tied - relax until help comes. He was allowed to stumble in the soft footing and pull and test his hobbles, and he did figure it out!

Day 64: Friday, April 15, 2011. HOBBLED

After Wyatt's work today, he stood quietly tied and hobbled while the other horses were being groomed and prepared for their rides. Wyatt stood more quietly than some horses do after many days of hobbling. That mustang intelligence, knowing what to fight and when not to waste your energy can be a great asset!

Day 65: Saturday, April 16, 2011. AMANDA'S TURN

Today Wyatt and Amanda went for a real ride in the big arena! Cindy gave Wyatt his normal workout, then added some pacing excercises at the end. He was required to pace his strides to trot through a series of cavaletti that ended in a small crossrail jump. Wyatt tends to be very workman-like, and prefers a longer stride, so the cavaletti work helped Cindy to teach him to shorten and collect. He has a great trot and extended trot, and Cindy continues to work with him on adding a nice, easy western jog to his accomplishments!

After popping the little crossrail a couple times, Cindy changed the little jump to a vertical for the first time. This promped Wyatt to overreact a bit - he jumped about 3' high to clear it! After that, Cindy turned Wyatt over to Amanda. She had ridden him at a walk and trot in the round pen one time, but today she asked him for walk, trot, and canter in the large arena.

Wyatt performed perfectly with his new rider once again!

Day 66: Sunday, April 17, 2011. FUN DAY EXCURSION See pictures in the Gallery

Today Wyatt and Slim trailered off to the Parker Arena in nearby 29 Palms to participate in a Fun Day. It was a day for those who enjoy gymkhana events to practice poles and barrels, and for Wyatt it was another chance to be exposed to new places and things. He travels well in the trailer, and seems completely unconcerned about being a new environment - older buddy Slim looked around more suspiciously than Wyatt did!

Wyatt and Cindy warmed up in the huge arena, then took a few turns going around the barrles. They were not working on speed, just on paying attention to the rider and following direction, bend, and changes of pace. Wyatt also got to be in the midst of other horses that were galloping full tilt on either side, and he did a great job of minding his rider and staying at his own pace.

The Parker's ranch has a feed store and a wide variety of equipment on the property - they also have cows! Cindy took Wyatt into the cow pasture, where he spend a few minutes staring at the strange beasts, then calming began moving through the herd when directed. He seemed to enjoy that the cows moved away from him!

Wyatt also led Slim, Stella, and Shelby on a tour of the ranch, beside stacks of hay that towered overhead, between narrow passages along rows of horse pens, over changing terrain of cement slabs, sand, and even some grass. He stopped to take a look at a water puddle, the proceded to not only get a drink but to paw and splash in the puddle! Unfortunately, his more sissy civilized friends found the puddles and splashing to be a bit frightening!

All in all it was a great day, everyone had fun and Wyatt proved himself once again to be versatile and adaptable.

Day 67: Monday, April 18, 2011. DAY OFF

Wyatt was one tired boy after yesterday's trip, he got a day off!

Day 68, 69, 70, 71, 72: Tuesday, April 18 through Saturday, April 23, 2011. REVIEW WEEK

For the first time we are lumping Wyatt's training into a block, for an important reason. Cindy has been working Wyatt with the goal of giving him the best start towards making him the best horse he can be. In an effort to get him ready for the Mustang Makeover, she has been introducing new experiences nearly every day, getting him used to new situations at a slightly accelerted rate. Wyat has shown himself to be willing and a good learner.

On Tuesday, April 18th, Wyatt did not approach his workout with his usual willingness. Cindy detected resistance and a stubborness that was unlike his normal attitude. There was nothing phsycally wrong with him, so Cindy made the decision to take this week as a complete review. Wyatt received a normal work every day, but nothing at all new was introduced this week. It was time to sit back a little and allow him to absorb everything that has been happening. Normal riding, lateral work, and body control work continued, but no objects were picked up and no new places introduced.

By doing this, Cindy is increasing Wyatt's confidence in the things he already knows, which in turn prepares him to face his next challenges. Improving the things he already knows gives him a week with less pressure and constant success - and everybody wins that way! Part of good horse training is knowing when to push and when to review, and next week Wyatt should be ready to continue working on new things!

Day 73: Sunday, April 24, 2011. DAY OFF, HAPPY EASTER

Wyatt gets a rest day today, watching the little bunnies cruising around the ranch.

Day 74: Monday, April 25, 2011. NO FENCES

Today Wyatt had his workout down in the dressage court, where there are no rails or fences. He did well with Cindy, then Amanda got to ride him for a little bit. For the first time today, Debbi got to to get on and cool him out, too! So he has now had to carry 3 different riders, and he is quite a gentleman about it.

Day 75: Tuesday, April 26, 2011. STAND UP DAY

Today Wyatt was warmed up by Amanda! Prior to today, Cindy always was the first on his back, followed by others after his work out. Today Amanda started him off with some walk-trot warm-up, and he behaved very well.

Once Cindy took the reins, she put Wyatt through his normal paces and then worked on some lead changes. After their workout, Cindy stood up on Wyatt's back, "Extreme Cowboy" style! She stood part way (not fully straight), and Wyatt had no reaction at all. What a nice, quiet boy!

Day 76: Wednesday, April 27, 2011. REVIEW

A nice, relaxing review day today. Next week begins Wyatt's intensive work up to the competition in Norco - so this week is going to be energy-conserving!

Day 77: Thursday, April 28, 2011. CAMP DAY

Today was YVEC's Spring Camp day for the kids. Wyatt got a day off to enjoy watching the kids riding and working around the ranch! There are pictures of the kids in the Gallery.

Day 78: Friday, April 29, 2011. THE WIND BENEATH MY TAIL...

Another high wind day, coming after a day off, saw Wyatt in high spirits! He started his arena session with an attempt to goof around in that wind - head tossing, back arching, "I think I might buck or run away, because I am a WILD horse" posturing!

Sadly for Wyatt, Cindy wasn't falling for it. She put his straight to work on different sized circles at both the trot and the lope, and after five minutes Wyatt gave up and got down to business. The rest of his workout went well, and they ended on a good note.

Don't worry Wyatt - we all believe you are still a fierce wild horse - you just have more athletic focus now!

Day 79: Saturday, April 30, 2011.
Day 80: Sunday, May 1, 2011

We are lucky here in the high desert not to be suffering the horrible tornados that are causing problems in other parts of the country. But we DO have that darn wind. Saturday and Sunday wind advisories kept Wyatt off from practice and relaxing in his stall. The barn doors were pulled shut to keep the horses in the barn from living in a wind tunnel, and those with fly masks donned them to protect their eyes from blowing sand.

Day 81: Monday, May 2, 2011. REVIEW

A basic review day, then some focused work on Cindy and Wyatt's Freestyle Program! They want to be prepared for the top ten in Norco!

Don't forget - the finals in Norco are May 13 - 15th. If you plan to attend Saturday Night's final, you will need a ticket! They are $15 and can be purchased online from: Extreme Tix

Day 82: Tuesday, May 3, 2011. BRING ON THE TOYS

All the toys! Every toy Wyatt has ever played with came out today for some fun review. And you know what? That pink and yellow spring chick flag didn't bother Wyatt a bit as he and Cindy carried it all around the ranch. Some of the horses in the pens were not as impressed as it went fluttering by, though!

Day 83: Wednesday, May 4, 2011. REVIEW

Basic work, then more freestyle prep. You don't get any details; you'll have to hope he makes the top ten to see his program!

Day 84: Thursday, May 5, 2011. THE COWBOY SHOWER

Today Wyatt met the famous 'cowboy shower', made popular by Craig Cameron's Extreme Cowboy Race. The YVEC shower consists of a sheet hanging in strips over the entrance to the round pen, and as luck would have it there was a decent little breeze today!

Wyatt got to watch the sheet fluttering like crazy during his normal arena workout, then he got to ride to the toy box area to meet it close up. He was very curious, though wisely wary! CIndy allowed Wyatt time to simply walk up to the curtain and stand, watching it flap and listening to it slap the rails of the round pen. Wyatt rapidly became bored with this standing around, and decided he might need to taste the fluttering beast!

After a few nuzzles to the fabric, Wyat walked through the curtain for the first time. He did a good job, though it took three more tries before he did the walk through without that 'goosey' butt tuck as the sheet dragged over his back end!

A good day with a new toy, and next week at this time, he'll be in Norco!

Day 85: Friday, May 6, 2011. REVIEW

Wyatt got to add the cowboy shower to his review today, along with some walk-over logs, a blue tarp to step on, and a back-through obstacle.

Day 86: Saturday, May 7, 2011. REVIEW

A good day for review, with temperatures into the 90s. Didn't it snow not too long ago???

A week from today will be the last day of the Norco Extreme Mustang Makeover. Everyone here at YVEC is excited to see what Wyatt and all the other wonderful mustangs can do! Come out and cheer them all on! Norco, CA Extreme Mustang Makeover

Day 87: Sunday, May 8, 2011. MORE TRAILS

Wyatt went off to Pioneertown on Saturday night. He spent Sunday riding the local trails with Cindy, unwinding and preparing for the busy week ahead!

Day 88: Monday, May 9, 2011.
Day 89: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 REVIEW

Monday and Tuesday were practice days, and CIndy and Wyatt worked on their freestyle.

Day 90: Wednesday, May 11, 2011.

Ninety days have just flown by since Wyatt King came to stay at Yucca Valley Equestrian Center. All of us - boarders, students, and visitors - have enjoyed watching Wyatt develop under Cindy's guidance. He's a great little horse with a winning personality - he really does enjoy people and the attention they give to him. He has learned a lot in a short amount of time, and we all know he'll do well in whatever discipline he ends up in. We're looking forward to watching him in Norco this weekend!

On his last day of regular training at YVEC, Wyatt and Cindy worked on their freestyle again. Tomorrow, Thurday, he'll be leaving the ranch for Norco, settling in at the Ingalls Event Center in preparation for the "Makeover" Event. We will be posting Wyatt's ride times or order for the day as soon as we know them - we hope to see you all there in Norco, to cheer for Wyatt and Cindy, and all the other mustangs and trainers!

Schedule of Events: http://extrememustangmakeover.com/forms/2011/norcoschedule.pdf
Tickets for Saturday night's finals: https://tix.extremetix.com/

About the Ingalls Event Center: http://www.norco.ca.us/
Directions from Google Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl -search 3737 Crestview Drive, Norco, CA
About the Extreme Mustang Makeover: http://extrememustangmakeover.com/index.php
About the Norco Event: http://extrememustangmakeover.com/norco.php


Thursday, May 12, 2011.

Wyatt has arrived in Norco and is all settled in, eating his dinner happily! Cindy and Wyatt took a little trail ride when they got there, just to relax and check out the scenery, and Wyatt was quite comfortable in his new surroundings. Cindy said it looks as though some of the folks are going to play around with trailer loading this evening, practicing with the trailer being used in the competition, so they will probably join them. Don't stay up too late now, kids!!!

Cindy & Wyatt's Schedule:
Wyatt is designated horse #13 for the duration of the competition - this is his 'hip number'.
Friday morning, May 13th: Trail Challenge: begins at 9am. Cindy and Wyatt are drawn number 5 - 5th team to go on course.
Friday afternoon: Body Conditioning: Wyatt is draw number 7. He will be turned loose, then caught by the judge and his physical appearance assessed.

Saturday morning, May 14th: Arena Obstacle Challenge: begins at 9am. Wyatt drew the LAST slot! He will be horse number 32 to compete, and as soon as he's done he goes out for the City Trail Challenge phase
Saturday, 4pm: Top Ten to be announced, finals start at 6pm.

Friday, May 13, 2011.

Cindy and Wyatt compete in the Rural Trail Challenge, a course of obstacles and huge hills behind the Ingalls Arena. After the Rural Trail, horses are judged on body conditioning. At the end of today's events, Wyatt, Hip # 13, is sitting in 13th place on Friday the 13th!

Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Horses and riders perform a short arena obstacle course, then head out into the city of Norco for the Urban Trail challenge. Check out the photos and story in the gallery here: The Extreme Mustang Makeover 2011: Urban Trail Challenge
Wyatt had his own YVEC entourage, consisting of his Clean Team: Aislinn , and Don & Amanda. Also following were Steve, Debbi, Kristen, and Claire. It was a great day of fun, including watching Wyatt & Cindy, shopping in the tack stores, and lunch at the Saddle Sore Saloon!

After the Urban Trail, riders gave a 90 second performance in the arena to show their horse's stamina. Then it was break time before the Top Ten Finalists were announced.

The announcement of the Top Ten started the evening events - the ten riders then competed in the 90 Second Compulsory Event, then in the Freestyle to Music. Wyatt's fan club increased by then to include Dr. & Mrs Allen (Cindy's parents), Sid & Marcy, and Sherri. Other Yucca Valley residents were spotted in the stands throughout the night!
The YVEC group was thrilled when Cindy and Wyatt were announced to the Top Ten!!!! Pictures of the evening can be found here: The Extreme Mustang Makeover 2011: Top Ten Finals. Due to the dimming light, the freestyle finals were too dark for good photos, but we did the best we could! Cindy's program had her and Wyatt performing a western riding pattern to The Beatle's "Falling", the a short pause as Cindy stripped her chaps and shirt to reveal her white dressage breeches, tall boots, and dressage shirt! The audience loved it! Cindy then went on to feature Wyatt's amazing extended gaits while keeping his perfect frame, and finshied up with them carrying the flag to the judge's booth.

Judge Ken McNab commented that Cindy scared him when she started to take off her clothes! But he and judges Vicki Bass and Sheila Varian all commented on Wyatt's collection, softness, and lightness - and they wished they could have seen more of his dressage work! Area for improvement: While he stopped well in back, Wyatt lost his trademark softness in the bridle during that night's stop. The judges commented that it was a distraction from his otherwise perfect look. All in all, they gave Cindy very high marks for their performance! We were all very proud!

At the end of the evening, Cindy and Wyatt took 6th place - a big accomplishment for Cindy's first Extreme Mustang Makeover!

Sunday, May 15, 2011.

Auction Day. The bittersweet part of the weekend, where trainers get to see if their hard work would result in their horse being adopted - great for promoting the breed and giving these horses a home, but sad to lose the partner you've worked with for the past 90 days!
As it turned out, Wyatt had several bidders competing for him, but in the end, Steve Lapp won him! Wyatt gets to come home to YVEC after all, and continue his training! We are all excited to see what his future holds!

Wyatt will be spending several relaxing days in Pioneertown before returning to the ranch - he's earned his rest!!!!

Thanks for following Wyatt's story. If you'd like to see him, come visit us here at YVEC. And if you'd like to adopt a mustang of your own but need help with training, give Cindy a call - we'd love to hear from anyone interested in these great, versatile, smart horses!



Wyatt has ninety days to go from wild to wonderful - follow his progress through days 31 - 60, then 61 - 90 on the next pages!

Yucca Valley Equestrian Center - 7429 Avalon Avenue - Yucca Valley, CA 92284 - (760) 365-4433