Tam­ing a wild mus­tang

Serve Daily - - COMMUNITY - By Ed Helmick

MONA — The July is­sue of Serve Daily had an ar­ti­cle on wild horses in the west desert of Utah. Bryan Bus­sian wrote to us that his daugh­ter, Chyrah, has adopted and is train­ing a wild horse from the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment (BLM). After a 100 day train­ing pe­riod, this horse will com­pete with do­mes­tic horses in a skills as­sess­ment in Novem­ber. The event ti­tled “Im­pact of the Horse” is a part­ner­ship be­tween the BLM and the Sage Creek Eques­trian Cen­ter.

This is the rest of the story of wild horses in the western United States. The Wild and Free-Roam­ing Horses and Bur­ros Act of 1971 pro­vides for pro­tec­tion of es­tab­lished herds of horses and bur­ros. The BLM es­ti­mates that Utah has 3,600 free roam­ing or wild horses in 24 herd man­age­ment ar­eas. These horses are re­ferred to as “Mus­tangs” (male or fe­male) and not a spe­cific breed, but a mix­ture of breeds that have co-min­gled over many years on the open range­land. In or­der for the range­land to sup­port the herd, the size of the herd is man­aged by the BLM by round­ing up and re­mov­ing mus­tangs and cor­ralling them for adop­tion.

The Bus­sian fam­ily of Mona are horse peo­ple. They have been pas­sion­ate about horses all their lives and that is the way they have raised their six chil­dren. They were on horse­back be­fore they walked.

Their youngest daugh­ter, Chyrah, who just turned 20, has trained quite a few horses in her young life and adopted a mus­tang from the BLM. Dur­ing the day Chyrah works as a pro­ces­sional rider for Young Liv­ing Farms. She had been work­ing with the draft horses and is now train­ing for the joust­ing event. Chyrah is an amaz­ing woman.

Chyrah’s horse is four-year-old mare named Leg­end that had been in cap­tiv­ity for two years in Delta be­fore be­ing adopted. Quite a few re­quire­ments and reg­u­la­tions had to be met to es­tab­lish that the horse was be­ing adopted into an ad­e­quate and safe en­vi­ron­ment. The BLM has spec­i­fi­ca­tions for the cor­ral and even the horse trailer.

This adop­tion comes with a catch. Chyrah has just 100 days to train the horse for a com­pe­ti­tion event to be held in He­ber com­par­ing mus­tang and do­mes­tic horses. That sounds like quite a chal­lenge. First you have to get the mus­tang com­fort­able be­ing around peo­ple, cars, mo­tor­cy­cles, school buses and a sad­dle. When asked what was the first thing she did with the horse, Chyrah said she wanted to be the first to put the bri­dle on to start build­ing a re­la­tion­ship. At the time of our visit, she had been work­ing with the horse for 43 days from an hour or more a day, de­pend­ing on what ex­er­cises they were do­ing.

After bridling and sad­dling her mus­tang, Chyrah did a rid­ing demon­stra­tion that in­cluded hav­ing the horse kneel on com­mand. Chyrah’s mother popped a cou­ple of bal­loons near the face of the horse, and the horse was not spooked.

A large plas­tic ball was bounced in front of the horse, and it did not star­tle the mus­tang mare. The ball was then bounced off the side of the horse, and it did not ap­pear to bother her.

Next, a smaller red ball was brought out that the horse had not seen be­fore. Chyrah and her mother played with the ball with­out dis­turb­ing the stance of the horse. Chyrah then rode her horse up onto an old trac­tor tire filled with dirt. The horse turned around and then backed off the tire. This was a pretty im­pres­sive demon­stra­tion of a tamed mus­tang.

The “Im­pact of the Horse, Do­mes­tic vs. Mus­tang Chal­lenge” that Chyrah and her mus­tang mare “Leg­end” are pre­par­ing for will be held Novem­ber 10 and 11 at the Wasatch Events Cen­ter in He­ber.

It is billed as an event to demon­strate mus­tangs can­not only hold their own, but give the do­mes­tic horses a run for the Cham­pi­onship. After the event the BLM horses fea­tured will be sold at auc­tion. Chyrah has the op­tion to bid on Leg­end. Asked if she wanted to buy Leg­end she said, “Prob­a­bly not. I can’t buy ev­ery horse I train.”

If you have any in­ter­est in horses, or western his­tory, this will be an in­ter­est­ing event to fol­low. You can learn more on the Face­book page “Im­pact of the Horse, Two Worlds, One Event.”

Photo: Ed Helmick

Chyrah leads Leg­end up onto a train­ing podium.

Photo: Ed Helmick

Chyrah and her mother demon­strate the mus­tang’s com­po­sure. By throw­ing a plas­tic ball in its di­rec­tion.

Photo: Ed Helmick

Chyrah and her mus­tang Leg­end.

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