East Tennessee teen wins contest for taming a wild mustang (Video)

Jackie Donahue wins mustang training competition

An East Tennessee teen won Wild Mustang Million Horse competition in Fort Worth, Texas. She helped ready a horse for adoption and earned $10,000.

From: WBIR.com
By: Emily Stroud

Out west, wild horse run free… but there are too many of them for the land to sustain. That’s why the Mustang Heritage Foundation is getting those wild horses adopted.

A local horsewoman helped that process by winning a contest.

Eighteen year old Jackie Donahue started riding horses when she was four and taming wild mustangs when she was 14.

Jackie Donahue trains at Tri-C Farms in Seymou“People think they’re so wild and mean but they’re really… I guess they’re harder to start at first maybe but in the end they’re super super intelligent and really willing to please,” she said.

Jackie Donahue trains at Tri-C Farms in Seymour.

This summer a mustang she trains there was wild. That changed when Jackie decided to enter the Wild Mustang Million Horse competition in Fort Worth, Texas. Jackie’s sponsor bid on the horse at auction and got him for a great price: $400. His name is Calibrated Cadenza.

“I took him and I started on him the next day. Taught him to lead. Put a halter on him and taught him to lead taught him to lunge so I could take him out and run him but I honestly didn’t start really working with him until like a month and a half later because I was trying to finish for another mustang competition with a different horse,” she said.

She describes the competition as a series of preliminary classes and tests on handling and obstacle courses and obedience. She and her horse made the top ten and advanced to the finals.

“You’re judged on your artistic interpretation and your choreography with the music to how the horse moves. They want to see things that impress the crowd and impress the judges too so it has to be complex but fun,” she explained.

In the end, the mustangs in the competition are ready to be adopted. As for Jackie, she took first place and won $10,000.

“You can envision yourself winning but when you actually get out there and you do it. I dedicated it to my grandfather who had passed away of leukemia earlier this year and the day after my finals would have been his birthday so his 84th birthday,” she said.

Jackie plans on entering more wild mustang competitions.

“You have to try to think like a horse. What do horses do when they’re on their own, when they’re in herds. And for years when I didn’t really have any horses to ride I would go out and I just spent time with horses and I watched how they behaved around themselves and how they communicated and that taught me so much. If you just watch and you listen,” she said.

She hopes her accomplishment will inspire others.

“I want kids to follow their dreams,” she said.

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AUTHOR: Posted by Habitat for Horses Calaway
5 Comments
  • Barbara Leonard

    “but there are too many of them for the land to sustain” BAD CHOICE OF WORDS…..and surely NOT the truth.

    October 19, 2013
  • smokeysdad

    As the Secretary of the Interior does not possess a current actual visual census, only a magic mathematical guess, as to the number of wild horses on the open range how could you say there are too many for the land to sustain?

    The original Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 allotted some 52,000,000 acres to the animals. Since then, through congressional chicanery, roughly a third of that land has been stolen for other uses. Even with that there is still some 36,000,000 acres deemed as wild horse and burro land. Land where the wild horses and burros were supposed to be ‘primary’ but while writing the rules about how to manage wild horses and burros the BLM changed the verbiage from the original Act from simply horse ranges to horse ranges and Herd Management Areas.

    Horse ranges maintain their primary use for horses and burros while in their infinite stupidity the Herd Management Areas became a ghetto for the animals. They lost their ‘primary’ status and were deemed third class citizens while oil, gas, mining, welfare cattle and sheep jumped up the ladder of importance.

    It is not that the land cannot sustain the horses as on that vast 36 million acres still allocated to the horses and burros there is probably no more than 25,000. The BLM says there are closer to 40,000 but have absolutely no proof of that number.

    So who in their right mind would say that 25,000 horses can’t be supported on 36 million acres? That’s 1440 acres per horse!

    The problem lies in the fact that on that same land there are 50 times as many cattle and sheep. The “Multiple Use Policy” allows for ranchers to graze their livestock for an annual fee of $1.35 per cow and calf or 5 sheep. The Treasury Department has stated that the cost of administering this program far outweighs the actual monies accrued.

    So the long term solution, rather than try to adopt out thousands of horses, is to rescind the grazing permits for livestock, return all original lands from the 1971 Act and leave the horses to fend for themselves in nature like all the other native wildlife.

    A recent NAS report made clear that the constant brutal roundups actually leads to increased reproduction among the equids. Like most other animals fear of extinction leads to more and more pregnancy’s.

    Although I applaud your attempts to help the wild horses currently being rounded up and incarcerated, it is NOT the final answer.

    Please refrain from touting a ‘rumor’ that there are too many wild horses and the land can’t sustain them. That is just not true.

    October 19, 2013
    • Robynne Catheron

      Smokeysdad, your comment is excellent and should be shared with every single American, in every newspaper across the country, and on billboards in every state that still allows them. We need your voice and writing skills to help save the few wild horses we have left on the range. I hope you’ll share this!

      That said, it sounds like you’ve misread this post. From what I can tell, the person guilty of not knowing the facts is the reporter/writer at WBIR.com. The fantastic, hard-working folks at Habitat for Horses definitely know the most detailed information about wild horses, right down to the minutiae, and should be applauded.

      October 21, 2013
    • Robynne Catheron

      I’m unable to comment on the original newspaper article, probably because I only have my tablet and cell phone. I hope Barbara Leonard and Smokeysdad will both post comments about their less-than-intelligent statement, and ask them to check their facts next time.

      October 21, 2013
      • Barbara Leonard

        I never said H4H made this comment. I was very well aware that the writer of the article made that comment.

        October 22, 2013