FORT WORTH, Texas---Not a dry eye was found at the Mustang Magic Event held at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Saturday evening January 23, 2010. Fans filled the seats, aisle-ways and stairwells to watch as Friday night’s winner Logan Leach of Tucson, Arizona with his gentled mustang Red Ryder, rode to a close second against winner Chase Dodd.
Dodd gave an amazing performance atop his gentled American Mustang, Tennessee Thunder and took home the purse of $10,000 with a “bridleless” routine to “Southern Voices.”
Over the course of 120 days, featured trainers received ten American Mustangs in September of 2009 to be gentled and then compete during the Mustang Magic Event. Horses are received through a unique partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and do not have any training or gentling whatsoever. During the competition, trainers and horses must perform delicate obstacles being judged on both horse and rider. "I have to say these trainers poured their hearts and souls into these horses and it really showed throughout the competition," said Patti Colbert, Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director.
The emotions were heavy inside the arena as Leach and Red Ryder received second place only to then be announced as “Mustang Magic Fan Favorite” by an incredible 200,000 votes via on-line voting.
Red Ryder and Tennessee Thunder are just two of the many protected Mustangs used in this unique partnership with the Bureau of Land Management. Colbert emphasizes that the Extreme Mustang Makeover program helps to create an understanding within the general public that Mustangs are good trainable horses that have value and stated “these are not just coyotes or jack rabbits, they have value in a human relationship.” When asked if these animals are part of our American Heritage she is quick to state “these Mustangs are truly an American Icon and we have brought a special way to the government to help a problem.” The BLM has had their work cut out for them over the past several years on this subject and Colbert is quick to point out that “the BLM has a tough job, these are migratory animals and they are dealing with Mother Nature, and we know what she can do!” The Extreme Mustang Makeover’s mission will always be to increase adoption “I will always stay on just that, increase adoption and with over 1,700 horses placed, well I think we are getting somewhere!”
As Colbert told an emotional audience that it was an exceptional group of trainers and an exceptional event, the real magic was yet to come. The trainers form a bond with these majestic creatures and quite frankly it is never easy to say goodbye, especially for Red Ryder. Leach said this particular horse had just about more heart than almost any other he had ever trained.
As the auction brought in $11,000 for Tennessee Thunder, purchased by Madeline Pickens, the crowd was on edge to see what Red Ryder would go for.
Bidding began, $5,000 came and went, and the bidding reached $10,000 and then $20,000. When the bidding finally came to a halt it was at the hefty price of $29,000! Joy Murray, mother of famed rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, had purchased Red Ryder.
To the surprise of all in attendance, Joy Murray had bid on behalf of Western Horseman Magazine and The Mustang Heritage Foundation. They had purchased Red Ryder to give back to Logan Leach (pictured atop Red Ryder with family) for the purpose of promoting the American Mustang as an ambassador at events across the country and to represent both Western Horseman Magazine and The Mustang Heritage Foundation.
To all of those who witnessed something magical, it was an evening that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
To learn more about the Extreme Mustang Makeover and their unique partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, please visit their site: