When I first saw Padrè, he was at the International Equine Podiatry Center (IEPC) in Kentucky being bred in a hoof study that started through the BLM. At the time, I didn’t know much about Mustangs but I knew that Padrè was gorgeous, his gaits were pure and his conformation was amazing. I transferred domestic horses with navicular issues to the IEPC during summer and always looked forward to seeing the Mustangs at the Center. I often teased the Doctor that if he ever wanted to see what his Mustang could really do to let me know. When the call came in, offering me Padrè, for FREE, I immediately said yes. There was just something about Padrè that made me think he and I could compete.
Padrè was moved from the IEPC to a farm just 30 minutes away. When I arrived, Padrè was lying down sleeping while the trainer cleaned his stall around him. The next morning, the trainer climbed on, went bucking down the grass lane and toward a round pen. When I first rode him, I thought Padrè was much more powerful than I had thought he would be as we walked, trotted and cantered and he NEVER bucked! Our first ride went so well, I brought Padrè home to Illinois the next day.
I hosted a Dressage clinic with a German trainer the following weekend and had not told the clinician what type of horse Padrè was, the trainer spent the entire weekend guessing. “An Andalusian? “A Lusitano”, “A Spanish Barb”, “An Andalusian cross”. At the end of our final ride, I finally revealed that Padrè is a Mustang, born in the wild. The trainer was astounded and insisted that I take Padrè to a show three weeks later at his training facility. I thought he was crazy but he convinced me that it was best to take Padrè to a show before I put time and training into him to get some basic scores on how he naturally moves.
Three weeks later, show day began early. I braided Padrè’s long mane and warmed up early, since we had the first ride of the show. Our first class went well, it was a simple walk trot test and Padrè moved through it like a seasoned pro. Our second test was walk, trot and canter and again Padrè did well. After our second test, went to the office to see how we did, to my surprise, Padre’ won both classes with a 65% and a 67%! We also won the High Point Award for the division. It was more than I could have asked for and I knew Padrè’ had the potential to do more than I originally thought.
Padrè’s life at home was full of new treats and adventure. He quickly came to love the spoils of living at Wayfarer Farm, especially the heated barn! He enjoys wearing winter blankets and will not walk out the door for turnout if he thinks it is too cold or rainy. Just before Easter one spring, I was in the barn enjoying my favorite Easter candy, marshmallow Peeps when Padrè began to paw at me for the treat. I gave him the treat and to my surprise, he loved it and begged for more!
Outside of training 5 days a week, Padrè and I also go trail riding weekly. His natural instinct has not gone away, as he is cautious when there is a new tree down to make sure there is not a predator hiding on the other side. He will snort and blow to announce that he is coming through.
Padrè’s accomplishments have been astounding, Padrè was the first Mustang to qualify and compete in Dressage at Devon, the most prestigious Dressage show in the United States, his incredible natural conformation has claimed the prizes of:
- Reserve Grand Champion ABRA Western Halter Stallion
- Reserve Grand Champion Stallion 2010 USDF North Central Series Division
- “Horse of the Year” at USDF North Central Finals
- Devon 1st place Winner in 4 Year Old and Older In Hand Only Stallion class
- Devon Reserve Grand Champion Stallion Overall
- 2010 Ranked #14 in the Country for United States Dressage Federation for Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Stallions
- Grand Champion Stallion 2011 USDF North Central Series Division Finals
- 2011 Ranked #8 in the Country for United States Dressage Federation for Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Stallions
Outside of showing in hand, Padrè and I also show Dressage, Western Pleasure and Trail and Hunter Under Saddle. Through our showing, I hope that Padrè and I continue to work toward our goal of educating the public to how amazing and naturally talented Mustangs are.
Photos by Swan Studio