Wilsonville business owner helps provide a better life for mustangs
For Trish Waters, the owner of Flawless Aesthetic in Wilsonville, the sight of a pair of mustangs weaving through obstacle courses, walking up trailers or galloping across bridges at her ranch in Butteville leaves a lasting impression.
"Everyday I'm amazed," she said.
These two horses, Greta and Zena, can perform these tasks, are comfortable around humans and are well-behaved due to their training with Peter Halay and Heather Longshore.
The training is one small step to address a large problem.
The Teens and Oregon Mustangs nonprofit program, which the two trainers are a part of, trains wild horses and puts them up for adoption so that they can live with an owner rather than remain stuck in a pen owned by the Bureau of Land Management or run wild across public lands.
"When they are born wild they are scared of humans and when they're exposed properly and trained, they really love their lives here, the adventures and the things we do," Halay said. "It's kind of like saving them from having them fight for their own lives."
Waters is an owner of two mustangs and wanted to help the population once she learned of its plight.
Halay explained that public land is designated largely to support cattle but that there are many thousands of horses residing in those areas, which pits mustangs and cattle in a competition for resources. To resolve this problem, the Bureau of Land Management places the mustangs in holding pens. However, the Bureau struggles to round up enough horses and doesn't know where to put all of them according to a recent story in the New York Times.
"They sit for the rest of their life in a holding pen or someone gives them a home," Halay said, adding that the holding pens are a strain on government resources.
Learning of this predicament, Waters invited the two horses and their human counterparts to train on her ranch.
Halay and Longshore's work includes getting Greta and Zena used to a human placing a halter on them and picking up their feet so they can be trimmed as well as teaching them how to walk onto a trailer, among other tasks. Easing the mustangs' fear of humans and making them more appealing to prospective owners is the overarching goal.
"One of the things they crave is leadership and so when they (trainers) provide that they're on their side. They're your partner. They're loyal to you," Halay said.
Greta and Zena had trained for 38 days when Pamplin Media Group chatted with Waters. She was impressed with the results and said that the mustangs are more seasoned than her 11-year-old horses.
"'Greta the Great' has been very bold and confident from day one. It's been fun using her confidence to introduce her to new things, and what a wild ride it's been to find out she is gaited as well. This is very uncommon in wild mustangs," Longshore said in a press release.
To culminate the training, Greta and Zena and their trainers will participate in a skills competition Sept. 26 at the Yamhill County Fairgrounds and then will be put up for adoption via an auction.
"Two lucky people are going to benefit greatly from this program and have some very happy horses from it," Waters said.
To learn more about Greta and Zena's journey, visit the Facebook page dedicated to them: www.facebook.com/Mustang-Greta-and-Heather-Longshore-2020-107256044355568.
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