Local Man Enters Competition Hoping to Save the Lives of Wild MustangsPosted: Updated:
Benton City -- In just two months, a Benton City man will make his television debut. He is going on the small screen hoping to save the lives of America's wild mustangs.
Ruben Villasenor is one of 50 horse trainers selected to compete in an internationally televised show called Extreme Mustang Makeover. He and the others were matched by computer with a wild mustang, taken from horses thinned from herds located on Bureau of Land Management land.
The animals received have had virtually no human contact, have never been ridden, and by the time the contest starts, are supposed to be effective in competition, and ready for sale.
Villasenor said Thursday that his goal is to prove that wild mustangs are worthy of adoption as the government thins the herds. Many horses, he said, if not adopted, are sent to the slaughterhouse. And for Villasenor, who has trained horses for 24 years, that is not a viable option.
When speaking with Villasenor, it becomes clear how close he is to the animals. Thursday, he talked about the temperament of the wild mustang he is currently training,
"When he came in he was pretty shook up, and he's been a pretty curious horse. He wants to learn. He hasn't been aggressive. He is wild, but he is trying to find his place."
The mustang is tall--16 hands; and the gelding allowed Villasenor on his back on day three of training. Not that there isn't a lot of work to do, but Villasenor says the horse is teachable and gentle.
For the Benton City man and the others competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, there is no big prize money and virtually no backing. They each receive $500 to defray the cost of training, board, and travel. If a horse happens to sell, the trainer would receive twenty percent of the amount received. That's all.
Needless to say, Villasenor is looking for sponsors to help him with travel expenses. His local veterinarian has already volunteered to provide services at no cost. If you would like to help, call Ruben Villasenor at 509-947-4125.
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