Local Trainer Competes in Extreme Mustang Makeover
Queen Creek horsewoman competes in her first, wild-horse training event.
When 31-year-old horse trainer Wanette Wilson heard that the Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM) competition was coming to Queen Creek, she knew she wanted in. Even though an endometriosis diagnosis threatened to hold her back, she applied—and was accepted—as a 2016 competitor for the event, which challenged trainers to transform wild horses into gentle, adoptable companions in just 100 days. After all, Wanette had been a devoted horse lover all her life with experience doing rodeo, quarter horses, speed events, cutting and more. And ever the fighter, Wanette wouldn’t let health issues prevent her from following her dreams.
As a part of the competition, she was paired with a wild mustang who was virtually untouched by humans—Wanette aptly named him “Wish Come True,” or True for short—and is training him in advance of the EMM event at the Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre in Queen Creek from April 22-23. The competition is a chance to show off True’s skills to potentially help him get adopted after the event.
“I want to send a positive message out there to encourage anybody,” said Wanette, who was diagnosed with endometriosis when she was just 16 and has battled the disease for half her life. By training True, Wanette has found strength in his remarkable ability to adapt and thrive. And it has inspired her to overcome her own obstacles, she adds.
“Not everything is perfect all the time and sometimes you just have to push through. But even if I’m having a bad day, even when I’m exhausted, I look forward to going home and just being able to play with him. He’s such a sweet-natured animal. He’s such a good boy.”
It was because of her health issues that it has taken Wanette so long to be able to participate in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, which is now in its 10th year. She had to prepare months in advance to make sure her body could fulfill the physical demands in the Arizona heat of the 100-day challenge, but here she is.
About the Extreme Mustang Makeover
The EMM program, created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wild Horse & Burro division of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), involves a 100-day competition that challenges trainers to condition wild mustangs into practiced mounts. Through open showcases, adult and youth (ages 8 to 17) trainers display the mustangs’ skills and demeanor, followed by a bidding process where spectators can adopt one as their own.
About America’s Mustang
The America’s Mustang campaign was created in 2015 to better educate Americans on who the American Mustangs are, where they are located, what resources they need as a breed and what resources they share with other species. The America’s Mustang tour involves a series of events and activities to help inform the public about this iconic American horse and how we all can take action to maintain healthy lands with healthy horses. America’s Mustang is led by the Mustang Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.