TOUCHET - There is something new every day for Faith, the chestnut yearling mustang who came to the Longmire family's corral May 21.
The wild horse is under the care of 14-year-old Gabrielle Longmire, who has 98 days to gentle, and begin basic training in preparation for adoption.
Gabrielle is participating in the Teens and Oregon Mustangs Youth and Yearling Event for the second time. Last year she trained, and then adopted, Jet, now a 2-year-old gelding.
Gabrielle and Jet placed ninth among 21 competitors last year, but this year, her goal is not the trophy saddle and championship belt buckle that eluded her, but for Faith to be adopted by a good family.
Best of all, Gabrielle said, would be for someone in the area to adopt the filly, so Gabrielle could keep track of her progress.
Despite her fondness for Faith, Gabrielle is determined that she go to a good home, and extols her virtues at every opportunity.
"She is just coming along so much faster than Jet," she said. "She's got a nice temperament."
"And her little canter is like, so cute," Gabrielle said.
Faith will be available for adoption Aug. 27 at the Teens and Oregon Mustangs Event in Yamhill, Ore.
Comparing young horses is as dicey as comparing children. From the beginning, Faith was unperturbed by Gabrielle's attentions, eating from her hand the first day, and allowing her identification tag to be removed the second day. It was weeks before Jet allowed Gabrielle to touch him, and nearly a month before he would stand still to have his tag removed from his neck.
Perhaps it is the draft horse blood in her veins that makes her so calm and accepting.
Faith is from the Stinking Waters herd of wild horses in the Bureau of Land Management's herd management areas in Southeastern Oregon. Some horses from this herd show characteristics of draft horses.
Faith appears to concentrate on understanding what Gabrielle asks her to do. She placidly follows as Gabrielle leads her around the pasture. She will calmly step across hay bales and poles, although she showed her horse sense when asked to step over a pole set at knee height. Instead of stepping over it, she repeated pushed it with her leg, reducing the step to six inches instead of 20.
Her first training in loading into the trailer was Wednesday, when she obediently followed Gabrielle into the trailer, then backed out without hesitation.
Two days later she traveled in the trailer to the house of a friend who has a trail obstacle course. Faith made her way through a trail mound obstacle, climbed onto a tractor tire filled with dirt, went through a pole zigzag obstacle frontwards and backwards, then loaded into her trailer willingly for the ride home.
The competition in August will include obstacles, and challenges such as tarps, farm animals, oddly dressed mannequins and a freestyle demonstration. There is a showmanship contest, and the yearlings are also judged on their overall condition.
At the end of the competition, the horses are adopted by their trainer, or a new owner. Adoption fees are set by competitive bid with initial fees determined by the BLM. Adopters must meet certain requirements, including having suitable facilities to keep the animal.
The Teens and Oregon Mustangs Youth and Yearling Event is sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation through its Youth and Yearling program.
Carrie Chicken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 522-5289.
For Your Information
To learn more, or to contribute to Faith's care while with Gabrielle, contact Gabrielle c/o Shane and Tracy Longmire, email@example.com, 509-529-0961.
Follow Faith and Gabrielle: www.teenmustangchallenge.blogspot.com
More information about the mustang herds: www.blm.gov/adoptahorse
Mustang Heritage Foundation: www.mustangheritagefoundation.org
Teens and Oregon Mustangs Inc.: www.teensandoregonmustangs.org