A Young Equestrian’s Dream Come True: Extreme Mustang Makeover

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By Nancy Brannon

Melia Gore is only 12 years old, but already she has trained a Mustang and placed fourth overall at the Extreme Mustang Makeover, held September 10-12, 2015 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, TX.

Melia applied earlier this year to enter the Mustang Makeover, and was approved in April, so around the first of May she was assigned a Mustang to train. She only had 100 days to work with the horse, whom she named Disco.

Melia’s grandmother, Maxine Molasky of Germantown, TN, was excited about her granddaughter’s success and explained about the event: “The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a great program, as well as one of the most competitive events. She applied to the program and was accepted, so she got her Mustang the first of May and had 100 days to train and then show the horse. These horses haven’t had human contact at all! And when finished, the kids get to keep their horses. Melia has such incredible rapport with horses. These Mustangs respond well to kids, and hers is the sweetest horse! It’s an amazing program! At the competition, the kids all rooted for each other and were helpful to each other. She made new friends from all over the country. They show their Mustangs in-hand; there’s no riding competition.”

The pair did quite well at the Mustang Makeover. In “Youth Handling/Conditioning” they placed 7th; in “Youth Leading Trail” they were third; they were 9th in “Youth Freestyle,” and fourth overall. Melia won $2,000 for her efforts, in addition to being able to adopt Disco.

Melia’s mother Rachel Gore was delighted with her daughter’s Mustang training, too. “She worked with the horse from the ground up. She got the job done and felt confident in her methods. Disco, whose formal name is Discover Destiny, is only 2 ½ years old. Melia also has a Quarter Horse/Paint cross she’s been training with Clinton Anderson. Lessons from Clinton Anderson are part of her home schooling, and she’s been working with the Clinton Anderson methods for about two years.

 “Around May 1st, we went to the holding facility in Palls Valley, Oklahoma to pick up the Mustang. Melia had applied in early March to enter the competition, and we found out April 15 that she had been accepted. The participants don’t get to choose a horse; they are assigned a horse to train. The horses are not even halter broken when you pick them up.

“This was her first real show of any kind, although she’s done a few barrel races. She had a lot of fun doing this! After one part of the competition, when she went to pick up a ribbon, she reached for it, but her horse took the ribbon from the judge. That was so cute!”

Rachel cleared some misconceptions people have about Mustangs: “We are blown away at how well the training has gone! To be honest, we were apprehensive and discussed the dangers before deciding to adopt a Mustang. The common misconceptions of Mustangs as being wild and dangerous are so far from the truth. Sure, initially they are scared, and rightly so. But, with the proper education, for us it was very simple to follow books and DVDs from Clinton Anderson. Even a 12-year-old girl with little training experience can turn a wild Mustang into a “1000 pound puppy” and dance with him! It has been the most incredible experience of our lives! We are happy beyond words!”

Melia lives what might be the idyllic life. She and her parents live on South Padre Island, Texas, where her parents’ business is South Padre Surf Company; they teach surfing lessons year round. Melia is home-schooled and part of her home schooling is learning Clinton Anderson horse training methods, which she used to train Disco. Melia writes a blog to record the progress of her training, along with photos and a video of her practice session. Read details of Melia’s training progress on her blog: http://meliagore.blogspot.com/

On September 14, 2015, Clinton Anderson posted on facebook: “Clinton and the Downunder Horsemanship team send out a big congratulations to Melia Gore and her BLM Mustang, Disco, on their 4th place finish in the Fort Worth Extreme Mustang Makeover youth division! Melia and her family are passionate NWC members who use the Method to train their horses. Great job, Melia and Disco!”

On September 18, 2015 Melia rode Disco for the first time – on the beach. She wrote on her blog: “We started Disco out with sending him with his saddle next to the waves …and making sure he remembered them; … it didn't take him long to get in! Then I worked him for awhile on the hard sand, and after that it was time to put the bridle on! … he took the bit really good. But it took him awhile to get used to it. Finally! Time to ride him! Since you are supposed to do the first ride in the round pen and we didn't have one, my dad put the long line on Disco so he could control him. After that I put my helmet on, stood in one stirrup and slapped the other side of him a couple times, then hopped on! It was such an
awesome feeling to be on his back, after four months of groundwork, … I started out with flexing him from left to right for about 5 minutes, then moved on to Hind End, Front End, which …was a little slower than how Clinton does it. Then we did walk, trot, canter, then some inside turns, then yielding his hind quarters from a standstill, then a little bit of backing. I had to do a lot of flexing at different points during the ride because he was kinda stiff, but he rode really awesome! After about 45 minutes we decided that it was long enough for his first ride, so then I dismounted him and took him up to the trailer, loaded him up, and took him home. It was an awesome first ride!”

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