Wilson Sisters: Keeping up with the Mustangs
“The Wilson Sisters Amazing American Journey”
CopRice sponsored riders, Vicki, Kelly and Amanda Wilson, have been based in America since early April, taming wild Mustangs for the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Although their focus is normally competitive showjumping, it’s not the first time the sisters have worked with wild horses; since 2012 they have saved over 25 wild Kaimanawas from slaughter during the government culls in New Zealand and trained them in an attempt to raise public awareness so fewer horses will be sent to the abattoir during the biennial musters.
Their work has appeared in the bestselling book ‘For the Love of Horses’ as well as the television series ‘Keeping up with the Kaimanawas’ which airs on TV ONE during primetime viewing. The series follows the sisters taming 10 horses from the 2014 muster, including their five stallions in the Stallion Challenges.
The USA event is very similar to the New Zealand and the three sisters had high hopes of raising awareness about the plight of the wild Mustangs, as well as competing in the 100 day event, but within weeks it became apparent that two of the horses had old injuries. A vet diagnosis confirmed Amanda's mare had a old fracture on her fetlock, and Vicki’s one a damaged shoulder and both had to be withdrawn from competition. Middle sister Kelly is the only one still competing and in just 30 days will present her mare Jackie in the prestigious wild horse event which is worth $20,000US. During the past two months of training Jackie has developed well under saddle, including trail riding through National Parks in seven states of America, jumping 3’6” (1.05m) and beginning lateral work.
Although unable to compete, Vicki and Amanda were far from deterred from working with Mustangs and in past eight week have tamed and trained another six Mustangs, three untouched and another three which they bought at auction from the Northern Nevada Correctional Facilities where they had been trained for 90 days by the prison inmates.
Although the Wilson sisters had planned to base themselves in Wyoming during their 100 day stay in America, they set off on a spontaneous road trip and have spent the past six weeks travelling through Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado, allowing the horses to enjoy learning in wide open spaces. From the the snowy mountains in the Eagle Caps Wilderness, through the Bryce Canyon and the vast sandstone rock formations in Monument Valley they have seen some of the most picturesque parts of the country.
With only a month to go, the sisters have a weeks clinic in Wyoming, followed by a ride in Yellowstone National Park and a rodeo in Jackson Hole before heading south to the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Idaho. Their journey to raise awareness about wild horses on an international scale is only just beginning and they are excited about what the future holds.