JEFFERSONTOWN, KY (WAVE) - A Jeffersontown woman is attempting an extreme makeover - not of a home, but a horse. She is in a national competition where she has 100 days to turn a wild mustang into a horse she can ride. WAVE 3's Mark Schnyder reports on how it is going just three weeks in.
He's spent his entire three years on a range in Las Vegas with no human contact. Now he's in Rebecca Rodden's J-town stable. Rodden says it's a pretty sure bet she'll take him from wild horse to willing companion in about three months.
"It pushes your ability as a trainer," said Rodden.
The horse is smart but skittish. After three weeks together, Rodden is still trying to get Bucephalus, as she calls him, to trust her. One second he does. The next, he's not so sure.
Rodden ultimately wants to ride this horse. She says it's going to happen, but not on this day.
In Rodden's first attempt to put a saddle on Bucephalus, he made it clear after a few seconds he'd have nothing to do with it. He shook it off and slammed his body into the fence. Rodden almost fell trying to hold on to him.
"It's alright, come back and try again," she quietly tells the horse.
But in her gentle yet stern way, Rodden makes it clear she's the boss in this ring and that saddle is going on his back. Sure enough it does. 199 other trainers are attempting the same thing Rodden's doing. They are testing their own skills while hoping indirectly to save the lives of Mustangs around the country.
"The Bureau of Land Management has so many horses in holding pins," Rodden said. "They're thinking about euthanizing some of them and I think it's awful. And I think people are scared to adopt these horses."
Rodden believes by showing how trainable they are, that fear will subside. She's got plans for this horse well beyond this competition.
"I love all my horses and I hope he becomes a friend and family member and a companion," said Rodden.
The Extreme Mustang Makeover judging happens in Fort Worth, Texas in September. The winner takes home $50,000. Rodden is hoping to get a sponsor or some financial assistance to help pay for that trip.
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