The Natural Horseman – Miracle the Mustang

By Steve Stevens 

So after a five year hiatus from Mustang competitions, we have decided to do another one.

We are planning on competing in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Extreme Mustang Makeover in early July.

I am currently on the 22nd session with our draw. We named this little draft cross with a flaxen mane “Miracle.” He gained his name due to the fact that we got the wrong mustang. He was not the one we drew for the competition. There was some sort of mix up that wasn’t figured out until he was half way home to Texas from Illinois. We also named him Miracle because of our long and hard but blessed journey we have traveled on since the last time we competed in a mustang competition.

The cool thing with working with untouched mustangs is that the trainer is fully responsible for how the mustang is, how he will become. Meaning that everything he does is because of me or his own mental and physical ability. I can’t blame the last owner or trainer.

There are no excuses.

It is a great honor and responsibility to be the first one to touch, handle and ride a wild mustang. They have very in- depth sensorial survival skills. They are also more toughened from their prior environment, so that human-horse connection can be a difficult barrier to break.

But if you can connect with them, the rewards can be extraordinary, and the bond can be tremendous.

To start, Miracle has been a little spooky, which is to be expected. But in the grand scheme of things he is really smart and has been trying hard. We spent the first three weeks just doing groundwork: teaching him to be caught, basic lunging, desensitizing, picking up feet, leading, saddling and driving. He has had six rides on him.

Steve and Miracle. (Photo courtesy of the Stevens)

He seems to be learning something new every day. We will just have to wait and see how far he can go. Right now the main goal is getting him as trained as possible.

We are working on him just being able to walk, trot and canter in the bridle, and then we will go from there. I am always doing my best to put him first and not allowing the competition to rush the process.

I truly believe that working on becoming the best trainer I can be means that I have to keep educating myself, to never stop learning. Working with mustangs can certainly widen your education and keep you humble.

We will keep updating you guys on my journey with Miracle.