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The Natural Horseman – Miracle the Mustang

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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.

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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

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By Rayford Pullen

Other than Valentine’s Day, for those of us in the cattle business, there is not a lot good about the month of February in North Texas. The weather the past two Februarys has been really tough, so here is hoping we do not have a three-peat.

Since we are in the middle of winter, we can now begin our spring calving the first of the month and hopefully have it completed before the first of April. I have previously mentioned that when we compared the weaning weights of our February and March born calves to our April and May born calves, the earlier born calves had a weaning weight advantage of 111 pounds due to the fact the earlier born calves were older and had a functioning rumen, their mommas are giving a lot of milk and the forages are entering the best 120 days of the year.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February issue of NTFR Magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.

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Maddie Rose: Rising Texas Country Music Artist

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It is difficult to find one definition of Texas country music, but one description seems to repeat more than others; a style of music known for fusing traditionalist root sounds with the outspoken, care-free views of outlaw country. Texas country music is much more instrumental than traditional, blending together a mix of subgenres, from bluegrass to Western swing.

No matter the definition used, one thing is for certain, Texas country is one of the most rapidly growing genres of music beloved by fans across the country, and as the popularity of the Texas sound continues to rise, so does the competition for musicians to stand out.

However, one musician hailing from North Texas has shown she has what it takes. Sixteen-year-old Maddie Rose claims the key is hard work, talent, and honestly, a little bit of luck. As an artist, she has been honing her talent since she was just a child, starting on piano, picking up guitar, acting, modeling, and developing her skills along the way at the DFW Performing Arts Conservatory.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February issue of NTFR Magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.

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The Garden Guy: Are Y’all Primitive Camping Out Here?

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By Jelly Cocanougher

With a discouraging and worrisome look, the park rangers moved along, back towards the trailhead entrance. We must have had Texan written across our faces, headstrong and willing to make our own decisions when faced. They were worried we would get lost as night fell to the base of the mountains.

To read more, pick up a copy of the January issue of NTFR Magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.

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