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Trainer Press Release September 1st 2008


Just another day of training for Lewis and ShoGun in preparation for the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, September 17-12.
Contact: Karina L. Lewis
Phone: (207) 683-2290
Email: karina@themirroreffect.com
Local Trainer to Compete in Extreme Event to Protect America’s Wild Mustangs

 Bertram, Texas – Amidst the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recent release of a proposal to euthanize thousands of America’s wild mustangs, the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) and Karina Lewis of Harmony, Maine is building on the success of the Extreme Mustang Makeover pilot program to increase the number of mustangs being placed into private care.

Currently, the MHF is preparing for its second annual Extreme Mustang Makeover September 18-21, expected to match 400 young and mature horses with trainers and families – more than doubling the efforts of the inaugural event last year.

Lewis was selected from among hundreds of applicants to receive a wild horse and gentle the animal for the 2008 event in Fort Worth, Texas. Competition will include an in-hand course as well as an under saddle course with a top 15 finals.  She and her horse, ShoGun, have been working hard and expect to be in the top 15 at this years event.

  In September 2007, MHF’s Extreme Mustang Makeover event in Fort Worth, Texas, matched 100 wild horses with 100 trainers and within 100 days these trainers prepared the wild horses for an in‑hand and riding competition. Through this event, every competing horse was adopted at an average price of $2,300 – a far cry from the government’s minimum fee of $125.

“This was an event the likes of which BLM had never seen,” said Patti Colbert, executive director of the MHF. “It was standing room only that created a complete sense of exhilaration and admiration for the mustangs and trainers. We are now preparing for the 2008 competition that will be held this September – and have more than doubled the size with 150 horses and 150 trainers plus another 200 yearlings matched with young trainers and their families. The overall prize money has also increased to $70,000.”

Since the pilot program began in September 2007, MHF has held two other Mustang Challenge events – one in Madison, Wis., and the other in Sacramento, Calif. – which resulted in 85 adoptions. Lewis was among the 25 chosen to compete at this event but was not able to show her mustang due to an injury that occurred the night before the competition.

 “Not being able to compete with my first challenge horse was a heartbreak,” Lewis says.  “This time, I have a more mature horse and ShoGun and I have accomplished even more so I am anxious to give him the opportunity to find his forever home.”

 MHF will hold at least six Challenge events this year and continues to identify additional opportunities, where this successful program are set to generate more adoptions, such as the Trainer’s Incentive Program Lewis is already a part of. “The TIP program gives me the ability to gentle and adopt mustangs to approved homes.  Through this program a person can adopt a gentled mustang for the same $125.00 adoption fee they would pay for a wild mustang at a BLM adoption,” Lewis states. As Maine’s only approved trainer, she has already successfully placed seven mustangs through her involvement with the TIP program.The Mustang Heritage Foundation has received accolades from conservationists, horsemen and ranchers for its innovative programs.  The foundation is responsible for placing nearly 1,000 horses in its first 12 months of active programs – a staggering number when compared to the less than 2,400 animals the BLM has adopted during the current fiscal year.  Nearly 60,000 Mustangs roam federal lands across the country. In order to manage the herds and maintain both land and herd health, the BLM oversees the adoption of wild horses and burros through public adoptions held throughout the United States. Since 1973, more than 219,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted. But 30,000 of these horses still need adoptive homes.  Programs like the Extreme Mustang Makeover help, but in order for Lewis and ShoGun make it to the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover competition; the pair needs to raise money to help defray the costs.

“I am selling gratitude rocks.  These are small stones I pick up from the trails ShoGun and I ride.  I carry one with me in my pocket to remind me of all that I am grateful for.”

Lewis sells the stones for $5.00 each.  Any remaining money left after the competition will be donated back to the Mustang Heritage Foundation so they can continue their efforts at preventing the government’s slaughter of these mustangs.

Lewis is accepting donations through her website, www.themirroreffect.com

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