Mustangs as eventers

I’ve been mulling about it for a while but whenever I retire my older pony I would like to get a mustang. I’ve never been picky about fanciness/breeding as long as it is sound and sane, and I have no timeline with my horses/I’m a patient horsewoman. I have been looking at BLM gallery but those horses are all 14hh, which is a bit more petite than I would like unless it is scopey, which one cannot tell with a wild horse… Where does one find taller sportier built mustangs? Where can one find a halter broke mustang? Other than Elisa Wallace are there other pro mustang eventers preferably in Area 8? Other mustang resources? Ideal age range to get a mustang? and yes I have done my baseline google homework on sheltering, gentling, etc. I am aware of the huge commitment it takes, and I truly believe in my role as a kind but working home for “unwanted” horses. I do have pro coaches but they are very TB people, which is great but a wild horse is something totally fresh/new. This is something I will pursue in 1-2 years so no rush at all.

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I think it depends what you care more about, having an event horse or having a mustang. You could end up with one and event no issue, but you could end up with one that can’t or doesn’t want to event.

I think its a toss up with Mustangs, especially finding one with some talent. Many have talent but many also do not. I don’t think there are tall sporty built mustangs.

My thoughts are to gentle the creature and take my time, if I have a hard worker / eventer, great. If I don’t I’ll just put a ton of miles on it and sell/give it to another appropriate home. If I understand correctly, there are about 40 herds in Western USA. Each herd has notable phenotypes; some are American Cavalry (read TB type), some are Old World Iberian blood, some are QH ranch type. But I have no idea how the round up process works, when and where these horses are taken, etc. Which horses travel the country to those mustang auctions? Which go to holding pens? How do I set myself up to see the first batch before the nicer/bigger ones get picked over?

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Not a pro, but you should check out this blog. The writer and her husband have 2 BLM mustangs they event (and do tons of other things!) with.
She hasn’t been very active this year (and who could blame her), but lots of great content.

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There are some good FB groups you could check out. The TIP Mustang challenge group has loads of information.

By and large, feral populations of horses tend to breed down to about 14 hands over time, or much smaller in island populations. It’s a more efficient survival size. However, certainly màny feral populations have fairly recent TB or draft blood mixed in and may have taller individuals.

However in general there are not established feral populations anywhere in the world that product a lot of 16 hand horses.


Check out Cayla Stone. She can ship from Colorado. But yes, many are on the smaller size. We do have a few 16+ hh horses in the crew.

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Or perhaps reach out to Elisa Wallace. She has been competing a couple of her mustangs this season. You can see them on her YouTube videos. Maybe see if/when they will be for sale or if you’re not ready to get one just yet, let her know when you’ll be in the market.


If you don’t have any experience with a feral or wild horse then full stop do not proceed past go. Period.

While it sounds romantic to tame a wild horse and take it eventing the statistical likelihood of this happening with the average ammy is essentially zero. You have a whole lot of work to do before you even get to the sitting on the horse part, let alone 3 phases. You need very specific facilities for a truly wild one.

If you’re determined then I would purchase a mustang that has already been tamed and broke to ride, at least 30 days solid under saddle. There are several programs that do this, or private sellers.
Mustangs tend to think about themselves first, and need to be introduced to a wide variety of things, more so than a normal horse. The ones that live on lots tend to be less wild and easier to start.

I also have experience with a feral horse, and the big difference here is you have horses that aren’t afraid of people but don’t respect them. It’s a big danger zone for an ammy who doesn’t have tall fences and the ability to jump them when the horse tries to eat you.

All of that said, I own a mustang. She was created by breeding a BLM mustang to a BLM mustang in captivity by two adopters and while she has the great genetics she’s been around people since birth and is MUCH EASIER to handle. She’s 14.2 and is wicked smart and capable of upper level dressage or taking over the world, depending on the day.

Yes, I have gotten multiple lectures from mustang snobs (who knew) that how dare I call her a mustang, she’s just a ratty grade horse. But F em.

As for height, I haven’t really seen any above the 14.2 to 15 hand ish range.


I second the idea of reaching out to Elisa Wallace to put you on her radar, at least, when the time does come. She just sold/rehomed her most recent mustang. She’s got a working student who also trained a mustang, plus she’s got friends in the mustang world, so Elisa Wallace’s resources may prove handy when the timing is right for you.

Likewise, there’s a young woman, Sam van Fleet, who appears to put a super nice handle on mustangs. She’s got a bunch of Youtube videos and she’s easy to find on Instagram. She rides English and Western and will likely have a good understanding of what horse may or may not work as an eventer.

I suspect you may have find more satisfaction in getting a promising green-broke mustang from one of these trainers (or someone similarly experienced, talented, discerning and common sensy) than trying to pick a horse from a BLM holding facility and rolling the dice.


I just started back with mustangs (having had one three decades ago) this year. And now have 8. Three of them are Warm Springs HMA Mustangs and they are 15.2-15.3, i saw someone offering a 2yr old colt the other day that was already 15h. So, they are out there~! I found all of mine in BLM’s online auctions. i’m only 5’0 and am well-paired with a 14.2h horse. I got the larger ones because i liked how they moved and bid on them in spite of them be a little bit too tall for my general taste.

FWIW…I say GO FOR IT!! There are so many daily rewards to gentling a mustang and it usually follows a fairly formulaic approach. Most of my mustangs have managed to bring tears of joy to my eyes at various times during their taming process. I have a couple of really wild spirits, and some that came willing to become friends. And, the harder they come/the harder they fall!!! It’s those xtreme ones that are heartbreakingly rewarding~! Not once have any of them ever caused damage to themselves, others or me. I don’t train using pressure/release tactics though. I’m totally R+…

Mustangs have the guts, the legs, usually the perfect shoulder angle for jumping. The ones i have all have a ‘can-do’ attitude in their own physicality. They are particularly confident about their bodies. I bought/adopted four of mine specifically with dressage in mind. And omg… a couple of the dressage ladies on here were kinda unpleasant about it. Honestly, best adivice i can give you is: do NOT let any of the hunter-jumper ‘gatekeepers’ on COTH spoil your dream. #ucandoit


Um…this is the eventing forum :joy:

Sorry we are voices of reason and not just supporting flying blindly in Black Beauty syndrome.


Gatekeepers? Hunter Jumpers?

Someone with starry eyed dreams of going Prelim on an off the range mustang when their current horse is a 22yo BN packer QH is going to get seriously hurt when that feral animal barges off a stock trailer.

If you had actual experience with mustangs you’d know that they aren’t for everyone, even experienced colt starters have difficulty with something wild. Your average adult amature rider who boards has no business with a wild horse.

I think someone with realistic goals can do well, buying something that has already had time and training under saddle, setting goals of BN or N and going from there. Let’s be honest, there’s only one Elisa Wallace and that’s none of us!


Let’s not make assumptions about who I am, my level, or my horses. Thank you for sharing your opinion about your experiences, what you have seen, but don’t try to box me up into your preconceptions. I understand the rest of your message but that’s not me and not what I ride.


I’m answering the poster I quoted who called us a bunch of poo heads for urging caution when giving advice to random strangers. Without knowing your experience I always urge caution, which is my point.

You said you’ve googled mustang training but do you have actual experience starting young horses from the ground up? If you’ve started and shown a string of horses then you’d have a leg up on gentling a mustang but it’s not as easy as Google says.

I do have experience starting horses but when I went to look at a feral horse it had gone through two stall doors, over a 6 foot roundpen, got loose, flipped over while tied, and kicked someone. That was with a trainer who has started a dozen mustangs and a 100 domestic horses. I didn’t even ask if it was scopey. Not all wild horses are going over fences in 30days like Eliza Wallace’s horses.


And Elisa sent Eton out for canter training and mileage. As good as she is, she also sought third party help with others , horses where she felt it would help to pony them or in one paint’s case, practically buck him out.

No thanks.


see how they do? LOL…

You’re here for it though

yes indeed. Like in all information, one must sift through all the chaff to get to the grain.

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I would echo the responses of a number of COTH folks and recommend looking for a mustang that has already been gentled. It will still be a rewarding journey, you will still be giving a home to a mustang, and you will be allowing a place for the next mustang to enter a training program.

Elisa Wallace has great videos to watch (and it shows that some individuals are much more difficult than others). Elisa enlisted outside help with both Dorado and Eton, and she is a 5* event rider and experienced mustang trainer.

Sam Van Fleet is another great trainer to follow, as is Lindsey Partridge. Heart of The Wild on FB seems to do a really nice job starting mustangs. Facebook group 2020 Mustang TIP challenge and open show Georgia has a lot of trainers sharing their mustang’s journeys and letting you know who is available for sale. I bet you could find a really nice, suitable mount by networking there.

I don’t think anyone here means to :poop: all over your dreams, just pointing out the very real challenges of time, experience and resources needed to successfully start a mustang. When you could, for very little money, get something already started that you have a much better idea will be suitable for your goals and your program.