Breckenridge resident competes in national mustang makeover competition
Breckenridge resident and Peak School student Ambur Vincze, 15, placed 10th overall in the 2021 Oklahoma Youth Extreme Mustang Makeover competition out of 34 competitors.
The competition — which is run by the Mustang Heritage Foundation — allows horse trainers to show off their skills by working with an untouched, wild mustang for 100 days.
Vincze drove 14 hours to Oklahoma City for the competition with her mustang, Odin, a 2-year-old bay gelding from the Swasey Mountains in Utah.
“I really loved the training aspect, but going to the competition was such a unique environment,” Vincze said. “There were so many kind people there, and it just really made the whole entire experience really rewarding being able to show what I have accomplished with him and worked toward these past 100 days.”
In order to get into the competition, Vincze said a trainer must go through a lengthy application process and be approved by the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the Bureau of Land Management, which keeps wild horses in corrals across the country with its Wild Horse and Burro Program. Once a trainer finds out they’re accepted, they go and get a wild horse from one of the bureau’s corrals.
Vincze said wild mustang populations are high and that the lands they live on can’t sustain them all. She said this competition is one way to train horses before finding them permanent homes.
“These competitions just help place mustangs into their forever homes because there are a lot of them, and we want to keep America’s living legends alive,” Vincze said.
The competition includes three categories: Vincze and Odin came in eighth in handling and conditioning, which demonstrates basic skills; 15th in trail, which demonstrates riding skills; and 10th in the freestyle category, which gives a trainer the opportunity to show off their horse.
Vincze said the most challenging part of the competition was teaching Odin to be less aggressive. She said mustangs have natural tendencies and that Odin was dominant, making him even more difficult. While she has worked with wild horses before, Odin is the first one she personally trained from “wild to mild.”
“He had a couple of aggressive tendencies that I had to work through, but after awhile, he got used to me and learned to be kinder to people,” Vincze said. “And now he’s like an absolute cuddle bear; he’ll just always come up to you.”
Vincze joked that usually when getting a wild horse, it’s best to avoid the ones picking fights, but she liked Odin the most.
“I liked the way he was built and the way he looked, so I picked him as my mustang, and he has turned out to be such a kind-hearted horse,” Vincze said.
Vincze has worked with horses at the Far View Horse Rescue in Fairplay since 2016. She is still working with Odin as she prepares him for his first ride and looks for his next home.
“I love mustangs. They’re so unique,” Vincze said. “They always have the best personalities and turn out to be amazing horses. I wanted to make sure that I could be a part of keeping them populated in America and that they could continue to be a part of other people’s lives just like how they’ve impacted mine.”
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