September 2008
Featured Articles

AL Trainer Competes in Extreme Mustang Makeover

   
   
  Click to enlarge
  Dale ‘Snap’ Lively rides Fancy to pony Uno to the pond where Uno enjoys playing in the water.
   
Yearlings From Wild to Mild

By Don Linker

We have ‘Extreme Home Makeover,’ ‘Trick My Truck’ and now Extreme Mustang Makeover. Extreme Mustang Makeover was created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation in association with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program with the goal of increasing the adoption of mustangs across the country.

The competition will showcase a part of our American heritage as well as the intelligence, beauty, versatility and trainability of these nomads of the American West. Mustangs roam freely on public land throughout the western United States, protected by the BLM according to Federal law. Five hundred trainers from across the country applied for the opportunity to train and compete with a mustang selected for them. Four hundred trainers were selected from 39 states and then claimed their Nevada mustangs at BLM holding facility in Nevada, Oklahoma or Illinois on June 14-15. Two hundred trainers will receive 200 three and four-year-old mustangs to train and then compete with in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 18-21 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center. They will be judged on conditioning, groundwork and a "Horse Course" requiring maneuvers through obstacles and loading in a trailer.

   
 
Uno shows his wild side.  
In the Mission 007: The Yearling Edition, 200 trainers will compete with yearling mustangs which were pre-selected for them. The trainers’ yearling mustangs will be judged on conditioning, ground work, including obstacles and loading in a trailer. Over $70,000 in prize money will be awarded after the competition in Fort Worth, then on Sunday the 21st the competing mustangs will be available for adoption through an oral and silent bidding process at the Will RogersCenter. Last year the first Makeover was held with 100 trainers and 100 mustangs competing. Seventy-five mustangs were adopted with an average adoption price of $3,000.

Dale "Snap" Lively of Nauvoo was one of three trainers selected from the state. Snap said when he applied he never dreamed he would be selected for the competition. When he received notification of his acceptance into the program, he was honored and very excited to get started.

  Click to enlarge
  Dale “Snap”  Lively and Uno bonding during day four of Uno’s makeover.
Snap was born on a farm in Louisiana in 1938, that’s right he will be 70 this year and lives up to his name (Lively). He has owned horses and cattle all his life, but has sold his cattle and now owns five horses and occasionally buffalo. His family raised cattle and hogs on 19,000 acres of open range land in Louisiana and used Catahoula dogs and horses to gather and work them on the open range. In the early 80s, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife purchased the land and open range and a way of life was history.

Lively, who was a truck driver for 40 years, moved to a farm in Nauvoo in 1987 along with his horses, cattle and dogs. After teaching truck driving at Bevil State Community College for a couple of years, he retired and began training horses on a small scale for the public. He enjoys anything to do with horses and still occasionally goes to Oklahoma to go hog hunting with his brother, Hoot, who lives on Eufala Lake outside of McAlister.

   
 
 Uno really, really loves water.  

 
After reading about the Extreme Mustang Makeover in a magazine last year, Snap traveled to Fort Worth and really enjoyed seeing all the trainers and watching what they had accomplished with their mustang partners. Thinking he would like to try his hand at this he applied for the opportunity as soon as he got home. Never expecting to get selected, he was elated and honored when he received the notification he was one of three trainers from Alabama. Upon his acceptance, Snap had to get his facility ready to accept the horse that was virtually untouched by human hands. The stall had to be 400 square feet and constructed of boards at least six feet tall, with pictures of the facility sent to the BLM.

With all preparations in place, the trip to Ewing, Illinois, to pick up Uno (Snap had already named the horse) at the BLM holding facility on June 14th was made. "The excitement grew as I entered the facility to see Uno for the first time" stated Snap. Uno is a 3-year-old sorrel gelding with a white mark on his nose that looks like the number one. The gelding was put through a specially designed horse chute and the halter with lead was put on Uno. After haltering, the horse was moved down an alley and into the trailer for the trip back. Returning home with the horse that would be his companion for the next 100 days, Snap rubbed and talked to the gelding at every fuel or rest stop. By the time they got back in Nauvoo about 10 p.m. that night, Uno was already giving to pressure and flexing to the left and right according to Snap. Training started the next day in the newly-constructed stall with sessions designed to build trust and a bond between horse and man. Since those first days, Uno has been ponied by Snap on another horse, been led through ponds and other obstacles, saddled, loaded in trailers, worked in the round pen, ridden with a saddle, ridden bareback, been to horse shows, taken to a trail ride at Ricky Whittemore’s Pumpkin Patch Trail Ride near Jasper and ridden bareback through the obstacles at the Extreme Trail Horse Production at Martin Ranch in Mount Hope. Uno has done everything Snap has asked him to do with a kind eye and a willing attitude due to the good foundation of trust and mutual respect Snap has instilled in him with patience, firmness and kindness in the first 45 days.

Uno will lope both ways around the ring, stop, back, turn, flex and move off leg pressure. Snap feels he is ready to begin the final phase of his training, which will be to polish maneuvers like walk, trot and canter; lead changes; side passes and other things he will need to do in Fort Worth as well as continued desensitizing to sights and sounds he will encounter in the competition.

Snap is a patient, persistent man and Uno is a kind, willing partner. I’m sure in the last 45 days of training the bond between them will grow and the things Snap has taught Uno will amaze the crowd in Fort Worth and hopefully dazzle the judges.

I am proud to say Snap is a friend and a person I respect both as a man and as a horse trainer. I have learned a lot from him about training horses and also about his philosophy on life among other things. As the saying goes," there is nothing better for the inside of a man than a good horse between his legs". Good luck to Snap and Uno as they travel to Texas to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Competition in September. Look for the follow up story in October’s issue of Cooperative Farming News.

By the way Snap is a customer of Walker Farmers Co-op where Ricky Aldridge, manager, and his crew help Snap any way they can, from questions to keeping the feed he feeds available. His feed of choice is 12% Champion’s Choice and Uno’s coat and condition show the results. Remember your local Quality Co-op appreciates your business and is ready to work with you on any questions or problems you may have. They also have a full line of quality feed, home and garden, farm and hunting supplies available. If they don’t have it, they will be glad to try to get it for you.

You can contact Snap at (205) 275-9138 if you would like to know about Uno or the competition. For more information on mustang or burro adoption you can call 1-888-274-2133 or go to www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov or information on the Extreme Mustang Makeover can be obtained at www.mustangheritagefoundation.org.

Don Linker is an outside salesman for AFC.