Vivir el Sueño – Brown Mustang mare from Granite Range, NV

If Sueño was human she would surely be a high school counselor. She would be kind and elegant. Never needy and never talking about her own problems. She would listen to your issues with sympathy and complete attention. She would always know just what to say to make you feel better and would speak with a soft gentle tone. Everyone would seek her out for comfort and advice.

Vivir el Sueño means Living the Dream and that was just what I intended to do when I selected her to be my partner for the 2011 Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover.

Sueño was the second wild Mustang I adopted. She was by far the sweetest Mustang I have ever been blessed to partner with. If she had been my first I would have thought they were all this easy, but Lindsay’s Faith taught me better than that 🙂

First Touches

Sueño first touches on day one of gentling.

She was truly a dream to train. She brought many ‘firsts’ for me. the first horse I trained to do the Spanish walk. The first horse I taught straight line flying lead changes to. Later she would be the first liberty horse for me, the first I taught to lay down, the first I taught to rear on cue. I may be saying “I taught” a lot, but believe me – it was her kind soul and willing heart that enabled it all. She is simply golden.

After our 100 days of gentling and preparing for the big competition I felt ready. So ready. I had cracked under pressure the year before with Lindsay’s Faith under that crowd of screaming people and I was desperate to get in that arena again and prove that I could do this. I did a practice freestyle days before we were to leave for the competition in Texas and she was an angel. I encouraged everyone to scream, hollar and clap and she never missed a lick. we were ready. So ready.

But I did not get the memo to wrap her up in bubble wrap for the next three days until we left for the competition. No, I continued to ride as usual. I was schooling over a jump and as we landed on the other side it felt like we had blown a tire. Sueño continues to canter on …. and on …. on three legs. I literally had to ask her to stop, she was going to just keep going unless I requested she stop. This was huge. She had torn a suspensory, it would be a year of healing before she could be ridden. the competition was in 3 days.

I literally felt heart broken. It felt like someone had died. It was unbearable. I was mad, I was in disbelief, I was hurt. I knew she would heal and that was a relief, but I had waited all year for my chance to get back in that arena. I vividly recall leaving the arena gaits with Lindsay’s Faith the year prior feeling like such a failure. Not because we did not win, but because my racing heart had caused Lindsay’s heart to race and our freestyle had been much below the level it could have been. Now this. To feel like I had a horse that was so ready to do this and now this happens.

I found a Blog post I wrote about that experience and want to share an exert here …

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”.. I love this quote by Maya Angelou.

 I think this goes further than “How we make others Feel”… this concept can be applied to have we “Choose” to feel about situations that happen to ourselves personally. It is that “FEELING” we had in a certain situation that we remember down the road…not the event or action itself. It is sometimes difficult to realize that we actually have Control over how we FEEL and Perceive things, but we do….It may take a little soul searching, but YOU can control your emotions and how you FEEL about a situation that is out of your control. I do believe everything happens for a reason…I am not sure that I believe that every inch of our life is “Pre-set” and we are to just let life “Happen to us” I do believe in “Free Will”…otherwise the “couch-critique” would win the Super-bowl =)…we must have some control over our destiny…..and sometime S#*@ just happens!…but how we handle those situations is what defines us…and that in the end is what we have to look back on….That “Emotion” we tied to the negative event that happened to us….No matter how catastrophic something may seem…and how catastrophic it may be… there is Always a Silver Lining and it is our job as unique and special “beings” on this earth to find that silver lining…then dwell on it…let that become the “Emotion” that is associated with the unfortunate event…. Feeling sorry for ourselves gets us nowhere, everyone encounters difficult times…but it is those that manage to swim their way through the muddy water that may sometimes seem suffocating…and find our way to the top…they make it…. and the beautiful thing is that there is always another “wave” waiting for us…just waiting for us to emerge from that mucky water, waiting for us to take a deep breath of fresh air….and ride the crest of that wave to the next destination on this journey we call life.

You may wonder where all the “Deep thoughts” are coming from…well I have been doing quite a bit of “Soul Searching ” these last days…

 Sueño, my Mustang mare for this year’s Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover,  is lame. Less than a week before we are to leave.

Night before last, as I asked her for a canter departure, she willingly stepped up and forward into a canter and it felt like we had blown a tire….the crazy thing is…I had to pick up on her to stop her…she was going to canter right on forward on three legs I guess! Talk about HEART… There is not much more humbling ..and sickening at the same time…. to feel a horse so willing to do as you request…canter forward…. willing….on three legs….my heart just stopped.

Turns out she injured her Suspensory Ligament and there is no way that sort of injury will heal in a week! She stepped wrong on the landing of a jump. With time, she WILL come back from it though…and THAT is the important thing…  Obviously, I’ve shed many tears… {The dream of winning the 2011 Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover has died – and it feels like death}

I will still cry…I will cry A LOT..this is HUGE to me….but what it comes down to…is it really is ALL About The Horse…and The Horse’s best interest… I was just not willing to “Mask” the pain away and try to show anyway…even if $50,000 is on the line….a horse that will run on three legs just because I asked her to deserves better than that…

So Sueño will stay in North Carolina, resting up from a solid 4 months of work…and Mike, Filleigh Kay and I will head to Texas. We will help with the AWESOME Riders4Helmets SEMM Helmet Safety Incentive… and help with any other aspect of the SEMM that we can =) …and we’ll pick up our new WILD mustang for “Mustang Magic” on the way home! I will do my best to use all that Lindsay’s Faith..and Vivir el Sueño…and All that the horses before have taught me..and I will strive to “Beat” my “Personal best” …I will be better than I was the time before…and I will look forward to walking through the gaits of the Will Rogers Arena at the Fort Worth Stock Show for Mustang Magic in January! …. as for Sueño, let me just say…you have not seen the last of her =)

“Living The Dream” = “Vivir el Sueño”    …….. and we plan on it!

Even though we never had a chance to receive any big award to prove the strength of our relationship – we received something much greater. Sueño became my first liberty Mustang and to this day, she is one of the strongest members on the Mustang team. I can trust her 100 %. She is so honest, so kind and tries so hard.  I could not have hand picked a better Mustang to be one of my core members of the I Am Herd crew.

The below video features the Herd, but I think it embraces what has become Sueño’s grace at liberty. I could not do this without her.


No cloud dark enough – Sueño rear.



Sueño is on the far left. What a gentle soul.


– mmj


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