Crockett couple and horse trainer taking on challenge to train wild mustang

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A wild mustang from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in Nevada can now call Crockett, Texas home.

Cheryl and Karl Balmer, owners of C's Arabians in Crockett and their horse trainer Andres Castaño have taken on the "Mustang Million" challenge for the first time.

Karl said their decision to give it a try was, "A combination of the challenge of it all and also the dream that our trainer had and we're able to help a talented young man do something that he really wanted to do."

"Our trainer, a young man who is extremely talented, that came to us about a year ago and he said one of the things  he's always wanted to do as work with a wild horse and once we discovered that and found out that there was a Mustang Million competition that fit right in with that, where he could get a wild horse and start from day 1 and be the first human that it had any kind of contact with," said Karl. "It was just a perfect fit."

Over the next 6 months, the team will train the 5-year-old mustang, who had never been handled by humans before, in multiple disciplines.

Cheryl said, "These horses are asked to do various compulsory routines, where they have to go over obstacles, they have to show how they can move, how they have to be perfectly handled just like any family horse would be."

"There's a top prize, which is $200,000 and a Dodge Ram pickup so there's a lot of incentive to do it well," says Cheryl.

Head trainer, Andres Castaño hand-selected the mustang after tedious research.

"The selection process, it was a very important process and picking the right horse," said Castaño. "I was expecting whatever horse I picked to be riding him on Sunday. Which I did."

Yes, after just 4 days of working with the wild mustang, Castaño rode her bareback.

But he says it all started with building her trust.

"I've never worked with a wild horse before but I knew a couple things," said Castaño. "I just needed  her to related me to a good thing the first day, which was me bringing her the food and water...that was it for the first night."

"The next day was pretty much the same in the morning," said Castaño. "She came to me a little easier and then I started working her in a little grunt work just directing her movement and paying attention to me, turning to the inside of the pen, all those basic stuff that gets you the respect and the attention of the horse."

Castaño says the mustang is shy but smart. He is slowly teaching her the basics, starting with desensitizing her body, wearing a halter and walking with a lead rope.

"She's going to have to go through a lot of stuff. I mean right now this is just the beginning and so far she's taking it good so far."

Castaño says he has always wanted to work with a wild horse and he is excited to get his first chance.

C's Arabian is primarily an Arabian facility but they have never been exclusive.

"This has been exciting," said Cheryl. "I had no idea what we were coming into. I was scared. The adrenaline rush to adopt a horse was exciting and we're having a ball just seeing how this is really coming together very quickly, in fact, with this horse, how she's adopting to his [Castaño's] natural horsemanship training techniques, so I think we're going to be doing t his for years to come. I really do. We could expand and have the Arabian division and the Mustang division the way we're going."

The Balmer's and Castaño will prepare the horse for the "Mustang Million" competition in Fort Worth, September 16 - 21, 2013, where thousands of dollars in prize money is up for grabs.

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