Mustang group heads to Craig for festival

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The High Plains Mustangs, a "wild horse support group" from Craig, is working hard to raise public consciousness about wild horses, educate residents about what the Bureau of Land Management does to manage wild horses and promote wild horse adoptions. At a time when the protracted drought has been tough on the wild horse herds and budgets are tight at the BLM, this citizen activism is providing some sorely needed publicity for mustangs in Northwest Colorado.

This weekend, the High Plains Mustangs group is putting on the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Festival at the Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig. This is part of a larger Tri-State Wild Horse and Burro Show Circuit, which includes a May show in Utah and a late-July show in Wyoming.

What: The third annual Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Festival Where: Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig When: 4 to 8 tonight Wild horse training and breaking demonstration with Steve Mantle 9 a.m. Saturday Wild Horse Show 9 a.m. Sunday wild horse and burro adoption

"Even though (activist groups) give us a stomach ache sometimes, they give good perspective," said Valerie Dobrich, wild horse specialist for the BLM in Northwest Colorado. She said she is grateful that the High Plains Mustangs are raising public consciousness about wild horses and helping to promote wild horse adoptions.

"If we could just get the people more involved, we could get more adopted," Dobrich said.

The High Plains Mustangs group was founded by Craig residents Pat and Patti Mosbey. The couple volunteers for the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse program, and they have adopted more than a dozen mustangs. They started the group in the hope of spreading awareness about mustang adoptions, promoting a healthy range and monitoring where horses go after adoption.

This weekend's festival will give the curious and the experienced horse-handlers a first-hand opportunity to see just how trained a wild horse can be -- and maybe even take a mustang home at the end of it all.

"Our objective is to promote the awareness of the mustang and educate the versatility of these horses," Patti Mosbey said.

Tonight, the festival starts with a mustang training and breaking demonstration with Steve Mantle, wild horse trainer for the BLM. Saturday's show will feature mustang competitions and judged events such as halter showmanship, Western pleasure, trail, reining, poles, barrels and keyhole at various levels.

Rounding out the weekend, Sunday will be mustang adoption day. Adopters must be at least 18 years old and must fill out an application for adoption with the BLM. There will be 10 to 15 horses available for adoption. The cost is $125 for an untrained mustang. Applications and additional information about mustang adoptions are available on the BLM's national wild horse and burro Web site: www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.

"There are going to be some awesome horses out here," Mosbey said.

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