In February of 2013, Alexandria Penshorn, a senior attending Blanco High School, decided to compete in the Mustang Million challenge. The Mustang Million is an event developed by the Mustang Heritage Foundation in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, with the mission to increase successful adoption of wild horses. The Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Mustang Million event offered approximately $50,000 in cash & prizes to the youth participating in this year’s event.
On April 28th, Alley’s adventure began with the adoption of her mustang colt, “Honey Badger”. Over the next 120 days she worked with her wild horse, gaining his trust and love; teaching him to lead on a halter, performing hands-free tricks on a teeter-totter, standing on boxes, playing dead and bowing, as well as demonstrating basic horsemanship maneuvers.
September 17th began the true test of her horsemanship skills as the 4 day competition in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum started. The youth competed in preliminary classes of which the top 10 highest cumulative scoring exhibitors advanced to the finals competition. Their skills were judged in Handling & Conditioning, Leading Pattern, and Leading Trail. At the end of the preliminary classes with 67 youth & mustangs competing, Alley had placed 5th in Handling & Conditioning, 14th in Leading Pattern Class, 4th in Trail, and 5th in Youth Overall 13-17 Division, earning $500 in prizes. Her efforts were rewarded by being selected into the top 10 youth finals.
Friday, September 20th, the top 10 youth competed in front of nearly 2,000 fans. All started with a clean slate, and they were judged on the execution of compulsory maneuvers, freestyle performance, overall horsemanship, and artistic interpretation with Alley winning 3rd place and $5,000 towards college funds.
Alley plans on continuing her basic training with “Honey Badger” until he is saddle broke. In the following years, she hopes to compete in similar events. “I have owned and trained several horses, including Mustangs, but none quite like the colt I adopted for the Mustang Million. The bond, trust, & love that has developed between us is exceptionally rewarding. Throughout our finals performance, it appeared I handled “Badger” without a halter or lead, but God was leading him the entire stretch. Our time together as horse and trainer is one that I will always treasure, and I couldn't have done any of it without my family, my Blanco Cowboy Church, and my God. I can't say thank you enough for all the support!”