Action Rider Stacy Motschenbacher and Jim on the Road to Tevis

Stacy riding her Mustang, Jim.
Photo credit: Jessica Wynne

Stacy Motschenbacher and her Mustang gelding, Coyote Jim, are sponsored by Action Rider Tack in partnership with Toklat, Inc, on their road to the Tevis Cup 2015. They have been working hard toward their goal of participating and completing the Tevis 100-mile ride, and have completed the Nevada Rides of March 50-mile ride in March, and the Oregon Grizzly Mountain 75-mile ride in April. In May, they completed the Oregon Outback Hallelujah Trail Pioneer Ride which included three 50-60 mile rides in three consecutive days.

Stacy explains, “Jim is a 10-year-old BLM Mustang. I purchased him in 2011. I wasn’t looking for another horse, but the ad said ‘Forward mustang’. I had never been on a ‘forward mustang’ and I was intrigued. He is my 3rd mustang, and my husband has 2 mustangs. None of the others could really be described as ‘forward’ unless they were on the wrong end of the pasture when their mash came along.

“Jim’s previous owners gentled him and started him under saddle. I told them I wanted to do endurance on Jim, and my long term goal was to do this 100-mile ride called, Tevis. They had others looking at him, but figured that I would be the best fit, mainly because he was so forward.

“Well, they were right. The first three out of five rides we did together he took off on me and I couldn’t stop him. The last time he ran off with me, when he first stepped onto pavement, he slowed to a walk on his own and calmly walked the rest of the way home. This was quite reassuring. I figured if I could stay on top, I would survive. That afternoon I took the snaffle bit off his bridle and bought a Myler Combination Bit that gives him several warnings, then, puts the brakes on.

“I needed this Myler bit at 67 miles out on our last ride. Apparently turning on a headlamp while riding, when it is pitch black, isn’t quite the same as wearing one when delivering hay. Not in the eyes of a Mustang. I didn’t know a horse could buck, fart and start running in mid air. But I was pretty darn happy with his energy levels for three reasons: 1. It was 67 miles into the ride. 2. I stayed on. 3. Even though we were about 300 yards from the Vet check he still pulsed down.

“Don’t get me wrong, he is still a Mustang. Wasting energy isn’t his thing. Well, unless he is heading toward camp.

“He is big, has legs like an Angus bull, and a head that mocks those little Arab-sized halters. However, considering his size, he has decent heart rates and he is extremely sure-footed and very light on his feet. When we come to rocks, I stop looking at the trail and just focus on staying balanced on him. I have no idea how he is going to get through them, so I just concentrate on not screwing up his balance.

“What is he going to think of Tevis?  Well, I am sure he is going to think this is the dumbest thing I have ever done to him, but I think he can do it.  Are we ready?  Gosh, I have no idea. But he is freight-train strong, and will keep going down the trail. I am pretty proud of him.”

May Action Rider of the Month – Carleen Neves

Carleen Neves out on trail on her Walkaloosa, Nakota.
Carleen Neves out on trail on her Walkaloosa, Nakota.

Carleen Neves is an avid trail rider who has covered many miles out on some of the most beautiful country in the northwest United States on her horse Nakota, a 15-hand Walkaloosa. Carleen is also a breeder of the Walkaloosa horse, a breed she finds perfect for trail for their size, the comfortable gait, surefootedness, and great temperament.

Carleen comments, “Nakota is 7/8 Appaloosa from Indian Shuffler bloodlines and 1/8 Tennessee Walker.  He does a foxtrot, stepping-pace, and a singlefoot. He is a total goofball of a horse with a super playful personality.  Loves to do tricks and steal my hat.”

“I fell in love with the Walkaloosa breed 30 years ago.  In over 50 years of riding horses, I love and trust my sturdy, thinking, smooth-riding Walkaloosas more than any other breed.  I ride and camp all year long with our horses and have about 60 rides in so far this year.  My longest ride last year was an 8 hour day of riding from Kelsay Valley Horse Camp near Diamond Lake, Oregon.  And yes, I did ride again the next several days we were there!  My motto is:  I will ride until I cannot walk.”

Carleen camping with her Walkaloosas.
Carleen camping with her Walkaloosas.

According to the Walkaloosa Association, The Walkaloosa was preserved through selective breeding by the Nez Perce Indians who valued their color and smooth gait. These horses became valued by ranchers, and called their gait the Indian Shuffle. The Walkaloosa Association was formed in 1983 to preserve the pedigree and history of the breed.