Opening in theatres this Friday from directors Alex Dawson, Greg Gricus and Screen Media Films comes a look at the relationship between human beings and the wild Mustang horses in WILD HORSES, WILD RIDE.
This film tells the story of the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge which is an annual contest, which asks ‘can you tame a wild Mustang in 100 days?’ Individuals adopt these wild mustangs and take those 100 days to make them adoptable by attempting to bring with wildness into our world for their survival. After the 100 days, the adoptee horses and their trainers go to Ft. Worth, Texas to compete for prize money.
The horses are then put up for adoption and if the trainer wants their horse – they must bid with everyone else. There will be either joy or heartbreak for these people who love what they do and these majestic animals they try to help.
FINAL WORD: This is such an amazing documentary about something that is also close to my heart – the wild Mustang horses and the Mustang Heritage Foundation. This organization’s mission is to promote the adoption of these wonderful creatures. There are over 30,000 in the Bureau of Land Management facilities as they attempt to control the population. It was a woman named Patti Colbert who came up with this idea to allow trainers to showcase the mustangs and make them adoptable and into good homes.
Director Alex Dawson has worked in a wide variety of genres including The History Channel, Discovery Channel and PBS along with husband Greg Gricus who is a Director of Photography who has been just about everywhere including Myanmar, New Zealand and Liberia filming for National Geographic, History Channel as well as A&E. Drawn to the idea of the relationship between man and horse, covering the Extreme Mustang Makeover gave them the perfect opportunity to tell the story.
They also find those taking the challenge starting with George and Evelyn Gregory – each adopting their own horse. Evelyn’s luck of the draw brings her Waylan who she works with and finds to be more cooperative than George’s stubborn draw in Willie. Immediately George sees he has his hands full with this horse as the 100 days begins.
Jesus Jauregui draws Compadre as his horse. There is an immediate attachment for these two as Jesus trains his horse with amazing results. There is Charles Chee and his horse Comanche. Charles is a Navajo who once had a life in the Native American Rodeo circuit and wants to prove he still has ‘it’. His son Carlos Chee decides this is his year and trains IDK (I Don’t Know) wanting to help fulfill his father’s dream.
Melissa Kanzelberger seems the most unlikely of candidates. She has a PhD. in biochemical engineering at Texas A&M and at 26, having never trained a horse, adopts Zero and tests everything she knows about herself. There is Wylene Wilson who is the most flamboyant and colorful of the adopters. Doing everything with allot of flare and drama, her ability to train a horse is undeniable as Zero is a horse to be reckoned with.
Finally, there are the Kokal brothers – Nik and Kris. These brothers use their stunning technique of the intuitive way to teach their horses. Love is a big part of these boys and it shows in everything they do and their emotions are difficult to watch.
If you are a horse lover than the emotional up and down of these adoptive parents will be plainly understood. For horse admirers – it is riveting to watch these dedicated people work with these amazing creatures. There are moments of sadness that anyone who has ever loved an animal can feel.
The film has won so many awards including Best Documentary from the Boulder International Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, Jax Film Festival, and the Napa Valley Film Festival. It won Audience Awards from Edmonton International, Bend Film Festival and the Prescott Film Festival. It also received the Official Selection at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Byron Ball Film Festival and the Salem Film Festival.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give WILD HORSES, WILD RIDE four tubs of popcorn out of five. I was so moved by what each of these participants did for these beloved mustangs. To call them wild can only be said of their spirit! These horses have heart and the ability to show much affection. This documentary is beautiful in its telling and cinematography as well.
The individual stories of the trainer’s shows that they as well have wild spirits. Opening their hearts and allowing us to view there heartache is so touching and heartfelt. There are moments of intense emotion that the audience cannot help but embrace and feel with them. The directors have put together a stunning look at the world of the wild Mustangs, a little bit of the Wild West that still exists and the tremendous bond between human and animal. This is a documentary that should not be missed.
In the end – in their wildness comes a spirit we share!