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Horse trainers in Kuna train mustangs rounded up from the Owyhee Mountains

Posted at 5:04 AM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 07:04:19-04

KUNA, Idaho — Jessica and Kendra Mendes with Mendes Horsemanship have been training horses for almost a decade, over the last few years they've taken on around a dozen mustangs rounded up from the BLM.

  • The BLM held horse adoptions for Owyhee Mountain mustangs starting last November.
  • Kendra Mendes will compete with the mustangs she has been training.
  • The Branded Bonanza competition will be held June 28-30, at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

“It's kind of like a stress reliever for me from school. I get to go outside and do what I love with the horses I love,” said Kendra Mendes, who is only an eighth grader, and has already trained a handful of wild horses.

She and her mom Jessica run Mendes Horsemanship, where they train domestic and wild horses for competitions and companionship.

“That’s why I really want to keep doing it, so I can be a better horse trainer and learn more things,” said Kendra Mendes.

In September, the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse And Burro Program rounded up hundreds of mustangs from the Owyhee Mountains, then dozens were adopted by people like the Mendes.

“We got two Black Mountain and two Hard Trigger,” said Jessica Mendes.

As we’ve previously reported, BLM says they round up wild horses to maintain herd numbers and administer birth control to mares.

"Our goal was to reach the appropriate management level through the gather in September which we did. We actually captured below the appropriate management level,” said Chris Robbins with the Bureau of Land Management.

Kendra told me the ‘mane’ difference between training domestic vs wild, is how much more trainers need to bond with each mustang.

“With Fiona, I took a couple weeks just bonding and bonding with her,” said Kendra.

Some horses will stay in Kuna at the Mendes after they’re trained, and some compete with Kendra in trained mustang competitions.

“And you have to walk through it [the course] with your horse doing it effortlessly, like going over a bridge, going over trailers, and last year I won first place in the Trail Course [competition],” said Kendra Mendes.

And while others are adopted to forever homes, some even across the country,

“Ones in California, one’s in Pennsylvania, I have 4 or 5 of them that are here locally. It’s just fun to follow them just to see that they’re still progressing, and all this work that you’ve done, it’s just for nothing,” said Jessica Mendes.