Local horseman takes third at Extreme Mustang Makeover

Cox buys mustangGerry Cox, owner of the Mountain House Stables Arena in Arden, recently competed against 45 other horsemen from the western states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Montana and Ne­vada in the Extreme Mustang Makeover horse trainer’s chal­lenge.Each contestant picked up a randomly selected wild horse from the Bureau of Land Man­agement wild horse corrals in Burns, Oregon on March 30. Each horseman had 90 days to gentle and train their horse, then return on June 30 to show how much they had ac­complished with their selected mount.Cox said he was “very hum­bled” to be up against some very experienced and accom­plished horsemen, including the previous two-time North­west champion, last year’s sec­ond place winner, a competitor from California who has won several Mustang Challenges and another who has been competing in Mustang Chal­lenges since 1996. Each of the 45 competitors rides their horse through an obstacle course, the judges then select the top 10 perform­ers. Those 10 then return to show during a four-minute freestyle performance of their choosing.Cox’s mount this year was a five-year-old mustang mare they named Little Annie Fanny. “I cannot say that I am at all disappointed with a third place showing,” Cox said. “I contin­ued to tell everyone that there were 45 trainers, so I hoped to place at least 45th. Making the top ten and ultimately finishing third made me feel pretty good. “Our final run was kind of fun--we had a Teeter-Totter, Fire, Cracked a Whip a few times and had the horse Lay Down. We had a couple of glitches, and I’m not too com­fortable showing in front of a large crowd.”At the end of the competi­tion, the horses are sold at competitive auction to the public and any trainer wishing to keep their horse has to bid like the rest of the crowd. When asked to describe his horse to the crowd, Cox said she was a “mean, biting, kick­ing, bucking, bolting, dog-chasing, barn- busting, dirty rotten scoundrel “and so is anyone who bids against us because we want to take her home!” The high auction horse went for $5,000, some for as little as $200. Cox convinced “most of the crowd” not to bid and $550 later Little Annie Fanny was a permanent resident at Moun­tain House Stables. Cox won $1,850 for his ef­forts.You can see Little Annie Fanny at www.YouTube.com/gcoxalaska.