RW customer Ann Hanlin has had horses her whole life and grew up in pony club eventing and foxhunting. She found a new passion in horses three years ago when she adopted her first wild mustang. Ann now has four mustangs, all from the same herd in Wyoming. She says, “They have helped me become the trainer I am today. Each horse that comes into our lives has something to teach us, we just take the time to listen & learn.” Read on to hear more about Ann’s journey!
(Top photo: Ann with her herd, Woodrow, Boo, Gigi, and McCray. Photo credit: Caught By A Flash Photography)
Stone Brook Farm (SBF) is a family-owned and operated farm in Maryland. We specialize in starting and training horses of all ages and breeds. In January 2018 I lost my heart horse of almost 20 years and began searching for another horse of color. A friend of mine sent me the link to the Bureau of Land Management to check out the mustangs available on the upcoming internet adoption.
That is where it all began, I saw Woodrow and instantly fell in love. I connected with the photographers that named him and followed his band in the wild. The photos they sent me were breathtaking, which made me fall in love with him even more. Woodrow was a band stallion for seven years, he had seven mares and countless foals in his band. Woodrow and his band roamed the Salt Wells Creek herd management area in Wyoming. He and his band were gathered in October 2017. He was placed on the February 2018 internet auction, which is where I won his very competitive bid.
I picked him up on April 13, 2018, and that was the beginning of our incredible journey together. After seeing all of the photos of Woodrow and his band in the wild, I began looking for his mares and offspring. I wanted to know where they were and bring them to Maryland to live with Woodrow if at all possible. With the help of the photographers and Facebook, I have been able to locate and bring several of his offspring and one of his mares to Maryland.
Woodrow in the wild compared to now. Photo credit: (left) Rafter 3 Photography, (right) AK Dragoo Photography.
Currently, Woodrow, four of his offspring, and one of his mares reside here in Maryland. I own four of them, two of his daughters, and one of his sons. I grew up eventing and that is what I wanted to continue to do. Getting into wild horses I wasn’t sure where this journey was going to take me, so I let them decide what they wanted to do. Well, I am extremely thankful that Woodrow and his daughter, Peekaboo, love to event. His other daughter, Gigi, and son, McCray, are young and haven’t been started under saddle just yet, but we hope they also enjoy eventing.
Although a different and shortened season, thanks COVID, Woodrow and Peekaboo did remarkably well in 2020. Peekaboo competed in three events and moved up to beginner novice. She finished in the top five for all, winning one of them! Woodrow competed in four events and moved up to Novice. He finished in the top five for all but one and won two of them! Being out in the eventing world on a unique breed makes me so proud. When people ask their breed or remark on their neck brand, I proudly say, “they are mustangs!” These horses don't get the credit and recognition that they deserve and my mission with SBF Mustang Eventing is to change that.
Woodrow at Waredaca, competing Novice level. Photo credit: GRC Photography.
We are looking forward to what 2021 has to bring. I have set some big goals for Woodrow and I. Our biggest being able to qualify and attend the Waredaca Three Day event in the fall. This has been something I have wanted to do and I know if any horse can get me there it is Woodrow. Peekaboo is going to be shifting her focus to dressage with my mother-in-law, and I cannot wait to see what they accomplish together. On top of our competition and training schedule, we will be getting more mustangs out of holding and into forever homes.
There are approximately 50,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities awaiting to find homes (https://mustangheritagefoundation.org). Although I will never be able to save them all, I can do my part by getting the ones that I can out of holding, as well as show the world what they can do. If you are interested in learning more about mustangs or wanting to adopt please don't hesitate to reach out! Be sure to follow our page, SBF Mustang Eventing, to join in on our journey.