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Dairy Farmer Tamed Wild Horses
Four years ago, Dennis Stork traveled to Wyoming to fulfill his dream of owning a pair of wild mustangs. He "adopted" two wild stallions from the U.S. Government and took them home to live and work on his Ft. Atkinson, Wis., dairy farm.
"I traveled with my horse trailer to pick up the pair. They had been rounded up running wild in the mountain ranges of Wyoming. There isn't enough feed for them all so the government captures and gives them away," says Stork.
When he got a look at the herd of avail-able horses, Stork selected two good-looking stallions he named Bill and Buddy. At the time of the adoption, the horses were two and three years of age and weighed 900 and 1,000 lbs. He paid $125 for each, which merely paid for veterinary expenses.
"When I loaded them on the horse trailer, they turned into wild, rearing, kicking beasts," says Stork. "I almost decided to leave them behind and I wondered how I'd ever break them."
But when Stork got them home he set about to break them with love and affection. "For the first week they were afraid of me and wouldn't let me pet them, but I finally proved I wouldn't hurt them. After a month, I was riding Bud around the farm yard."
They liked the rich alfalfa hay he fed them but the oats, which they'd never had, was the key to winning their confidence.
"I hitched them with a 17-year old horse called Barney that I've used to break many other horses. I drove them with him separately for about a week and then hitched the two mustangs up together. Within a short time, I had them pulling well."
In the morning, Buddy is used to haul barn manure to fields. In the evening, Bill hauls a load out. "They're the smartest pair of horses I ever broke," says Stork. "They caught on so fast that I now use them to do a lot of work in the fields."
That first year he hitched them to a road wagon and took them to a horse show. The audience loved them and they've since gone on to win many ribbons at shows in the cart class. Since then Buddy has learned how to bow to the audience. He mastered the trick in just 3 days.
Amazingly, although the team of wild stallions still have not been gelded, they're well-mannered even when mares are brought near them at shows. "I plan to breed them to mares in the future. It's good to introduce wild mustang blood into domestic animal bloodlines. "Last year Stork, who doubles as a horse trainer, broke 30 other horses with his mustang team. He says they're the gentlest team he's ever own. He took them back to their home state for the Wyoming Cattle Drive festival and says the pair were constantly surrounded by admirers. "It was a great honor to show people in their home state what a pair of wild mustangs can do."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dennis Stork, Rt. 1, Ft. Atkinson, Wis. 53538 (414 563-2588).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #2