I can’t believe that I never wrote about this!
Two years ago, in Kentucky, my daughter Cat competed in one of the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Mustang Open competitions. To my surprise, there was a young Amish woman competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the same venue (also run by the Mustang Heritage Foundation).
I never really thought about Amish people and wild mustangs. When I last saw my Amish friends in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the one young girl at the farm was enthralled with my stories about Cat training wild mustangs and couldn’t get enough of the photos I showed her (side note: yes, Amish folks can LOOK at photos of people, despite not wanting their own photos taken).
So when I saw the young woman competing with a mustang at the competition, I was really shocked.
I spoke with her at great length during and after the competition. She had a large group of family and friends who were there to cheer her on. She told me that she loved training horses and her father had granted his approval for her to compete in the event.
It was her first time working with wild mustangs and I was impressed by how determined she was to put her best foot forward during the event. Unfortunately, she didn’t fare too well in the final placings. I might be wrong but, that first year, I seem to recall that she did a lot of her other classes in-hand (meaning leading the horse and not riding it). It was easy to see that placing didn’t matter to her. You see, the fact that she made it through the 100+ days of training and showed in the big arena at the Horse Park was a solid win for her.
I wish more competitors felt that way.
This past year, she was there for the second time. I was glad to meet up with her again and even more glad that she clearly had learned quite a lot from her first year working with a wild mustang. This time around, she even rode the horse—something which I watched with great curiosity since Amish women always wear dresses.
And so did this woman, even when riding the horse. She put pants on under her dress and managed to tuck the edge of the dress into the waist of the pants. You could hardly tell that she wore a dress at all. Clever!
A lot of times, people think that the Amish are so strict into their farm lifestyle that they shun all Englische activities. Clearly that is not the case. Edna’s family supported her competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover and even came all the way from Ohio to Kentucky to support her—even her younger sister.
Family. Family support. That’s what the Amish are about and that’s what the Mustang Heritage Foundation also embraces.
I hope that, this upcoming year, she’d there again and does even better yet! I’d love to see her compete in the Top Ten finals, wouldn’t you?
Sarah Price is the author of the Plain Fame series and the Amish of Ephrata series, among other books. She comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, and her writing reflects accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities. Visit her at sarahpriceauthor.com and on Facebook.