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Justin Dunn American Mustang School April Newsletter 2021

Spring Training

I always look forward to Spring Training with the horses. Its that time of year we get to bring all of the horses in to check them over, help them shed that loose winter hair. We get to get up close and personal with them, and let them know we really care for them. Spa day for the horses!

I love having others come out experience the joy of horses! The Spring Training event is so much more than the grooming, or deworming that takes place. We get to involve other people, allow them to experience to behind the scenes activities required to care for horses. The best part, we get to share our horses with others that may never get the opportunity.

The Spring Training has such a positive impact on people, and the horses. The engagement with the horses sets a tone for the horses. What I'm saying is, its sets an underlying base or foundation that carries on to the next session, for the rest of the year. The psychological effect of investing the time to really show the horses we care, the attention the people give the horses is so pure, and the horses love it. The horses love it so much, they crave it, they want more. The sessions always have an element of this practice, and it benefits the horses, it benefits the person, and creates a willing partnership (almost instantly) with both.

Each one of my horses is an individual, and will require some changes to be made from the person communicating with them to get desired responses. The one thing they all have in common, they all love being cared for by the person handling them.

If a person goes into the mindset of calm, quiet, thinking, and present that to the horse, then the horse knows they care. If a horse responds in a calm, quiet, thinking manner, then its confirmation the energy/information is transferring between the two. We call this a feedback loop. The understanding of the feedback loop is very important in the relationship between horse and human. Without the understanding of the feedback loop, it can be difficult for the relationship to fully develop. One thing to know, the feedback loop is always there, but if a person doesn't know how to practice using it, the desired result in the relationship are difficult to line up with expectations. Not understanding the feedback loop, put a lot of stress on horses, both emotionally and physically. Did you know there are two pathways of communication used in the feedback loop? That's a whole other article for the future!

So, Spring Training is much more than just the mechanics of grooming. We are engaging in communication using a feedback loop. Present to the horse what you expect, watch the feedback, take notes, make changes, present again to achieve the desired results. My advice, start now, be the best version of yourself, present to horse what you expect from your horse. Horses see what you are focusing on, and they will appreciate your time together, every time.

Watch for pictures and videos from the Spring Training event on April 18!



If you want to fund therapy sessions for our veterans make a donation to Hot Rods for Veterans and earmark it for AMS.

AMS Adventures - Here's What's Coming Up

Spring training for the herd

We'll be attending to the health of our herd and tuning them up for a big summer and fall here at AMS.

On April 18, 10AM-2PM we will be having our Spring Training event. If you would like to attend, let us know. The event is free, donations appreciated. We will e grooming, bathing, trimming hooves, deworming, and check riding all of the horses here at the school.


Words to Ride By

"Practicing being with your horse in a calm, quiet mindset will transfer over into your daily life." - Justin Dunn


Roy Rogers and Trigger Quiz - Part 1

Courtesy of

  1. Trigger originally went by another name. What was his name?

  2. How did Trigger get his new name?

  3. What breed was Trigger?

  4. After the making of the movie "Under Western Stars". Roy Rogers purchased Trigger from his owner making payments until he was paid off. How much did Roy pay for his beloved horse?

See answers below...


American Mustang School Horse Spotlight PC Travis Underwood

Name - Equinox, a BLM Mustang, with Whiskey my BLM Mustang standing ground tied while in a teaching moment.

Age at training - 4 or 5 I think

What were the natural strengths of this horse? Very comfortable with people, almost too comfortable.

What potentials for growth were present at the start of the relationship with this horse? He was probably never taught consistently what was expected of him in the horse/human relationship.

How did I aid growth in these areas? Present consistently what was expected. Increase intensity of question after starting soft, and repeating in a clear, deliberate way.

What did this horse learn about himself during our shared experience? He learned that he could do more than he thought he was capable of. He depended less on the human for guidance in the sense of confidence. He became more willing with less pressure/questioning from the human.

What did this horse learn from me? He learned that the pressures actually mean something. The pressure doesn't go away, until an effort is made. The pressures/questions are deliberate and precise, as opposed to chaotic and distorted. The horse gets a clear understanding of what is expected of him to do, or not do.

What did I learn from him? I learned that Mustangs are very adaptable, and given the proper set up for success, they can adapt to any situation quite easily.


Answers for the Roy Rogers and Trigger Quiz

1. Trigger's original name was Golden Cloud.

2. One of the actors observed that Golden Cloud while on set, actor Smiley Burnette told Rogers, “Roy, as quick as that horse of yours is, you ought to call him Trigger.” The name stuck, and the stallion’s rise to fame began.

3. Trigger was a Thoroughbred Cross - He was out of a Thoroughbred sire and an unregistered mare. His mother, who was also palomino, was thought to be a Quarter horse cross.

4. Roy paid $2500 (in today's currency $30,000) for Trigger.

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