Horse Illustrated Mustang Training Series

In September 2018, I visited my friend MacDermaid at her ranch near Phoenix, AZ. Annie has been the top TIP (Trainer Incentive Program) trainer for the Mustang Heritage Foundation for the past three years and has devoted her life to finding homes for wild horses.

I worked with my editor at Horse Illustrated to come up with a two-part series for the magazine called “Out of the Wild.” The first article titled “Mustang Matchmaker” focused on picking the right mustang from the BLM pens. For this article, we traveled all the way to Delta, Utah and spent a day at the holding pens where the wild horses wait for adoption. 

For the second article, “Train Like a Mustang Trainer,” Annie shared training tips she’s learned from working with Mustangs that anyone can use when training their own horse.

This was my first time writing training articles and I was VERY nervous about doing it! Horse Illustrated is considered a top tier magazine in its category and I don’t have much training in this kind of writing. I am blessed to have found a wonderful mentor in seasoned equine journalist Abigail Boatwright and the support of the Horse Illustrated team. Not to mention Annie herself, who answered countless questions via text message and phone calls while I was writing.

In the end, the two articles turned out beautifully and I hope they were inspiring to Horse Illustrated’s readers. 

While in Utah, Annie and I also visited the Onaqui wild herds, but I will save that story for a different post. For now, though, one of my photos from that experience made the cover of February issue, which I was overjoyed about!

Article one…

Article Two…


  1. Perry Smith

    May 20, 2020

    Is there any mustangs for sale or up for adoption that r already broke ? I’m getting to old to get bucked off and don’t have the time to break a mustang nor a round pin ?

    • Shelley Paulson

      May 26, 2020

      There are plenty out there! You just need to find a trainer who gets them to the point of being safely rideable.

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