A mustang makeover

Juliane Hanley rides Sangria, one of two rescued mustangs that the Cowgirl Spirit Rescue drill team is making over for a fundraiser competition this month in Sacramento, Calif. - Courtesy photo
Juliane Hanley rides Sangria, one of two rescued mustangs that the Cowgirl Spirit Rescue drill team is making over for a fundraiser competition this month in Sacramento, Calif.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Two members of the Snoqualmie Valley’s Cowgirl Spirit Rescue Drill Team have been selected to compete in the Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover, taking place this month at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, Calif.

The drill team members, Juliane Hanley and Jenny Mothershead, are vying for an $8,250 purse in the fundraiser competition. Hanley and Mothershead had approximately 90 days to gentle two wild horses that they picked up in Litchfield, Calif., earlier this year.

On Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, the two four-year-old mustangs will be judged on conditioning, groundwork, and a “horse course” that requires specific maneuvers and includes obstacles found in trail and recreational riding situations. All competing mustangs will be available for adoption through and oral bidding auction at the end of the event on Sunday, June 14. A portion of the final auction price is allotted to the trainers, which will then be donated to the rescue organization.

“This is such a great fundraising opportunity for our group,” said Hanley, “especially since we’ve recently seen a bit of a drop in donations because of the current economic climate.”

Cowgirl Spirit’s team members and volunteers spent the spring working with their wild mustangs, Sangria and MissFire.

“These horses have already shown amazing progress,” said Hanley. “I think our chances of winning are excellent.”

The purpose of the competition is to showcase the beauty, versatility and trainability of the rugged horses, that roam freely on public lands throughout the West, where they are protected by the Bureau of Land Management under federal law. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range to ensure herd health and to protect rangeland resources. Each year, thousands of removed animals are then made available to the public for adoption.

Cowgirl Spirit’s mission is to raise awareness of equine slaughter in America, by education and by rescuing “worthless” slaughter-bound horses. With affection, training and dedication, the horses develop their skill and spirit through equestrian drill competition. They are then placed in new adoptive homes to give them long and productive lives as riding companions.

Since its inception in 2005, Cowgirl Spirit has rescued more than 30 slaughter-bound horses that are now living more fulfilling lives, while enriching the lives of their new owners. In the past year, the organization has grown significantly since moving their headquarters to a central location in Fall City with help from Charlie Kellogg and John Rouches of Blue Hill, LLC.

To learn more, visit, or contact Hanley at (425) 214-6518 or by e-mail at

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