Weatherford Democrat

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August 2, 2012

Mustangs on her mind

PARKER COUNTY — Carol Etlicher considers horseback riding a form of therapy.

She’s been riding horses for most of her life, having first gotten on a horse on her aunt’s farm in northern Minnesota. Her true “horse” love was discovered in 2007 after attending the initial Mustang Makeover in Fort Worth.

 “I fell in love at that point,” Etichler said. “It was amazing how willing the horses were and the bond between horse and trainer. I began dreaming about owning a mustang.”

Her love of mustangs has gone back to when she was a child when her uncle traded a nickel and a hen for a mustang yearling. As an operating room nurse at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth for the last 23 years, she has ridden horses and took part in some trail competitions as a form of therapy from what she would see in the operating rooms on a daily basis.

Despite the great therapy from riding her horse, she still really yearned for the day she would own and ride a mustang. She finally had her wish last spring at the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Mustang Magic when she adopted Rio, a 6-year-old stallion who made her a “better person” almost from the moment she adopted him.

Rio was captured in the Calico Mountain Herd Management Area of Nevada and, while not a winning horse at the event, there was a special bond between the two.

 “He followed me into the trailer, which almost never happens for someone new,” Etichler said. “Mustangs don’t trust just everyone. They aren’t like normal horses and tend to stay away from people.”

Rio worked with trainers and as time progressed, Etichler and Rio began to develop more of a bond. Rio also became friends with Etichler’s gelding. She says he is still learning but with her riding him about three or four days a week, the pair are still learning about each other. After riding some obstacle courses together, Etichler and Rio took part in their first trail ride in Mineral Wells recently.

She says Rio is very aware of his surroundings, as she will ride him from her home north of Peaster to her sister and mother’s place down the road. He has adjusted very well to the sounds of cars and trucks on the road.

Rio has also become somewhat famous, getting his picture into American Quarter Horse Magazine while he was being trained by Granbury trainer Logan Leach.

 

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