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Review: 'Wild Horse, Wild Ride' high on emotion

Trainers and their horses prep for the 2009 Extreme Mustang Makeover in the memorable documentary 'Wild Horse, Wild Ride' by Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson.

September 07, 2012|By Gary Goldstein
(Screen Media Films )

The affecting documentary "Wild Horse, Wild Ride," directed by husband-and-wife team Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson, follows a diverse group of equine enthusiasts as they prepare to participate in the 2009 Extreme Mustang Makeover.

This annual event is a contest of sorts in which 100 professional and amateur trainers present the results of their 100 days of work taming wild mustangs. The animals are then put up for auction and adoption — thus avoiding federal corrals.

The committed and patient entrants here include an intrepid Arizona cowgirl and single mom, a Mexican émigré working as a Wisconsin roofer, a Navajo ex-rodeo champ and his son, a bearish Texan and his seventh wife, a PhD in biomedical engineering, and a pair of soulful New Hampshire brothers.

The filmmakers offer up just enough biographical data to keep these folks distinct while also nicely informing their various approaches to training.

As for the climactic Mustang Makeover, it's short on drama and tension but long on emotion as these trainers, who've so deeply bonded with their chosen horses, get ready to turn them over to the highest bidders post-show. That is, unless they decide to jump into the auction themselves.

With its gorgeous big-sky vistas, stirring shots of the majestic mustangs and intimate bits between trainers and trainees, "Wild Horse" proves a warm and memorable ride.

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