Horse & Rider

Running Wild

Fresh off teaching a weeklong wild horse gentling clinic at a mustang sanctuary in Colorado, Madison Shambaugh returned to cell-phone reception. For the last two-and-a-half years, the clinician has been touring North America to teach clinics with her band of well-trained mustangs—and a couple of zebras. Today, she’s taking a break at her home base in Ridgway, Colorado, and reflecting on her whirlwind journey, from Midwestern horse-crazy kid to pre-pharmacy student to becoming “Mustang Maddy.”

Learning the Hard Way

Born and raised in northeastern Indiana, Madison is the middle child of three sisters. Her older sister started taking riding lessons and eventually Madison was old enough to join her. Growing up, the Shambaughs split time between Indiana, where Madison’s dad, Mark, worked, and Colorado, where the family loved spending time in the mountains. In both locations, Madison gravitated toward horses, and by age 10, she’d bugged her parents enough to get a horse of her own. But it was far from being the fairytale she’d hoped for.

“The first horse we got had tons of issues—I got bucked off all the time,” Madison says. “So my dad got me a green-broke 2-year-old, but she was a flashy Paint and that’s why I wanted her. She

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