Autism isn’t an Issue for Youth Trainer at the 2008 Mustang Makeover Yearling Competition
(AUSTIN,TX) September 29, 2008: You often hear people say there is an incredible bond that forms between a wild mustang and his first human experience. Even noted trainers like John Lyons acknowledges how willing Mustangs are, and how they can be trained to do extraordinary feats in such a short time, unlike a domestic horse. But the real transformation is not what happens to the wild horses, it's what happens to their trainers, and 15-year-old Ryder Kallus is no exception.
When EquestrianSingles.com owner and founder, Marcia Zwilling first meet his flashy black yearling at the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover, she knew there was something real special about her. Even a monstrous blue dumpster whizzing past her on a forklift in the Will Rogers Coliseum show barn didn’t seem to phase the young filly who was trained by Kallus at his home in Round Top, Texas.
Ryder has a soft, gentle way about him. Dressed impeccably in a freshly starched shirt and pressed jeans, the 6 foot tall, handsome sophomore from La Grange High School greets potential adopters with a warm smile and friendly handshake, speaking softly with a slight stutter. He makes a point of letting you know he named his filly, Mylie, after Mylie Cyrus.
Ryder learned about the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover when he was just a freshman, after meeting Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director, Patti Colbert, at the Extreme Cowgirl Race in Flatonia, Texas. Patti was impressed with Ryder and his talents and invited him to participate in the 007 Youth Yearling competition in Fort Worth. He welcomed the challenge.
Ryder is not new to challenge. After being diagnosed with Autism when he was three, his parents, Russell and Tina, were not sure if he would ever be able to talk. But that soon changed when Ryder became involved with horses. His mother Tina believes that horses have made all the difference in Ryder’s life. “He seems to excel in training and the communication he has with this Mustang is very special. It has given him a whole new sense of confidence.” Mylie made high scores in the competition, especially in the Conditioning and In Hand scores. Though Ryder has had a difficult time in school being teased by his classmates he says that he “loves training horses because horses don’t judge you.”
The first day Ryder was introduced to Mylie, he offered his hand to her and she came right over to him. “I stretched out my hand and she walked right up to me and sniffed at it,” he says. His parents were just as impressed as this is practically unheard of with a wild horse plucked straight off the range. Mustangs are known to form strong relationships with their trainers which can usually take time, but the bond between Ryder and Mylie was instant and obvious. He was able to put a halter on her after that first meeting.
“She was very good natured,” Ryder says, and when asked by Zwilling if he enjoyed the experience, he smiled confidently, “yes maam, I sure did!” Ryder has also taught Mylie some impressive tricks. She can shake hands, bow, walk through a hula hoop, trot over a bridge, and even walk through a small swimming pool. His mother Tina was in awe. “That mustang is so trusting of him, that anything Ryder walked over, she would walk over.”
Though his parents were concerned that he would never be able to speak, that soon changed when he became enamored with horses. Ryder started riding at the age of three. By four, he began riding in
play days and on trail rides, and at seven started showing western pleasure and halter. Ryder says he loves working with horses, but his favorite thing has been working with Mustangs. He believes they are much smarter than a domestic horse, and he is looking forward to doing it again.
Seeing what Ryder had done with Mylie in just a few months, it is obvious that he has a real gift for training. When it comes to horses, Ryder is at the top of his field, but in school things are more difficult for him. “I have a hard time learning math but I go for tutoring after school,” Ryder explains. “The Mustang challenge has really helped me a lot because it doesn’t matter if you are smart enough because horses don’t care about that. This is my therapy.”
Mylie was adopted by Zwilling. EquestrianSingles.com CEO and co founder Jan Mirkin was just as impressed with the horse as Zwilling was. "EquestrianSingles.com has formed a special alliance with Mustang Heritage Foundation, so it was no surprise to those that know Marcia that she would end up adopting a Mustang!" Zwilling agrees. “Ryder is an amazing young man with a whole lot of heart and talent. I was lucky to have met him and even luckier to adopt this incredible filly he trained. I know she will end up being the best horse I ever had!”
EquestrianSingles.com was the original equestrian match maker and remains the # 1 online community for friendship, riding buddies, and romance.
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