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Hart County teenager has tamed wild mustangs since she was eight years old

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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HART COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - When she was just eight years old, one Hart County girl began learning how to tame wild mustangs. Dixie Maresse is now 14, and has an uncanny ability to communicate with the beautiful creatures.

When she’s not at school or in bed at night, you’ll most likely catch her at the barn with her horses. She calls one of her mustangs Piggy, short for Piggly Wiggly. You wouldn’t believe piggy was once a mustang in the wild.

“When we got her she was obviously scared of people because that was something completely new to her,” Dixie Maresse said.

They got Piggy for a competition through the Mustang Heritage Foundation, a non-profit that tames and re-homes America’s excess of wild horses.

“I got her for the 2019 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Lexington, Kentucky, and I had 100 days to train her when she was wild , when I first got he,r and we ended up being the youth champions,” Dixie Maresse said.

After the horses are tamed through the competitions and other programs, they go on to find a permanent home with new owners.

“It’s definitely a cool and sad and hard experience to give away one of the competition mustangs because you’ve built this awesome bond for 100 days and you’ve put your heart and soul into them, but it’s the best thing because you get to let somebody else enjoy that magical feeling,” Dixie Maresse said.

Dixie has three mustangs, Piggy, Smudge and Rexy, that she has kept throughout the years. Not only are they more than calm enough to approach, but she can communicate with them so well they can do tricks.

“Whenever we first get them, it’s definitely a waiting game and taking a lot of time to sit there and wait all day for the smallest little movement.,” Dixie Maresse said.

From jumping over barrels to sitting on command, she also can ride one of them without even using a bridal.

“They’re all controlled off of just your voice and legs so you’re having to teach them what your legs mean,” Dixie said.

Her mother has also always had a love for horses.

It’s been wonderful having my daughter want to be at the barn,” Morgan Maresses said. “We communicate every day about something that we love doing, so getting her involved has been great for me, and getting to watch her be successful and be good at it is even more rewarding.”

A natural ability and talent to communicate with the animals she loves so much, and when the hard work is done she loves to just enjoy their company.

Dixie Maresse is featured in a series on Horse.Tv called Appalachia Last Chance Rescue. Right now, she’s training a feral horse for Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue. She will then compete in their competition called The Appalachian Trainer Face Off.

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