Teenage Horse Woman Looks To Career Improving Wild Mustang Habitat

Preservation of national rangelands and maintaining herds of wild horses continue complexing issues.

Correlation between the two concerns initially might seem unrelated yet they have intermingling close ties.

Bureau of Land Management maintains leadership over both segments suffering misuse perhaps abuse becoming highly controversial.

One young horsewoman plans her career working to improve government land care while sustaining mustang populations.

“While I see many perspectives, I am passionate about keeping public lands useful and retaining heritage of horses grazing it.”

Brook Staten of Olsburg became interested in a career managing wild horses on federal rangelands after getting her own mustang. Shown during her first ride on Porter, they’ll be in the three-year-old pleasure futurity 4-H competition at the Kansas State Fair.

Insight beyond her years, Brook Staten, 18, has her own personally trained mustang and has started college range management classes.

Daughter of Tony and Justine Staten of Olsburg, Brook is a spring graduate of Blue Valley High School at Randolph.

“Horses have been a part of my family while growing up enjoying many activities,” she verified.  “Then my life took on a different meaning when I got my own mustang. I learned about endangerment of the wild species and their homelands.

“Public lands and wild horses are at risk and I want to be a part of helping both,” Brook insisted.

Getting her first pony Geronimo when she was three-years-old, Brook’s equine affection expanded riding Bo the family horse. “I did okay in 4-H and local events, but I wanted my own horse to compete more successfully,” she remembered.

Feeling fortunate to acquire her sorrel gelding Jericho, Brook has moved up to championship levels.

“He’s a one-of-a-kind very smart all-around horse with his own personality,” the owner critiqued. “Before I got Jericho from the K-State Equestrian Team, he’d had eight different owners. It’s taken a lot of getting used to each other.”

Record of the horse-rider team is verified with a collection of horseshow circuit buckles.

“We just completed the Riley County Fair at Manhattan and actually did very well. Jericho was the high point performance horse,” she said. “I also showed Flash our family Paint Horse in English and racing. Together their points earned me reserve champion overall in the 4-H show.”

A frequent qualifier for state fair competition, Brook has collected several awards there. “We didn’t have district qualifications this year, but I’m still entered in four state fair classes on Jericho.

“I’ll also be showing in the three-year-old pleasure futurity on Porter my mustang,” Brook continued. “I’ve really learned a lot since I adopted my mustang as a yearling and participated in the Mustang Beginnings Challenge.”

Jericho has proven to be an all-around winner with Brook Staten of Olsburg in the saddle.

Training Porter to lead and do various maneuvers, Brook was reserve champion with the mustang in the state fair competition.

With her experiences training stock horses, the young horse woman said. “Mustangs are sure different. It takes more time and patience since they haven’t been around people.

“There have been some setbacks, but Porter is improving all of the time. I’m really looking forward to riding my mustang against the other stock horses in the futurity,” Brook said.

With coaching including her mom Justine, director of the Kansas Horse Council, Brook and team mates have entered hippology contests.

“Hippology is actually an equine veterinary and management knowledge competition,” Brook informed. “We’ve learned a lot while taking several trips to horse activities.”

Her Kansas Hippology Team ranked high in national events. “It was through my hippology experiences that I learned more about the Bureau of Land Management,” Brook noted. “I continued to study the issues in maintaining wild horse herds on government rangelands.”

Respect and concern for public land preservations was further enhanced when Brook participated in FFA range management competitions. “My FFA advisors Anthony Meals and Megan Larson have been instrumental in helping me plan my future,” Brook credited.

Her vast work with horses earned North Central District and State FFA Proficiency Awards in equine science entrepreneurship and placement.

“I was entered in national competition in equine science entrepreneurship last year and placed 11th,” Brook said. “My equine science placement application has been sent in this year so I’m hoping to make the top ten for an interview.

“I’ve attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, before and sure want to go again,” she added.

Horses are a family affair for Justine, Brook, Garrett and Tony Staten of Olsburg.

For her many leadership services, Brook received her State Farmer Degree at the recent virtual Kansas FFA Convention.

Expanding her knowledge in rangeland management, Brook volunteered for an internship this summer. “I worked at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City,” she said. “Considerable time was spent studying invasive plant control and plant diversity.”

Classes have started for Brook at Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska. “They have a great rangeland management curriculum and I intend to complete my four-year degree there,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll be in class on campus next spring, but with coronavirus issues I decided to go online this semester.”

Initially planning natural conservancy employment, Brook said, “Long term I intend to manage wild horses and burros on federal rangelands.”