MM Cody, a 10-year-old chestnut Mustang gelding, and his rider Mykayla Corgnell received the 2018 Haggin Cup at the Tevis Cup awards banquet, held July 29 in Auburn, California. He is the first Mustang to earn the coveted title.
The annual award is presented to the horse deemed in superior condition after completing the 100-mile journey over the Western State Trail from near Lake Tahoe to Auburn. The award also takes horsemanship into consideration.
“Cody was in incredible shape,” said Tevis head veterinarian Mike Peralez, DVM. “He was head and shoulders above the competition.”
Only the first 10 horses to cross the finish line are eligible to be considered for the award. Cody and Corgnell finished eighth, two hours and 22 minutes behind the winners, Heather Reynolds and endurance-racing-bred Arabian Cayucos.
Cody’s owner, Mark Montgomery, also completed the ride on his 11-year-old Mustang MM Woodrow in ninth place. Montgomery has been adopting, training, and finding homes for Mustangs for 20 years.
“I choose Mustangs because they are the toughest, most durable horses out there,” Montgomery said.
Since Corgnell was attempting her first Tevis Cup, Montgomery felt Cody was the right mount for the 21-year-old. “Cody is so easy to ride and takes care of his rider, while Woody is a more challenging ride,” he said.
Montgomery and Corgnell condition the Mustangs from his home in Penn Valley, California.
Of the 149 horses that started, only 64 finished within 24 hours and passed the final veterinary examination. The 43% completion rate was one of the lowest in ride history. Peralez believes heat, humidity, and smoke from the Carr Fire, burning in the Redding, California, area were factors for both horses and riders.
Of the horses that did not complete, 27 were pulled for lameness; 22 for metabolic issues such as dehydration, elevated heart rates, or diminished gut sounds; and 19 due to “rider option,” which could indicate a rider not feeling fit to continue or that they felt their horse wasn’t fit to continue. Another 12 horses did not meet cut-off times to continue, four had no reason for withdrawal reported, and one was pulled due to “surface issues.”