Wild Horse, Wild Ride

Wild Horse, Wild Ride

A scene from WILD HORSE, WILD RIDE, a film by Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus. Picture courtesy Fish Creek Films. All rights reserved.

Wild Horse, Wild Ride

  • Carlos Chee
  • Charles Chee
  • Patti Colbert
  • Evelyn Gregory
  • George Gregory
  • Jesus Jauregui
  • Melissa Kanzelberger
  • Kris Kokal
  • Nik Kokal
  • Wylene Wilson
Original Music by:
Production Company:
  • Fish Creek Films

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Wild Horse, Wild Ride (2011/2012)

Opened: 08/24/2012 Limited

Village East08/24/2012 - 08/30/20127 days
Fallbrook 709/07/2012 - 09/20/201214 days
Music Hall 309/07/2012 - 09/13/20127 days
Playhouse 709/07/2012 - 09/13/20127 days
Claremont 509/07/2012 - 09/13/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Documentary

Rated: PG for for some language.


Each year thousands of wild horses are rounded up and removed from public lands by the U.S. Government. All will need permanent homes. None has ever been touched by a human hand.

Wild Horse, Wild Ride tells the story of the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge, an annual contest that dares 100 people to each tame a totally wild mustang in order to get it adopted into a better life beyond federal corrals.

Stunning and poignant, Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus' debut feature documentary chronicles a handful of unforgettable characters from their first uneasy meeting with their horses and over three months as they attempt to transform from scared strangers to the closest of companions.

Eventually all will converge in Fort Worth, Texas, to compete against each other and offer the horses up for adoption at an auction in which the trainers, if they wish to keep their horses, must bid against the public.

Hailed by The Hollywood Reporter as a "crowd-pleaser with a big heart," the film traverses across the United States to tell stories of the profound the bonds that can develop between people and animals. From the rolling hills of New Hampshire to the Navajo Nation to the heart of Cowboy Country, the film captures a journey that is at times harrowing, humorous, heartwarming and heartbreaking as these wild spirits- both human and horse- embark on the ride of their lives.

Director's Statement

For years Greg and I wanted to do a film about the relationship between man and horse. We were drawn to the idea of that bond and partnership that shaped history for millennia, and to all of the cinematic opportunities that such a story would present. But the specific story we wanted to tell, one that narrowed and spoke to that theme in a dramatic, new and compelling way always eluded us.

Until one day in the summer of 2008. Greg was flipping through our local newspaper, The Jackson Hole Daily, and came upon a little blurb about something called the Extreme Mustang Makeover. It was a contest of sorts which challenged 100 people to each tame a totally wild mustang in just 100 days. At the end of 100 days, those trainers would converge, compete against each other and offer the horses up for adoption at public auction. We knew immediately this was the film we wanted to make. It would give us the opportunity to chronicle that relationship of trust and companionship transpiring in real time. It would have drama, heart, tension and suspense at both the competition and the adoption, and, of course, a builtin story arc with a beginning, middle and end.

We were so excited. But there was a hitch: I was 8 months pregnant and for us to start a project at that point seemed impossible. Still, Greg clipped the blurb and taped it to our refrigerator, so that every day it was there, staring at us, beckoning us. Finally, when our daughter was 4 months old and I'd emerged from the haze of new motherhood, I called Patti Colbert, Executive Director of the Mustang Heritage Foundation.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation is an organization whose mission is to facilitate and promote the adoption of wild horses. There are currently over 30,000 wild mustangs in U.S. Government holding facilities as a result of Bureau of Land Management roundups intended to prevent their overpopulation on public rangelands. That number is only growing. Patti, a visionary and a dynamo, is always in search of new and creative ways to showcase the potential of these horses to would-be adopters and get them into the hands of loving individuals. Thus was born the Extreme Mustang Makeover.

We knew that the people who took on this sort of challenge had to be pretty interesting, but we had no idea what an incredible diversity of characters we'd find in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, geography, experience level, and all out personality. From Wylene, the daredevil rhinestone cowgirl; to George, the stubborn and cynical Texan; to Charles the wisecracking Navajo; to Jesus, the soft-spoken Mexican- American roofer; they are people from all walks of life, inextricably bonded by a shared and profound love of horses.

The horses, too, each with an unbroken spirit and distinct character, cast their spell on us, and Greg and I found ourselves falling in love with them almost as much as their trainers did. We felt our own hearts break as we, along with their trainers, had to say goodbye as some of them went off to new homes after the adoption auction in Fort Worth.

We are so grateful to the people at the Mustang Heritage Foundation and to the individuals who let us into their lives over those three months. We feel honored to have been given the opportunity to make this film, to meet the people whose paths we crossed along the way...and even, on a few occasions, to ride on the back of wild mustang.

About the Filmmakers

Husband-and-wife team Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus have worked in the production of non-fiction television for over 15 years.

Having lived and worked in New York and Chicago, Alex and Greg currently reside in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with their two young children. Wild Horse, Wild Ride is their feature directorial debut.

Alex Dawson

Alex is a documentary producer and writer whose body of work covers a wide range of themes and genres and has appeared on networks including History Channel, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, CNBC, HGTV, OLN and PBS.

Greg Gricus

Greg is a Director of Photography whose job has taken him all over the world- from Myanmar to the Amazon; New Zealand to Saudi Arabia; Alaska to Liberia. He has filmed well over 100 programs for networks including Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, History Channel, Travel Channel, A&E, and PBS and has also contributed to several independent films and music videos.