Cobra the amazing mustang: From unadoptable to award nominee

A once “unadoptable” mustang is among the nominees for a prestigious national award from the US Equestrian Federation. Wild-born Cobra, now aged 14, has been nominated for the USEF’s Horses of Honor in the National category. Horses in both national and international categories are nominated through their achievements over the course of the season.

Born in the mountains of Nevada, Cobra was rounded up in 2010 at the age of six. After the Bureau of Land Management deemed the 2004 mustang unadoptable, a strange twist of fate paired him with his trainer and owner, Marsha Hartford-Sapp, and he became a dressage and western dressage champion.

Devoted to her vision for Cobra, Hartford-Sapp proceeded training with caution and respect for the gelding’s instincts. Soon mutual trust and admiration created a bond to carry both through the rigors of competition, and Cobra rose to the occasion, showing the nation what heart a little mustang can have.

His versatility for both classical and Western dressage is apparent, as he has won national honors for both disciplines. In 2018, Cobra and Hartford-Sapp were third in the Western Dressage Association of America’s (WDAA) Western Dressage World Championship Level 4 Test 1 Open, won the Level 4 Test 3 Open, were reserve champions in the Level 3 Test 3 Open, and were reserve champions in the Western Dressage Musical Freestyle. Cobra was also the 2018 United States Dressage Federation All-Breeds American Mustang & Burro Association Prix St. Georges National Champion.

In 2018, US Equestrian named Cobra the Western Dressage Level 4 Horse of the Year. In 2017, he earned the Western Dressage Level 3 and Level 4 Horse of the Year and Western Dressage Level 2 Reserve Champion Horse of the Year.Recognizing his rise from the wild to becoming the 2015 Level 1 Freestyle Western Dressage World Champion, Breyer made him a model horse. Numerous event organizers have invited Cobra for special appearances to promote his inspirational story.

As one of the founding horses of USEF Western dressage competition, Cobra was one of the first recipients of the 2015 Horse of the Year awards in that discipline and has continued to collect numerous accolades ever since.

Winners are determined based on the results of online voting, which is open until January 3.

The 2018 National and International Horse of the Year will be awarded at the Horse of the Year Awards during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 12.