I have decided to journal my training with Veda so I can see how far she has come and get advice when I hit a road block. I am working with a qualified trainer who has done several extreme and supreme extreme mustang makeovers, and I can call on her when needed. I apologize in advance to whoever reads this for all the nonsense rambling you are about to witness!!
A little background first...Veda, as I have named her, is a 2009 mustang from the Pryor Mtns. She was originally adopted from a satellite adoption to some folks who did not know just how different mustangs are from domesticated horses. She was placed in a stall in a dark, dingy barn all alone and would no longer eat. My trainer who also does a lot of work for BLM was called in to rescue once the people no longer wanted her. She brought her to her place in April and she was placed into a larger pasture (once she was fence trained) with her other horses to gain weight and just be a horse for a while. I have been interested in doing the trainer incentive program and decided she would be a good way to start and also have my trainers assistance when needed. A vet also checked her and said she was 99% sure she is in foal. She must have been bred in the BLM holding pens, but I am not sure. I know the Pryor Mountain Mustangs supposedly have more Spanish ancestry so they may not geld all the studs. So it is a good chance she may have a dun colt/filly.
It is finally here. The day I can go pick up my wild horse. Michelle had planned on loading her into a stock trailer and placing her in a stall in her barn so that I could just back up and load easily. Well...you know what they say about the best made plans, right? She needed more helpers so we would just load her from her pasture into my trailer. We arrive at the other pasture and they finally decided to mosey on over our way. There is some very lush grass out in this pasture and the horses are never excited to leave Veda circled around us, snorting, but came within a few feet of us, I guess to get a good smell of these new strangers!
We get everybody into the barn, which is like a large run in with one stall, lure everyone out except her and her Haffie buddy. I back up to one end of the barn with trailer door open, put some feed on the trailer floor, and with a little encouragement from behind, she hops in my trailer like she does it everyday! I could not be more excited. I want to jump up and down and squeal like a little girl, but my healing ribs and pelvis decide it is best to stay grounded
Once we are back home, I go about setting up her stall and planning on how to unload this wild thang. My friend that went with me is knowledgeable about horses, but is kinda horse snobby (her and her husband) They only want dead broke horses with good pedigrees and are at least $2500. I'm all about these fixer uppers, so they really think I have lost all those marbles that were previously rolling around up there in that thing between my shoulders... My friend is very unsure of just how the heck we are going to do this. After a pep talk, I told her we will back up to the stall, make a barrier so the only way to go is in, and you can stand behind the trailer door. She decides that it is probably safe behind the trailer door and agrees. This wild thang unloaded better than one of their crazy horses. Once again I want to jump up and down and squeal like the little kid I am on the inside
It is late and I know I will be up in a few hours so I say goodnight with one very outstretched arm to get a pet on the neck. I touched a wild horse!!
I go to feed Veda before taking the kids to the sitter and to run errands. She is doing good. My other biotch mares are running, bucking, and farting up and down the fence line very unsure why they aren't getting any attention.
When I return from my running round, Veda is still munching on hay. I decide to start with a little respect lesson first. I enter the stall and (always keeping a safe distance) anytime she turns away from me and gives me butt, I put on some pressure from the twirl of a rope or swing of my arms to make her move. As soon as she gives me two eyes, I turn away from her and remove all pressure. She catches on very quickly so I do a little approach and retreat with her letting her get a quick sniff of my hand and just walk away. She is a very curious little mare and eventually takes a few steps towards me to get a better sniff. I continue with this for a few more minutes until she is comfortable with me petting her neck. I decide to take a water break and let her eat a bit more hay.
When I come back, she immediately gives me two eyes and lets me pet her neck. I go about petting her neck and place my rope in my hand and rub and let her smell it. I ease the rope over her neck and tie it so that I have a little more control. She just takes this all in stride and anytime she snorts or appears nervous I back off and do some approach and retreat with her. Once she is comfortable I ease the halter on. Surprisingly she is not ear shy at all. She will let me rub all over her ears. I am amazed at this. My grulla mare thought that's how I would kill her when I first got her. I decide to let her wear and adjust to the pressure from the halter and lead rope so I go about doing some other chores and tending to those other neglected mares.
Again when I come back she immediately gives me two eyes and if I walk around her she will turn to keep those two eyes on me. I decide to start yielding her hindquarters. She picked it up nearly immediately. I am beginning to wonder if Michelle did more ground work than she let on, but she says no. I also take a brush to her neck and top line, I don't want to rush touching her all over yet and get cowkicked. I decide to quit our lessons for the day...there is always tomorrow.. I do turn her out into a smaller pasture alone so she can have fresh grass to eat and move around more, given her history before, once I know she can be caught easier.
There is always tomorrow...yeah...so my hard headed husband has been sick all week and continues to tell me he is getting better. We go out to eat dinner that night and he is pale as can be and keeps holding his stomach. "oh no I feel better...it only hurts when I breath" I am an RN for a surgery center, and I think he has appendicitis or the start of. Once I let him read the signs and symptoms of appendicitis and the complications from a ruptured appendix, he beats me to the truck to take him to the ER at 2 am!! And wouldn't ya know....I AM RIGHT!!! (I may have said I told you so!!) So
Day 3-5 are spent in the hospital taking care of hubby with my parents feeding and watering that wild thang!!
It felt so good to get a good nights sleep and in my own bed!! My parents report that Veda has been behaving herself very nicely in her smaller pasture and the other horses are no longer interested in her. I decide to take out the bossiest mare and turn Veda out into the big pasture with the other horses. She was easy to catch and halter...all without any feed!! She immediately goes out to investigate and my other mare pretty much ignores her. I decide to let boss b back out with Veda too. Veda still will walk right up to me and let me scratch her. It is hot as Hades so I decide I will do more ground work later this evening at feeding time.
The girls know it is feeding time and will not let Veda come anywhere near the gate. I get their feed set up and have them distracted while I catch and halter Veda. She is somewhat pushy (I'm guessing she knows food is coming for her too) and I do some disengaging her hindquarters and keeping her out of my personal space, and she calms down right away. I take her and tie her up with my blocker tie ring. This is what I always tie with until a horse knows to stand patiently so they cannot panic and hurt themselves.
I let her stand loosely tied with the blocker tie ring while she eats her dinner. I decide to take a brush and groom on her more. I am able to brush everything except back legs. I watch her body language the whole time and just go slow and act like she does it everyday. I also find it helps to sing to keep my nerves down and to kinda soothe the horse. I have discovered horses may be tone deaf to put up with my horrid singing. I also am able to finally get out the massive knots in her mane. Oh how I wish my other mare could have a mane like this one. It is soo long and beautiful. Her tail drags the ground. I decide to stand way off to the side out of cowkicking range and brush as much of her tail as I can too. She takes all of this in stride...like she is groomed to the hilt everyday!! She is getting a few bumps from the flies so I decide now is a good a time as ever to see how she is with fly spray. I let her stand tied and she pulls back a few times, but I just calmly lead her back up, tighten up her lead rope and go about spraying her. She quickly figures out it is easier to stand there and eat and let me do what I please. I also work a rope around her legs and have her picking up her front legs and holding them in place and balancing on 3. I decide she has had enough for one day and turn her back out. My other mares feel neglected so I give them some treats and sneak some to Veda while they are not looking.
Okay Please don't beat me up for posting nearly a weeks worth of journaling in one post...I've been busy...It's all the hubby's fault.
I also know the usual requirements from BLM call for things to be different..leaving them in a stall or small enclosure, etc. Given her history, Michelle had her long enough to fence train her and I do not see any reason to keep her stalled when she can be out and be a horse and still allow me to catch, halter, and work safely with her. I do not plan on releasing my next mustang this quickly as they will not understand fences. Just wanted to put that in there in case someone jumps on it!!
Hope I did not bore you to sleep and if I did hope you sleep well!!