Monday, May 19, 2008

Beauty Survives Chaos





Day 1 & 2

Yesterday, May 17, 2008, we went to Ride the West in Spokane, WA. We were there to work at the Moms, Daughters & Horses table for our club, but it was slow and we went out to the BLM Adoption we read about in the program.

It wasn't easy finding them--they were tucked back behind everything, but after winding around the long way--there they were.

What a sight, if you've never been to a Mustang adoption, like us. My daughter, Shiloh, and I, and our friend Katie, like everyone else there were instantly obsessed--we were taking pictures, peeking in the pens, and reading the tags.

I thought it would be fun to watch other people adopt the horses, but after looking at the empty bid cards and talking to the volunteers--we found out that hardly anyone was bidding. Out of all the horses there--only seven would be adopted yesterday. And, one of them, would be adopted by us.

Here are some pictures of other horses there.
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I have a lot to learn. I wasn't there to actually adopt a wild horse--though I know people who have and have read their blogs and admired the quality of the horses and horse-human relationships. Still, it wasn't something I pined for--I'm a Paint and Quarterhorse woman--just look at my herd--it's all Paints and Quarterhorses!

But they touched our hearts. My daughter and I both fell in love with them, and one in particular, instantly. I hadn't wanted another horse--I didn't even know they'd be there--but I guess it was fate--that thing that happens and you feel like you're outside looking in--going through the movements like destiny is more in control than you are.

There I was in the BLM tent, filling out the paperwork, drawing diagrams about how to get to my house and stick pictures of our barn and the stall and run she'd have. I was providing personal information, history, driver's licence numbers, money. They were having me sign here, proceed to the brand inspector, pick a hat or a shirt. They were talking to me, helping me pick out halters, telling me the stories of their own mustangs and showing me pictures.

The volunteers were beyond helpful, and they took our email address to keep in touch--I hope they do.

I think all of this happened at about 10:30 am--and we left Ride the West at 11:30 to go get her stall ready and pick up the trailer. Shiloh and I were bickering the whole time about how our partnership was going to go off. She wasn't too happy about sharing the new mustang with me.

So, just who was this new mustang, where was she from, and how did she get to Spokane, WA?

The beautiful girl, which we call, Beautiful Girl, for lack of a real name, was, like all Mustangs, somewhat anonymous. The paperwork stated she was between 3 and 6 months at the time of capture. They had her down as "buckskin" though her dorsal stripe down the back and the primitive striping on her legs, were more correctly, "dun". She had been captured on August 4, 2007, along with her herd who, I found out in the tent, had no water. They were taken from Beaty's Butte in Oregon--the same place the original Kigers were discovered and taken from in 1977.

Here's a diversion: everything about her looks says Spanish Mustang. She's a poster horse for just such a thing, but she cannot be registered with Kigers because she was not in the Kiger HMA. That's how it goes with official breeds--humanized and categorized, then altered. I can hear it now--I want a bigger mustang--I want a bulkier mustang--and pretty soon it's not a mustang at all.

No matter what you think of Mustangs, you have to admire the way in which the breed culls itself---survival of the fittest. What you get when you buy one of these horses is an animal who can survive in the desert, unvaccinated, unshod, untended. They know the herd, their place in it, and how to live on their own. They're capable of human independence. That's admirable. They may be shorter, leaner, and wilder, but they're naturally evolved, and nature's pretty good at what she does.

So, Beautiful Girl is now about 10 months to a year--they had her listed as a yearling. She was in a pen with other yearling fillies. They had her vaccinated, Coggins tested, brand inspected and hoof trimmed. Other than that, she is scuffed up, scraggly and thin--but obviously healthy.

We came back to get Beautiful Girl about 3 hours later. And, the loading process is a story in itself (with pictures) which will be written and posted in the blog tomorrow.

For now, I can say, the day I spent with her only improved my appreciation of her intelligence, kindness (observed instantly in her gentle eye), and sweet nature. She is already eating out of our hands and standing as near us as she can through her gate. She has sniffed the pygmy goats in the stall next to her and observed them with her big, dark does eyes--she has sniffed our hands, and Maggie the dog, similarly. She has joined our herd from a distance, and they've studied her from a distance.

more tomorrow....



Sidenote:

Yesterday my husband pointed out a tulip growing in the yard waste people brought in to fill up our gigantic pasture "hole". This gorgeous flower growing up among the garbage. I thought, beauty in chaos, just like the wild ones who were brought in from Beaty's Butte because they ran out of water. I'm going to dig this flower up and move it over to the house to preserve it. This seems so symbolic of the Mustang: we're going to work to preserve her spirit and heart so that she survives her own transplantation from the wild to domestic life.

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