Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Those Eyes

The thing that made us fall in love with Beautiful Girl was her eyes. There is so much expression in them. I locked her out of her stall yesterday to clean it, and she was looking in over the door with those big eyes--wanting back in.

We're working this week on having her face up and allowing us to touch her. Yesterday was the first day with this lesson because we were in Bozeman during the weekend and just got back Monday night. She was confused, but really tried to figure it out and made small steps toward the goal.

She'd do the usual--present her hind to me as if ready to kick if she didn't like whatever I did. I would cluck at her and move to her side until she'd bring her head around to face me and make a small movement in toward me. Then, I'd take one step back and talk kindly to reassure her. We did this over and over with advance and retreat until I was about 2 feet from her on he side and she was turned toward me and relaxed. That was as good as I was going to get for Day 1 of this goal.

An update on her feed: she still will not eat apples, carrots or grain. She doesn't want anything to do with any food other than hay. She LOVES her hay and can eat and eat if I let her.

She loves to stand near me through the gate and doesn't like to be away for too long. You can tell she really wants to join up--and she has from a distance--the lip licking and relaxation all occur, but she is very insecure about being touched, and I'm starting to wonder if this isn't because of her age and maybe more importantly, her age at capture. She was so young, and still is, I imagine she was the low one in her group and had a hard time competing for food and other things. She is very gentle natured and I haven't seen any bullishness from her--ever.

She loves her stall and doesn't seem too interested in the other horses--she's more interested in people. Oh, and she knows very well who feeds her. Last week my husband stepped outside in the morning and I heard loud whinnying. I thought, surely that can't be the mustang--she hasn't been here long enough--but it certainly was. She's a SMART girl and I can't wait until she trusts us!


  1. Sounds like great progress!

    That's funny, I usually fall in love with them because of their eyes too. Bella had huge, soft, gorgeous eyes.

  2. Hi Linda,
    For some reason my comments haven't been appearing on your blog. I'll try again.

    I think your filly had lovely eyes. I'm sure our youngsters are related in some way.

    My boy has a really aggressive personality and I think that's the reason thing's have gone fast with him. He doesn't back down, for example he let me put a bamboo pole anywhere on his body right away. The first days we had him he'd charge the gate with his ears back and would strike the gate with his front hooves. He also tried to bite me through the gate if I made a move. I ended up hiting him fast and hard in the mouth, he never ran away but seemed grateful to know his new herd had a boss and it wasn't him! He understands "NO" now.

    During the first weeks I would sit for hours by his gate reading. He really enjoyed my company. When I would try to leave, as I walked away he would pound the gate with his hoof, so I'd always leave him with some hay and sneak off while he was busy eating. I would have to pull myself up on his gate and at first he'd threaten to bite me till we had our little 'bite no more' lesson. I found it so endearing that he would stand his ground, a little wild brave mustang all alone in a pen. I talk to him like he's a little baby and he loves it.

    Wildairo eats anything I put in his mouth. The first day we brought him home he licked an apple. I fed him handfuls of fresh green grass and alfalfa from the field. Try getting your Beautiful Girl eating fresh grass from your hand then put some in a little bowl with some oats mixed in. The you can introduce carrots and apples. Once she gets the taste for them she'll eat them out of your hand.

  3. Wow! I didn't realize he was that aggressive at first. It's a good thing you knew to punch him!! Beautiful Girl is exact opposite. Maybe that confidence does help them with allowing touch. I had started to theorize that she might be young and insecure. She's pretty standoffish--watching from a safe distance. But boy will she eat out of my hand!! She's the hungriest horse I've ever seen. I'll try your suggestion for introducing new foods!! Thanks!

  4. I just found your blog and had to go back and read the entire thing! I am enjoying it very much! I love reading about all the mustangs and how different each one is.

    Looking forward to more entries!

  5. Hi Jessie--thanks for the comment--I clicked the link to yours also. So, you're going to do a Mustang Challenge? I'll read it in more detail later tonight--I'm sure I can learn a lot from you. This weekend, here in Spokane, they're having Mustang Days. I'm going to go out and get some pictures and meet some people. Yahoo! Hope to see Andrea there and anyone else who's coming.

  6. I can't believe I had to punch a wild horse that I was trying to get to like me. I've been around enough horse to understand a punch would scare to death a horse like Beautiful Girl. It's a rare horse that you have to get physical with like that. By then I knew Wildairo well enough to know he'd still stand his ground and not run to the corner of his pen and be scared of me forever.

    Back in 1970 I had a pony who would kick and bite. I tried being nice to him and kept away from his mouth and hind feet but then one day he bit me so hard that I jumped up grabbed his ear and bit it till he squealed. He never bit anyone again. I also kicked him back for kicking and he stopped kicking. He would follow me around like a puppy dog after that. He was put to sleep in 1989 at age 29, a much loved pony by everyone who knew him.

    Wildairo is not completly over his agressive nature and when I get in the pen with him I'm sure he'll have to be reminded who's boss. I think he and I were meant for each other and I just love him. I never will sell him. When I saw him at the adoption event I didn't even bother to look in the other pens because it was love at first sight for me.

    I must add that the aggressive pony I had was of a indigenous British breed, and I believe he was born in the wild.

  7. That's funny! Yes, who would think a punch in the face would lead to LOVE?? But you're absolutely right--every horse is different.

    My horse Cowboy (see herd), lowly as he is, used to take kicks at me (which tells you how low I was. LOL. I was always scared to be too aggressive--so my trainer said KICK HIM BACK!!!

    I was like, really? Just how do you suggest I do that? She was like hold his head in and kick him under the gut!!!

    So, I did it and he moved out of my space. I had to do it a few more times when I was by myself just to prove to him I meant it--but THAT was THAt with the old kicking phenom.

    Its been years and he hasn't offered anything like it. It's LOOVVVVEE. Horse are funny.

  8. Hi Linda,

    I already completed the Mustang Challenge! It was the one here in Wisconsin in April. It started in January and I blogged throughout the entire competition.

    I sometimes wish I lived out West, it seems there are many more Mustang events going on out that way. Have fun at the Mustang Days! Can't wait to see photos!


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