Monday, June 9, 2008

Mustang Mentors

Andrea & Tonka at Mustang Days (Love the aussie saddle!)

Steve Bohn & two of their mustangs from www.spanishhorsesoffallon.com

Lea handing out prizes




Wow. Mustang Days. The Yodas of the Mustang World all gathered together.

Unfortunately, I only got an hour with them, if you can believe it. Saturday was raining like crazy and we put it off to Sunday. Then, Sunday I had to fit it in between a trip to Home Depot and another meeting for Moms, Daughters & Horses.

I'm just glad I went! I met Andrea in person for the first time and got to meet Tonka, too. I've been following her blog since before adopting a mustang was even a distant, distant thought. (Was it ever a thought??) And, Andrea has been there to offer encouragement and advice since we brought Beautiful Girl home. (Hopefully, you stop by this week!!)

I met Bob and Lea, too. Lea was the only one chosen from Washington state to do the Mustang Makeover, so I'm hoping to get to her place to watch and soak up wisdom. Bob, too, had advice for us now that our mustang is without a halter.

Lori and Steven Bohn (www.spanishhorseoffallon.com) had some words for us--get those feet trimmed because Beautiful Girl and some of the other yearlings looked cow hocked at the sale, worm her, and take the time to earn her trust.

Steve Bohn sat in his mustang's stall with food and waited for her to come up to eat--then would reach out and touch her--and she'd get food as a reward. They say that when the light finally goes on that touch is not bad and you're not going to hurt them, things move fast.

I tried this today and it didn't work--yet.

I'm going to do it over and over again until it does. Today I gave up and just let her eat. It's funny though, when you introduce a new element into your training, like reaching out to touch her before I surrendered the food, it got her thinking. I had turned around to look at my other project horse, Jasmine (see picture below), and when I turned back toward her, she had moved real close and was smelling my head. I think she knows she's going to have to accept this touch thing--so now she's trying to decide just who and what I am. When it comes to her food--she's pretty brave.

Now, all of these techniques are coming in handy with my horse, Jasmine--a "wild" pony. When I adopted her last July from a friend, she didn't know much if any of the history of Jasmine having just adopted her herself about a year ealier.

Jasmine was supposed to be eleven, extremely people shy and was on to all of our tricks. I decided NEVER to trick her. Now, from July until today my progress has been that she will stand and let me halter her, go on walks and groom her--oh, and pet her. She used to flinch every time my hand touched her--and would flinch 100 times or more and never stop. If I entered her pen back then, she'd run from me so that I couldn't ever catch her to get her halter off. I left it on, but eventually could take the lead rope off and on. Today I can walk right up (in a stall) and throw the lead rope over her and halter her and groom her. So, I'm happy with her progress.

But I want her to come up to me in the pasture. This is my goal. I'm starting to use the same techniques I do with the Mustang and they seem to have the same effect. The Mustang is helping me to help Jasmine. Since I don't know Jasmine's history, I don't have any idea where she's from or what happened to her. The end result is the same though, she doesn't like or trust humans. At least Beautiful Girl seems to like humans, and I hope Jasmine will learn to like more humans, too.

7 comments:

  1. So you have a halterless mustang too? I was so worried about Wildairo living in his 24/7 and was glad to see it come off. He had pulled it over his ear so I unbuckled it.

    He will let me do anything to his back end and had the best brushed tail in Lincoln County. He is ok head to head, we blow into each others noses, but he's still a bit nervous about his neck area. I think it's because of being branded, shots and having blood drawn.

    I have been trying to get him used to me putting my arm over his neck. He's coming around. He's an amazing little colt. I'm so glad I adopted him. I feel so bad that I can't take his friend as well. I think his friend, the chestnut 2 yr old, will be very much like him in personality. He'll be at the Pasco adoption if you know anyone who's looking for a gutsy good looking mustang.
    Arlene.

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  2. I did want to see it come off--but I was hoping it would be by me being able to get close enough to do it. :( I did worry though.

    My girl likes to present her hind also. I think it's most comfortable for them because they're more powerful there--they can kick out if need be. I've been working on getting her to face up. But I must admit, today we had a COLD spell and I didn't feel like being out in the barn. I'm bad! I need to be out there much of the day, but I skipped. I miss her.

    Someone--maybe Andrea--told me how they trim their feet at the pens--they put them in a shoot and then turn them sideways with their feet in the air. I can see why they'd have to, but is there any wonder that they don't trust us??

    Also, reading Andrea's blog--it looks like they get 3 shots at adoption and then they're up in the air and anything could happen to them. Do you know much about that? It makes me sad.

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  3. I did want to see it come off--but I was hoping it would be by me being able to get close enough to do it. :( I did worry though.

    My girl likes to present her hind also. I think it's most comfortable for them because they're more powerful there--they can kick out if need be. I've been working on getting her to face up. But I must admit, today we had a COLD spell and I didn't feel like being out in the barn. I'm bad! I need to be out there much of the day, but I skipped. I miss her.

    Someone--maybe Andrea--told me how they trim their feet at the pens--they put them in a shoot and then turn them sideways with their feet in the air. I can see why they'd have to, but is there any wonder that they don't trust us??

    Also, reading Andrea's blog--it looks like they get 3 shots at adoption and then they're up in the air and anything could happen to them. Do you know much about that? It makes me sad.

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  4. I'm so glad that this has led to progress with Jasmine. That's really cool.

    Good pictures! I especially like the one of Mouse's dun hiney.

    I'm still up in the air about whether I'm coming up there this week... I'll let you know when I'm coming, it may be next week, who knows. Hopefully we can meet up.

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  5. I didn't know that they put them on a table to trim their feet! I'm amazed that Wildairo is as calm as he is considering. I was so worried when he was put in a chute to have his halter put on. He tried to turn around in it at first then thankfully calmed down. It was very upsetting to see a horse go through that but then I suppose they have to do it that way.

    I think Wildairo is so glad to be with a human who only wants to cuddle, kiss him, groom him and feed him treats. He probably stares at strange people like he does because he's worried they are going to do scary stuff to him.

    He let me go all over his body with a bamboo pole from the first day we had him and really enjoyed it. He also had no problem with anyone holding his lead rope. I suspect he might have been used in a gentleing demo at one time. That's the only thing I can think of why he let me do those thing's to him. He loved plastic bags right away and comes right up to me when he hears one. He pulled my shirt off the gate and played with it when he was here for about two weeks.

    The first few times I think he turned his back to me because he felt safer that way and could kick me if necessary but I surprised him and gave him a really good back rub and now he keeps wanting more. I'm walking off to the side to make him turn to face me or to be playful with him I hold out a plastic back and he turns around so quick when he hears it because he's thinking 'treats'. I laugh and rub his head and neck. Soon as he turns his back and gets wiggley for a back rub I get out the plastic bag again and he turns around. Around and around we go. He seems to enjoy our game. Every now and again he gets a little carrot. He a delightful little horse.



    Your filly looks so sweet without her halter off. It looks like she has furry ears like Wildairo. Good for keeping the bugs out.
    Arlene.

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  6. Hi Arlene. That is so weird that he let you pick up his rope. Andrea made quick progress with her mustangs, too.

    I want to try the bamboo pole. Where did you get yours? I was doing the same thing with the pvc and walking to the side like you said--but the bamboo pole is supposed to feel good running across their back.

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  7. I got my bamboo pole at the Home Depot in the gardening department. He liked his back to be scratched with it. I was amazed he let me run it down his legs and under his belly. I showed my older horse the pole and he walked off.
    Arlene.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.