Yesterday, after I blogged about the Lauman videos, I went out and had a horrible day with my Beautiful Girl. (Insert violins)
I went out determined to flag her, get her to lead, and pick up her feet with the rope and then my hands--two hours later I had accomplished my goals.
But not without getting very mad at her, and her getting very stubborn with me, making the whole experience seem like a major loss and downer.
So why did I get mad at her and what did I do?
I got mad because she wouldn't give me her feet, and she threatened me with the front left. I had already picked it up several times with the rope, and I'd picked up the right with my hands quite nicely. But it came down to this one issue: picking up the left hoof with my hands. She said NO WAY. I said, you better.
Actually, I said NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO--when she threatened to strike me (as she did the farrier a week before). Her eyes looked a bit frightened, and then something else set in--determination. The fact is, she's not scared of me anymore--it's a battle of who will surrender, and she tries to outlast me.
By the end of it, she haltered, led, picked up both feet, and surrendered her entire body, but let's call that a BAD DAY.
Now fast forward to today--A GOOD day.
At the very foundation of all of this lies one simple truth: I am my mustang's friend. And she knows it.
There's no horse in the world more appreciative of hay, a warm, clean place to lay their head, and safety, than a poor mustang. Just look at the legislation coming before congress now--to euthanize the 30,000 mustangs in holding because the BLM can't afford to care for them anymore, and you will agree, there is no animal more at risk than these animals.
Everyone will soon be asking themselves the hard question--What is the importance of the Mustang horse to the United States of America, and how much is it worth to us to preserve it?
I have insight to both sides--the cattlemen and the horse lovers. I know the cattlemen want and need land, and the horse lovers want their mustangs. I know that horses tear up the ground and compete for scarce resources and federal land like nothing else can.
But I also know the wild horse is an American Symbol. It represents survival, tenacity, pride--what amounts to the American Dream. At the very least, there should be some HARD thought and innovation put forward to preserve it.
When money is scarce, it's the weakest that die or are neglected first. The mustangs have been protected since the early '70's, so who will be next when money is still short?
Will it be the elderly? Will it be our children? Will it be the disabled vets?
When you start breaking promises, it's a slippery slope.
And, since I got onto that subject, it's hard to come back to the other subject of Beautiful's Training.
Today was a good day--it ALL went well. She surrendered her feet kindly--she led nicely. Every day is, truly, good for Beautiful--or better than her brothers and sisters and cousins that were not adopted in April.
Right now, when a horse goes to three adoptions and is not homed--they're out. It's the three strikes you're out rule.
Hay and money are a scarce commodity for horse owners--horses are a luxury it is more and more difficult to afford. Many of our mustangs are not being adopted--many of them have three strikes.
Should they have been rounded up in the first place? Should they be let loose now?
Let's put our heads together and come up with a responsible and humane solution that will make it a "Good Day" for every sound Mustang in America.