Work Wednesday—Mustang Saga Part Two


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Besides cutting wood and feeding the furnace and all the holiday hoopla, I have, of course, been working with the horses. Chestnut is much happier since we removed her too-tight halter, although she’s still pretty bossy in the pasture and bitchy about food. She follows me around like a puppy, but she’s still tossing her head a little too much for my taste. She really hates being alone too, without the others, when I move her into the south section of the pasture. Now that she’s finally with horses, instead of cows, she doesn’t want to be away from them!

Cody is proving to be a tough nut to crack. I can approach within a few feet before she starts to step away; sometimes, especially when I’m carrying hay, she’ll come to me—again, within a few feet. She’s taken hay from my hand once or twice, but we’re both really stretching!

She’s sniffed at feed buckets a little, but isn’t really interested in grain. Or treats. When she’s in the south section, with more pasture, she eats constantly. She listens to me, whinnies when I whistle in the morning, and pays attention to everything. Nothing much seems to faze her, except my getting too close.

Still, she truly isn’t crazy. I haven’t seen any bucks or kicks or testing the fence. She doesn’t chase or nip or flatten her ears. I can herd all of them, at the same time, from one section to the other without any trouble.

Cav, on the other hand, is a constant source of entertainment. When I first brought out the buckets a few days ago, he promptly stuck his nose in one; followed by a foot. Naturally, it tipped over within seconds, and he wandered away.

The next day, nose went in, foot stayed out, and he’s becoming quite the little grain hog. Cody keeps checking it out, but moves on pretty quickly to the hay.

He’s come “this close” to taking a treat from me. One day, I sneakily tossed an apple chunk his direction. It landed smack in between his front feet, and those front feet went straight up in the air to avoid, and then kill, that terrifying apple.

He bucks now and then too, when running around the pasture with Chestnut or his mom. And he and Cody both give me that same side-eye . . .

I’ve been able to touch his soft little nose, and barely his face, but that’s it so far. His fuzzy forelock and ears keep calling me, and it’s hard to resist!

The immediate goal is to get Cody to take grain, to put on some weight, and to start she and Cav on de-wormer. And we’ll keep working on touching and scratching.

It’s a slow process, but much better than “breaking” them.

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ETA: I DID touch that fuzzy little forelock, but with gloves on. It’s 14 degrees here this morning!

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Work Wednesday—Mustangs!


Well, Cody and Cav have been here a week now and have adjusted very well. They aren’t really in bad condition, at least, not as bad as I was prepared for. Cody, especially, needs her feet trimmed, but they’re more rugged—as one would expect for a wild horse—than overgrown or injured. Neither are particularly underweight, but are always hungry.

Chestnut, our visitor, was super excited to meet other horses—she’d been sharing a pasture with a few cows for a couple years—and she followed little Cav around like a puppy. Of course, she nipped him when he got a little too familiar with her nose, but other than that, they get along pretty well.

Funniest thing is that now, watching Cav take naps, Chestnut will too! Almost every day, within feet of Cav. Cody doesn’t seem bothered by their friendship; in a wild herd, all the horses watch out for the foals and, of course, let them know if they get out of hand. Gently, of course—foals can get away with a lot!

Cav has a very expressive face. He’s taken hay from me several times now, and yesterday I got to touch his little nose. He didn’t run or even step backwards, but jerked his head a little bit and his eyes got huge! Later in the day, he came SO CLOSE to taking a sugar cube from me, but not quite . . . he did follow me around the pasture while I was cleaning up. Once, when a forkful of manure and straw flew in his line of sight, he skedaddled pretty quick for a few steps. Came right back, though.

He also loves the mineral block—and my poor cedar trees are taking a beating from his scratching!

I put Chestnut in the south section of the pasture for a few hours yesterday. She’s such a pet that she’d be all over me for treats, and she tends to herd the others away so she can get all those treats for herself. When we took her over there a couple days ago for some work, she freaked out and could only think of getting back to her posse—even if she does bully them at feeding time. So for now she’ll go in that other section for a few hours a day until she stops being buddy sour.

Cody is a bit of an enigma. She’s very alert and will watch me until she realizes that whatever I’m doing isn’t a threat, and then she’ll go back to grazing. She’ll come close, almost within arm’s reach, but that’s about it, except for twice now she’s let me hand her some hay.

The first time, a couple of my fingers inadvertently went into her mouth, and we were both surprised—no harm done; other being startled a bit, we’re both okay with it. J

When I brought in our old squeaky wheelbarrow, Cody was very, very interested. She stood and watched me all the way from the house to the gate. I had a handful of hay left in the back of the truck, so I gave her that, but when she realized there wasn’t actually food in the squeaky thing, she wandered off.

But not too far. She had to keep coming back to check!

So I cleaned up the quarter section where we drop hay, although I’m rotating it around the area, and by the gate; Cody kindly left a fresh pile as I was leaving the pasture . . . And I cleaned out the shed. Later today, I’ll go get some proper tools and finish up the rest.

Wilson, our Maine Coon, has now met Cody. He’d been used to wandering around the pasture while we were fencing, and until Chestnut arrived. The first few times he went outside after the whole herd got here, he’d stop and stare for a while, on the deck, where he was “safe.” Yesterday, he went into the pasture while I was out there . . .

Cody was closest to him, and saw him right away. She paused for a hot second, then made her way over to him. I believe he thought he was invisible, but she quickly changed his mind. She put her nose down to him and chuffed a couple times while he flattened himself and made a pitiful mew. She decided he wasn’t going to hurt her, and ambled away.

Wilson, on the other hand, went under the fence like he was shot out of a cannon. He ran about ten yards toward the house, then saw me and came back inside the pasture—but he stayed close to me! Then, of course, he discovered manure . . . A little bit later, while I was cleaning the shed, he’d made himself a nest right in the center of all the straw.

He did meet Cav, too. Cav is fascinated with this fuzzy creature, but Wilson’s not so sure about it yet. He didn’t run, but Cav didn’t put his nose on him either, like Cody did!

I’ll leave you with a few pictures; sorry there aren’t more yet—but I’m still old-school enough to live in the moment and not have to document every second. Besides, I’ve kinda got my hands full here!

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