Work Wednesday—The Mustang Saga


As you already know, a few weeks ago I found out about four herds of wild mustangs that were endangered: starving, neglected, and headed for auction if they weren’t adopted. It was suggested that you adopt at least two, so I applied for a mare and a foal. I was approved, and finally arranged transportation for them.

They arrived last night.

Freezing cold, around 23 degrees, but clear, with a nice full moon. Jerry, of Pegasus Equine, pulled his giant rig through the gates around 10:00 p.m. In order to unload mine, he first had to bring down two others.

And one, I swear, was The Black Stallion. You know, of Walter Farley fame? My absolute dream horse, and I finally, finally got to see him! Okay, sure, I know it wasn’t him, but still . . . he had a high old time, calling to the neighbors’ mares across the road; and they were sure answering him!

Then, at last, my two came off the trailer. I am pleased to introduce Catnip’s Christmas Cody and her colt, Catnip’s Comanche Cavalry:

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They ambled through the pasture, grazing a bit, and I gave them hay and water. Chestnut, our visiting horse, paced back and forth along the cross-fence, probably all night.

I finally went to bed around midnight, but still couldn’t sleep—I see a nap coming on this afternoon, if I can tear myself away from the windows!

This morning, still 23 degrees, I put out more hay and refilled their water bucket and gave Chestnut her grain and hay. Broke the ice on the water trough too, naturally. After the requisite thawing and a little more coffee, I went back outside.

Both Cody and Cav watched me as I went into their pasture; earlier, they’d approached within 10-12 feet—of course, I was carrying an armload of hay. Chestnut was looking over the fence, but no longer pacing, so I fed her a carrot and opened the gate. She ambled on through, glanced at the others, and started nibbling on grass.

Cody and Cav stared at that gate for a minute, listening to Chestnut but not looking around at all, then they walked on through to the north pasture. After a minute or so, Chestnut followed them and I walked back over and shut the gate.

They found the hay, then the water trough; Cav seems partial to the mineral block. Chestnut is enamored with Cav—she follows him around, they’ve touched noses a few times, and once, apparently, he gave her a little nip because she quickly put him in his place. Cody looked up at his squeal as if to say, “Knock it off, you two!” and went back to her hay.

They’re moving around as a group now, just a couple hours after being in the same pasture. Cav is having lunch; or maybe it’s his third breakfast . . . and, as you can see, Cody is making herself at home:

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Work Wednesday—Almost Here!


Late yesterday morning, I received pictures of our new horses! In case you haven’t seen them, here they are:

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I spent the rest of that day basically jumping around the house; it’s a good thing almost all my work was done for the day! Well, except for the finishing touches: 003

And of course, the neverending saga of putting additional screws in the fence. Thankfully, the sun finally came out around 2:30. More or less.

My assortment of halters, ropes, and, inexplicably, a book called “The Backyard Cow,” arrived mostly unscathed, and this weekend we’re taking delivery of 50 or so bales of hay.

A lot of work? Yes. Cold? Yes.

But not nearly as cold as the weather in South Dakota, where the horses are coming from . . .

I’ll write more on Friday, but my horses are coming from a rescue that’s under court order to adopt out a certain percentage of the herd. The deadline to apply was November 30, which was about two weeks after I first heard about it.

The remaining horses are going to auction December 19-20, and yes, some will likely be sold to kill buyers. Again, more about this on Friday.

Now, I jumped at the chance to own a couple wild mustangs—come on, who wouldn’t? But I’m also rather practical. Most of the time. Okay, some of the time. But our intentions were always, once we moved out here, to get a couple horses.

I don’t think this is exactly what my husband had in mind . . .

Those of you who came out about a month after we closed on the farm will surely be wondering what the heck is wrong with us—the place was a wreck before you all came out and helped with clean-up. And we’ve done a few things since then.

We’ve been seeding the pasture area, spring and fall, and we’d always planned to put in the fence this year when the weather turned a bit cooler from those nearly-forgotten summer temps. We stepped up the timetable a bit after agreeing to work with a neighbor’s horse, and having her live here for a while during training, but neither he nor we were in a rush.

Then I saw the adoption site.

And here’s the problem—a lot of folks think, “Wow, free horses!” and they’re off and running. Sure, I thought that too, but 1) I have space and 2) I have facilities for horses and 3) I can afford to pay for transport, feed, vet, farrier, etc. And, well, 4) I have experience and quite a collection of tack and tools gathered over the years.

But some of these adopters, gosh, I really wonder if they know what they’re getting into. Some are sending their adoptees to be boarded; some, at least on social media, indicate little knowledge or experience; some can’t afford the hauling fees—how can they afford to board or feed the animals?

I understand that they’re saving the horses from a kill pen, but still . . . On the other hand, those in charge of approving adoptions presumably went over the applications and did give approval. So perhaps all is well.

I only know that were things we had to do before the arrival of our pair, and yes, we’re doing them. Probably will even be finished days before they arrive. Really, we only moved up the date, not the purpose.

In a nutshell, these horses are coming to a home where they’ll have plenty of hay and grain, shelter, vet care, and their very own people—none of which they had in South Dakota.