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!

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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