Thursday, October 9, 2008

First post ever - the beginning

So, I've thought that I'd like to write about and share with others my experiences with the two mustangs we adopted back in 2005. I'm not much of a technology freak, so I'm just now learning about blogging. I've really enjoyed reading other's posts and wish that I had known about this resource back when I was first starting to work with the two 'stangs. I especially wish that I had known there were so many other people so near to where I live that are into mustangs! In the situation that I'm in, my two mustangs live on a quarter horse ranch surrounded by breed snobs (except for my man, he loves mustangs too). I've done just fine on my own, but would have really enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm about them with others.

Anyway, I already have made a lot of progress with my two, but I thought that I should start at the beginning. So the format of my posts for now, is going to be flashbacks to when we first adopted them, interspersed with what has been happening recently. Since it's getting colder and darker earlier, I probably will mostly be catching up from the past to the present (just won't have much present to report).

April 2005:

My man and I went to the "Ride the West" Horse Fair in Spokane, WA because we heard the mustangs were there. He's always been interested in them because of everything that they stand for; untamed, untouched, under natural selection therefore hardy and disease-free, and just plain real horses. I've always been interested in them for the same reasons. Additionally, when I was young, my great aunt and uncle had adopted a couple mustangs, and they really loved them, so I've had positive mustang influences in the past. We went to Spokane with the intent to "just look". Both of us were in graduate school, neither had worked with mustangs before, and we really weren't supposed to have time for this. But once we were there, we couldn't get them out of our minds. Todd loved a yearling sorrel filly with a big blaze and flaxen mane and tail that kind of hung out by herself, and I had found a nondescript yearling solid bay gelding who packed his small self into the middle of the little bunch of other yearling geldings. Both were really nicely put together; we could tell even though they were just yearlings. There were many others we liked but thought that they might go for more than our budget allowed. One that especially stole my heart was a cute gray and white pinto filly with a big gash on her head (probably ran into a panel).

So we headed home that evening, excitedly talking about the auction the next day. Todd got his mother to drive her trailer back up on Sunday. Todd filled out all the registration information and got his bid ticket, then we wandered around and waited for the auction to start. Our plan was to adopt the bay and the sorrel. Several horses came through first, then the yearling filly pen was run through in groups of a couple horses at a time. Todd was determined to get the yearling sorrel filly, so put in his bid right away. She was a nice filly, so the bidding went up and up, but we got her!!! By that time my adrenaline was going, I was so nervous and excited. We owned a mustang! We got the one we wanted! Now we just needed to wait for the yearling gelding pen. They also ran the yearling geldings through in groups of a couple at a time. Then the little bay came through. We waited to see if anyone would bid on him before we did because there is a program where if you adopt one, you can adopt a second "buddy" horse for only $25. We were hoping that's what we could do with the bay...he was one of the smaller built horses even though he was well-balanced, and a "plain" bay with no white. So we waited, and no one bid on him!!! So then we were anxious for the rest of the auction to finish so we could try to get our "buddy" horse. Todd went into the tent to fill out the paperwork on the filly that he'd won, and his mom and I watched the rest of the auction. Suddenly we noticed that the gray and white filly was going through. Bidding began on her, and we waited, expecting her price to go up and up, but surprisingly it didn't! We were then caught with trying to decide if we should try for her (Todd's mom was holding the ticket), but ultimately decided we shouldn't and the bidding ended while we were still in a moment of indecision (I still wonder today who adopted her, how she turned out and what she's doing now...she was almost our horse!). Then the auction finished and I hurried over to see how Todd was doing with trying to get the bay "buddy" horse. In my mind he was already ours, but not officially yet. He was waiting for the busy, busy BLM staff to assist him, so I wandered out to look at the board where they had posted all the available horses. I was so worried someone was going to get him first! As I was looking at the board, a BLM person came and crossed off his number. My heart just sank! Someone had gotten to him before we could! I ran back to the tent where Todd was still finishing up paperwork and told him the bad news. "I know", Todd said. My heart sank further, then Todd said "Geb, he's ours! We got him!" Wow, I could not have been happier, and Todd laughed at me for getting so upset that someone else had gotten "our" mustang. In retrospect, I should not have been so worried that he would have been one in high demand...he was passed over in the auction, and he was a smaller horse. Most people were going to the larger flashier horses. But honestly, I love that little bay horse and I will never think of solid bay as plain.

Then we watched as they herded our two into the alleyway, into the chutes, and put on the halter and leadropes we had brought. They ran together into the trailer and we shut the doors. On the way home, we stopped at the casino for dinner, and looked in at the two. They stood with heads up, eyeing us as we peered through the windows, but they didn't panic. They were just alert.

At home we ran them into their panel-surrounded pen, and let them settle in. For about a week, we didn't do anything with them other than feed them, stand near their pen and talk to them. There was a lot to get used to! They lived in a huge barn (originally meant to be an indoor arena, but was converted to a broodmare barn with panel stalls lining the barn). There was a lot of activity, loud noises, loud people and horses moving in and out constantly. The two (shaggy in their shedding April winter coats) looked just tiny and pathetic compared to the well-fed (if not overweight), well-bred quarter horses. But right away they were special.

I wish I had pictures from their first couple weeks at home, but I only have video. That video is priceless to me now that they are all grown up. It's hard to remember them as skinny rough-coated babies.

Anyway, that is the beginning of my story. More next time.


Andrea said...

I'm so glad you started a blog! But I wish you weren't moving, we really do need more mustang people around these parts.

This is so much like my experience bidding for Tonka. I adopted him at Ride the West the year after you got your two. My heart was beating so hard during the bidding! I barely got my boy, just a bit over my spending limit. The lady who was bidding against me was Tracey from, although I didn't know her at the time.

Last year in Coeur d' Alene I was shocked when nobody bid against us for Bella. But there weren't many people bidding.

I know what you mean about wondering about the ones you didn't get. There are still some I think about a lot, and hope they're in good homes and getting good training.

If you ever want to get together for a ride just let me know. :)

Andrea said...

Here I am again... I forgot to mention, if you're interested in joining an online mustang discussion forum, sign up here:

Lots of fun topics and knowledge sharing going on there.

spottedmules said...

Hi Andrea! Thanks for your welcome! I'd love to get together for a ride. My horses are in Troy, ID though and I don't have a trailer. I'd be willing to split gas costs though and there are wonderful trails near where the horses are (unfortunately hunting season just started).

I went to see the mustangs at "Ride the West" this year, and from what they said, adoptions were really down. Only 9 out of the 40 horses they offered in Spokane and another town in WA were adopted...and there were some REALLY nice horses in the bunch. Unfortunatly, I'm full right now..but someday I'd like to adopt another or two.

Andrea said...

I was at the adoption in Spokane too, kinda helping out and answering questions. We probably saw each other there. Yep, adoptions were way down this year. I was really bummed.

I'm game to trailer somewhere with you, I just don't know where to go that doesn't have hunters. I'm not real familiar with area trails either.

spottedmules said...

I probably did talk to you. I wandered into the BLM tent and asked a bunch of "Do the ones that get worked with during demos usually get adopted for higher fees?". I was really impressed with the big 5yr old bay that Susan Kirk worked with. He was so beautiful. I'd definitely like to someday adopt and "older" mustang (3-5years). I'm sure they are a much bigger challenge than if you get them as yearlings, and I'd like to see if I can work with one successfully.

arlene said...

Good blog.

Does anyone know what happened to the 5 yr old that Susan Kirk was working with in the demo?

I wonder what happened to Wildairo's best friend who was at the auction with him. Everyone thought he was really good looking so I hope he found a home later.

I was the only bidder on both my mustangs and I wonder would have happened to them if I hadn't have got them. (Echo had a bidder early on from Montana, but they dropped out). There were over 20 horses at the Odessa adoption and only two got adopted. It was so sad.

spottedmules said...

I don't know what happened to the 5-year old, but I'd like to also know what happened to him if anyone knows. I'm guessing that he didn't get adopted because of his age, but I could be wrong.

I really am worried about all the mustangs in holding facilities. They are the ones that are going to suffer in this poor economy. I just hope the government doesn't make a foolhardy decision to "get rid" of them all.

Linda Reznicek said...

Hi. I'm just catching up with your blog. I also adopted a yearling from Beaty's Butte--which you may have figured out from my blog. I have to wonder, though, if the yearlings are easier to train. I imagine they are, but mine seemed more insecure than some--and it was tough to get over that hump in the training. Once she realized she wasn't going to die, she just melted and now acts like the most broke horse in the herd. Weird. And, they're certainly not as intimidating as the older ones. I wish you weren't moving, because I would have loved to have met your horse from Beaty's Butte!!! I'll keep watching your blog.