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).
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.