Thursday, June 7, 2012

Currently our valley is the home for 12 horses.  They are fat, happy and have lush green pastures.  I've often wondered, if we had a wild mustang herd here in Wisconsin, how many acres would a herd of 12 need to survive?  It think that our one little valley would be enough during the summer, but the winter would be the deciding factor.  I'm not sure horses could make it in WI in winter no matter how much land they had available to forage...there is usually just too much snow.  But it's interesting to ponder.  These horses are 4 mustangs (3 at this very moment since Griffin is away at training), 1 quarter horse, and 7 Tennessee walkers.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Feels a little lonely with only 4 in my pasture

It's not what you think.  Some of you may know that I listed Kachina for sale, with one very interested party, that soon after fell through.  Since then, I have not had a single call about her.  So, she is still in my pasture.

It is Griffin who is not in my pasture, but it is only temporary!  He is with a talented young mustang trainer, Jessie of If Wishes Were Horses.  For those of you who don't know, Jessie placed 8th in the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Madison, WI this April!  This was her second time competing.  I've watched her since she trained her first mustang for the EMM a few years ago and I respect her methods and like her results.  So I asked if she'd be interested in taking on a little summer project.  She said she was excited to work with another mustang.  I think she'll have fun with him.  I think he's pretty close to being ready to ride, and I am relieved to have him at a place where I know he'll get consistent work and a good foundation. 

I've been working a little with him since school got out, but primarily walks on the trail and ponying on the trail.  I've also really been getting him used to the trailer.  After his first trailer loading experience back in February, I've not tried since.  He was so uncomfortable with it then, didn't want to load, and was having difficulty listening to me when I was asking him to load.  So I wanted him to have some more time with me working him on the ground.  I think it paid off.  I first lunged him at the opening (something I didn't do in February because the ground was so squishy), and then asked him to send in.  When he was making a good effort sending in and coming out, then I lead him in, and he followed me right in.  He was still a little nervous about it, but I just tried to make it fun and never made him stand in there too long.  I wanted to be able to close the divider on him by the time I drove him to Jessie's but he wasn't comfortable enough for me to feel safe tying him and closing the divider.  He was just a little claustrophobic about it.  So I never tried, and just let him ride loose.  For me, it was a big success because he loaded up with very little insistence from me.  Time will come when I can close the divider too.

He rode in the trailer very well.  I could feel it when he turned around in the trailer twice to change the direction he was facing.  He prefers to face backwards.  This is a picture of Griffin checking out the scenery at a rest stop along the way. 

The drive was about 2.5 hours.  When we got to Jessie's he unloaded easily looked around with interest, then started grazing.  He was so relaxed about being in a new location.  I was really pleased to see that.  And he settled right into his pen.

I'm looking forward to hearing updates on his progress!