Saturday, June 24, 2017

Working with baby mustangs.

This was the night we brought them home.
My mustang pen has not been used for quite a while!  Well, it has occasionally held friend's new horses as a quarantine pen.  It was getting late when we brought them home the first night, so left them alone after feeding them.  They needed to just settle in.

Right from the start, the sorrel didn't seem as afraid as the bay roan.  The bay roan would hide behind the sorrel most of the time if we got too close, and was the first to move away, taking the sorrel with her.

When I arrived to see them the next morning after adoption, first they hung back.

Then the sorrel boldly approached me get a closer look.

I could get pretty close to them at the waterer.

And the sorrel actually touched my hand with her nose.

And they got their first taste of grain.  The sorrel really liked it, while the bay roan took a few nibbles before moving away.
We let them just hang out that day as well...

And Sunday morning I sat by them as they ate hay.  Both of them sniffed my back.  They have sweet eyes.

That evening, my friend stopped by to visit and we started their first official work session.  First I worked with the sorrel with the pole.  She didn't run at all and it didn't take long at all until I could touch her all over her whole body with the pole.  Her uncomfortable spot was her chest and front legs.  She attempted to rear and half-heartedly strike out.  But settled quickly.  I advanced quickly to touching her shoulder and rubbing her neck.  Her "good" side is her right side.  She prefers me on that side.  I was a bit pushy with her just because she let me touch her so quickly.  I attempted to rub her face, and she didn't like that very much, and attempted to pin her ears at me and threaten to strike.  So I just ended on a good note being able to rub her withers and back on both sides.

Then my friend worked with the bay roan.  This is her first time working with mustangs.  The bay roan is a bit flightier and needs a bit more work to gain trust, but really she's not bad.  And once my friend gains that trust, she's going to love the bond they build!

The bay roan's tendancy is to kick when the pole gets down by her tail and her sides...but after running at first, she settled quickly.  We didn't touch her today, but she is learning that she can be touched.

That evening, my friend took the bay roan to her house so that the two could be separated and it would be easier to work with them.

I was busy Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday I got a chance to work with the sorrel again.

As you can see from the pictures, things progressed rapidly!

She is the least spooky, calm mustang I've ever met!  She will be a fun one!  I anticipate having more trouble when we get to the making her move part.  Right now I'm encouraging her to stand and just let me touch her all over.  I can throw a rope over her back and she doesn't even move off!  She seems completely unconcerned.  I can swing it and bump her against her butt.  She makes me think maybe she's done this before?  But once I got to the halter part, she let me halter her, but if I put any pressure on the rope, she reacts like an unbroke horse...leans into the pressure.  We haven't done anything with leading yet, but I anticipate doing that this weekend.  I'm pretty positive that she's never done any of this before, but she is just so easy!  So laid back!  So calm!  She doesn't even seem upset that she's in her pen all by herself with no other horses around.  She's not going to be a very big horse and she's not the best put together horse I've ever seen, but with this temperament, she has a lot of potential.

And I ended the session by taking her tag off!  I unwound it through the holes (rather than cutting it off)...that's how chill she is.

Oh, and by the end of that session, after calling her Fifi the whole time (just as a cutesy pet name), Fifi began to stick, so her name is going to be Phoebe (Fifi for short).  It may change to Phoenix, but Phoebe fits her better.  We'll be calling her Fifi a lot!


Linda said...

She gentled fast. What a sweetie!

Shirley said...

What fun! I like the name Phoebe. So did you pick these 2 out of a bunch at an adoption event? What was it that made you pick them? Just curious if it was a connection you felt.