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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wildairo the messy Mustang.

Wildairo poops everywhere in his corral. I have never seen anything like it. Horses like to poop in one area in their pens and pastures. Not this wild boy! I suspect he even pooped in his water. I have caught him putting his feet in his water. He piles it up where I feed him and even where I put his little snack bowl.

The other day William and I were sitting and talking while Wildairo ate his hay and Wildairo did something awful, he peed in his hay!

How can he ever have a decent civilized roommate if he carries on like this? I don't clean it up because I'm hoping he gets tired of eating his hay on top of his poop. So far he doesn't give a hoot. Even ate the hay he piddled on!

I suppose when he was in the wild it didn't matter where they went. Has anyone else had a Mustang like this and did they ever clean up their act?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wildairo is halter broke.

I can now walk straight up to Wildairo with the halter in full view and put it on him. It will very difficult for me to lead him because I can only walk very slowly.

Last night I called Brad over to look at a sick cow and while I was waiting near Wildairo's gate I gave him a head to toe massage. He is not too keen letting me pick his feet up, he still pulls back. I noticed his knees felt a bit puffy and inflamed. When I touched them he seemed a bit sensitive there. I wonder what's that all about?

After our little 'Who's yer boss' lesson he's being very polite. My son William is really enjoying him and thinks he's like a great big puppy.

I climbed up on the gate and stood over him like he was being mounted. He didn't really notice because he was getting a good back rub at the time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wildairo get's 'owned'.

This evening I was in the corral with Wildairo pretending to be busy by banging in loose nails in the boards and getting him used to new activity. He didn't like it at first but then quickly grew used to it and went back to his eating. I was petting him while he was eating and moved around him with a the rope and halter. Just because I got the halter on him once I won't consider him halter broke till I can put a halter on him no matter what mood he's in.

I was just standing there, at a safe distance, talking to Brad the other side of the fence, when something startled Wildairo. We have no idea what made him jump, but he jumped back away from us a step and threw his head up. I didn't jump but I flexed enough to re injure my poor healing foot. Ouch! The little startled jump he did was acceptable, it was what he did afterwards that I didn't like. He put his ears flat back at me to warn me and I told him "NO" and he did it again! He made a slight gesture to let me know he'd take me on if he had to. After 45 years around all kinds of horses I can read them very well and he just messed with the herd boss!

There was need for him to threaten me and it reminded me of when he first came to live with us. There will be many new situations he will be facing and he has to learn to deal with them without becoming defensive. Even though he's known me for almost two months he still doesn't fully trust me. Because of my surgery and I wasn't able to spend as much time as I would have liked in the corral with him. I approached him and touched his face and neck to assure him he wasn't about to be attacked then I showed him I was his boss.

I got my long whip and put him to a trot around the pen. I have to point out that he wasn't running wild and scared from me. This lesson was to show him I could stress him and not hurt him. He did not want to move around the corral and kept stopping and facing me with his ears perked looking me right in the eyes. It was kind of hard for me not to go and give him a kiss because I find the little stinker so lovable. Every time he stopped it's was hard to get him going again for two reasons, I move very slow because of my ankle and also he refuses to move unless I'm really dramatic with my arms and whip. He acts fearless!

When he did get going he lashed out with his front hooves as he cantered off in protest. He really needs to know I'm not just his feeder and his full time back scratcher. When I stopped him he turned immediately to face me ears up and forward staring at me like I'd gone mad and no matter what I said or did he wouldn't come to me. I can usually call him, gesture or if all fails a plastic bag will get him right over to me because he knows baby carrots come in plastic bags. Not this time. He just stood like a statue staring at me and after awhile it became really funny. Before I adopted him I watched him in the BLM corrals with the other colts and I believe before he was captured he had big plans to be the boss stallion one day. And now here was some lame mare pushing him around! HE WAS GOB SMACKED!

I kept approaching him petting his face and cheek and doing that sweet talking that horse love, then walking away. He just stood still not taking his eyes off me. After awhile he followed behind me when I walked away and stayed right with me. Of course I was rubbing it in by saying, " who's your boss" and stuff like that. I stroked his neck and we called it a day.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wildairo the Willing.

I went shopping in Big R's in Moses Lake for a rope halter for Wildairo. In the halter section holding a couple of halters I come across this Australian bloke. He told me he was buying 'Be nice' halters to take back to Australia with him. He said he bought some before when he was in the US and now he was here to get some for his mates back home. Heck, I only drove from Odessa! Anyway, he said he loved them and they were a great training halter. So I bought a nice green one.

I tried it out on Foxsun first to get the hang of it and he was fine with it but he's always is OK with everything.

I showed the new halter to Wildairo and he thought it was very nice too and let me put his nose through the nose band. This evening I thought I should have got a picture of his nose in the halter, so my son and I went back out to the corral to take a picture of him looking at his new halter. One thing led to another and a picture tells a thousand words. Please note other than the wrangler from the BLM forcing a halter on him in the chute, this is the first time he's had a halter put on.










I was very surprised he let me put the halter on. Once it was on I gave him a cuddle and a kiss for being a good boy. I tried my luck at leading him and he was all for it. I ran out of memory space in my camera but I did lead him a little bit with a lead rope. I ran into a snag though because I can't walk very good yet without crutches. He was very willing to do what ever I wanted and was a very good boy.

It wouldn't have been a good idea to leave him wearing a Be Nice training halter so I removed it. He didn't want us to go and so as we were walking off he pounded on the fence with his big over grown hooves. I gave him a big pile of hay to keep him busy but he still just stood and watched us go. He's very bored I think. He's eager to learn and be every ones friend.

What a darling Mustang he is. Thank you William for taking such nice photos.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wildairo does big and little circles.

I went into the corral with Wildairo again today and made the mistake of not taking my crutches. My ankle is hurting like crazy with spasms and I was afraid I'd done some damage to it. The good thing is when you have major surgery they give you some really good pain killers, so right now I'm feeling no pain. (and probably writing jibberish lol). Another thing about being crutchless, when I was having Wildairo trot around the pen I couldn't move to make him change directions very well, and that was a big draw back. Wildairo kept stopping and looking me puzzled. Next time I'll take my crutches. Wildairo likes it when I have the crutches because then I'm four legged like him. I noticed he does seem to have a lovely long stride when he's trotting.

He was very well behaved and seems to be trying so hard to do what I want. I was getting him used to having me walk up to his side and touch his neck with the rope in my hand. He was very OK with it and I did it several times. My halter is heavy and I don't want the buckle to hit him and scare him so I'm going to buy a rope halter.

He rested his head in my hands again and I gave him a big kiss. He is intelligent and eager to please. When I first got him he would strike out at me with his front hooves hitting the gate with a bang and he also charged at me a few times with ears back threatening to bite. I had to get tough with him and after that I'd yell "No" if even his facial expression got angry towards me. I wanted to nip that behavior in the bud and to show him I'm the boss. No mean attitudes will be tolerated here. I was very pleased how quickly he learned. A quiet "no" stopped him when he attempted to nibble my shoes when I was sitting in my lawn chair with my feet up on his fence. Now he's such a sweetie pie it's hard to believe he's the same scared little fellow.

Wildairo's got a funny little thing he does with his head if he wants something. The first time he did it was one night while I was keeping him company, my cell phone rang and he started moving his nose in little circles with his ears perked up looking at the light and listening to the ring tone. In the dark I showed him the open lighted phone and pressed the keys for him and his nose was just moving around in those little circles till I let him get his nose on it. He does it when I'm feeding him an apple. I take a bite and put the piece in his mouth and all the time he's doing his nose circles because I'm not biting chunks off fast enough for him. I could let him bite the apple himself but then I'd miss his little boy silliness.

We played a joke on him. He walked off when I switched sides with the rope petting, so Brad, William and I got in a huddle by the fence and pretended to be having a good time without him. Brad and Will were laughing and I threw in some happy horse sounds for good measure. In two shakes of a lambs tail Wildairo wanted to be part of the fun loving human herd. He turned around and let out a big sigh and joined us. I love this little wild Mustang colt!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I was in Wildairo's corral again.

Today my son, William and I spent some more time with Wildairo. Will stayed outside by the gate and I went in. I used both my crutches for support on the rough ground and it was a little awkward. I made him run around the pen with my long whip, in both directions but he kept stopping and turning towards me with ears pricked forward. He just wanted to be with me, so after once in each direction we stopped. He came to me and was ok with me approaching him. He's more comfortable face to face or letting me scratch his tail area. When I stroked his neck he'd walk quickly forward so his tail was next to me. I refused to scratch his back and so I turned quickly away every time he moved forward. He didn't like that so he followed me. After awhile he realized walking forward stops all attention so he stayed put and let me stand by his neck and stroke his neck. That is where I need to be to put his halter on.

He was so relaxed with us. He drank water and was interested in both William and me and kept going from one to the other. He can't stand to see anyone walk away from him and wants to follow. He kept sniffing William's face so I told Will to blow into his nostril. Wildairo loved it. I was very pleased with Wildairo, I felt safe and relaxed with him. He walked up to me and wanted nostril blowing and kisses. I even held his head under his chin and I gave him a kiss on the brow. Second time in the corral and we're already kissing. A far cry from how they used to break wild Mustangs in the old days.

After awhile I'll put a rope around his neck to get him used to it then later I'll try try putting his halter on. His feet need to be trimmed but I'm going to wait as long as I can.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

No fence between us.

I asked Brad to tip out Wildairo's icky water and refill it for me. While the gate was open I went in the pen with Wildairo for the first time! I took one crutch for support and had a hand free to pet him. He came right up to me sniffing my hands for treats so I gave him a couple of the little baby carrots he loves. I couldn't believe I was finally with my Mustang without a fence between us! I rubbed his head, scuffed up his forelock, stroked his cheek and neck. He acted like any tame horse and put up with it for awhile before going back to his hay. I limped about the corral for awhile and he came over to me again. When I 'walk ' around the outside of the corral he always follows me, so he's used following me about. Even though I was out of carrots he just wanted to be with me.

It is the greatest feeling in the world to win the trust of a horse that threatened to bite and kick me not too many weeks ago because he didn't trust humans. (I adopted him in Odessa on April 27th 2008). I highly recommend adopting a Mustang. I can't imagine how my life would life would have been without horses in it. Even after 45 years of being a horse lover it hasn't grown old or boring. There's always so much to learn and do with horses. Adopting this darling, feisty Mustang colt is definitely one of the highlights of my life.

When I went to the Odessa BLM Wild Horse Adoption I wasn't very serious about getting a horse. It was only about a 15 min drive from our place so I went out of curiosity. I thought maybe I could get a little donkey (burro) to keep my Morgan, Foxsun, company because his best friend Dandylyons is getting old and we've never had a cow live past 20.

I've never owned a mare and so I went right to the pen of 2 yr old geldings. I took one look at #7944 and it was love at first sight. There was something about his face. I never even bothered to look at the yearling geldings because I had to get this colt. He's not a perfect equine specimen. He's a bit cow hocked, his head could be a tad shorter etc but as they say love is blind. When they loaded him in the trailer to bring him home for us, I was over the moon with happiness. It was like all my girlhood horsey dreams had come true. I kept saying, "Oh he's so beautiful, I can't believe he's mine". This might sound over the top so maybe only a fellow horse lover could understand how I felt.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My 45 years with horses.

I started taking riding lessons when I was 9 or 10. I took my first lessons at Bill Juff's riding school in Wootton Bedfordshire in England. Ray or Jane gave the lessons. My first lesson was on a pony named Strawberry. I would have one lesson then spend the day grooming, cleaning tack and doing other odd jobs. If I was really lucky I got to ride one of the ponies back to the paddock bare back. I loved it there. I would eat my cheese and pickle sandwich lunch in the tack room that smelled of leather and saddle soap.
Here's a picture of me on my way to spend the day at Bill Juff's riding school. It was taken in 1963 or 1964 when I was about 10 yrs old.

Arlene in 1963 or 64.

I would often ride one of the riding school ponies in the local gymkhana's. I remember taking a pony called Silver to one of the gymkhana's and I just loved him. I even went with Bill Juff and some other people from the school fox hunting. We rode with the Oakley Hunt. I rode a pony named Merrylegs. I'm against fox hunting and all hunting. My friends and I let the little fox run between our ponies and never said a word.

I attended another riding school at Castle Mill Bedfordshire to learn how to jump. I remember my first lesson was on a bay called Gypsy.
They had a lovely indoor school, with mirrors even.

When I was 16 I bought an Exmoor type pony called Brandy and had the best fun ever. There wasn't anything we wouldn't have a go at. We even tried tackless riding and jousting. (Not at the same time).

For a few years I kept Brandy with a man from a local gypsy family named Sam Smith. He was a genius with horse and taught me many thing's about horses. He never learned to drive or owned a car, so he used a horse and cart to get about. I went with him sometimes to deliver manure to local gardeners. I can remember someone had a horse that was being really bad and nobody could ride it. Even though Sam was very elderly he mounted that horse and to everyones delight that horse became so well behaved and didn't put a foot wrong.

Here's a picture of us taken in the summer of 1970.
1970 Brandy and me.

Brandy and I covered hundreds of miles exploring Bedfordshire alone. I'd stop at village shops to get something to eat. Brandy would eat anything and refused to go past a village shop till I went in and bought him something like a Mars Bar or a bag of chips (crisps). I never had to tie him up. We would also find stuff to eat on our long rides in the fields. He loved to go blackberry picking and would tear into the bushes and make a pig of himself. We even rode through down town Bedford and crossed every bridge including the suspension bridge. I would take him to get re-shod at Ted Pages blacksmith forge close to the center of Bedford, in an area known as Black Tom. The building had a low roof and cobblestone floor. The smoke would fill the place up as he got his hot shoes fitted.

Here are some more photos of Brandy.
Brandy tacked up

1970 Brandy, cousin Carolyn and me.


The last picture was taken in June 1976. I left England a few years before and gave Brandy to a lovely girl named Rachel who loved him for the rest of his long life. As soon as I returned to England I took my 11 month old baby son for a ride on my dear friend.

Here are some more horses I owned.

Eb about 1980
This is Eb and me taken about 1980. He was a Morgan Thoroughbred cross. He loved to swim and we swam across the Spokane river. We spent many days exploring the Mica Peak area.

Me and Magic 1984
This is Vice Regal Magic and me in 1984. He was a Morgan show horse.

I had the privilege of owning other horses and ponies over the years and wished I'd taken more photos.

In 1988 while pregnant with my second son, William, I bought a 2 year old Morgan colt from Apple Pi Morgans in Moorcroft, Wyoming. His name is Apple Pi Foxsun Bay. Here he is in his younger days.

Foxsun as a youth
Standing in his horse house.
Cantering in his pasture in front of our house.

He was 'out standing in his field'.

The above photo is of Foxsun, Brad and William taken in 1996 on our ranch.

The next picture is of me and Foxsun working cattle in December 2007. He is the most honest, gentle, layed back horse I have ever met. He lives with the cattle and has been best friends with my pet cow, Dandylyons, for 17 years. I bottle fed her and he was her babysitter.
Foxsun can go a year without being ridden and even with a belly full of grain he's just as layed back and well behaved as you would ever want. He still looks good and I believe it's not only because of the easy life he has led but also because he was never ridden till he was over 3 years old. His body and mind were ready at that age.
Gates have been left open over the years and he's proven to be trust worthy and reliable. He even brings home cows alone when they escape.

The following picture are of my dear old Morgan Foxsun and his old cow wife, Dandylyons.



One day Wildairo will be turned out with Foxsun, then he'll be able to stand up on the bluff and keep an eye on thing's like Foxsun does.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My friend the Mustang

Wildairo doesn't fret anymore when the cattle and my Morgan, Foxsun go out in the evening. He has figured out they always come home in the morning, so he doesn't worry. Yesterday I caught him sitting down next to the fence where there were the two baby calves, also sitting down.

I whinny to him and he whinnies back. What I find so interesting about my Mustang is that so many thing's are new to him nothing really surprises him. He must think is normal for humans to whinny and poke whips through the fence to catch him. I have a long whip with a rope on the end. I loop it around his head and pull him to me.


I still enjoy sitting next to his corral in my lawn chair. I was running my hand down his hind legs when I felt something stuck to him so I pulled it off. He raised his hind leg and a warning so I gave him a gentle tap with my fingers and told him "No". He's learned he is not supposed to threaten me but every now and again he forgets a tiny bit. He's a quick learner. He will press his body up against the fence so I can scratch his withers and mane. I can put my arms around his neck. I'm afraid he'll try to get that cosy with me when I go in the pen with him, it wouldn't take much to knock me over in my weakened state. I bought a little riding crop to tap him with if he tries to throw himself into my arms.

My son is home from college now. Although William was there at the adoption, Wildairo really checked him out. I think it's funny how he keeps his eye on new people. My older horse had several strangers visit him over the weekend and he stood there with his eyes closed as they all petted him. He doesn't care who's around him and is as gentle as a lamb.

I am so glad I adopted this Mustang. He is one of the most interesting and intelligent horses I have ever met. And I have known hundreds of horses.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wildairo has visitors

I decided to sell some cattle, two cows, a calf and a heifer. Brad ran a bunch into the corrals to sort them. While in the alley they were crashing into the the fence and gate of Wildairo's pen, but he was very polite and nickered a friendly greeting and he went over to them.
I thought of Wildairo's reaction to the commotion only after it started but he handled it very well and was very interested, then he remembered his pile of hay behind him and return to it. One of the cows was left in a mustang proof small pen overnight and managed to smash through it. I'm glad she's gone!
The next day our neighbor came with his stock trailer came for the cows and Wildairo thought he was going too. He went to the other side of his corral and then thought better of it and stood by the fence next to me, for safety I think. He watched the stock trailer back up by his pen and was very calm and interested in everything.
Once the cattle were loaded our neighbor came over to see my mustang. Wildairo stared at him with his eyes open very wide, although he ate an apple he was very jumpy and wouldn't take his eyes off the 'stranger' in the cowboy hat. He really has learned to trust Brad and I and recognizes someone different.
Our neighbor was very interested in my mustang and asked a lot of questions about where he came from and about the BLM rules. I think he liked him and he gave me some training tips and even offered to geld him for me, but he's been done already. He and his sons have a huge cattle ranch and still work the cattle with horses. One of the sons is a horse breeder/trainer and has a very large indoor arena the size of a football field. Wildairo relaxed a bit and turned around and backed up to the fence for a back rub. I pulled his tail through the fence because he loves having it messed with and Brad gave him a back rub. Wildairo put his nose in the air and wiggled with glee. Our neighbor said, "If I didn't see that with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it".
Wildairo is still a little nervous of having his neck area touched, he allows it, but would rather have his back end massaged. I've been waving the halter above his head while he eats so he gets used it. When thing's slow down around here I'll get Brad to help me get it back on.