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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wildairo and Echo as different as night and day.


You might remember a few weeks ago I went to put Wildairo's halter on him for the first time this Spring and he stepped back and then walked off. Well Wildairo went through some 'head-lock training' and it was incredibly successful. It was all I could do not to crack up completely because the big galoot lets me lead him around in a head lock. I have learned to be creative with my mustangs and I have also learned that nothing really surprises them when it comes to the crazy antics of humans.

So with my arms firmly around Wildairo's head I was able to lead him around and back him up and he accepted it like it was normal. By the time I put the halter on him he was very grateful to be rid of my arm around his head.

Wildairo shows off to Echo who's sulking in the little pen.


I decided to use the 'Be Nice' training halter in case he gave me any trouble. It has metal buttons on it that put a little extra pressure on the horse if he acts up. Problem was I couldn't do it up without really forcing the thing to hook. I thought it was twisted on the other side, but no. The boys head has grown over the Winter! I let it out as far as it would go. You can see from the pictures at the top of this page how loose the halter was last summer. That is the reason I thought he grown over winter. While grooming him it didn't seem like his back was any taller. His head is the last thing that needed to grow on Wildairo. While the halter was on super tight, Wildairo stood stock still, legs splayed, till I loosed it up. This horse makes me laugh. I'd just spent a few hours with Echo going berserk (described below) and so it was wonderful to be with a horse that loved to be groomed and made a fuss off. He let out a big happy sigh because he was the center of attention.


Wildairo has a funny ridge of darker hair running down his back. I lead him around a little bit and called it a day.



After working with Echo in the little pen and being able to touch him I have discovered that Echo is still very untouchable. I think it was because it was a forced situation for him and he was very frightened through the whole thing. It's like when the BLM forced a halter on him in the chute, that didn't make him become halter broke either.

I will have to get him to come to me somehow in the small pen after I have had him 'trapped' in the corner.

We have been having some relaxed fun with Echo though. Brad is able to get Echo to walk up to him and have Echo touch his hand with his nose when Brad tells Echo to 'step up'. Echo follows me now out of his corral and into the alley. The other day I was with Bobby and Echo, they were both begging for carrots in the alley. I put my palm out to instruct Bobby to sit and Echo reached forward and bumped it with his nose. He know the 'step up routine' quiet well. Bobby went for something tasty near Echo's back feet and Echo hopped to the side instead of kicking her.

Yesterday before I worked with Wildairo I was spending sometime with Echo. He followed me into the small pen. I spotted some grass the other side of the fence and bent down to pick it for him. Echo knows an evil shape changer when he see's one and so he spun around and bolted from the pen and into the big pen. I was ticked off and went to get my long whip. I enter the bigger pen and tell Echo, "Walk on". To a well behaved British horse that means 'walk on' to Echo it meant 'run like hell'. I never even lifted the whip, in fact I hid it close to me because he was cantering around in tight circles and it's too stressful on his young legs to do that.

I got him to trot but he was clearly having one of his melt downs. I let him get it out of his system the best he could. If I tell him 'whoa' he stops, comes into the center, necked arched, eyes huge, snorting nostrils flared and bumps my out stretched knuckles with his nose and then returns to going in circles. He even changes direction really good now by the way.

After going to circles for awhile he remembered the gate was open and left. He trotted back to the small pen and I could see his ears and eyes looking at me over the fence boards. I just stood where I was and after awhile he returned to the big pen to canter around me in circles, with me trying to bring him down to a trot. Every now and again I'd stop him and he'd come in for a hand bump. He left the bigger pen three times to go back to the small pen, each time returning on his own to run circles around me. About the forth time he went to the small pen I locked him in there and let him cool his jets. I've seen this behavior before in high strung horse. They learn and remember thing's rather quick and seem to get some comfort in repeating those thing's when they are under stress.

I left Echo and went to' re-halter break' Wildairo as described above. Heck, Wildairo is so laid back, and dare I say lazy, I'd have to run behind him with a whip to keep him going in circles. I don't think I could have picked to more opposite mustangs if I tried. But I really love them both so much and couldn't imagine life without them now.


Linda said...

Echo sounds terribly insecure--and Wildairo incredibly self-assured and confident. Every horse is so different. Have you tried the bamboo pole method or watched Kitty Lauman's videos? I really appreciated her approach and her video showed some very different horses--on purpose. There was one who was so scared, he ran straight into the panels like they weren't even there--that's what Beautiful did the first time I picked up her lead rope and she saw me on the other end. I couldn't believe a horse would do that--but apparently, they do. For her, the bamboo pole method was a life saver. Good luck! At least it's summer now and you'll have lots of time with them--and you have a big heart for them!! They're lucky.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

It really is amazing how different they all are. It makes it hard to answer the question, "What are mustang temperaments like?" They're just horses, all different... My Bella and Tonka are like night and day, a lot like your two, but different in different ways. If that makes any sense. :)

I'm glad you love your boys so much. I wish all horses were so lucky!

Kara said...

Wow, Wildairo REALLY looks like Chico! They have the same thick mane, countershading, and everything...and the color of Wildairo's face is the exact same as Chico's when he was 2 (he's 5 now). And they ARE from the same herd area. I wonder if they are related. They even have similar temperaments!

arlene said...

Thanks for the advice. I have seen some of Kitty's videos. I even spoke with her about training the two of them herself last year. She's so far away though and I'm not able to afford to send them away for training till I re-start my business and make some money.
Echo's so fearful of the bamboo poles. He'll be OK it's just a matter of time.

I understand what your saying about them being different. It's crazy how some people try to stereotype them.

They are probably related somehow! Even though both my boys are from the same herd I don't think they are related at all. I love the name 'Chico'. I made Wildairo's name up.