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Monday, May 14, 2012

Re-cap and Wildairo up-date.

Wildairo forgot he is now a domestic horse and went sort of feral again.  Soon as he was left to his own devices, he formed a pasture gang with a few cows and did his own thing.

In case anyone has stumbled upon this blog who doesn't know the story up to now, I will give a recap of the last four years.

My mustang story began four years ago, in April 2008.  I have owned horses since 1970 and have ridden them since 1963.  I am really good with horses and was a very good rider.  I loved riding green horses in my youth.

I had been wondering what to do with my Morgan horse, Foxsun.  He had formed a tight bond with my pet cow, Dandylyons since her birth in 1991.  Knowing that cows don't live as long as horses, I worried that he would be heart broken and very lonely when she died, so I had my eye open for something to keep him company.  That's when I saw a notice in the local paper that the BLM was going to have a mustang adoption only a few miles from here.  I thought I'd get a little donkey feller for Foxsun to hang out with.

I'd had my ankle totally replaced 5 weeks before and I still had two months of none weight baring ahead of me.  There were no donkeys for adoption, but there were a of of nice equines that I thought would make good pasture pals for Foxsun.

At the adoption the horses looked a lot smaller than they really were.  I think I was thrown off because the fence was about 6 feet tall and made the horses look like ponies.  The fact they had shaggy manes added to the pony illusion.   All the horses in each group stayed well back in the corrals away from people.  I picked out a nice bright solid bay.  He was a bit weak looking in the back end and along with his best friend, he was nipping at the other horses .  He had a nice head and eye though.  I remember thinking, 'he'd never get above 14 hh'.   I just wanted a pal for Foxsun, so I overlooked the funny looking back end.

I'd never named a horse before.  I was told as a girl, that you never change a horses name because it's bad luck.  So I've always kept the names they came with.  I made up the name 'Wildairo' for my new horse.  Once he was home in our corrals I realized he was bigger than I thought he was.  He already was over 14 hh as a 2 year old.

I had so much fun working with Wildairo that I adopted another mustang, Echo, in July 2008.  They had been captured by the Bureau of Land Management on the same day in 2007.   They had two completely different personalities.  Wildairo was bold and bad tempered, but scared to death of strangers, and Echo was very timid and sweet.

I had planned to have Foxsun bond with them and then turn them all out together.  Foxsun is no trouble to catch if he needed to be ridden.  I thought Fox could show them the ropes and because he would never run off or do anything silly, he would be a good role model.  I even planned to pony them with Fox.

It was about the time that Echo came to live with us I noticed I had swelling in my joints, pain, blurry vision, difficultly with my muscles...walking, and the starting of extreme fatigue.  I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis.  It has been getting steadily worse.  I used to have days when I felt a lot better, now those days are not as often.

It turned out Foxsun didn't care for the mustangs at all and didn't want to hang out with them.  He preferred the company of Dandylyons or us.

In 2008 Foxsun had a case of Pigeon fever that went internal.  He seemed to recover that winter, but in the late Spring he became very ill.  He had a lovely summer wandering around the farm and he became quiet gelding about the house.  He died on the last day of summer 2009.  I was left with two semi wild horses and his old cow widow.

So much for all my plans....

Echo has become a lovable little horse, who is actually pony size.  Right now he's with Dandylyons, who at 21 is still going strong in the horse pasture.

Wildairo wanted nothing to do with me when I tried to go near him last fall.  He even thought about jumping out of the corral when Brad approached.  I turned him out again a few nights ago and he had a good gallop and then to my surprise he followed me back into the corrals.  The cattle were out of sight, so that helped.

What I've decided to do is start from the beginning and try to re-bond with Wildairo.  The good thing is, he likes me.  He followed me into the tiny little pen where I first gentled him.  I gathered all my mustang gentling tools.  Carrots, apples, brushes, ropes and a long scratching stick.  And of course a comfy chair.

Wildairo wanted to skip the first few steps of mustangs wrangling and get down to the carrot and apple part.  He got through that part of the training with flying colors.  The stick was a bit harder.  I had to use his carrot eating skills to lure him to walk up and past the stick by waving a carrot about.  Then he let me scratch his body with the stick.  I get very tired and have to sit and rest often.  It's hard to get back up.  He just stands next to me and lets my fingers play with his nostrils....'still training' I tell myself.

He has become very jumpy.  I don't remember him being like that before.  Last night I was standing with him in the little pen and was just managing to get my hands under his tangled mane for a good rubbing and something made him jump..really jump.  He whirled away so fast it made me jump.  Good thing was, he leaped away from me and didn't strike out at me.  Wildairo knows how to defend himself and has done so in the past.  Even though I can't get near him with a rope yet, he follows me into any pen which makes things much easier.

It's so hot today.  Almost 90F.  I'm not going to work with him tonight.  I'll just give him a carrot.  lol..that's pretty much what we've been doing anyway.  His mane and tail are so matted and I can't wait to get them brushed out.

Here he is last night.  Back in his baby play pen.. lol.

He's a lovable horse towards me.  But if Brad or William approaches, he races into the far end of the pen.

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