Saturday, July 31, 2010

He finally has a name! Chocolate (Choco) is doing great. I've been doing exercises with him to teach him to think about where he puts his feet. I set out poles on the ground and had him trot and lope over them until he stopped tripping on them. He is such a fast learner (if it's something he wants to learn) and he is so sweet. I think there is no end to what he can do. I can't wait for the competition!

The Extreme Mustang Makeover!! 100 days to gentle and train a wild mustang and then compete against other mustangs. At the end of the competition some of the horses are available for adoption by competitive bidding. The purpose of the event is to show the versatility, trainability, and beauty of mustangs and to raise awareness for adopters.

In the yearling competition we will be judged in four different classes: handling, conditioning, showmanship, and in-hand obstacle course.
  • Handling: I will unhalter my horse in a small pen and then have to catch him. We will be judged on Choco's behavior, nervousness, and respect for me. If he bolts or runs when I need to catch him, that's bad.
  • Conditioning: They will look at Choco's weight, muscling, coat, and overall appearance.
  • Showmanship: Trainers must lead their horse through a showmanship pattern. The maneuvers may include walk, trot, back, pivot left and right, and stand quietly for the judges' inspection.
  • In Hand Obstacle Course: We will have to lead our horses through a course of basic maneuvers and obstacles that my include walking over logs, lounge line work, back through a simple chute, pick up all four feet, brush horse, and load and unload from a trailer.
The ten mustangs with the highest scores will return for the freestyle finals. Everyone can use props, costumes, and music to display their horse's athletic ablity and willingness to perform.

Monday, July 26, 2010

After working with my pony for a week, I have discovered that he is the ORNERIEST pony ever!!!! He certainly has the determination to survive in the wild! It's taking a lot of energy and willpower to not let him win. I work with him hours each day to hammer it through his head that I AM THE BOSS. I use different exercises to control movement, speed, and direction. We are making progress, slowly but surely. One thing I can definitely say about training right now -- IT IS HOT OUTSIDE!

He has had no trouble learning to eat his grain, and he is always hungry. It takes some horses a while to get used to new food. Not this guy! He seems to be in very good physical shape.

My horse was captured up in Wyoming in November last year. Wyoming has a large mustang population. The horse's freezemark is smeared and not legible, but his adoption paperwork shows where he came from.

Here's some information about freezemarking from the Bureau of Land Management website. It states that a freezemark can smear if the animal moves when it is applied. I imagine that's exactly what happened to my colt's freezemark!

"The BLM uses freezemarking to identify wild horses and burros that have been gathered from the public rangelands because of overpopulation. Freezemarking is a permanent, unalterable, and painless way to identify each horse as an individual. It is applied on the left side of the neck. It follows the International Alpha Angle System, which uses a series of angles and alpha-symbols that cannot be altered. The mark contains the Registering Organization (U.S. Government), year of birth, and registration number.

The technique is simple and completely painless to the animal. The left side of the neck is shaved and washed with alcohol, and the mark is applied with an iron that is chilled in liquid nitrogen. The hair at the site of the mark will grow back white and show the identification number.

In addition to the freezemark on the left side of the neck, sanctuary mustangs are marked on the left croup with four inch-high Arabic numerals that correspond with the last four digits of the freezemark on the neck.

Although every effort is made to apply freezemarks that are legible, occasionally freezemarks do get blurred. This happens when the iron is applied: the animal moves and all or some of the identification number cannot be read. It can also be difficult to read some freezemarks because of the color of the animal."
(See wild horse and burro adoption program for more information.)

This colt is a great horse. He may be stubborn, but there's one thing he has not yet realized -- I'm more stubborn than he is! With patience and many hours of hard work, we will get the job done!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 2 with my mustang!
He is doing really well so far. He is learning very fast. He is a challenge for me to work with because he is so calm. I'm better with calming horses down but he needs LOTS of encouragement and motivation. It's good to have a horse that really challenges me.
I can touch him on most of his body without him getting upset. We still have a ways to go with his ears. He is getting used to different pressure being put on him and he is being mostly good about it. His lunging ( trotting or running on a lead line) is getting much better. He prances all around and it's so pretty to watch. Here are a few more pictures of him.

Friday, July 16, 2010


He is so beautiful. He is a bay, which means he is brown with black legs, mane, and tail. So far he seems mostly calm and very smart. He will follow on a lead rope and I can touch him on most of his body.

I need ideas for a name. If you have a good idea please send me an email. I would really appreciate it.

I'll post more about him soon, but I am very tired from a whole day of hard work!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Only 1 week 'till I get my pony!!! You might be thinking, “How does one pick up a wild horse?’’ The answer is very carefully! You also might be thinking,, “Where are you going to keep a wild horse?” Thanks to Cohn and Brandee Livingston at Doc Livingston’s Farm and Stable, I have a way to pick up and a place to keep my yearling. I will be doing all my work there with LOTS of support from the Livingstons!

The Bureau of Land Management has very specific rules and regulations for adopting, transporting, and keeping a wild horse. The following is information from the BLM website that outlines their adoption procedures. The goal is to make sure all horses go to good, safe homes. At the end of the competition, I’ll have the option of adopting my yearling or putting it up for auction.

*Federal protection and a lack of natural predators have resulted in thriving wild horse and burro populations that grow in number each year. The BLM monitors rangelands and wild horse and burro herds to determine the number of animals, including livestock and wildlife, that the land can support. Each year, the BLM gathers excess wild horses and burros from areas where vegetation and water could become scarce if too many animals use the area.

These excess animals are offered for adoption to qualified people through the BLM’s Adopt a Wild Horse or Burro program. After caring for an animal for one year, the adopter is eligible to receive title, or ownership, from the Federal government. While the challenge of adopting out enough animals is greater than ever, the program is a popular one. In fact, the BLM has placed more than 225,000 wild horses and burros into private care since 1971.

*To adopt a wild horse or burro, you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age (parents or guardians may adopt a wild horse or burro and allow younger family members to care for the animal);
  • have no prior conviction for inhumane treatment of animals or for violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act;
  • demonstrate that you have adequate feed, water, and facilities to provide humane care for the number of animals requested; and,
  • show that you can provide a home for the adopted animal in the United States.

You must provide transportation for your adopted animal from the adoption site to its new home. While someone else may transport the animal, all trailers must meet these minimum standards:

  • covered top, sturdy walls/floors, and a smooth interior free from any sharp protrusions;
  • ample head room;
  • removable partitions or compartments to separate animals by size and sex, if necessary;
  • floor covered with a non-skid material; and,
  • adequate ventilation.

The BLM requires stock-type trailers with rear swing gates to transport adopted animals. Drop ramp, divided two-horse trailers, and trucks with stock racks are not acceptable. However, in some situations, two-horse trailers are acceptable for transporting burros and horses 12 months or younger. Only burros may be loaded into in-line or one-horse trailers. The BLM will inspect trailers and reserves the right to refuse loading if the trailer does not ensure the safety and humane transport of the animal.

You must provide a minimum of 400 square feet (20 feet x 20 feet) for each animal adopted. Until fence broken, adult horses need to be maintained in an enclosure at least six feet high; burros in an enclosure at least 4.5 feet high; and horses less than 18 months old in an enclosure at least five feet high. You should not release an ungentled animal into a large open area, such as a pasture, since you may not be able to recapture the animal for training or to provide veterinary care. However, once the animal is gentled, you may release it into a pasture or similar area.

The acceptable corral must be sturdy and constructed out of poles, pipes, or planks (minimum 1.5 inch thickness) without dangerous protrusions. Barbed wire, large-mesh woven, stranded, and electric materials are unacceptable for fencing.

Posts should be a minimum of six inches in diameter and spaced no farther than eight feet apart. Horizontal rails should be three-inch minimum diameter poles or planks at least two feet x eight feet. If you use poles, there should be a minimum of five horizontal rails, and when you use 2" x 8" planks, there should be at least four rails. No space between rails should exceed 12". You should fasten all rails to the inside of the post with either heavy nails or lag screws.

You must provide shelter from inclement weather and temperature extremes for your adopted wild horse or burro. Shelters must be a two-sided structure with a roof, well-drained, adequately ventilated, and accessible to the animal(s). The two sides need to block the prevailing winds and need to protect the major part of the bodies of the horse or burro. Tarps are not acceptable.*

I would like to point out that in spite of 6-foot fences, a yearling mustang can clear a pen standing still!!! These are really wild horses! However, many have shown that with patience and careful training mustangs can be excellent performance horses or companion animals. Mustangs excel in barrel racing, endurance, dressage, trail horses, pleasure rides, jumping, and just about anything else.

Next week I'll have pictures and tell you all about my yearling!