Mustang Update!

Sorry, I have been a little behind on keeping you informed with the progress of the mustangs. Because I had surgery on that shattered pinky tip last Monday, there were some things I just couldn’t do. (Besides the difficulty of typing a lot on my phone, dishes, laundry, etc. THEN, my husband had deviated septum surgery two days later and we have two little boys, 4 dogs and seven horses to tend to!!) So, I brought in a trainer friend of mine to help me get the girls started right for the next two weeks. He started yesterday with me.

Two days ago there was a freak accident that I couldn’t get to happen again if I tried 10,000 times, but one mare ended up with a punctured leg muscle and stitches. This is a nice mare and once we got our hands on her discovered that at some point in her life she stuck something straight through her neck when she was younger!! I’ll show you if you come watch us one day. The black mare. Anyway, she is sore, but calm and healing nicely. When dealing with these wild horses, these things happen. I think we were lucky. God is protecting us. We are doing desensitizing work with her at a standstill, no round pen work.

The red mare is a smart, smart mare. Very curious and very confident. Man she’s nice. We have done round pen work with her as well as some desensitizing. We expect to be riding her by the weekend, but that’s all up to her. I opened a horse trailer up into one of our pens and without anyone around she jumped in and out of it FOUR times just checking it out. It was so cool.

My friend, Kim, came and took pics today. As soon as I get those ill post more.


This is DAY 1! This is my son Ely, age 4, allowing one mare to meet him. This is how awesome these mares are. This is all we did on Day1. Next picture is of me and the other mare.20130507-214202.jpg20130507-214223.jpg
Then I had surgery and it was fine because I wanted the girls to get used to their environment with the dogs, pcows, dear, cars, four wheelers, etc.

This is the mare facing up to me on first day of training. The one below is the feel accident where she ended up with a clip from her halter to her leg. She never freaked out, she allowed me to rescue her after only three days of handling her, having only been able to walk up and touch her for the first time an hour before this.

I almost didn’t tell you about this, but people need to know that this is serious stuff and you do not need to get into this unless you have worked with A LOT of untrained horses, but especially mustangs. Plus, I’m keeping it real.

This is her “knocked out” while she gets stitched up. The next day she was sore, but let me rub all over her. We have definitely bonded over this. Poor baby, but I am taking special care of her.

I am happy to answer any questions as I know I have left a lot out.


Oops! Worse than I thought

So the injury was worse than I thought! While I am supposed to be merrily on my way to preview the mustangs-I have a non-negotiable appointment with an orthopedic at 1 pm today. Thankfully they forced me in, and thankfully the preview goes until 8pm tonight. Here’s a couple pics of the X-Ray. It has not been confirmed, but the primary doc and NP believes that the pinky bone split down the middle, and that piece is trying to exit the body! Ouch!!



At least I didn’t break an arm

Oops. As I sit in the doctors office Thursday morning, awaiting X-rays, I decided to give my last entry for a while on Little Joe.

Today is the day I go and preview the mustangs that I hope to be adopting one or two of, for the Mustang Million. So, yesterday was my last day to work with Little Joe. Yes, he was an untouched horse, age 4, stallion. I knew he wasn’t ready to take his first step with me on his back. However, I wasn’t sure if he wasn’t ready, or if I wasn’t. Unfortunately, neither of us were. He did great as mounted, got my outside foot in the stirrup-which I had never done before. He was quiet the whole time. I asked him to step forward and he did quietly. Then it all went south. He gradually begin to bolt, and instead of me riding him out, I turned him toward the fence and then attempted to grab it for a dismount. At about the same time he bucked and went left, I went right, and gravity took over from there.

I hit the ground and he continued to buck around the pen. I felt terrible. I should have never had him scared enough that he felt like defending himself. See, horses only buck in self defense. Sure they do little hops in the pasture, but you won’t see a horse running through a pasture bucking hard unless he is being attacked. So, I felt bad. I knew better. In the process he was fine and I broke my pinky. Well, I assume its broken. I’m waiting in X-ray now. My husband was upset because it was going to cost $1000 for an ER visit, but I told him I could wait until today. I forget that such a tiny injury can cause so much pain. Oh well, it’s just a part of it, especially when I make mistakes.

So, I did what I’m supposed to-I got back on. I didn’t ask him to step off, though. He was calm and quiet and happy to be by me, so I unbridled him, placed his halter on and lead him to the tack shed. I unsaddled him, returned him to his pen and gave him his evening feed. I hate to halt his training there, but I think he needs a break anyway.

So, I’ll keep you posted. The picture is a freeze frame from the video my husband shot on my phone.



Mark Rashid Horse Clinic

I’m a believer in God’s perfect timing. If God doesn’t set up the divine appointment, I believe that he can use an appointment for His purpose. Either way, I know that when something is good, it’s of God-and that’s how I felt about attending the Mark Rashid clinic.

In the summer of 1995, I met Mark and had no idea that he would be one of the top 5 influential people in my life. I had left Texas and my family behind. I had a new Ford pickup, a two horse trailer-both black-and my first horse, Mitzi, in tow. We pulled into the most beautiful place I had ever lived-Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, CO. I was young and cocky and for the first time in my life-FREE. My first dream was coming true-I was going to be a wrangler on a guest ranch in the Rocky Mountains. It’s funny to me now that that was my biggest dream. I learned to dream bigger, especially after your first dream is realized. It was here that I learned who I was, and was introduced to the mustang horse. I had the privilege of learning how to train horses, and I learned first on a little mustang named Pecos. Together, with Mark’s lead, the three of us would end up featured in The Western Horse magazine for training the wild mustang for many issues.

So here I was, 17 years later, entered into the largest Mustang competition in history, the Mustang Million being held 40 miles from my current home in Glen Rose, TX. It had been 12 years since I had worked with Mark and I was excited to see my old friend. I made the 3 1/2 hour drive to Bryan, TX.

I cannot express how wonderful it was to reconnect with Mark, so I’ll talk about what I learned. Well, I’ll be talking more about what I learned and how I practiced, and applied it to my life and training horses throughout this blog.

Something that stood out was a man on a very well trained reining horse. The horse was going through the motions, and responding pretty well, but he really didn’t seem to be enjoying what he was doing. He pounded the ground when he loped, he trotted too fast, he bobbed his head when he stopped ans on and on. Mark worked with the man for a few days and the change was amazing! Mark told the guy that there is a difference between a horse that knows the mechanics and gets the job done, and a horse that is responding to a rider who is helping him. Example: this horse knew how to walk, trot, and lope. He knew how to catch a lead though one side was a little sticky. But the rider was using big cues and making the horse do what he wanted. When he wanted to go faster, there was lots of leg and kisses. When he wanted to slow down, the man would sit back an pull on the reins. Sounds right to me! So here was a difference-after working on his intention with the horse, by thinking about what he wanted the horse to do BEFORE he did it, his body and energy was already cuing the horse before the mechanics were needed-the legs, kisses and pulling of the reins.

The transformation I witnessed over the next few days was so exciting for me! This horse began to become softer in the poll. When he loped, he stopped pounding the ground and started to lightly canter atop it. When the rider started riding with intention, he would start thinking about stopping and the horse would surprise the rider and come to a stop! The rider would laugh and say how he was caught off guard and was actually thinking about stopping but wasn’t sure where he was gonna ask in the pen (but his body and mind had already communicated to the horse before his brain could make up its mind.)

What this means for me: imagine the difference in taking a wild horse who has yet had any reason to mistrust a human, and in a silent language teach him how to work with me. Instead of me forcing him into submission. What an amazing relationship I will have by entering a corral, leading my horse, riding him, and going over obstacles-with intention. With a purpose. There was so much more I learned at this clinic, but this was my biggest take home. I am to know what I want from the horse before I ever ask-and then figure out a way to help him understand and do it correctly. When you watch a horse in the pasture, they already know how to catch different leads, do flying lead changes, go over and around obstacles, move sideways, forwards and backwards. It’s up to US to figure out how to get them to do that in sync with us.

I just sold a horse this weekend and told the girl “He knows how to do all the leads and flying lead changes-you just have to figure out how to get out of his way and let him do it. Figure out a cue that makes sense to him, think about what you want before you get there and he’ll do it.” While I was saying that, I was in a 60′ round pen on the left lead in that tight circle and he did a flying lead change in that arch and back to the correct lead again! It was so cool!!

I told Mark that he should advertise as “People clinics” instead of “Horse clinics” because we are the ones that come in and screw it all up!



Preparing the Corrals

Adopting a mustang is a process. There are requirements for the corrals, the gates, water source, transportation, etc. The first thing I was going to have to get done was the corrals. I decided to use existing corrals and just add a top rail so that they would be the needed 6 foot tall corrals. I had no idea how I was going to do that.

My family attends a church in Glen Rose, TX called Stonewater Church. It’s a church that teaches core values straight out of the Bible. Some people view my beliefs as “crazy”, “fanatical”, “strong” and I thank them for that! Really, we are just people from various backgrounds-Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, rednecks, divas, and everything in between and those that a label has never worked for trying to live the best lives we can according to God’s law. Anyway, we are taught to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. This is the second and greatest command under loving nothing and no one more than God himself. I have been blessed by a couple of friends who are doing just that.

One day after church I was telling about my thoughts on entering this competition, my deadlines, needs, etc. My good friend-though I must say through this process has become a VERY good friend, Ann made me an offer. She said her and her husband, Wes, would like to help me get my corrals ready. I couldn’t say no! When God sends you a blessing it’s best to recognize it and then receive it! Wes is a welder by trade and a dang good one!! He wanted the opportunity to teach Ann how to weld, and I was all for it. Believe me, these corrals are pretty redneck and perfect for someone to practice and learn on.

When Wes and Ann arrived on the first day to work, welder in tow, we thought it would be a two day job and we were all excited. It was the middle of deer season, and Wes and Ann are avid now hunters. They could get the job done, and still have time to hunt before Wes had to go to Kansas for his next job. That was the plan anyway…until day 2.

On day 2, I actually took the time to READ the rules and discovered that the corrals needed new gates, some protrusions cut off, and more pipe adds than just a top rail. Well, days turned into a week and then another. Weather wasn’t cooperating, and we all have kids and lives! Wes got a lot done, but probably more importantly, he had taught Ann enough so that she could continue on her own! So we are in our second month, new gates were custom ordered and Ann and I installed them, the corrals are 6 feet tall and safe! We are still working on the details-improving the shoot, welding, grinding and painting.

The picture here are of my friend, Ann working…sometimes well after dark. Here in Texas, this is loving your neighbor as yourself!