Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mustang Fever!

Yes, I think I've got a bit of it at the moment. All these blogs springing up about the training of wild mustangs for the 2009 Mustang Challenge has got me itching for another mustang of my own. Unfortunately it is not to be this year. My barn is full and my wallet is empty. Luckily, I live pretty close to Tracy Porter and TJ Clibborn. TJ has taken on a mustang this year and I hope to do weekly visits and updates so that I can live vicariously through him. It will be great!

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce my readers to "Little Miss Finnegan" also known as "Choke" (because that's what she did when she got off the trailer!)

She is a 2006 bay Mustang mare, from the Twin Peaks HMA (maybe she's Remington's little sister?). And boy is she SMART! She learned a lot today.

I wasn't surprised to see that this bunch of mustangs seemed to be as muddy as last years. That presents a challenge in itself. It can take a few days to get the mud off their belly, so cinching up a saddle is out of the question until you've got a clean mustang on your hands.

In my ever so humble opinion, there is a right and a wrong way to use a round pen. I don't know much about how TJ trains, so I was glad to see him using the round pen in the way it's meant to be used. Many people think it's only purpose is to run a horse to exhaustion until the horse is ready to "hook on" or "join up". I am not a fan of this method. The way I like to see a round pen used is as a way to get your horse responding to your body cues. Never once did TJ push Choke into a lope. It wasn't necessary! She caught on so fast to his body language and even turned and faced him for direction changes instead of turning her butt to him (a big sign of disrespect). TJ had her stopping off of his body language as well as "Whoa" within the first 20 minutes of their session.

TJ then moved on to work with a rope. It's important to use a rope with a metal honda when working with mustangs. The metal honda allows the rope to easily slide so that it won't get caught on itself and stay tight around the horse's neck. He caught her on the first try, I was then informed by Tracy that he isn't really good with a rope... he sure fooled me!

She was alarmed at first but quickly relaxed. She even gave to pressure pretty well. TJ was able to walk up and touch her and eventually tie on a lead rope to her halter.

Before the session was over she was leading pretty darn good! Blogger isn't letting me upload a few of the photos for some reason, so maybe I'll have to try again later. TJ got the saddle pad out and she accepted it like it was nothing new. She also got brushed. Some of the mud came off, but she still has a long way to go before she could be considered clean. Before the session started, she was herded from her stall to the round pen, but TJ was able to lead her back to the stall at the end of the session! She is going to be a great little mare, she tries so hard!!

Tracy didn't get a mustang for this challenge, instead she is going to use her time to continue the training of her mustang mare from last year's challenge, Socks! As you can see, Socks is a very smart little mare herself. Choke was a little bit nervous about walking up beside Socks to pose for a photo, it looks like she's hiding behind TJ!


Jessica Schmitt said...

That is so awsome this makes me think what am I going to do with all my fee time this winter with out training again!!! good luck to TJ and im sure we will be in touch Jess.

Linda Reznicek said...

That's cool! She looks shocked in that last picture, like she's thinking--Wow--am I going to do that someday? Fun to watch!

Andrea said...

This makes me want one too. I love those first accomplishments. Looks like she's doing really well!

Tracey said...

I love that nose to nose shot! It's one I covet when I get that sniff.

I'm sorry you've got such a case of mustang fever, Jess, but glad you're able to at least hang out and watch Choke's progress. the painting and I love it!

froglander said...

Cute little mare. It's nice to have mustang friends that you can live vicariously through when you can't get another one yourself :)

Jessie said...

Jess, you'll have to come down some weekend so we can watch together!

Linda, she was so nervous about the way Socks was behaving, it was funny! The first time she saw her lay down she jumped sideways.

Andrea, she is doing really well! I can't believe how fast she caught on to everything!

Tracey, glad you liked your painting! I am hoping to do the challenge again, but not for a while so I hope it sticks around for a long time.

Froglander, I've been watching your progress with Cody and he's doing great! I think he needs a buddy though ;-) What do you think?