Or something like that. This beautiful creature trotted into my life last week. Here she is fresh off the trailer from eastern Oregon:
She is a wild mustang from the BLM corrals in Burns, Oregon. She was gathered from the Paisley Desert HMA in southeastern Oregon sometime last fall, probably. I have found a local trainer that gentles mustangs, who is going to gentle her and give her a couple more months of saddle training (and I will get some training too). To say this is a dream come true is an understatement, but I wouldn’t have dared to do it if I hadn’t met Rachel (the trainer) who trains about a mile from the Bunion, and her amazing little mare Ember, that she trained for a Mustang Million competition over the winter. I actually bid on that mare in the post event auction, but when she went to someone else Rachel and I cooked up our current plan, to adopt a wild horse through the TIP program, and have Rachel get her saddle broke and gentled for me. Here is one of the pictures of her I saw ‘shopping’ online…photo credit Beverly Shaffer:
It is not for everyone, picking a wild horse from a website and committing to it, but I have been interested in mustangs for a while for several reasons. #1, I may not know her temperament beforehand, but I will know that my horse has a fantastic start with a great trainer, and the bulk of her interactions with humans will have been very positive. In short, I get a horse with no baggage. #2, mustangs have actually been subjected to environmental pressures and natural selection in typically pretty harsh environments. The result is a sturdy horse with great hooves, good resistance to disease and parasites, good conformation, and that is an easy keeper. #3, Horses in the wild have to live together in herds to survive, so mustangs tend to be well adjusted and good citizens with other horses. #4 Genetic diversity. Except for perhaps the Kiger herd near Steens Mountain, most HMA’s are a hodgepodge of horse genetics, which I like (though the Kigers with their primitive markings are beautiful too). Some folks are biased against ‘mutts’, but growing up surrounded by the thoroughbred industry, I’ve seen the advantages of hybrid vigor and the disadvantages of inbreeding. I grew up in Kentucky, and had my own horse from the age of 9, and I have wanted another ever since I sold him to go to college. Plus I am the type of person that adopts dogs from the pound. We don’t own the farm quite yet, so this is a little bit of a gamble, but with 3 months of training down the road I think the timing will work out. What does a mustang saddle horse have to do with the farm? Well, even farmers have to have fun once in a while, and I figure I can either pay for compost and amendments, or I can buy some hay and trace minerals and keep my own beautiful manure maker on the grass we grow ourselves. She seems to be very level headed so far, so she may even be a good candidate for some harness work. Time will tell. I have named her Osprey. She is gorgeous, very spanish looking, with lots of neck and mane and a tail that drags on the ground.
Want to know more about adopting a mustang? There are thousands of horses in BLM corrals all over the west and midwest seeking adoption (wild burros too). There are adoption events and competitions nationwide, and you can adopt and have a horse shipped to you almost anywhere, if you are willing to be patient and creative. To find out more, go to the Mustang Heritage Foundation website. There are horses up regularly for adoption at the BLM corrals,I think the newest auction opens tomorrow, April 1st. Another place to find information on adoptable mustangs is the Modern Mustanger Facebook page. You can also see more about the Mustang Million events in the recent movie, Wild Horse, Wild Ride. Rachel is currently training a Murderer’s Creek gelding named Titan, who may be the sweetest horse I have ever met. He will compete and be up for auction at the Extreme Mustang Makeover event in Norco, California in mid May. He is also beautiful, built like a mini Friesian, all black with long legs.