Extreme Mustang Makeover 6/16/07
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Big'un had a couple of days off to sit and soak, both literally and figuratively. Ted likes to let a horse think about what he has learned, and so usually gives them one or two days off every week. This time he got two days in a row, not just to think, but also because we are about ready to order an ark! We've had .5 to 3 inches of rain every day since the mustang arrived. It was just too wet and muddy to even think about working. But Saturday we decided to do some relatively quiet work, mud or not.
I spent about 15 minutes grooming him, even managed to comb out his mane and tail. We'll see how that mane decides to grow before we make a decision to roach or not. He's got a good third of the middle section rubbed out. But since he doesn't seem to be sticking his head through fences or rubbing here, we'll see how well it grows back.
After that good brushing, Ted took an old saddle and put it in the pen with him, then went about some other chores. Big'un went over immediately to check out this new thing. He had that saddle completely gone over in short order. Pawed and pondered, tasted and tossed, until he decided it was no big deal. Then Ted haltered him up and began the process of introducing the concept of having a saddle on his back.
Here, he is apprehensive, but figuring it out. Soon he was moving his feet and comfortable with the light weight on his back. Big'un wore the saddle for no more than a few minutes total time, just enough to know that it was not something that was going to eat him, and to feel relaxed with it.
In the process of working with this horse, we have discovered a character, a comedian, and a true friend. Is he perfect? No, but he tries very hard to always do the right thing. Is Ted the perfect trainer? Not by a long shot, but he CARES about the horse and about what is best for each individual he works with. It is what sets him apart in my mind from many others out there. he plays with the horses, teaches them things that are fun for both of them, and most of all, he wants them to be calm, relaxed and accepting throughout. It doesn't mean there won't be moments of angst or even fear on the part of the horse, that is part of learning, but making those moments as easy as possible is what it's all about.
Yes, Big'un IS a comedian. Here he has stolen Ted's hat. The first time was an accident in play, but it didn't take more than a moment to teach him that trick on cue... You'll see the process in the day's video below. He had us all in stitches and seemed to thrive on it.
I've had lots of questions about how long a session usually lasts, what do we do in a session, etc. Ted likes to work with a young horse in fairly short increments totaling no more than an hour to an hour and a half daily with one or two days off per week. This schedule may increase as the horse matures and gets used to the work.
During Saturday's work, Big'un's true name was discovered. In a discussion between Ted and his mustang, they tried out several different names. The one that elicited a response was Amigo, or Mi Amigo. In the final analysis it came out to be Mi Amigo Fiero - My Wild Friend. So from now on it is Amigo, though you may still hear us refer to him as Big'un from time to time.