Thursday, April 30, 2009

Okay, I'll quit whining about my concussion. Kara, I hope Todd's mom heals up real well. How scary. I can't imagine how heartbreaking it would be to have to sell all my horses and never ride again.

On to why I love mustangs. I recently realized that although I've loved and appreciated most of the other horses I've owned, the mustangs are the ones I wouldn't want to let go of. The ones I think of as special, my favorites. I am of the opinion that a horse is a horse. So why are the mustangs more special to me? For me it comes down to the bond I have with them. These horses I have trained from scratch. I couldn't just throw a saddle on and expect them to work for me. It's been a two way street, I couldn't expect them to trust me without building up that trust, that bond, day by day. When I see the fear in their eyes and they just keep on trying and doing what I ask despite the fear, I feel so incredibly honored. And I try to do my best by them, try not to ask them for something if it's too much to ask.

Another reason why I love mustangs is that they are a clean slate. I don't have to overcome past trauma or untrain bad behaviors. What I put in is what I get back. They're not all the same though, they still have personal differences. Tonka is naturally very light, whereas Bella would push on the halter in the beginning. When you're looking at them at an adoption, trying to pick the horse you're going to adopt, you don't know exactly what sort of personality you're going to get. What you end up with is a surprise gift, a new horse, new experiences. It's an adventure.

I know looks are very important to horse people. We may appreciate many different types of horses, but there is usually one type that will make us go "WOW." Among mustangs there are lots of different body types, but in any group I can always find at least one that has my wow factor. Tonka didn't have it at the adoption, but he grew to have it, sometimes. I think it's more an aspect of self-carriage than conformation.

Let's see... Well, I guess one of my biggest reasons for liking mustangs is I love the gentling process. It shows so clearly the willingness that all horses have to be our partners. They overcome such fear, so many natural tendencies, to do what we ask, to be with us, to work for us. Why should they be our partners? We strange beings who don't speak their language, who "talk" too loudly, move too fast, invade their space? We must seem so wrong to them in the beginning. Disabled, incapable, socially incorrect. I'm in awe of their ability to adapt, to forgive, to understand, and to love.

And speaking of social behavior, I agree with Kara that living in a wild herd is the best place for a horse to get its basic training. It just makes sense that horses would be the best horse trainers. That early learning translates very well into beginning training with humans. It's like etiquette school for horses. I've known a couple horses that grew up mostly in stalls, and they were a pain in the butt. Rude, pushy, challenging, etc. Just plain not good citizens.

The other thing horses get while running wild is a good solid foundation to run on. Every hoof-fall builds strength in their hooves and their bones. That's something very few domestic horses can get. It's something I wish I could provide for Scout. All I can do is give him as much room as I can to roam, but it's nothing compared to the miles and miles a wild horse will travel in a day.

I'm definitely not knocking other breeds. I could find a horse in any breed that would work for me, especially since I don't follow a certain discipline. But I enjoy the adventure and the process of loving a mustang.


Lea and her Mustangs said...

Andrea - whine if you want to but get well quick. I love mustangs for all the same reasons you said plus when they learn to trust you and bond to you they are yours forever. All ours are really bonded to us = except Rusty - she is bonding to Bob but does not like me - Raven who is Bob's loves me as much and Dixie talks to me, Pepper loves anyone that feeds him, all bonded to us but like you said, very different personalities.

Christy said...

Ditto- on all of it!!