…begin like this:
In other words, there’s a new wild mustang on the farm. 🙂
It all happened rather suddenly… my husband and I had been talking about adopting another for a while, but when we lost Gypsy it became a higher priority. And then the wranglers told me they’d be shipping horses east for satellite adoptions, so if I wanted the largest selection I needed to come quickly. My husband, who has always been distantly supportive of but largely uninterested in my horse hobby, decided he wanted to be involved this time and said, “Let’s leave this weekend!” So… yeah.
We drove to Elm Creek Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Nebraska (there is a closer facility, which I may visit this fall, but Elm Creek has a huge variety of horses and *excellent* wranglers) and spent almost two hours playing with 30 wild yearlings.
Before we arrived, I told my husband I was looking for learning potential more than athletic potential. I’m 40, and at this point in my life I care far more about a good mind than I do about fancy movement or athleticism (though I don’t regret choosing Trinity for those reasons at all, and I still like a horse with a decent build). I also said I didn’t care about color – “I’ll consider anything but a gray,” I said. (Note: I like gray horses! I just don’t want to deal with melanoma.)
So. I slipped into the corrals and was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the choice available to me. I saw a bay roan and a red roan that tempted me – except then I’d be choosing based on color, and I swore I wouldn’t do that. There was a darling cream-colored filly with brown tips on her ears and large, soft eyes – but she was so, so small and her feet needed a lot of work. I saw several gorgeous sorrels – including one with a curly mane and tail – but they looked too much like Gypsy and my heart just wasn’t ready for that. There were a number of nice-looking bays and blacks, and several grays.
I nearly chose this one:
because she was the first one to walk up to me, and had no hesitation in making contact with my hand. She was a stout little baby with a kind expression, but in the end, I chose this one:
She looks a little rough around the edges, I know, and she’s a gray, which I swore I’d never choose, but I quite like her. When I stepped in her corral, she immediately approached and let me rub her nose, forehead, cheek, and neck. She followed me around, and when I asked her to back off she sensibly stepped back and waited for me to rub her face again. She let me run a hand down her back and over her withers, and when the other babies spooked at something she gave a little “huff!” but didn’t freak out.
She loaded in the trailer calmly and without fuss, though I did get to see a GORGEOUS elevated trot with a flagged tail, and she rode home like a pro. When we opened the door to let her out, she calmly stepped down and began chomping grass. She had no hesitation sucking water out of the stock tank even with the hose hissing and spraying water – something it took my generally fearless Trinity months to do.
She has juvenile warts – really, really common in mustangs after the stress of capture and transport – and she needs to be dewormed again. Her winter coat hasn’t completely shed out, so she’s matted and dirty. She’s not much to see, yet. But when I look at her, I see the lovely horse she’ll grow into and I’m glad she’s here.
(And it broke my heart when the wrangler said, “I’m surprised you didn’t go for the roans or the palominos. No one chooses the plain ones!” I told him I was perfectly capable of looking beneath the color of the coat to find a good horse, and I’m sorry I was ever prejudiced against grays. Of course, if anyone has advice on how to prevent melanoma, I’m anxious to hear it! Plus, it will be loads of fun to watch her coat change as she grows.)
Trinity was very anxious when she heard the trailer rattling into her pasture, and then when the baby stepped off, she got SO EXCITED.
The baby is a bit of a firecracker – she kicked at Trinity when she thought she was going to lose her pile of hay, and she has no problem asserting herself – but she’s respectful of people and their personal space, so she’s not quite as physically dominant as Trinity was when we brought her home.
I’m looking forward to working with her and seeing what she’ll be like once she settles in. Right now, she’s a little uncertain of her surroundings and tired from the long trailer ride, so I’ll keep things pretty low key for a few days.
First goal: remove the plastic tag from her neck and brush the mats off her coat.
(Her goal is, I believe, to suck up every blade of grass in her pen before someone else gets it!)