If you would like to submit articles for the National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter,
My daughter, Patty, and I went
The Championship class was up next. Padre' was just as well behaved and gave everything I asked of him at Silverwood.
It was a great way to leave town on a high note. The following day, our home barn, Wayfarer Farm, hosted a fund raiser that helped offset the expenses of traveling halfway across country. There were 45 silent auction items and the band "Even Five" supplied the entertainment. The farm set up a concession stand and a stall of information on Padre' and his mustang story. We raised most of the money to cover the cost of our trip.
Padre' and I left on September 27 to make the trip to Pennsylvania. Sandi, had been my co-pilot all season and again signed on for the trip. With a last minute pep talk to Padre' that I'm sure I needed more than he did, we headed for our first stop in Springfield, Ohio. After staying overnight in Ohio, we reached Dressage at Devon on Tuesday late in the afternoon.
As we pulled into the grounds I was amazed to find out that Devon was located in the middle of a town with not a pasture or paddock in sight. The grounds were an old-time fairgrounds with long barns around the perimeter and an arena surrounded by old fashioned grand stands. When we finished unloading and getting Padre' settled, I checked in and walked Padre' around the grounds. Devon felt comfortable and welcome, not terrifying as I had envisioned. It was an honor to be in the middle of the greatness; Iron Springs Farm, Hilltop Farm and Hassler Dressage to name a few.
Wednesday morning brought show day and I took the time before our class to breath and take in every moment of what we were about to be part of. At 9:15 a.m. I walked Padre' out for our class, #116, 4 Year Old and Older Stallions Shown In Hand Only. The first horse was a lovely Oldenburg Stallion and then Padre' and I were up. As I walked up to present Padre' he stood tall and proud like he understood what it meant to be the first Mustang to qualify and compete in the Dixon Oval at Dressage at Devon. His walk was good and his trot was big. We did the best we could. Now, came the standing and waiting part. The last horse, a Morgan Stallion, took his turn. As they called us up for the awards ceremony, my heart was racing and I hugged Padre' for doing his best again. The Morgan placed third.
As we exited the arena, my students greeted us, also in tears. Some of Padre's new fans
I began to get ready at 2:30 for the Championship class. It included top riding and in-hand stallions to judge the Grand and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. At 3:30, it was our first time to stand next to De Feiner Star; the winner of the 4 year old and older Stallion being shown under saddle and in-hand. After each horse took their turn, I was ecstatic when Padre' was named the Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. De Feiner Star was the Grand Champion. As we walked toward the ring steward he jokingly said "alright, who has a box of Kleenex". Padre', Reserve Grand Champion of the North Central Series Finals. Padre' giving it his all.
Padre', Reserve Grand Champion of the North Central Series Finals.
Padre' giving it his all.
We arrived home on Sunday. We took a couple days off. On Wednesday, I decided it was time to climb back on. After spending so much time on the ground instead of in the saddle, it felt good to go for a long walk. Padre' and I took a trail ride with one of my young students on her pony mare. As we walked through the woods, I wondered if any of the stallions we met in the Dixon Oval at Dressage at Devon were given the chance to roll in the mud, race around a pasture, and go on the trail since they arrived back to their homes. I was happy that Padre' had done all three.
I went to Dressage at Devon to gain experience and to show off Padre. He is that special. I never imagined Padre' would come home with such amazing accolades. Since we have been home, I have read the blogs and received e-mails from complete strangers about how our experiences have helped them to believe in what they are doing with mustangs. Dressage at Devon was not just a victory for Padre' and I; it was a victory for all mustangs and for anyone not afraid to chase a dream no matter how big or small.
I wear a necklace and pendant that has a quote from Henry David Thoreau; "Live the Life You Have Imagined". I can say honestly this year I have. I hope Padre's success can help others to live their dream as well.
The Bureau of Land Management has featured another story about Padre'. It can be found at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/wh_b_information_center/news/success_stories/success_stories_p2/patti_gruber_-_wayfarer.html . Padre' also has his own facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Padre/130599216986228 . If you would like further information about mustangs or Padre' my e-mail address is Pattibrutus2@aol.com.
Johny Cash is my daughter's and my wonderful and talented mustang. He came from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area in California. He is 14.3 hands and extra narrow. I describe him as cute, fun, loving, a quick learner, eager and just a tad stubborn; just like my daughter!
I purchased Johny in 2008 from his original adopter as a very green horse. He was well ground-started and just beginning to take a rider. But Johny knew nothing of leg or rider commands aside from bit pulling. I really liked his mindset and his build. My 12 year old daughter, an advanced rider, was going to train him to be my trail horse. In the process and progression of training him; she fell in love. She began training Johny for Fox Hunting and Hunter-Jumper. That's her favorite discipline.
My daughter shows Johny in low level circuits and places in the 70% range whatever class they enter. Johny's competitors are always tall thoroughbreds and warmbloods. On rare occasions, my daughter will allow me to tack up "my horse" western and go for a trail ride. If she's busy with him, I can forget it.
On other riding days they run the trails with her bareback. She uses just a halter and a lead rope riding one-handed. When they return there will be a few jumping courses, again halter and the one-handed lead rope. Johny is just that good!
Now she's working with Johny in halter only so she can grab and turn his head if needed (no lead-rope or reins) with the goal of riding, jumping bareback, and hands free. She only uses her legs and seat. The two have become one and completely found each other. They both cherish their "pony" time. Johny Cash is the best horse we have ever had the honor and pleasure to own. He respects us completely and we respect him completely. When we're ready to take on another training challenge, I'll be adopting another BLM Mustang!
La Reina de Mesteno (The Queen of Mustangs)
A friend of mine told me about a BLM adoption in Green Cove Springs, FL. It was scheduled for the end of the week.
In about three days, we were able to buy and set up panels, send the form in, and get my dad's permission! We were number three on the list and were able to get a yearling. When the adoption day finally came, I was so excited to pick out my new horse. I knew I wanted a filly with a very curious, playful disposition. I do Parelli Natural Horsemanship and we call this type of horse a Left Brained Extrovert.
As I walked around the other side after passing the 4 and 6 year olds and the internet adoption pens, we finally came to the yearling pens. The first one that caught my eye was a much smaller, bay filly that was faced towards us with her leg cocked and her eyes soft. She was immediately the first one on my list! I saw another filly that I liked, but realized she was a two year old, so I couldn't get her.
There were a few others, but I kept going back to that little bay filly. My dad really liked the buckskins and his top choice was a short, stocky, cow horse that had wide, scared eyes, and kept shoving into the middle of the herd. Finally, it was time to do the actual adoption. I knew my dad and I had different first choices and since he was the one adopting the horse for me I wasn't sure which one he would choose. He went up to the table to tell them which horse he chose. He came back and in his hand was the card for the buckskin.
My face fell. I was so disappointed. I knew he was making the wrong choice for a first time adopter and that you had to be committed to the horse you chose. Unfortunately, I was not committed to that horse. Then, just as I had felt like I had crashed and burned, my dad pulled another card out that had four numbers on it: 3624. The numbers on the tag of the bay filly I had chosen. My bay filly!
We brought the horses home the next day. That evening I could scratch the bay's back through the panels. We progressed very quickly. The next day I could rub her all over with the carrot stick. The next day I put a line on her and taught her to lead. She now knows how to walk beside me on a loose rope, move her front end away, move her hindquarters, accept a flag and saddle blanket, lunge (circling game), back up, and stand still to be haltered.
Nobody can say that mustangs are not trainable. They are very smart, quick learners, and are very personable. We were only calling her "the bay" until I finally chose a name for her, La Reina de Mesteno. That is "the queen of mustangs" in Spanish. We call her Rein for short! She always greets me at the gate with a friendly whinny and is excited to see me. My plans for Rein are to get her to Parelli Level 3/4 online and at liberty before I begin riding her at three or four. She is a quick learner and will progress quickly!
The Buckskin has been more of a challenge. We have been doing round pen training. She stops and faces up, will keep facing me if I am moving around her, and lets me get about a foot away and will smell my hand. Our biggest breakthrough was when I was giving her water. She gets water twice a day and only when the bucket is in my hand. I let her smell my hand before rubbing her head while she drank. I think when she gets over the fear of humans, she will be a very sweet filly! We haven't chosen a name for her yet, but we will find one that fits her personality perfectly!
I am so glad that mustangs are available for us to adopt. They are a joy to have. I love seeing peoples' faces when I tell them, "Yup, Rein used to run wild in Utah before I got her!" They can't believe how far both of the mustangs have come.
We adopted a wild mustang filly when she was 5 months old. We adopted her during the National Adoption Day. My wife named her Faith.
Faith gentled down even more in a couple of days and after a couple of weeks we could go into her pen with absolutely no fear at all. Mustangs are amazing horses and you just can't help but love them. What my wife and I have found is, mustangs will love you forever if you love them back. If anyone loves horses, they would fall in love with mustangs.
We thank the BLM for the opportunity to adopt a mustang and plan to adopt another one soon.
|Last updated: 06-08-2011|
|USA.GOV | No Fear Act | DOI | Disclaimer | About BLM | Notices | Social Media Policy|