Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mustangs: part 2

Now that we know where mustangs come from I wanted to learn more about them as a partner. Talking to a number of different people about them has been interesting. I learned some super things about these symbols of the west. Many will agree that a horse is a horse, but a mustang is different.

First of all, mustangs are hardy horses with healthy feet. Horses that get sick or have bad feet don't live to pass on those genes. These horses have tough as nails hooves and tend to be healthy in general. They live off of what they find on the range, which is not always the best forage, so they are easy keepers. In captivity, they retain these traits and are easy to care.

Even just looking at a mustang, you can see the thicker legs, slightly larger feet. They have an all around sturdier build that I like to see. Americans love to breed for exaggerations and so even good stocky horses of old, like the quarter horse, are now being bred with tiny feet. 

Mustangs grow up on a variety of terrain. Every day is an endurance trail experience, averaging 18 miles a day.They know how to navigate natural obstacles, like logs, water, and rocks. It isn't going to pay to spook at stuff that isn't really a threat. Sure footed and able to read a trail, they know how to move and are sensible on the trail. This makes them ideal trail partners. But they are't just trail horses! They can be found competing in all levels of dressage, hunter/ jumper, and western sports. 

Another trait that was mentioned over and over again by owners is how intelligent the mustang horse is. They tend to think about situations. Owners describe their horses are learning faster than other horses they had worked with.

Finally, part that I am most excited about is how mustangs bond with their owners.  Since that is my primary goal of owning a horse this time around it makes sense to choose a breed that excels in this department. . Many of the people that shared their stories spoke of a deep bond with their horse. Often it was chalked up to mustangs that were raised in a wild herd have learned the language of the horse and tend to do a better job reading the body language of a humans as well.

Darn near the perfect horse right?

Although most of the people that owned mustangs loved them, there were a few that said that they had one that was difficult.

They are wild horses. These guys did have to live by their wits and defend themselves against predators. They had to fight for their place in the herd and themselves against other horses. Finally, they were chased down by a helicopter and trapped. For some, they just can't get used to life if captivity. Especially if they were captured later in life.

Their intelligence can work against their owner, if the owner is not at least as smart as the horse. Seriously, this can be problem when the horse ends up training the human. Mustangs, like all horse, are herd animals. They if you are not going to tell them they you are boss, they will just assume that they can take that role.

All in all, most everything I learned about these horses as partners was really positive. Some described them like your average horse, only more. I can't wait to meet Tank and get our partnership started.

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