So 2019 has started with a bang!
This past week, I drove to Mississippi to pickup Cat after she spent some time with Michael Gascon, the Horse Guru. He specializes in gaited horses and is, without doubt, one of the nicest people we’ve met in the industry. I am so excited that Cat managed to learn from him…a knowledgeable and kind role model for certain.
From Mississippi, we drove to Ewing, Illinois where we picked up a two-year-old mustang for the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Mustang Makeover to be held in April at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin.
I’ve always wanted to go to Ewing, one of the many mustang holding facilities run by the Bureau of Land Management. It was a surreal experience, one that I can honestly say will stay with me forever. The mustangs were happy, eating hay, and waiting to be adopted. It was so nice to see so many people there, waiting to pick up their mustangs for the Midwest Horse Fair event.
The entire journey from Florida to Mississippi to Illinois and back to Florida took 48 hours (minus stops to sleep a bit in the truck).
Once we returned home, Cat unloaded #1854 into our mustang round pen–a special six foot high pen made from 14 gauge steel. Mustangs need extra high walls because they are known to jump out…and run away. They are, after all, wild. Of course, once gentled and tamed, they can be held in regular paddocks with four foot high fences.
Over the years, Cat has worked with almost thirty wild horses (two were burros). Thirty. Mustangs. She’s only sixteen-years-old. That’s really incredible. She’s also worked with many other horses, too. Some have been very difficult. Others have been a bit less difficult. But I can tell you that they are always challenging.
Tag #1854 is no different. Being young, he’s curious and interested, but also cautious and flighty. The biggest difference I do see is in Cat. Watching her work with Tag #1854 is amazing. When I compare how she is with #1854 to how she was with her first mustang, Monche, in 2014…I am spellbound. Soft-spoken, joking, laughing…as if she is hanging out with an old friend and not a mustang that was born in the wild! The way she reads the horse’s body language and anticipates its moves is fascinating.
With each horse that she gentles and each horse that she trains, she is acquiring knowledge that she can reuse in the future. Her ability to read horses and pull from her arsenal of ever growing experience is inspiring. There is no such thing as a short-cut when it comes to training horses–and I’ve met some trainers who do just that.
I’m looking forward to watching this journey with Cat and Tag #1854…er…Kimber. That’s right–Kimber. Cat took off the gelding’s tag during her very first session and just hours after we arrived back to the ranch. Now that the tag is off, Kimber will never again be a number. Instead, Kimber is part of our new herd and we are very happy to welcome him.