The American Mustang. An Icon. For some, a part of the American Dream.
This amazing creature came into my life by chance. We went to look at an Appy Stallion and he was off by himself in a holding pen. He had kind eyes and the owner said he was impossible. They had adopted him from a BLM adoption event and were waiting out their year committment so they could sell him. Really? This beautiful creature with kind eyes and the power of a Sherman Tank? What were they thinking?
Yep, you guessed it. Out of my mouth pops, "And how long until he is for sale and how much?" Six weeks? $150? Pay them that day and all I had to do was wait, show up, load him and he was all mine? So, into the pen I went and off to the other side he went. Humans were not a good thing. Hmmm.
Six weeks later I arrive with a truck and trailer and all day to load. I am ready. I have only backed Wynn Song (previous blog...a non event) but I have bought Pat Parelli's videos and I am going to use Natural Horsemanship...blend in a little GaWaNi PonyBoy training for my Native American side to be satisfied and this is going to be MY horse. I bet you are reading this and shaking your head...I know I am. Time to load. I put on the halter, walk toward the trailer. When he balks, I take the lead rope and wrap it around the pole on the trailer and apply pressure. Time to wait it out. Oh no...the idiot I bought him from is in a hurry. Out comes the butt rope and a whip. He is going to make him do it...man-handle him in. Really? Some cuts later and some unsafe events and Nakai is in and we are driving away. We get home and unload. Nakai is off. Gone. He goes to the far end of the pasture and that is that. He had enough and so had I. End of day one. He is home and now I can make things right.
I am in love and with enough kindness and patience we will build trust and he will come around. I have enough love for both of us. This is about the relationship. We just need to build it. I can do this.
The following weekend, Pat Parelli is in Albuquerque with his wife and doing a clinic. I go. I did learn a lot. I learned about using a carrot stick to de-sensitize, there are 7 games you are supposed to play with your horse and Pat Parelli is nothing buy a giant infomerical. Ew.
Nakai and I did begin to bond. I learned he was a flight horse. Better to run away. In time, I was able to halter him and walk around. I would sit in the round pen with him for hours and just "be." Let him come up to me and eventually, I was not a monster. But I was not getting anywhere. So, I turned to a cowboy who told me to geld him and a day after his surgery to climb on and stay on. He would be too sore to buck and this was the way to back him. Not true. He bucked and I ended up having shoulder surgery.
So, now my confidence is shot, Nakai is not rideable and I am at a loss. Videos, clinics and such were not going to work. Time to hire a trainer. Yes, I am still on the Natural Horsemanship kick but now I am going to try Clinton Anderson. I found a nice guy who had worked with Mustangs. (I have learned at this point that since they are more wild and less domesticated it would take a more refined technique to train him). We made progress, a lot. We worked in round pen and it got to the point Nakai wanted to come to me. We did tons of ground work and we were building a bond. The thing is it was not love coming from Nakai. We had a mutual respect but not that something special I wanted it to be. It was almost as if we tolerated each other. I was not giving up- we just needed more time- it would happen.
Fast forward a few years. Nakai is still not backed and nothing has changed. Reality check and time to be real. I need to sell Nakai. He is too much horse for me and our personalities are not a good fit. I cannot control or force this one. It is what it is and I need to be real. Nakai went up for sale.
This story has a very happy ending. Heather (Iron Ridge Sport Horses) agreed to broker Nakai for me. He moved to her place and she marketed, interviewed, trained and evaluated Nakai. She found him the perfect home. Nakai's soulmate is an 11 girl named Zoe. He nickers when he sees her and is now "mushy."
I love a happy ending!