But first, notice something?
I mean, other than how cute she is...
This morning in the barn, she was doing so well with approaching and petting and brushing that I decided to try to take off her halter. I know the thing has been bugging her, and now that she is approachable, that little extra failsafe isn't necessary. Not that it helped much anyway, and I am very paranoid about leaving horses out with halters on. Plus, it looked like it was starting to itch.
I braced myself for a mini-explosion as the thing came sliding off her face (because she's still not excellent with hands around her face), but she was a good girl and immediately let me approach again. In fact, she seemed better with hands around her face now that I could scratch her where the halter was.
Since the girls have been so good in the "dry pasture" up by the barn, I figured it would be safe to let them out into the big pasture for a few hours. They had a great time but were ready to come in when I came back out a few hours later.
I let them into the arena/round pen and individually caught each one to give them a quick brush and fly spray. I wanted to make sure Sage saw each horse with a halter on being handled. She was very interested, once again very curious about the fly spray especially.
Then I worked on haltering with her, and although I didn't slip the rope halter over her nose, I had my hands all over her face, the rope around her neck, etc. I worked on her lowering her head and bringing her nose toward me, the foundation for haltering. She was a star. Likely she'll halter better than my other horses after this.
I gave her a good brushing again, but I could tell she was being bothered by flies. Since she didn't seem to mind the fly spray near her before, I figured it was kind of a "now or never" moment. I told her (yes, I literally talked to her) that she would feel better with some on. She just stared at me and stood there, so I sprayed a bit around me. She took a deep sniff and stood still. Within a few seconds, I had completely sprayed her and she could have cared less, even when the bottle made lots of weird spraying noises. Even Gabby won't stand still for fly spray without a halter on...and yet, two months ago this horse was running wild and had never been touched by people.
Some days, she amazes me. And yet, it's not all as easy as I think I make it sound sometimes. There have definitely been moments, especially because she wasn't that easy to approach for the first time, where I've thought one of the following or all at once:
1. Why on earth did I want a mustang in the first place when I could have found a gentle, domesticated horse?
2. Why didn't I get a gelding, who would likely be much more social?
3. Why didn't I get a weanling, who wouldn't have memories of running wild and free?
4. Why the hell did I get such a big horse?
5. I am never going to be able to do this.
6. I have no idea what I'm doing
7. I am going to get killed.
However many times these things cross my mind each day, each time I go back through what we've done and how far we've come. So far, we're on track with many of the "Extreme Mustang Makeover" trainers (who have about 3 months to gentle and show a mustang). Not that we're trying to be, but it's nice to know.
The main thing is, though... You just gotta jump in and be scared and stick with it 'til it gets fun.
It's a motto to live by. And it's starting to get fun.