Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It takes a village to raise a mustang

To start off the day with some pretty exciting news, Sage was featured on the BLM facebook page today! I am so grateful for all the wonderful comments from people and the support of everyone who loves mustangs. Here's a link:

I was definitely surprised to see it appear, and it made my day!

Even though we have a midterm tomorrow in small animal emergency medicine, I got home early enough today to really seriously consider riding. Of course it's a blustery mess outside, but I have been itching to do more work in the round pen. I started by saddling her and moving her around like I did before (had to use the feed bag to get her moving, but she really understands the idea now and continues to get better). After a few circuits of trotting, we worked in hand on the old stuff. I feel like there's never a time when it's bad to work on "simple" things that you already know. It helps to make those things an easy response when you are in the saddle and things are just a little more nervous in general.

Of course it is always a little terrifying to step into the saddle, especially after our little gallop last time. This time we were in the roundpen, but no one was around to help me (I told my dad to check out the window of the house every so often to make sure we were okay). And it's not like she couldn't do some damage in the roundpen!

She was great for me getting on, standing still unlike the last time. She was also a dream to ride. And by dream, I mean super green and we maybe got in a few circuits of walking, but it was nothing short of amazing. It's nice to feel a horse underneath you that just feels so right. She got the hang of "leg squeezes means go forward" without anyone there to lead her around. It took her a few minutes, but she definitely got it. She even got "whoa" quite well, and remained quite relaxed. The only spot where I thought we might have some trouble was dismounting. She tensed up as I leaned forward and shifted my weight. Finally, I swung my leg back over, but she walked away as I was standing in one stirrup. I hung on, and I thought she would try to get away. But she responded to my whoa, and when I got off, I think she figured out that I have to kind of move funny in order to get off her back. I think I've always had someone hold her while I dismount, so it was all a new experience!

Here's a picture of her in the roundpen trying to make me feel sorry for her:

And the part about it taking a village to raise a mustang? Well, it's certainly true. Let's just say that theriogenology (reproduction) is not my best subject when it comes to medicine. Today I chatted with my therio professor about vaccines, fetal movement, feed, and was a little bit of a nervous mother asking about things going wrong with young mares. He was very positive. He agreed that in a horse with a frame like hers, seeing fetal movement is most likely starting at seven and a half to eight months. We also discussed fescue toxicity, which is an issue around here where there is a lot of fescue in local grass hay. He said that even though traditional recommendations are to switch off of fescue a month before the birth, he likes to switch them about 3 months beforehand. (This is to prevent low birth weight, prolonged gestation, and agalactia--lack of milk production.)

So that means my bank account will be crying as I switch her to orchard grass hay from eastern Oregon right now. It also means that I had to switch out Brandy and Gabby (because Brandy would vacuum that stuff up like nobody's business). Now Gabby and Sage are together, which makes more sense from a feeding standpoint but is a pairing that I like less--as well, I dislike having a big horse like Brandy in with my little Luna, who can't get away as quickly due to her hind leg problems. However, after a little scuffle it will all work out. There will be lots of rotation over the next few months and as her due date approaches!


  1. Sage is beautiful and I loved your story on facebook. I think most mustang owners adoption stories begin with, "I went just to look" lol

  2. Thanks :) I agree...I've ended up with too many animals by "just looking"