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Mustang Mouse's Story
 By Avain   •   31st Aug 2010   •   2,314 views   •   12 comments
Ever since I can remember, like most little girls, I had always dreamed of owning a "wild mustang". I can remember telling my mom about my dreams after I would wake up in the morning, they were always the same: I had a wild, black mustang who lived in the woods by my house, we had all kinds of adventures and he was always saving me in some way or another. I was fortunate to almost always have access to horses of some form to ride and play with ever since I was three years old, but I never had my own until I was in high school, she was a pathetic, starved little filly that no one ever thought would be big enough for me to ride, needless to say, she was my first of many "diamonds in the rough".

Mustang Mouse's StoryTo fast forward some 20 years, this mare passed away from colic. Over the years I have trained many horses, both for myself and for other people, it seems that I was always on a young, untrained horse. After my old mare passed, I said "That's it for young horses, the next horse I get will be calm, quiet and dead broke". That's when I got Mouse, my mustang, so much for calm, quiet and dead broke! The thought of replacing Mystic with a "quiet" horse lasted but a short time, when I realized this was the perfect opportunity to finally get my dream horse, a wild mustang! I had looked into the adoption program about 15 years ago, but decided to purchase a domestic colt at the time instead. I had done some research on mustangs, but not much. Now, since I was very seriously considering this, I really dug into as much information as I could. The more I looked, the more excited I became. All the information was basically the same, everyone who had ever adopted one loved them, they were supposedly very intelligent, sound, healthy and devoted, everything I could ever ask for in a horse.

After about a year of serious research, I found Steve Mantle. In a way, finding my mustang was a bit like "window shopping". I wanted a gelding and I had always wanted a grullo, by chance, Steve had three, two geldings and a filly. They were yearlings from the Divide Basin HMA in Wyoming. He sent lots of pictures of all three and I decided on Mouse. Even though I had been around horses my entire life and had trained a lot of horses, I was still pretty nervous about taking on a totally wild horse. Steve and his son Nick worked with Mouse for a month, they got him halter broke, leading, picking up his feet and loading. This, I was VERY thankful for! Steve and Nick were absolutely wonderful throughout this whole time, keeping me updated with email, phone calls and many, many pictures. Steve said he was not in any way the "worst" colt he had worked with, but was a bit slower to trust than others, but with time would make a great horse. In fact, Nick started to call him "Try" because he said he just tries so hard to do what he was asking. I would highly recommend anyone looking for a mustang, especially first time adopters, to talk to Steve, he can help to pair you up with the horse you are looking for and get it started for you if you want. They are really nice people to work with, and have a good way with the mustangs.

Mouse then left the Mantle Ranch with a load of internet adoption horses and began his journey east. First to Nebraska, then to Ewing, Illinois then finally on to Columbus, OH where I made the eight hour trip from PA and picked him up. Unfortunately, the only way to get him from point A to point B was to haul him with all of the other totally wild and unhandled mustangs, no fault of the BLM, but this is the only logical way to do it. When I got to Columbus, he had reverted back to his wild ways considerably. I must admit also, when I first saw him, my heart sank. In the pictures from Steve, he looked great and seemed to be a nice size. When I saw him in the pen with all the other wild horses, he was a small (about 13.3h), scrawny, very furry (this was February), and a completely scared little horse. I knew that I did not have to take him, but I also knew I did not go through all of this for nothing, so we loaded him up and headed home.

I was able to lead, tie, brush and handle Mouse from the day after I got him home. He was good, but always a bit leery and constantly "on guard" and ready to flee if need be at any moment. I was able to take him for walks within about a week and slowly he began to trust me more and more. It was after about three months, when suddenly it was like flipping a switch. Mouse went from being good about things and doing what I would ask when I was working with him, but always a bit nervous and still on guard, then all of a sudden, one day he decided it was time and the nervousness just stopped. From then on progress just flew! I never worked with a young horse that you didn't have to keep going over and over things till they "got it", then start all over again if you missed a few days. With Mouse, I could work with him once a week and he would pick up just where I left off, no "brushing up" needed.

I had been on his back a few times in the fall, but didn't really start any formal training with him until April of this year. I was busy and didn't have the time work with him like I wanted. At best, I could ride once a week. Typically, with a domestic horse, this would not have even been worthwhile, but with Mouse, no problem! After only 12 rides, over the course of two months time, I took him to a reined cow horse clinic. He was fantastic! Everyone loved him and no one could believe he was a "wild mustang" with only 12 rides on his back. I did everything from trail obstacles, to throwing a rope to working cattle and working gates and he accepted everything as if he had been doing it every day of his life! Only three more rides after the clinic and I took him to his first show, where he placed 4th in a cowboy challenge class! I have had him at several shows since and he never disappoints me! Like my first horse and several others over the years, Mouse also, has proven to be a "diamond in the rough". He is now a beautiful grullo and he stands about 14.3 hands tall, quite a change from the scrawny, nervous little horse I brought home a year ago! He has such a personality and is so much fun, I can honestly say, I plan to stay with mustangs from here on out! I have done everything from trail riding to showing, from roping my first steer to dragging logs, to riding reining patterns with him. He has NEVER done anything (or refused to do something) out of aggression or with an attitude, when he does not do what I am asking, the only reason has ever been that he was scared or just plain didn't understand. Once he realizes that whatever it is that I'm asking is not going to hurt him, he is totally fine with it and just "does it". I had him in a horse "playground" at a show this summer, I walked him over the first teeter-totter with no problem or hesitation what so ever. I thought "that was luck" so I turned around and he did it again without hesitation! He then proceeded to complete each and every obstacle in the playground as if he had been doing them every day!

The biggest thing Mouse has taught me is patience. As long as you take
your time and gain their trust, you will not find yourself a better
mount than a mustang!

Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Stories      Horse News More From This Author:  Avain
EmeraldEagle  
Diamond in the rough indeed... He is a beauty!
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,570 views
 
Avain  
Thanks!
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,593 views
 
halfbrokehorses  
lovely story :) and mouse sounds like an amazing horse to have
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,503 views
 
Avain  
Thanks!

He sure is.
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,593 views
 
MissP  MOD 
What an awesome story! I also have always wanted a mustang well in my case a "brumby" maybe one day )

Best of luck and good times for both of you in the future.
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,659 views
 
Avain  
Thanks
lol
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,593 views
 
MoMoz  
Awesome story! I am considering adopting a mustang so I'm glad to hear your success with him!
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,501 views
 
Avain  
Thanks!
  Sep 1, 2010  •  1,593 views
 
Comanche Ranch  
what a cutie! i have a mustang too, Gracie. shes rather small now and just turned 5. when did Mouse seem to do most of his growing? i've heard stories of mustangs growing later. 0.o
  Sep 2, 2010  •  1,578 views
 
Comanche Ranch  
what a cutie! i have a mustang too, Gracie. shes rather small now and just turned 5. when did Mouse seem to do most of his growing? i've heard stories of mustangs growing later. 0.o
  Sep 2, 2010  •  1,578 views
 
Avain  
After I bought him.

:0)
  Sep 2, 2010  •  1,593 views
 
Inactive Member  
wow!
  Sep 3, 2010  •  1,495 views
 
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