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5/29/2007

Little Spanish Mustangs

A couple of weeks ago my son Michael came home with a set of panels all fired up to round pen the new mustangs. We picked up a couple of Spanish Colonial Mustangs last fall. They ve been getting to know the place and I can attest to the fact that they have enjoy life on Grays Ranch.  
 
They had made the pilgrimage from the open range country of New Mexico to a little pen in eastern Kansas. I imagine they were cooped up in that pen for 6-8 months. So, by the time we acquired them they were soft and had that dough-gut look that pretty much takes all the hoss out of them. After a few weeks of getting to know the place we turned them out with the other hosses on the place. They spent the next several months getting pushed around by a dominate mare and a big gelding that had always been at the bottom of the pecking order of the bunch.  
 
Then something happened. All that running and fighting brought out the WILD in those little mustangs. We began to notice first Dan, the stud and then Star, the filly trimming up. With the improvement in physical appearance came a new confidence. Dan began to assert himself and suddenly the big gelding, Tigger was on the losing end of teeth and hooves. Dan who is half the size of Tigger took control. It was a little unnerving to watch for a while but we decided to let nature take its course. It was like playing fruit basket upset with every hoss fer himself. Things have settled down considerably now.  
 
I m not quite sure which of the two females is in charge. For now Star and Dolly seem to be sharing that position, but sooner or later one of them will win out. Dan keeps them close to him and doesn t allow the two geldings anywhere near the females. They seem to have worked out their relationships to within reason.  
 
So Michael figgered it was time to get them in a round pen and straighten out OUR relationship to this outfit. Michael spent a few hours over a couple of days working with Star and she had really responded to him So last Sunday after taking the geldings, Tigger and Gray Moon for a long pasture inspection we returned a little worn out but ready to give a go at working Dan in the round pen. That went pretty well but Dan just was not giving in the way Star had done. 
 
The idea is to keep them running in a circle around that pen. Ya want to occupy their mind to the point that they are thinking only of you and where you are in relation to them. They will eventually begin to imprint on you and identify you as their leader, Boss Hoss of the Cavyyard!  
 
Dan was not taking to the circle. At one point he turned and charged directly into one of the panels. He fell back but he left a big U in one of those purty new panels. Michael wasn t too happy. Can t say as I blame him.  
 
As soon as Dan collected himself I kept him moving as best I could. He made a couple of turns around the pen then stopped, turned to face a panel with his nose in the air and with a steel spring leap cleared that 5 foot high panel like it wasn t there! Lucky fer us he just jumped into another pen or we might have had a wild hoss chase! Now I will admit both of us are novices when it comes to honest-to-goodness Spanish mustangs and I know our eyes were popping when he cleared that pen!  
 
I walked into the pen with Dan and drove him up into the feeding pen. There I walked up to him put my arm around him and haltered him without so much as a flinch. I m not so sure about this hoss whispering thing fer my old buddy Dan. Looks like jest the thing fer Star, but as fer Dan I think I ll handle him without the round pen. I have handled a few green hosses in my time that had never seen a round pen and I figger Dan jest may respond to my style of hoss training better. I ll let ya know in a few weeks. 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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