Wild horses are a majestic sight to see out in the wilderness. They conjure up emotional feelings like power, strength, grace, beauty, and most of all…freedom.
When these magnificent beauties leave the wild and enter our lives there is a trade off. I am NOT discussing whether they should remain wild or not nor am I talking about the round-ups. That happens before they enter my life. I am talking about their new life. With me.
In my life on my farm they give up their freedom to roam around as they please. Yes, I would love to see them standing upon a grassy hillside with the wind blowing through their mane and tail but the fact is I live in the desert on a fenced in farm. The fence that keeps my mustangs in also keeps predators out.
They give up being able to do whatever they want when they want. Of course most of the time they are not told what to do other than to stay within the fence but there are times when they need to do something even if they don’t want to. It is a necessity for them to be halter trained, stand tied, let me pick up feet, and let me touch them all over while behaving. This is non-negotiable because I need to be able to lead them places in an emergency, stand at the hitching post if I need to doctor them, pick up their feet so they can be trimmed, and touch them all over also in case they need to be doctored.
Is it necessary for them to do more? When I rescue or adopt I do so with the intention of caring for them their entire lives no matter how long or short that may be. Being that I am human and not immortal I have to think of giving them the best chance in life even if I am no longer there. If I knew for a fact that I would be there for their entire lives then the answer would be no but since I am mortal, my opinion is yes. Yes because in order to give them the best chance in life I need to have them used to things horses encounter in their domestic life other than abuse, neglect, etc. What a great way for my horses and I to bond as well. Doing things together! Most people have horses to ride them. A horse that has never been under saddle may not be as appealing as one who has. Get the idea? It doesn’t have to be limited to riding. There is driving, horsemanship, trick training, etc. Most of all, an all around well mannered horse is very attractive. If you are not interested in actually riding, driving, or anything else then there are many things you can do to create a well mannered horse. Why not tack up with a saddle or harness or do some desensitization? Doing this in a positive way at the horses pace is not just a fun way to spend time and bond with your horse. It is a great way to set them up for success even if you can no longer be a part of their life.
They may have lost their freedom, family, friends, and home but in trade I give a safe place to call home, food, water, shelter, medical attention, new friends, and new positive life experiences.