Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where Do We Take The Blog?


I try to help with my writing at the paper.

I have a "horse page."

On it I have a rescue of the week, an adoptable horse ready to go from either of the two rescues I work with.

Then I maintain a local events column, giving out listings for local clubs and events.

I also write a weekly column.

This column has gotten me involved in all kinds of things related to horses.

I am notoriously fair in my writing. I present facts as I fin them and always go to both sides.

If you want I'll start posting the articles I think you might be intersested in.

Here's some of the problems I've either tackled or am in the middle of tackling.

1.There are countless registered, trained, quality horses showing up at auctions, rescues, in fire sale ads and so on.

There are over 40,000 mustangs being permanently maintained on ranches in Nebraska and I think Iowa.

These horses are being paid for via federal aid.

This bothers me, but on so many levels I can't even begin to write a story on it.
Too many angles.


2. Mustang Makeovers

In 120 days Mustangs are being exhibited jumping through hoops of fire, being shot off of, working cattle and doing really crappy reining patterns.

Then the horses are sold along with many other mustangs.

I love the idea of Mustangs being promoted as rideable, loveable, useful animals.

I hate the idea of what these horses go through to get that trained, that fast.

I can guarantee that with that much training there's not much "broke" that's going to stick.

The people who are attracted to these things rarely have the knowledge to handle the horses they are being encouraged to buy.

So how does this actually help the mustangs?


3. Birth Control for Mustangs.
Hasn't anybody heard of gelding?


4. Horse Whispering
This whole concept has gotten too many green riders to think they can be trainers. Shudder.


Oops..Gotta go.

The picture is of the kidlette on a young vanner mare, I told you guys I'd post it if I ever found it. The mare is wearing a serretta and being ridden with a bit.

It's her first ride.

I'm on the longe line. You can see it's relaxed. Kidlette is working the reins left to right, she's getting her to give in each direction.

I talked about the speed breaking we did on these vanners in another post. I usually worked the serretta because I had good timing and a feel for it.

31 comments:

nagonmom said...

Anything you write involving horses is fair game for me! Although I like your trainer memoirs best. Tally tale?

glenatron said...

I'd be interested to hear what you have to say on those things. Being a few thousand miles away I don't think the paper you write for gets delivered to us.

Of course I'm one of those green folk who thought they could be a trainer and you know what? I'm pretty sure I can be, and that most other people probably could be as well. All you need is years of work, expert support and instruction, the will to spend whatever money and time it takes and absolute determination. Anyone is capable of those things if something is important enough to them.

Jayke said...

At this point I'll gobble up anything you read!

Fyyahchild said...

I trust your judgement Mugs and I'm along for the ride wherever it goes. I thought the last article was well written: fair and compaasionate. Thank you.

Becky said...

I agree with everyone else here--- whatever you post it, we'll "gobble it up". :)

#1: The seretta looks so much more harmless than you describe it.

#2: What is it about Vanners that make me turn into Elymyra Duff from Animaniacs? "I wanna hug 'em, and love 'em, and squeeze 'em, and kiss 'em and wub their wittle bellies!" I know you mentioned you liked them earlier, but how did you like their brains in comparison to quarter horses?

#3: While I agree that 120 days is fast for most of the mustangs (I think people like Tracey over at MustangDiaries is smart about the way she has worked her mustang makeover horses), in some ways I'm kind of okay with it--- it sounds terrible, but if you fry one or two brains but manage to save hundreds more through breed promotion and recognition... I dunno. Maybe it's cruel of me to think it's justified. Now you've got me thinking about my stance.

Heather said...

Not to be a brainless follower, but I'm with evryone else. It would be great to get conclusions to the Tally/Cupcake stories, but in the meantime, I'm in for anything you want to put out there. I've learned a lot that I've been able to apply in my own life. Including the confidence to get back on my own athletic little gelding after he came back from training. (And after receiving two flying lessons from him pre-trainer.)

Thanks for all the good stuff you put out there!

paintarab said...

I will read anything you put on the blog. glenatron: just because the paper isn't delivered doesn't mean you can't read it online. When the postings slow down I go search out mugwump's newspaper articles online!

Breanna said...

There needs to be some serious discussion about population control among the mustangs. It's ridiculous that the government is spending all this money to keep a bunch of (relatively) useless animals alive, while the country sinks deeper and deeper into debt. I'd love to hear more from you on these topics.

i know nothing said...

I love the training advice and can use all I can get, whether it’s Q&A or your random thoughts. And the stories about Tally et al.

I also like a thoughtful, non-hysterical discussion about the horse over-population. I don’t want to see horse owners having additional laws, taxes or oversight put upon us because some people can’t get a grip on reality. I found a comment interesting (quite a while ago) from a person in Europe or the UK. The gist of it was that there are horses and there are meat horses, like they’re two completely different animals. And maybe they are. Maybe we in the US need to adjust our rose-colored-glasses view of horses. (Not my horses though! They’ll be spoiled until their end.) But horses that can’t find a home? Too many Mustangs? Who wants to pay for them? Their numbers need to be compassionately controlled somehow.

My own crazy horse that hears voices had an epiphany several months ago. I had been working her for a year and a half and was at my wit’s end. Nobody would want her, she felt like a bomb ready to go off under me even though she never bucked. She spent those 18 months going to the same arena several times a week and would freak out at the same stuff time after time and once she lost her concentration, it was gone for the day (or two). If she saw something (a person walking, a deer, geese landing on the pond), that was it. She could not, would not take her eyes or mind off it. She would spin in circles to look and get into a full body, drenching sweat. But then one day it stopped. I kept working her and waiting for the crazy to return and it hasn’t! Once in a while she’ll get upset, but we can work through it and move on with our lesson within minutes instead of days. She has also become an amazingly reliable trail horse. So, I’m calling it a miracle. I’m certainly not a pro trainer and can’t take much credit except for persistence.

Mary said...

First of all, I absolutely LOVE ANYTHING you write! I see books in your future :) I've even searched for the newspaper you write for on line just to get my fix (unfortunately, was unable to find it). I agree totally on the mustang warehousing. And just so you know, they are also in Kansas. I know a rancher that has about 2000 head that he's well paid to warehouse and feed alfalfa to in the winter. They are on lovely huge grass pastures in the Flint Hills, but it's our tax dollars paying for this.

mugwump said...

Mary- I would love to be able to visit one of these ranches...any way you could hook me up with the mustang guy? Road Trip!!!!

mugwump said...

I'm in the middle of a Cupcake chaper BTW guys, I won't quit the stories, they help me understand how I train....

AKPonyGirl said...

Ditto, ditto and ditto!!

Joy said...

I know the pioneer woman (Ree Drummond) www.thepioneerwoman.com has mustangs on her ranch. (very cool blog too)

And like everyone, what you post I will read. Any of it.

Joy said...

PS, for whatever reason, the picture cut off right below kidlette's shoulders so I saved it. Can see it on my computer, don't know what the problem was. Just wanted you to know I'm not stealing kidlette's picture...

mugwump said...

I'm looking to visit a ranch being paid by the BLM to keep mustangs.
I'll be doing a reporter type story, so no attitude from me and the location can stay unpublished.
Basically I want to see it, talk to a rancher and get his input on the process.....plus, I love road trips.
Any input?

mugwump said...

Glenatron - You are right. And we were all green at one point or another and we all need to learn.
My issue is I worry many clinicians are teaching generic lessons and saying they all work on all horses. Then people who would normally decide to buy an older, safe, fun horse to ride instead think they can start a colt and end up with a safe fun horse for much less $$ than they would buying a broke horse.
Or they decide to breed Ol' Flossie because the neighbore have an uncut Paintaloosa and they can learn to train the result through tapes...
Oh yeah, get me goin'...now I'm climbing on my soap box...quick! Knock me down and tell me to shut up!!!!

CR said...

Mustangs, near and dear to my heart becuase I have two. I've trained both and sought a lot of advice about them from mustang trainers.

One thing everyone said is you need to take twice as long with them as domestic horses, but once it is learned it is learned.

Mustangs take things personaly and aren't as forgiving during the training process, which is why you see so many messed up minds. They have to trust and bond with you since their survival response is so much closer to the surface.

Think about it, a mustang has generations of "survival of the fittest" in its genes. Quick response to threat means a mustang will live to eat another day. Because of this it is imperative that you establish that bond and trust including confidence that you will not over expose.

The Mustang Makeover horses have adapted to the training, but I seriously doubt they are "broke." By broke I mean a horse that will listen to your request when things get scary for the horse. It took me over a year for my mustang to trust me on that level. She still will ask "are you sure?" but the foundation is there for her to trust me.

I have a feeling those MM horses are very shut down and in inexperienced hands could blow up. OTOH some horses are shutdown and just stay that way. I know of a mustang that was started fast (60 days) then ridden as if he was a seasoned horse. He blew up bad one day and became unridable. When mustangs blow it isn't pretty and takes a lot for them to come back, if ever.

As for the Mustang political issue, it's everywhere right now. I'm on Facebook and read dozens of posts every day. Lately I delete them because most are overly romatisized opinions about "wild horses" and how evil the BLM is.

I would LOVE to read an unbiased article with clear and correct facts representing both sides of the issue. I doubt that exists.

OldMorgans said...

I have to agree that I will happily read what ever you write.
The mustang issue is a hot one but I am thinking that will be agreeing w/you.

Anonymous said...

There was a trainer's challenge here with mostly mustangs and some rescued horses. They had 70 days and several of the trainers did amazing things. The people I knew had mustangs. But 70 days is not nearly long enough to work a mustang (or any horse, really) to sell to anyone except another trainer or someone very competent. They were NOT ready for the average rider, and many of them might never be.

I have friends with mustangs and they are nice enough horses. But for my money, it costs as much to feed and train a pretty horse as a plain one. Another friend made a remark that made me laugh. She wondered why people were so willing to spend $4k-$6k on a medium-priced trailer, but were only willing to spend $500-$1k on what they were loading into it!

The horse is the whole point! Spend as much as you can possibly afford on a good, sound HORSE! Even if s/he is plain and the wrong color! You can get a funky trailer and put a good, safe floor in it.

Where I used to live, the mustangs would stroll through my yard and eat my hay. I had to fence the whole lot after I was home sick one day. My crabby mare was in heat and the mustangs were 15'-20' away eating my haystack. Crabby mare was body-slamming the pipe corral and squirting everywhere, inviting the stallion over. What a tramp! Just then, 4 kindergartners cut through my yard to go to the bus stop, right between squirting mare and mustang band. YIKES! The bad possibilities were many and scary. So up went the fence. Those mustangs had a hard life except for the occasional free hay. They are certainly fun to see in the wild, but their numbers need to be controlled. Starving to death or dying of thirst are not pleasant options. Having taxpayers support more bums isn’t that great of an option either. There has to be a realistic, compassionate way to accomplish this.

I tried to log in properly, but my comments got sent into cyberspace!

HorsesAndTurbos said...

Hey Mugs, need a quick opinion (I hope you are on again tonight). Others are welcome too...this is my first project besides my mare, and a totally new direction for me.

The horse I am tuning up/retraining is at 90% with her groundwork. I am trying to decide if I should ride her tomorrow, or give her more groundwork until she's almost 100%.

The reason I have her is that she rears on the ground to get back to the herd/barn. She also gets in your space, and does not focus very well on you. Trained by a 10 year old or so when she was 4...a 4-H horse.

My friend got her from the girl (she's basically a nice horse), and oneo day Daisy reared and pulled my friend sideways, and my friend broke her leg. Instead of dumping Daisy, I have her for my friend and am starting from point A to get her training holes filled in as best I can.

I see *tons* of improvement in just about 3 weeks of groundwork. I just need an opinion that I respect on giving her another week of groundwork or ride her. She's gotten much better with her attention on me, but I still see moments of "where are the other horses."

Her blog: whatsdrivingmissdaisy.blogspot.com

Thanks! Jackie

Jenn said...

Yeah, I'm hoping the Tally and Cupcake sagas will [in time] be concluded. Talk about cliff-hangers!

Anything you write is duly enjoyed by me.

Take the trail that you want to take. I'll follow.

mugwump said...

Jackie - Go with your gut. If you think she needs more, give her more.
Don't say , 1 more week, or 30 more days, just go with each step until your instinct says, OK, time for the next step.
Remember, rearing is about losing forward.
If she rears on the groud then get her hind feet moving moving forward.
I would use the longe whip on her hind pasterns, much like I do to load a horse.
If she rears with you on her I would work very hard on turns on the forehand every time she locks into place.
Once she has her hind moving I would get her moving laterally.
Engage her feet, then you'll get her mind.....

HorsesAndTurbos said...

Thanks, Mugs...I'm trying to decide if it's me talking myself out of it, or if my instinct says give her more time. Since today is a bad air quality day and *hot* here in MI, I think we'll stick with lunging.

Guess what...I get to teach her to load a trailer too! Well, she knows, but she started rearing...and my friend said that if I could teach Starlette to load, I have a good change with Daisy!

Amy said...

I really wish they would catch mustangs, geld, and release, the way they do with feral cats. With the huge population in captivity, really it would be realistic to probably euthanize some of them and get the catch-and-adopt out program down to a reasonable population.

My friend who works with animals control and owns two adopted mustangs and I were talking about this... she said there's a theory that, like some other animals in the wild, killing them to cull their numbers in the wild would cause an increased breeding response in the herds to repopulate numbers... that's why I think gelding is the obviously more humane and sensible route.

As for green riders... I bought a green horse, who was just great when I rode her at the barn under trainer supervision, but then I brought her across the country with me and she learned how to be *bad* to get out of work. I bought a Clinton Anderson book and while his groundwork exercises helped me greatly, I just couldn't grasp the riding exercises... so obviously I needed help. I think there are things to be gained by reading or watching videos, but in a tough situation, you NEED that experienced person on the ground (or in the saddle for you to help. Many times I have *felt* like I was riding correctly only to be corrected by my trainer because I wasn't... there's no way to learn if you don't have eyes on the ground telling you when you do and don't have it right.

Luckily, my trainer is such a gem, she is fairly priced and really cares about her clients and their horses, and she has helped us so much... sorry I've just been all gushy about her lately... I'll quit now.

Is there a link to your paper somewhere here Mugs? Or will you repost the articles here? Either way would be great! You are a beautiful writer and I'd love to read anything you write.

Amy said...

I really wish they would catch mustangs, geld, and release, the way they do with feral cats. With the huge population in captivity, really it would be realistic to probably euthanize some of them and get the catch-and-adopt out program down to a reasonable population.

My friend who works with animals control and owns two adopted mustangs and I were talking about this... she said there's a theory that, like some other animals in the wild, killing them to cull their numbers in the wild would cause an increased breeding response in the herds to repopulate numbers... that's why I think gelding is the obviously more humane and sensible route.

As for green riders... I bought a green horse, who was just great when I rode her at the barn under trainer supervision, but then I brought her across the country with me and she learned how to be *bad* to get out of work. I bought a Clinton Anderson book and while his groundwork exercises helped me greatly, I just couldn't grasp the riding exercises... so obviously I needed help. I think there are things to be gained by reading or watching videos, but in a tough situation, you NEED that experienced person on the ground (or in the saddle for you to help. Many times I have *felt* like I was riding correctly only to be corrected by my trainer because I wasn't... there's no way to learn if you don't have eyes on the ground telling you when you do and don't have it right.

Luckily, my trainer is such a gem, she is fairly priced and really cares about her clients and their horses, and she has helped us so much... sorry I've just been all gushy about her lately... I'll quit now.

Is there a link to your paper somewhere here Mugs? Or will you repost the articles here? Either way would be great! You are a beautiful writer and I'd love to read anything you write.

Amy said...

I really wish they would catch mustangs, geld, and release, the way they do with feral cats. With the huge population in captivity, really it would be realistic to probably euthanize some of them and get the catch-and-adopt out program down to a reasonable population.

My friend who works with animals control and owns two adopted mustangs and I were talking about this... she said there's a theory that, like some other animals in the wild, killing them to cull their numbers in the wild would cause an increased breeding response in the herds to repopulate numbers... that's why I think gelding is the obviously more humane and sensible route.

As for green riders... I bought a green horse, who was just great when I rode her at the barn under trainer supervision, but then I brought her across the country with me and she learned how to be *bad* to get out of work. I bought a Clinton Anderson book and while his groundwork exercises helped me greatly, I just couldn't grasp the riding exercises... so obviously I needed help. I think there are things to be gained by reading or watching videos, but in a tough situation, you NEED that experienced person on the ground (or in the saddle for you to help. Many times I have *felt* like I was riding correctly only to be corrected by my trainer because I wasn't... there's no way to learn if you don't have eyes on the ground telling you when you do and don't have it right.

Luckily, my trainer is such a gem, she is fairly priced and really cares about her clients and their horses, and she has helped us so much... sorry I've just been all gushy about her lately... I'll quit now.

Is there a link to your paper somewhere here Mugs? Or will you repost the articles here? Either way would be great! You are a beautiful writer and I'd love to read anything you write.

Amy said...

I really wish they would catch mustangs, geld, and release, the way they do with feral cats. With the huge population in captivity, really it would be realistic to probably euthanize some of them and get the catch-and-adopt out program down to a reasonable population.

My friend who works with animals control and owns two adopted mustangs and I were talking about this... she said there's a theory that, like some other animals in the wild, killing them to cull their numbers in the wild would cause an increased breeding response in the herds to repopulate numbers... that's why I think gelding is the obviously more humane and sensible route.

As for green riders... I bought a green horse, who was just great when I rode her at the barn under trainer supervision, but then I brought her across the country with me and she learned how to be *bad* to get out of work. I bought a Clinton Anderson book and while his groundwork exercises helped me greatly, I just couldn't grasp the riding exercises... so obviously I needed help. I think there are things to be gained by reading or watching videos, but in a tough situation, you NEED that experienced person on the ground (or in the saddle for you to help. Many times I have *felt* like I was riding correctly only to be corrected by my trainer because I wasn't... there's no way to learn if you don't have eyes on the ground telling you when you do and don't have it right.

Luckily, my trainer is such a gem, she is fairly priced and really cares about her clients and their horses, and she has helped us so much... sorry I've just been all gushy about her lately... I'll quit now.

Is there a link to your paper somewhere here Mugs? Or will you repost the articles here? Either way would be great! You are a beautiful writer and I'd love to read anything you write.

kel said...

mugs... one of my other favorite blogs is www.thepioneerwoman.com

She lives on a ranch in OK and they take care of mustangs for the government. Check out her site, she writes about it alot. With lots of pictures. And she like to have guests to her home.

But stay away from the cooking page... she is the devil in the kitchen. Butter, heavy cream, more butter, wine, more butter, more cream, more butter...get the idea?

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Mugs there is also a ranch around Pierre, SD that was supposed to start taking in mustangs for the government.

It used to be a buffalo ranch, but now running buffalo isn't as profitable as getting paid by the government to run mustangs. So bye-bye buffs and hello $$$mustangs$$.

Becky said...

How is Leland doing?

Follow by Email

There was an error in this gadget