"Medicine Man"is named after his capture area in Maverick-Medicine, NV in July, 2006. Upon capture he was held in a containment area (large holding pens with little people contact) except for his trip to the Doctor for shots, guilding and a Coggins test. His feet were trimmed one time about 4 months ago in a squeeze chute. He was selected along with 99 other mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management National Wild Horse Burro Center at Palomino Valley, NV for the 'Extreme Mustang Makeover'. The EMM is a competition created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation and supported by the Bureau of Land Management to increase the interest in the wild mustang and its many uses.
Around the first of June he was shipped to Oklahoma City, OK where he was held for pick-up by a fellow trainer and transported to SC. We picked him up on Saturday after a 5 hr trip to Moncks Corner, SC. "Doc" as we'll call him for short, is a dark Bay with a star and snip on his face, two white spots on each rear hock wonderful black feet, huge hips and a working horse neck. He has good withers, a wide face and a small mustache just above his lip...The loading went well with him already separated from the other two mustangs earlier that day. Once being offered the open trailer he only challenged the entrance a couple of times before entering. (I hauled him in a 14' stock trailer back to Pittsboro.) During the trip back we stopped a couple of times to check on his status, finding him a bit on edge from the commotion along I-95. We arrived back home around 5:00 pm.
I was faced with a bit of a challenge after we got home because I wanted to remove his halter and lead rope. It is a requirement at any BLM agency to place a halter on all horses before being released to the new owner. (This is done in a confined chute where the horse has no moving room). After all the horror stories I've read, I just hate to leave a halter on a horse overnight. Deciding to take on this task while he was still in the trailer, I used a long wire to hook the lead rope, coax him towards the side and with little resistance from him I was able to settle him down and within a few minutes remove the halter. Was I surprised! This horse really has a mild disposition. We then released him in the training pen with an attached alley-way to a 12x24 covered shelter. Was he ever glad to get off the trailer. Head held high, stepping out with an attitude to take on the world! Seems as if water was his first priority with a roll in the arena afterwards. To me this is really a sign of a relaxed horse. With 6 people standing around the outside of the pen he still rolled...This was definitely a sign that he wasn't completely freaked out by our presence. We fed him some hay laced with sweet feed ( doesn't know that it is food...they don't have that in wild!) and left him alone for the remainder of the evening.
This trailer stuff is really getting old!
My son, Chapin, a 17 year old horse enthusiastic and part time trainer was going to catch "Medicine Man" with no aids. A halter and lead rope were his only tools. Repetition is the best training method I've found and after 10:00 pm on the night before we did not quite get all the bugs worked out. Chapin was able to put on the halter within 1 1/2 hours. That is surely a patient young man...We repeated this step 10-15 times to calm the storm and things went well. A thunder storm saved "Doc" from any further training for the day.
My goal for today was to really work the right side equal to the left. This took quite a bit of advancing/retreating, rubbing, touching, and a lot of him backing. Emily, my 21 yo daughter, helped out quite a bit in this; we almost rubbed blisters on his right side with our hands, but in the end his right was just as soft as the left. Also, we have picked up both front feet on demand with little resistance from him. He will now stand as you approach, face you and only quivers when you first touch him after being left alone for a while. May not seem like much to us but to be four years old and have all this happen in the past week is really a cultural shock...Tomorrow: pick up his back feet, a full body massage, and leading!