Should I Adopt a Mustang?
$1000 incentive to adopt a Wild Horse – Should I adopt a Mustang?
Some things you need to consider before adopting a Mustang.
By: Mary Miller – Jordan- Mustang Gentler
Have you heard the news? The Adoption Incentive Program has been created as an incentive to adopt a Mustang for $25, then receive $500 within the first 60 days and another $500 after the adopter has received the title for the Mustang. (Adopters receive title after showing they have properly cared for their Mustang for a full year.)
So, should YOU do it? Well, only you can answer that, but I want to share some things I have learned from my Mustang partners over the years.
The only thing the same about every Mustang is just how different they are.
How to describe the Mustang? It is impossible to define a ‘breed type’ for the Mustang. However, it is quite possible to say that there is a Mustang that represents practically every ‘breed type’ there is. Really, the only thing I have known to be the same about the Mustang is just how different they are. And their unique dispositions, from Mustang to Mustang, are just as diverse as the breed types they represent. I have had Mustangs that gentled so fast, they made my domestic horses look wild and I have had Mustangs that took much longer and remain more sensitive to this day. Both extremes have their advantages, the extra sensitive Mustangs may take longer to gentle, but the relationship created is well worth the wait.
Mustangs often have a strong, innate understanding of the “Horse Alphabet”.
As true as it is that they are all so different, I will flip the coin and share some similarities that I have seen in most Mustangs. They are usually very hardy, with solid feet and have a strong innate ‘Horse Alphabet’. To put it simply – they are really good at being – a Horse. Their ancestors have spent generations after generations in the wild, really fine tuning what it means to be a horse. When a horse deeply knows this ‘Horse Alphabet’ it is so much easier to create a language of communication with them. So, in some ways I would even say the Mustangs have been easier to train than some domestic horses. And I am not talking about the Mustangs that are just naturally easier to gentle, but more so, I am talking about the benefits of this innate wild horse knowledge, this ‘Horse Alphabet’. I have met some domestic horses that did not know this ‘Horse Alphabet’ as well as others and it is more challenging to develop communication with them. Just as it would be more challenging to teach a child how to spell a word if s/he did not first know the letters.
The Mustangs know the letters. They are just really good at knowing how to be horses and that is really good trait for a horse to have.
When you adopt, you are making a commitment to the Mustang. Be prepared to follow through on your commitment.
You do know there are over 50,000 Mustangs waiting for adoption, right? It is quite likely that there is a Mustang waiting for you. But adoption involves a real commitment. The BLM holding facilities are set up to manage wild horses, they have wild horse chutes set up to administer vaccines and even trim hooves. Once a Mustang is adopted into a home, it becomes the adopter’s responsibility to offer that horse the help s/he needs to learn how to be properly cared for in domestic life. And, as I have already said these Mustangs are all so different. Some gentle easy, some do not. It is really important that if you decide to adopt, that you follow through on your commitment to the Mustang. This may mean getting help. But there is wonderful news – there are so many amazing trainers out there willing to help you.
My first thought with this $1000 incentive is – What a great way to help an adopter have some extra funds to invest in the help of a Mustang trainer/gentler to assist in this new wild horse-human partnership. Mustang trainers can assist you with whatever aspect of the adoption process that you need. From locating a Mustang that is right for you, to helping with the gentling process.
As I said, these Mustangs are just as different as you and I, so connecting with the ‘right’ Mustang for you and connecting in the ‘right’ way for them, is really important. … and the ‘right’ way can look a lot of different ways, depending on horse and human.
No two horses are the same; learn to adapt your style to the personality of the horse.
Our two ‘Soul Sister’ Mustangs, that live at our non-profit Mustang Sanctuary ‘I AM HERD’ are great examples of just how different Mustangs can be and how the ‘right’ way to connect with each of them can vary greatly. It did not take long to see that although identical in appearance, these two could not be more opposite in personality. One mare was shy and sensitive, the other bold and aggressive. Because of this, I used very different gentling styles to build trust with each Mustang, as I shared in the DVD set ‘Journey Gentling the Soul Sister Mustangs’.
Using (and soaking) Chopped Forage to keep them hydrated during transport can be very helpful.
Triple Crown Nutrition played an important role in our adoption and relationship development with these two Mustang mares. Because they were both pregnant, and we needed to get them home before they foaled, we had to haul them across the country, from the BLM facility in Oregon to our sanctuary in North Carolina. Mustangs are not used to eating a concentrated feed and traveling all the way across the country can make finding a consistent quality of forage challenging. Plus, keeping a horse hydrated is the most important aspect of hauling long distances. We used the Triple Crown Alfalfa Forage Blend and both Mustangs loved it. I soaked the TC Chopped Forage and this helped keep them hydrated along the road. We created a documentary of the trip called the Wild Horse Road Trip, there is a scene where you see them unload at the end of the trip. It is amazing just how great they both looked, they really stayed wonderfully hydrated and healthy all the way from Oregon to North Carolina, thanks to Triple Crown.
If you are interested in learning more or connecting with a Mustang trainer, feel free to visit the non-profit Mustang Sanctuary www.IAMHERD.org
About The Author:
Mary Miller-Jordan – Nationally acclaimed Wild Mustang Gentler, Trainer, Author, Motivational Speaker & founder of non-profit ‘I AM HERD’. MMJ’s “Soft Gentling Style” featured on National Geographic and her Mustang is immortalized as a Breyer Model Horse. Visit Mary’s Website here!
Photo 1: By Parrish Photography
Photo 2 & 3: Ivy Schexnayder