This is Bonnie and
this is her story...
I can't remember a time
when I didn't love horses. When I was five years old my grandparents
gave me a pony for my birthday. A pretty little strawberry roan mare
with a white mane and tail complete with fancy tooled western saddle,
bridle and breast collar. I was on top of the world!
was fifteen years old and dead broke. She tolerated everything a five
year old kid could dish out and never complained. We were quite the
pair. We spent countless hours together! Of course, I eventually got
too big to ride her so she lived at my uncle's with a whole new set of
grand kids to entertain. They didn't ride her much (she was 50 years
old) but they did enjoy her. She always came at a trot when I visited
her! She passed away on Father's day 2004. A very sad day for a whole
lot of people. A very special pony indeed.
My adoration of horses
all started with Millie but is far from over. When I was younger I had
heard of the Wild Horse Adoption program and dreamed of being able to do
it someday. That day came in August of 2002.
Ever so often the BLM
has wild horse and burro adoptions on the internet. I signed up and
waited for the auction to start. I placed my bids and watched the
auction action via the internet. Several days later, at the end of the
auction, I had the highest bid of $130.00 on Horse #1031. A 14hh bay
mare from the Cyclone Rim, WY Herd Management Area. She was three years
old at the time. We brought her home from Cross Plains, TN on September
22. The real fun began the next day!
First we saw the broken
boards in the Mustang pen. It seems that Bonnie and Sally (a five year
old Mustang mare from the same HMA) had a falling out sometime in the
night and busted the boards separating their pens. It was easy enough
to fix but we gained a whole new respect for just how strong those
It didn't take long
before Bonnie had her halter off. Now what!? How in the world was I
going to catch her to get the halter back on her? This was not a people
friendly horse! I gave it some thought and came up with the answer...
FOOD. She wasn't the least bit bashful about her appetite and I figured
I could use that to my
was right! She ate hay from my hand fairly easily but I still wasn't
getting close enough to her. I picked up some alfalfa cube treats at
the local farm supply store. Bonnie loved them and she had to touch the
palm of my hand to get them. We had taken the first step. Pretty soon
I could brush her nose lightly with just my finger when she took a
treat. Within about a week or so I could briefly pet her nose before
she got a treat. Our trust in each other grew and soon I was able to
touch other parts of her body. She was pretty nervous at first but she
came around. What a feeling that was! This wild animal trusted me
enough to let me touch her all over! Even her feet!
Next came putting the
halter back on. Maybe she didn't mind me touching her but she had other
ideas about that halter! I stuck to it and about two weeks later had it
back on her. Now we were getting somewhere! We practiced leading in
the Mustang pen and she caught on really well. My goal was to get her
over to the round pen so we could really start training.
We worked on
leading, stopping and backing up until I felt she was ready to make the
journey. The round pen was about 100 feet away across a pasture with
about a half dozen other horses. I waited until the other horses had
wandered off to the far side of the pasture and led Bonnie through the
gate. She was excited about being out in the open pasture but we made
it to the round pen without incident. We worked on "joining up" and had
it mastered in no time at all! It was just like what I had seen in the
By this time, it was
November and the weather was starting to turn cold. I really wanted to
get her saddled before winter. I started with the saddle pad and she
seemed to accept it pretty well. So far so good.
saddle, however, was a different story! I could set it on her back and
start to cinch it up but that's where the fun ended. She would bolt
every time sending the saddle crashing to the ground. I finally had to
give up and wait for Spring.
Sometime over the
winter Bonnie developed an intense fear of the saddle blanket. She
couldn't even look at it without getting all worked up. I took baby
steps and finally got it on her. She wasn't completely comfortable but
she managed her fear. That's all I could ask of her for now.
I haven't pushed the
saddle issue with her anymore. I've decided to take her to a trainer
and see how that goes. Hopefully, it will work out great and I will
finally be able to realize the dream of riding my own beautiful Mustang!
The tricky part about taking her to the trainer will be getting her in
the trailer. We've been working on it and she's doing pretty well. I
can stand outside the trailer and drive her up into it, but only so far.
She will get her back feet all the way up to the back of the trailer
and then stop. So far, no amount of persuasion on my part has inspired
her to take the next step and put her back feet in. We'll keep working
on it, though. We have a week to practice before she goes to the
trainer. She hasn't let me down yet and I don't think she'll let me
down this time either.
We also trained her to
have her feet trimmed and be wormed and vaccinated. It's the funniest
thing! She actually falls asleep when she has her hooves messed with.
Closes her eyes and everything! I'm not sure what to do about that. I
guess it's better than her having a fit but it can be annoying for Doug
when he's trying to give her a trim.
Bonnie spent some time at the trainer's and he did finally get the
saddle on her. It was no easy task by any stretch of the
She handles it OK sometimes but sometimes she just totally freaks
out! The trainer brought her back home for winter. We'll try
again in the Spring.
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