Thursday, May 31, 2012


Now more than ever, i remember why i fell in love, with training wild horses. They never cease to amaze you, and not in a bad way.The little Chesnut patient, is one very special horse. In fact hes amazing. Its not just me who thinks this, everyone who encounters him is blown away by his relaxed attitude. At first i was willing to write it off, as the usal calm, stoic, wild horse temperament, and the fact he was sick, but now i really do think this boy is a very special soul.

So monday, he arrived at dark, with a huge head wound. Tuesday morning, he was haltered for the first time, and by the afternoon he was tucked up in new stables and had his first injection. Since then, he has been put out to paddock, had his first bath, handled, and met new people, and made his fist cow freind. Yet he still the sweet friendly little man, he was when we first started handling him, theres is now very little behaviour wise, to distinguish him from a normal yearling, yet he has been through far more, in a far shorter amount if time, than most yearlings ever will.

It also has been a huge learning experiance for me. Because while there have been a lot of things the same as the last wild lot, there is also a few things that are differant, and have already changed my stereotypes i had set of the wild horses. Not just the physical differance, where all the horses from this muster appear in cood body weight and condition, they also have good feet, where my last mustered lot did not. But the differance in indivdual horse temperments. The wild mare to this day, does not like her nose being touched, she tolerates it but it bnothers her. Now the little chestnut, hes busy sniffing everyone and everything, although part of this may be him compensating for not having vision in one eye. A good freind, who helped me with the wild mare and stallion, came over today, and both her and her partner, were able to give this little guy a scratch on the face, same deal with anyone who comes to see him. If anything you will have to watch that this guy doesnt start nipping, which i dont think the last two ever even tried.

I always try to start any horse i work with, in a way that will make them happy and encourage them to be comfortable around people. I dont think i can take all the credit here though, this little horse is just incredibly trusting. It really breaks your heart looking at his smashed up face, knowing all he's gone through, yet he still seems happy to be around you and is trusting of people. It sucks he's hurt, i felt so mean today washing his head, as i know it would have hurt him, yet he handled it well. No horse like there head being washed, this little thing has a huge, open puss filled wound on his, has never seen a hose befoere, and this evening within minutes he was tolerating me squirting water directly into the wound. He actually tried drinking out of the hose to start with.On a side note, im glad i have a strong stomach and have seen worse injuries in Egypt, becasue everytime he'd shake his head, pussy goo went flying and i just felt it splattering all over me. Needless to say i tried to keep my mouth shut, and sunglasses on while washing him. Ahh the glamourous parts of the job...

The rest of the boys are still down in the stockyards, they all eat out of your hand and drink from a bucket i hold for them. I could not pick favorites amoung them, they are all so differant and their personalities are starting to show. Theres the calm laid back guy, the intelligent one, that once it feels safe is the first one to come see you, one that completly thinks with its stomach, and tries constantly to sneak food through the rails when your trying to feed his freinds. Then theres the scared one, darts in grabs a mouthful of feed, then hides in the corner to finsih it, if any are going to be hard it will be him, because i can see he's so easily frightened, and would be the type that could go into full on flight mode, it you rush him to much.

Im just so happy to be working with wild horses again, it is definitely one of the coolest experiacne and no matter how long you have been around horses there's is still more to learn form them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

one down five to go

I dont know where to begin...What a day. im not really sure how i want to write this post either. Do i just want to documnet what happeneed,do i want talk about my thoughts on the wild horses, my philosphies.Or do i want to explain my training techniques step by step, how it all works? As to the last, i probably dont, mainly because i write it one way, and some else interprets it differantly, my training techniques work for me, because i have been doing this sort of training for years, i do not want some else trying to follow my advice and it going all wrong...Well, one thing i am decided on, is the that the sweetest wild horse definetly got off the truck at my place.

The little chesnut, is now tucked away in my barn, with his head in the hay bin. He has proved to be the easiets horse i've worked with yet. However being sick, and unable to see out of one eye, probably makes my job a bit easier.The poor little guy's eye had swollen completly shut overnight. At 7am he was walking around the yard picked on by the other horse in ihs pen and bumping into the wall on his blindside. Bad.

Then by 10am when a freind showed up to help me, the eye was oozing big lumps of puss. Worse. with a wound oozing and eyes oozzing my origianl plan of letting him settle in and hope the swelling would go down naturally, wasnt going to work.So my wild horse training kicked up a gear.

I dont do anything magical when training horses, its just timing, and knowing when you ask and when to back off. so with the help if a freind, we got the little guy, in one corner of the pen alone, started by just scratching his neck, then slipped a halter on. the whole time he was sniffing my hands, and watching me. I have a little habbit as well, i always talk when i work with horses, mumbling, usaly nonsense, in a low tone. It seems to work for me, better than being quiet and the suddenly saying something and startling the horses. So i scratched my sick wee freind, mumbled a bit of nothing, and suddenly we had a haltered, not so wild horse..

Sadly through the whole process, i could smell the rotting flesh from the wound on his head, a putrid stink, that im well to used to from recent trips overeseas. every time he licked his little lips and chewed, showing he was thinking, a horrible squelching sound came from the the open gash on his head.

So now he was haltered it was just a matter of teaching him to move off from pressure on the lead rope,rewarding every step he took in the right direction. then we just led the wee boy home, following behind my old arab gelding, we walked the 600m to the barn, which meant walking along the road, through the neighbors property filled with peacocks and assorted birds, crossing a creek, and finally arriving at the barn. Just like it amazed me two years ago, so it did again today. The little wild horse horse just accepted it all, never spooking, or acting in any way wild, just calmly walking along behind me. Remember this is a horse that is not only straight from muster but functioning on 50% of his normal vision, behaving better than a lot of our domestic horses ever would.

Im lucky i have great vets nearby,that know me well, i gave them a call explained the situation, and the state of my little wild stallion. They happily agreed to prepare a antibiotic injection, that they could supervise me giving to the little colt. Perfect, ive had enough practice in the past, and more recently in Egypt, jabbing animals with needles that i was happy to do it, with a vet watching. More importantly even though the wee man had behaved impecably, i was much happier with me handling him, than asking a vet to administer a drug to a horse that four or five days ago was runing wild.

Coming back to the barn with my big syringe and needle, i found my boy standing in the middle of the stable head down sleeping. This is where i felt like the big bad wolf, not only was i going to wake him up, from much needed sleep, i was going to jab him with a needle, on his first day being handled by people. But you know what,better to get a jab,than lose an eye to infection. I walked in scratched his neck, mumbled some more, jabbed the needle in, squeezed with all my might, to get the medicine through and into in his neck muscle, he stood there the whole time quietly. miracle, Poor boy.

Now we just wait and see, fingers crossed theres no eye damage, but cant tell, until swelling goes down and we can actually see his eye agian.All things considerd this day actually went well, hopefully the rest of the wild boys will be as easy as this sweet one.

Just some quick pics, chestnut peering through the stockyard, and then about to receive an injection from me in the stable

Monday, May 28, 2012

The horses are here.

Well the next lot of of wild horses have finally arrived, just as the last light was fading from the sky the truck pulled up. Firstly the positive, it is a far healthier looking bunch than last time. Every horse is in good condition, no ribs showing. Which is I guess, a sign that the management program of the horses is working. There are some really handsome looking colts in there to. One especially caught my eye a nice big bay with a few white socks, a big horse to. The bad news however is that one horse, a very cute little chesnut, isn't in good shape. With one eye completly swollen shut ad massive swelling above th eye socket, superficial wounnds all over the top of it's head, and while all the others came off the truck in reasonably calm way, this one was panting, and an hour later was still blowing hard, and looked to be coming down with colic. All bad signs. Hopefully it pulls through the night, and is fine, I've seem horses recover from much worse, while i was working in Egypt, so I'm hopeful it may be ok. Head trauma however is never good. At the moment I'm also two short on the number I thought I was getting....lost in transit perhaps, who knows maybe it will show up tommorow. This caused a wee bit of bother, amoung the people who had turned up to see there wild horses arrive, and the ones interested in looking to help sponsor the ones I am taking, as suddenly there wasn't enough horses to go around. Dramas, I don't what happened, or where the two horses ended up, I do know that the people who organise the muster and the rehoming of the horses, are doing very good work under the circumstances,work incredibly hard, long hours, and mistakes can happen. Was not much fun trying to defend myself against angry potential owners though, ugh a problem to sort out tomorrow though.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Here it goes again

Wild horses due to arrive tomorrow afternoon! Let the wild horse project begin....again !

Also just so I can keep people more up to date I've decided to create a Facebook page, if you have a Facebook account please like my page! the more likes, the more awareness I can hopefully raise about these amazing horses the better it is for them,

The stallion

So I did the photos about the mare a couple of posts back, well now it's the stallions turn. I think if anything his transformation was even more dramatic, as he really did look terrible when I got him.... Oh and there is one last photo of the wild mare I forgot to put in last time.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kaimanawa muster

Well the horses are being mustered, the photos are all over Facebook, a truck will be pulling up to my yards any day now, and offloading my newest batch of wild horses.

In excited, this is going to be a even bigger adventure than last time. Mainly due to the fact that the numbers of horses arriving are far greater than las time.

However I'm going to admit there just wee edge of panic behind my excitement. Six wild horses is a lot, seeing as its just me, I don't have an arena,or round pen and I'm self employed and work alone. This is going to be a big job, for obe little girl,especially in winter,on top of all the other horses I have to work each day.a big, big job.
I'm a big believer in everything working it self out and hopefully it will for this. I managed to get a set of portable yards, just in time, as my stockyards currently would n't even hold the new arrivals!

I do feel more confident, knowing I've already succeeded in turning wild horses around. Lucky I did a blog because I can look back on my notes from last time, and make sure I don't forget anything useful over the last two years..

Monday, May 21, 2012

The journey thus far

So I thought I'd put up some photos, and bring everyone up to date. It been two years since last muster, and I'm about to start the whole process over again. So what was the journey like last time? What did the horses look like then versus now?

Well this is the mare from last muster, arriving wild, first handling, foaling, weaning, breaking in and then the show ring. This mare is pretty special, and she still has more to come, but it will always be one of my most significant memories, of her laying down at my feet and giving birth, just months after arriving from the wild.

P.s im sorry these photos are on no particular order, I'm still struggling with iPad illiteracy and missing my archaic brick laptop...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quick update..sort of...

Im excited, the muster is coming up and out of 180horses to be rounded up 120 now have homes. It seems like about half of them are coming to my house. Well six are at least...

Okay and now to take a slightly emotional tone.. This is something i have been thinking about for a while now, we see and hear of a lot of terrible things happening in the world, muders, war, animal abuse etc etc. But there are also a hell of a lot of good people out there.
My time volunteering in Egypt made me realize this. The conditons of the animals over there were horrible beyound belief, the inhumanity with which they were treated was heartbreaking. Yet there were people, who despite facing a overwhelming number of obstacles,kept trying to do good. Charities and organisations that were slowly changing things and bringing about positive steps, it was incredibly inspiring to see some good things happening amoung all the bad. I was reminded of this with the muster. Two weeks ago there were seven people willing to adopt horses, now 120 horses are going to be saved. Why? Because a whole lot of really good people pitched in to help, times are tough and yet a lot of people helped where they could, and continue to do so.

I applied for two horses, so how did I end up with six, due to arrive sometime in the next two weeks. How? Becasue some people wanted to help, and didnt just moan about how they couldnt do anything, they opened up there hearts and wallets and provided sponsorship, so that un-adopted horses, could come to people like me and still be saved. It means i can take them on start them, and produce them into horses that can go on to have happy succeful lives as show horses, or riding horses, or kids ponies, endles possibilities. It means these horses get a chance to go and be great horses. But it couldt happen without all these great poeple in the background who helped where they could, not all of them have wads of spare cash, they just gave what hey could and it makes a differance, a huge differance to those horses that were destined to go to slaughter. So i applied to adopt two, i have two sponsored horses arrivng and i have two more to do the first handling and training with for freinds. It is going to be my very own little band of wild stallions when they arrive, im sure its going to be exciting. For those of you who read my blog and asked for horses to be sent to me, as well as providing the money to make this happen, thankyou so much. The vote of confidence in me, means a huge amount. These are great horses and im so happy to be able to be saving a couple more lives. For those of you who have also emailed asking how you can help, i am trying to set something up, si will keep you all posted. But really the point i want to make is there are sad events in the world, it suxs how animals are treated in some countries, it suxs that the wild horses have to be rounded up and domesticated or slaughtered, and there are hundreds of other terrible things that happen each day. But there are so many good people trying hard to make a differance that will get very little recogintion for anything they do, and they do make a differance, a huge differance to those they help. The vets and cahrities, we came into contact with in Egypt, the people from the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses working around the clock to organise homes, and to all those of you doing little acts of goodness, either adopting horses from muster, donating or making it possible to home a couple more horses. To my freinds who work for charities in third world countries and my mother who saves lives every day, it is inspiring to know that so many people do so many things to make the world a better place Someone once told me " It is out of your control to prevent bad things from happening, but you have all the power to make the world a better place"

Sunday, May 13, 2012

why wild horses?

Im feeling better, i know at least three more wild horses are now going to find homes with freinds of mine. Good result. Now im just trying to organise bigger stockyards for when these wild things arrive, so ican take on more horses, but overall im feeling a lot more positive, it doesnt look so much doom and gloom for the wild horses anymore. Its been two years though since last muster, and the origianl reason i wanted wild horses is still the same, even though ive learned and refined my techniques a lot in the last twenty four months. Horses are horses, that why i love them, they are not people, dogs or cats. However working like i do with lots of problem horses it can be frustrating to see all the man made problems, behavior wise, that we create in these animals. People forget this very basic fact horses are horses, prey animals, and they think, act, and react like horses, not people. Any domestic horse has habits its learned from us, it is complelty un preventable, some are good and some have devastating conequneces. it is always easier to train a horse from scratch, than try and retrain bad behaviour out of them. Because as soon as a horse gets under stress, or has new owners, it is hard to prevent that bad behaviour returning. The wild horses are blank canvases,underneath all that mystique surrounding them they come to me, behaving no more and no less than an equine. they dont have these artificial habits, learned from us. It is a chance to continue to learn more about horses natural behaviours, to train them how i like them to be, and give them a chancce to start their careers as riding horses with no background problems, giving them the best chance of leading a happy life. I guess the second thing is that training horses is not magic or rocket science. It takes timing, and understanding of how a horse thinks, not much more than that. working with wild horses, is an amazing experiance, rewarding and inspiring but there is no whispering or magic involved, its really very simple. if there is any trickery to it, its that it is not as complicated as people think, you just break every things down into small steps, and teach the horses one tiny step at a time. basically what im trying to get at, and the reason ive put my hand up to adopt horses from muster agian, is that these horses are the best example of natural horse behaviour, they are simple and rewarding to train, and every time they will teach you something more about the animals we deal with every day. And at the end of it, well really i just love working with all animals, and the chance to work with wildest animals as im going to get in this country, and to have a go at training them,is to big a draw card to let it slip through my fingers... if i had access to monkeys or elephants and definetly camels, it would be fair to say id give that a go as well, any animal really, except cats, who i would never trust, even my beloved working cat is untrustworthy, but thats a whole differant story...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Muster Looming

Time flies doest it. in the blink of an eye, it seems, its muster time again. This means two years have gone by since the wild horses arrived. Two years surely not, i keep thinking, but yes it has defintly been two years. Thats what happens, the days just go by and before you know it years, and your back to where you started. Which right now, invovles filling out my adoption forms for the next muster. But there are problems, not just with me. The world is in recession, economies far and wide are crashing, and no one is completly immune. The horse industry, you could say is a luxury industry, its not something we need to survive, it something we have when we can already afford food and shelter. They are an expensive items, and have huge ongoing costs. So what do you think one of the first things people stop buying, or stop splurging their money on is?? yep equines. I know so many people who have downsized the amounts of horses, cut costs as much as possible, and are gritting there teeth and trying to hold on untill the recessions ends. Many people have been using savings, and those are now unfortunaltyl used up. Also its now going into winter a time where people typically tighten up there belts, get rid of excess mouths to feed, and tighten there purse strings. Where am i going with this?? Even without the recession, many mustered horses do not get adopted, there are just not enough people out there willing to take them on. So now, with the recession having hung around for a few years, and not looking to go away in the near future, there are even less people willing to put there hand up to take on the added expense of another horse to look after. So with muster so close, and 180 horses to be rounded up, i think there has been a grand total of seven applications for adoption filled out. seven people and 180 horses needing homes, that means a whole bunch of horses are unfortunatly going to be dog food. This comes after some of the greatest success and publicity the wild horses have ever had, a time when adoption could be way up. A ex wild pony, just won pony of the year, there is no bigger acheivment for a pony in this country, it was on tv, magazine and the internet, yet even with the potential of these ponies proven, there is no one putting there hands up to adopt. Back to the recession, i want to save as many as i can. But im putting on the adoption from, that i will take two horses, id love to take twenty. But i no longer have the resources, horses i used to sell within days, now to take months to sell, meaning my income is unpredicatble. With the market as it is i cannot guranttee any horses i have will sell in the future, which means i better make damn sure, i have enough feed to last winter, enough funds in the bank, for any emergancies (vet bills) that pop up. Before when i had to many horses, or winter feed to pay for, it was easy enough to sell a horse, or teach some extra lessons to cover costs, not so any more, its a scary situation to be in, and a frustrating one. Here i am wanting to help but really unable to do anything, just taking on two more horse from muster, is going to stretch my resources incredibly thin. I'm trying to help, as long time readers know, i love my wild ponies, and they hold a very special place in my heart. It does upset me to know so many are going to be shot. Ive offered to take on any Kai's anyone wants to adopt, i can do the handling and training, if a future adopter would cover the adoption costs, and the feed bill.Id be more than happy for anyone to come watch me work with there wild horse, and teach them all they need to know. Id even take on sponosored horses if that helped save a few. But it really is not looking hopeful for a lot of the horses. That i think is the saddest thing i think about the whole recession debacle. There are so many causes out there, not just the plight of the wild horses, where good people want to help, but like me are so busy just trying to survive to be able to do to much. But on the bright side at least two will be safe with me, and i will have a whole new set of horses and experiance to write about. Being the second time around with these horses and having learned a bit along the way, hopefully i can do an even better job with the next wild horses. Unfortuantly unlike these two, many horses mustered this year will never reach their full potential....