So now on a rainy Monday morning I finally have the chance to tell everyone a little bit more about Matariki, my newest wild horse.
Matariki did not come straight from the wild to me. He was mustered two and a half years ago, and ended up much further south down the country from me. I don't know the exact details, but as a freshly mustered colt he was far to wild for the people who adopted him. I can only imagine what he must have been like, he's a a horse with a lot of presence about him, the looks of a mustang and coming straight from muster, terrified of people, with a snort that sounds like a gun going off, I can see for someone with less experienced he would have been a bit intimidating.
Although I heard a lot about him, the first time I saw him he was coming off the back of transport truck on my driveway. The thing that struck me about this horse, is that he has presence, something that's hard to quantify exactly what it is, an elusive x-factor that makes you stand up and take notice,and draws your eye to that particular animal even when in a herd of others. Even his stance said "look at me , here I am" but had an edge about it, a wildness that showed any wrong move and he might decide to leave the area, quickly.
The truck driver handed me the lead rope and like every other wild horse before him, Matariki had to make the long first walk up the driveway onto the farm. For a horse that looked so wild, the whole way he stuck to me like glue, and anything that scared him, instead of turning and fleeing, he just snuck in closer to me and kept walking. Through a flock of the neighbors peacocks, chickens and ducks, across the creek and up the hill, he was great, mostly taking everything in his stride. Like a horse that been doing it his while life he marched straight into his new stable and settled in for the night.
Mostly he's been a dream to be with, every so often you'll hear a sound of a gun popping but myself and every other horse on the property has now learned its just Matariki letting the world know he's seen something suspicious. The snorts are seldom heard anymore anyway.
At first I couldn't put my finger on the exactly what the issues were surrounding this little horse. He galloped around the the paddock like a completely wild thing at times before walking straight put to you and putting his head in your chest. From the moment the lead rope was on him he was by your side and the most attentive little horse in the world. To work with he was highly intelligent, willing and quick, and seemed to really enjoy it. Again when he did the right thing, he would let out a huge sigh of relief walk up to you and press his head against you. He wanted security and yet was quite bold and afraid at the same time. Terrified of things behind him, yet turn to face it and walk right up to investigate what ever had just previously startled him. Something about him was so familiar though.
When I thought about to though, I realized that this horse was sjust like one of the stallions from last muster. Shy Boy, the wildest, spookiest and with that same presence, but when he was haltered for the first time, melted and completely turned to humans for support and comfort, and became the most attached of all the stallions to people. Matariki would have been just like Shy, but unfortunately had a few bumps in the road to complicate things.
Horses are amazing animals, and Matariki is quickly adapting, once he learnt the rules and got over some of his anxiety he was happy out in a group of kids and ponies all going in ten different directions around him, calmly and happily allowing them to all come up and pat him.
Although its been a bit crazy around here I hope to get on with training and over the next few Matariki will begin his career as a ridden pony, for all his quirky way this is one Kaimanawa I absolutely love and think will be something very special in the future