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Breaking A Wild Mustang
Wild Mustangs are a legendary part of Historic America. They represent the very essence of freedom and times when life was simpler and less hurried. Despite some myths, they come in all sizes, shapes and colors. They are also one of the most affordable methods for people to own a horse when other options fail.
Almost every child has dreamed of owning a horse at one time or another. However, for quarter horses, thoroughbreds and many other "popular" breeds, it is not at all uncommon for prices to start in the thousands of dollars. Mustangs can be had for a fraction of that cost. Unfortunately, many people have misconceptions about the Wild Mustang and often, ignorance and a little bit of work is the only thing that is truly preventing these people from owning their very own horse.
Some people think that it is necessary to break a horse. This may be true if you just want a horse that knows how to do nothing more than play follow the leader in a long string of horses. However, if you want to really experience the full joy of riding on a horse rather than just warming up a saddle while it happens to be on the horses back, try training the horse instead of breaking its spirits completely.
Training a horse may take a little more effort than simply breaking it but it has many benefits which many riders otherwise miss out on completely. If you truly want a magnificent horse and a piece of Americana all at the same time, follow these simple steps and you will find yourself with much more than just a magnificent ride. Be ready to work but do not despair, within a week, you should be able to ride your newfound friend just about anywhere.
Make sure that you do not give the Wild Mustangs any oats before you begin working them. In all honesty, you should not even give them too much alfalfa at first. The reason for this is that in their natural environment, most truly wild mustangs do not enjoy a diet overly rich in proteins. Giving a wild horse nothing but timothy hay or even alfalfa too rich in proteins will cause the horse to suffer from colic and suffer unnecessarily. A good blend of alfalfa with a little straw is often the best diet for your wild mustang ... at least until it gets used to eating well.
You may need to place your wild mustang in a small stall to get the bridle on at first. Once you get the bridle on, use nothing more than a hackamore at first and attach about thirty feet of soft rope to it. Never rap the rope in your hand or around your hands or you may lose more than you bargained for. Keep the rope loosely in one hand so that you can drop it or release it quickly if your wild mustang bolts or panics.
A round corral is preferable but not an absolute necessity. Take your wild mustang out and run it in circles. Do not just run it one way but be sure to alternate directions so that the horse does not develop problems with its legs. Keep it running around in circles until it is hot, sweaty, tired and just beginning to foam at the mouth. After two or three days of this, the horse should be used to you placing the bridle and hackamore and will be ready to run some more so will likely fight you much less.
After you have run the horse a couple of times, begin placing a horse blanket on its back and secure it with a cinch strap. You do not want a lot of weight on the horses back but it will not be ready for a saddle just yet either. Be certain not to leave any loose strap or anything else hanging down around the horses feet. If anything flashes quickly in front of its face or dangles across its feet, your mustang may bolt. Take advantage of this time to get your horse used to the curry brush as well. After a good run, your horse may even get to enjoy the brushing almost as much as it does running. Again, you may want to try this while your mustang is in a small stall. The two main reasons for doing this are so you are not in danger should your horse panic and so that if it does panic, you are safely outside where you can get away until it quits fighting you.
After your horse becomes used to the blanket, you will want to try a saddle. After you run your horse and it is good and tired, place the blanket on its back and then while still in the stall, place the saddle on its back. Place the stirrups up over the saddle at first so that they will not be bouncing off the horses side. You and the mustang will both fare much better. After you have the saddle firmly cinched, let the stirrups down. Do not worry about cinching it up too tight as you will not be riding it just yet.
After you do this a couple of times you will be ready to start the final steps in getting your horse ready to ride. Try putting the saddle on the third time with the horse in the stall as usual but before you go running. You should still be using the hackamore at this stage and now more than ever, it will be important not to wrap your rope around anything you are not ready to lose. Take the horse out and let it walk with the saddle the first time. Do not run it as the stirrups may very well cause the horse to panic.
Continue this way until your horse is comfortable with the saddle on its back and then run it a little. You will not have to run it as hard as before but you do want it running with the saddle on before you ever attempt to go riding. After this though, you are almost there. Make certain to curry down the mustang after each ride. By now your horse should be more familiar and more comfortable with you and the entire experience.
After you have done this a few times, you should notice your wild mustang calming considerably and perhaps even looking forward to the time you are spending together. Increase the protein intake slowly as you work the horse more but remember that it will need time to adjust to the food as much as to the saddle. By doing everything in this way, it may take a little more time but your mustang will retain much of its wild spirit while befriending you and learning to trust you.
Once you can do all of this with your horse comfortably outside of the stall without fear of reprisal, you are ready to begin riding. The wild mustang is a wild, mystical and marvelous animal. Work with your wild mustang a little slower and with a bit more patience and you will have a ride that is the envy of all your friends.
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