This is one of my favorite pictures of him and one I plan on using to make a sketched logo from. To me you can see the beauty of this horse (imagine the saddle isn't there) relaxed, tail and mane blowing in the breeze and head held high like royalty.
It has been almost two years now since we rescued Manzanita from people who had him locked up on their back porch. We have found the perfect adopter for him and one that I know will love him as much as I do.
Many people have asked me how in the world after all we have been through could I adopt our this horse that was my heart and soul. Well, he is only ten years old and he needs to get out and have a life beyond our rescue. We have other horses now that need the same opportunities that we gave him. Love, good care, training and more love.
I think when you see the picture below you will realize that while it was hard to let go (and we parents know how that is) to see the love being shared between Manzanita and Clint (hisnew best friend) you will see it was the right decision for the horse. And after all my goal is always to do what is best for the horse.
Do you feel the love?
In July we were invited up to Bear Valley Springs community which is in the mountains by Tehachapi the high desert in central CA, for the Fourth of July Parade and celebration. Now we are talking lots of people, fire engines, motorized vehicles, noise, bells, whistles, people throwing candy and lots of people on the sides of the street. Once again he took it in stride.
If you look at his back legs you can see in both pictures that his hind leg is cocked and he is standing in a very relaxed position. I have to tell you he has a GREAT whoa. When I picked him up from Marks he told me that he hadn't taken him out of the area other than in-hand, so as long as I was on him, off we went.
He went down the road, up and down a hill, over some rocky areas and stood on the dirt road as a car passed without a care in the world. I was so excited. This was my lifetime dream come true to ride a wild mustang that was trained my way.
Our first real trail ride was to a local Open Space Preserve not far from our ranch on 5-18-08. We went on a spring day where the sun was warm and the wind was mild - a perfect day. The funniest thing of all was his desire to eat the thistles as we walked along. All the good stuff we have been feeding him and he wanted to eat the thistles. Must have reminded him of home.
By now he was really good at his ground commands, good with the round pen work so next he spent some time being ponied out on trail, around traffic and dogs and other things to see what his temperament was like with those types of distractions. It can be a challenge to pony a 1000 pound horse if they are not receptive to the idea. Training a mature horse is a completely different ball game from a 2-3 year old.
Progress was really being made when the Witch Creek Firestorm hit Ramona and San Diego. In fact Ramona was shut down for over a week. No one in or out and no water unless you had a well. We had taken in 16 horses at our place and daily went out to feed horses in the community where their owners were not allowed back on the property. Manzanita's training didn't pick up again for a few months.
Since he was ready to have someone get on his back, I sent him to our good friend Mark because we know he is very consistent with horses and has the patience of Job. Mark was really surprised at Manzanita's calmness and said he kept waiting for him to explode, but he just never did. He really liked Mark. Here is the first time for Mark to get on him and my first time on him.
This lesson completed now it was time for some round pen work giving him the chance to learn commands that we have been working with in the ground work training. He picked up on the round penning work really quickly and it didn't take long before we had a saddle on his back. In fact is was no fuss, no muss. He could have cared less that there was something on his back.
We loaded the horse, gave them their $200, took the paperwork and headed home.
She had kept referring to him as a Kiger mustang. I was ecstatic when I finally looked at the original title and saw that he was not a Kiger, but in fact a Carter Reservoir Mustang. One of less than 200 purebred Carters gathered in 2003 made available to the public through adoptions.
Once home we I searched and found the original adopter and got his history from them and added that to what the people we just rescued him from and realized that he had little to no ground work training, no regular vaccines or de-worming and had never had his feet trimmed - he was 7 years old and never had his feet trimmed!
Well we certainly had our work cut out for us. So first job was to get him accustomed to people and being handled, then to work on picking up his feet and working with them. To me the best way to get a horse accustomed to being handled is grooming them. It is calming for the horse and teaches them that contact with humans can feel good and be enjoyable. He would put his head on my chest and breath a huge sigh of relief - thank you for rescuing me from people how don't know how to love horses.
Pretty soon Manzanita was following me everywhere. I would put him on a lead line and he would follow me while doing my chores. He really surprised me when I opened the horse (stock) trailer door and went to get something out of the front bulkhead and he followed me right in the trailer. So as long as we were in there we turned around a few times, looked out all the windows, then went in and out a few more times and on with the chores. I really think he liked helping me with chores.
Laurie Adamo www.thebarefoothoof.com is the barefoot trimmer I chose to work with him on his feet. We decided to take our time and do the fronts on one day and come back and do the rears on another day. I think the preparations we took to make it a positive experience for him worked. See the picture below.
He chased the horse into the corner and as the horse kicked out in fear, the husband just ducked until he swooped in and grabbed the lead line that was already attached to the halter. He clearly had no horsemanship skills what so ever. The horse’s eye clearly showed that he feared his current situation. My heart when out to him and I turned to my husband and said “we are taking this horse home”, he thought I was nuts, but could see that these people had no business keeping one, let alone two horses in their tiny back yard with a broken stone fireplace and cement porch.
It was an ad that caught my eye and I just had to call a check it out. What I found out was that a woman had acquired a horse from someone who was going through a divorce and now she needed to get rid of it because she couldn’t find anyone who would feed him while they were on vacation. She has tried to sell him for a substantially higher amount, but as people came to look at the horse they all said, “No thanks”, and left.
When my husband and I went to see the horse I could understand why, he was untrained and being kept on this woman’s back yard porch with another horse. While he had a nice build, his feet had been untrimmed and he was dirty with some winter coat left and it was May in San Diego. I slowly eased my way up to the horse and was within a step or two from his halter when the owner’s husband came loudly barging in to catch him his way.
Loving Care For all Equine In Need!
Clint has always dreamed of having a Mustang, a Kiger Mustang because of their spanish ancestry. When I explained the additional Iberian dna marker in the Carter's how that was more rare than the Kiger's who have now been over bred domestically, all it took was one meeting and he fell in love with Manzanita.
The Lord does work in mysterious and wonderfully loving ways!
Some more time in the saddle and our next big outing would be the Butterfield Stage Coach Reenactment Ride out in the Borrego Springs Desert - this was March of 09 and we needed to wear riding gear from the late 1800's. Lot's of horses and 3 days for rides. This event is sponsored by the Ramona Trails Association and is a fabulous opportunity to ride the old stage coach trail and visit the buildings and learn the history of the stage stop. Unlike the poker ride where the groups were split up so all the horses weren't bunched together - this ride had all of the horses going at one time. So in a group of approximately 50 horses (some highly excited) he once again made me very proud by his amiable spirit.
This was almost a year to the date we rescued him (5-12-07). A horse that never had his feet trimmed, no ground training, not even any human companionship. Oh what a feeling :) !.
We did lots of trail rides and then decided to step it up to a poker ride with a bunch of horses and activities going on in Oct. 08. I got lots of compliments on the beautiful horse and everyone kept asking what breed he was. I actually had to show them the freezebrand on his neck as proof. I was so very proud of him.
Equine WellBeing Rescue, Inc.