Saturday, January 20, 2007

How we came to own a Mustang

When Darling Daughter was but a wee one, she'd come climing into my lap and ask to see pictures of horses on the 'interweb'. We'd spend hours going through pages and pages of horses for sale, talking about which one she liked best. When I say a wee one, I mean she was pre-school, about four years old. She'd get this dreamy look that I recognized all too well. One day I asked her, "Of all the horses you've seen, which kind would you want if you ever got a horse of your own?" And her reply? "A mustang, because God made them prettiest!"

Oh, be still my heart! This was definitely my little girl. When I was a child, I would beg my grandfather for stories about 'the wild west.' He'd travelled from New York to Washington with his family, not once, but twice, and I was certain it had been by wagon train and that he'd seen the IndianWars and plenty of wild horses along the way. The stories I wanted most were the ones of wild horses. "Did you ever see any wild horses, Grandpa? What were they like?"
Now, to tell the truth, Grandpa most likely came by train...not wagon...but he indulged me just the same with tales of dusty trails and campfires, and of course the occasional wild horse was thrown it. The story I remember most was about the black stallion that couldn't be tamed. "He was mean and onery, but mostly just wild", and I could see him in my mind, cooped up inside a wooden corral, rearing and striking at some mean man... "And he bit off the ear of the man who was trying to break him"...See! I knew the man had to be mean. What horse would bite off an ear otherwise? They don't eat meat... "And if you ever come across one, I don't want you trying to tame it, Tracey. They're wild animals, you could get hurt."
So there sat my darling on my lap, telling me she wanted a wild one, and my heart was stirring. I gave her a hug and said I did believe she was right; God had made them prettiest! And we'd look and dream some more about riding wild ponies...

Quiet Storm when we first saw her at the adoption.

Darling is now 13; and we both still have the hunger for wild things. We saw Quiet Storm at a Bureau of Land Management adoption last year and just couldn't resist. Luckily, we had a friend with facilities approved for holding a wild horse (they're wild, you know, just like Grandpa warned, and need adequate fencing.) She was a tiny thing, really, just a year old. She'd been captured in February and in captivity for three months at the Burns corrals with hundreds of other horses waiting for adoption. They'd estimated her age at capture to be between 8-12 months. We decided to settle on somewhere in the middle and gave her an April birthday (these things are important, you know, as you can't have a party if you don't have a birthday!)

We were amazed at how quickly Quiet Storm settled in to domestic life. In fact, people would make comments like "She's just sick, wait till she's well", "Someone must have worked with her before you got her", and "She's obviously not all mustang". Well, whatever, I guess. She wasn't sick, we've got her paperwork to show she was captured in the wild, and we know the BLM hasn't the time to go around halter breaking horses :) Quiet Storm was the real deal, just more quiet than storm. Darling had her leading outside of her roundpen within 48 hours, and the following day the amazing filly was following her new owner over things like poles, wooden bridges, and the dread of nearly every domestic horse, the plastic tarp!

Of course, I still heed my grandfather's words; wild horses can be dangerous. We just got one that God created just for Darling Daughter. I wonder if Grandpa is up there smiling?


Anonymous said...

What a great story about your Grandpa! I'm just betting he is up there smiling.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant to add, I can't believe how much Darling D has grown. What a lovely young lady!

Tracey said...

Darling has grown up, hasn't she? She celebrated her 13th birthday earlier this month. Not completely comfortable with being referred to as beautiful, not wanting to remain at cute or adorable...I think she'll like lovely!

CountryGoalie said...

*sigh* You're lucky to live so close to mustang adoption areas. The farthest point east they come is IL, which is still a good distance from NY.

Not only that, but I can't get their internet adoption site to work, which means I canna stare at pictures of then. Guess I'll have to settle for drooling over pictures at horses currently residing at New Vocations ( and our local racetrack (, where I adopted our gelding. *sigh*