For some reason, I began each of our horse-owner phases as shoveler-in-chief. Not that I mind. I actually liked taking care of horses before I could even ride one. We had a Quarter Horse mare named Dee, a 1200 pound halter-bred muscle horse. My wife Marcie rode her with English tack doing something called “Dressage.” I think it is a French word, the translation literally means “watching paint dry,” an accurate description of the activity if ever I heard one. I rode her in western tack and began to learn how to chase cows with her – which I can tell you for sure she liked better than diagonals and such. Anyway, within the space of a year, we got pregnant, I got shipped off to Korea, and we got follow-on orders to the Island of Guam. We sold that wonderful mare, and I guess based on the pain of doing that, we didn’t own another horse for another 20 years.
But if you have followed the development of our little farm, you may have noticed that along with the rabbit hutch, geriatric chicken coop, and goat shelter, there are horse stalls. Marcie struck first, picking up her Quarter Horse gelding Skeets, a WAY cool ex-rodeo roping horse. Then our daughter Meg generously offered to let us board her Quarter Horse gelding Jones (no relation to Grace). Jones is three, so I think his name has Welsh origins, roughly translating to “Turd.” Both are Bay Roan and gorgeous.
I just kept shoveling and hoping for the occasional ride (on Skeets), until, last Saturday, I found my horse. Now everyone knows the American Quarter horse is VERY ‘Merican, but there is one horse, at least, with an even more American West pedigree, and that is the wild Mustang!
So begins what I hope will be a great adventure. His name is REO, and he was wild until culled from his herd in Destoya, Nevada for a special program by the Bureau of Land Management in 2012. The program is the Mega Mustang 100-Day Challenge. A trainer, Mr. Shannon Allison in this case, takes a wild Mustang and competes in a riding competition after just 100 days of intense training. Check out the documentary Wild Horse, Wild Ride for more on the challenge. Shannon and REO competed in the competition last weekend and they won the Championship! Meg and I attended and I adopted REO in the auction following the event.
We really feel privileged (and intimidated) being responsible for the onward development of this American icon. So far, we got his halter on, got him out of the stall, and groomed him. Baby steps until he is comfortable with us. We’ll post REO’s story as it develops!