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Monday, January 28, 2013


Most of the time my blogging has been to promote the adoption of wild mustangs. I like to share how they progress, what I learn, and how their 'happily ever after' came to be. But, I would not be able to do this work without a very special mare named Malibu. She taught me so much and as we all know, words just can't ever explain how an animal makes us feel. 

In May 2001, I brought my dressage trainer out to a farm that had a green broke APHA/PtHA mare for sale. She was pretty scrawny and nothing special when you saw her under saddle. My trainer Jenny looked at me and said "You know she is not going to get very big!" I sort of agreed, but couldn't stop thinking about her. 

June 1, 2001 I bought her. I wanted her breeder to know she was in a good home and I wrote them a letter. To my surprise, she wrote back! She told me that her dad (Painted Ninja) was a successful dressage horse and that Malibu had the nickname 'Milkweed'. For those of you who are not from the midwest, that is a plant that the monarch butterfly likes to cocoon on. We used to collect them when I was a kid up north. 

She came to MSU with me in Fall 2001, we rode on trails and in the arena. She was happy wherever she went. As a mare, she never gave me any freebies (no push button) but would always respond to correct and balanced seat and hands. Many tears came from the frustration of a mare who has her own ideas, yet she was never nasty or mean. Just simply not going to give in until I asked her the right way. About a year later, I brought her back to the barn where I had grown up taking lessons. Jenny and I began working with Malibu. We even wound up in the paper featuring an article on her barn!

She was considered a tovero, meaning she was a mix of tobiano and overo markings. 

A few times, we hitched a ride to a local show. We placed in most of the classes, and to this day I still drink out of the mugs we won :) 

Always an 'outside' horse, Jenny made sure she had her 'nanook' blanket on when it got too cold!

She was not really herd bound, but certainly appreciated her equine companions. 

She was not only special to me, but to everyone at the barn. Lovingly known as 'missy malibu' she was known for not liking to walk through puddles, never wanting to be locked in a stall, and always being the first to greet a new horse (and first to be bored with them too). 

An old stifle injury seemed to bother her for a few years and steadily grew worse. The past few months Jenny tried to get the input from everyone on how to keep her comfortable. In the end, the only thing to do was let her go to a place where she no longer has any pain. 

I am so grateful for all the lessons she gave me. I promise to continue my work helping others in honor of what my mare has taught me. 

Love you always missy malibu...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 1... the beginning

5:30am could not have come soon enough. I barely slept through the night, too busy thinking about what kind of mustang I would be picking up at the corrals. When we arrived, I was told my mare was from the Pancake HMA in Nevada. Of course, that meant she had to be sweet, right?
Anthony's mare is from Flanigan HMA in Nevada. They loaded without much fuss and off we went. Once home, they unloaded easy and took in their new surroundings. Things are off to a smooth start and we couldn't be happier! Well, actually, Anthony was hoping for a tinsy bit taller of a mustang being 6.2 and all... 

Anthony named her Luna (pictured above) and in less than 24 hours has made a lot of progress. She is disengaging the hindquarters and taking small but steady steps towards him as he uses pressure and release to gentle her. You can tell this is one cute little pony, she has got a ton of hair (check out that forelock!) and once she is shined up, will be looking smooth! 

My mare is a little darker, actually pretty similar in coat coloring to Dixie. As for her personality, they are pretty opposite! She is sweet (as I predicted!) but instead of flight as her first instinct, she actually freezes like a little statue. She is smart enough to think in an uncomfortable situation and then make a choice. This has also lead to a great start... same disengaging hindquarters and small steps toward me are the beginnings to a great partnership built on trust. 

I am going to have to get back into the swing of regular blogging to keep you all updated, I hope that you enjoy reading about this journey as much as I am going to enjoy being on it! Who knows...maybe their future owners are reading this now :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Ever since I got my letter of acceptance into this year's EMM, I have been day dreaming about what size, color, and temperament mustang I will get. I do know the competition will be 100% mares but beyond that, it is just a lottery number. It has been pretty cold and muddy so riding has been a bit of a challenge too. I was able to get Dixie into a great obstacle course and even a scenic trail ride in Point Reyes. It will be almost one year since I picked her up, having the exact same questions rolling around in my head since she was my EMM last year.  

The pit of doom/noisy water plastic water bottles!

Beautiful Point Reyes with Anthony, Jennifer, and Cris. We couldn't have asked for better weather!

What a great start to 2013!

Hope YOU are all having a great New Year too!