Thursday, April 8, 2010

Horse Training: The Extreme Mustang Makeover is Aptly Named

I love reading about, hearing about, and watching the Extreme Mustang Makeovers because I love mustangs.

I've adopted 5 mustangs now, and I still have 3 of them. They are the most versatile, tough, loyal and amazing horses I've ever had the honor to support.

Mustangs are also very, very extreme!

That's why I think the name "Extreme Mustang Makeover" is such a perfect name. Mustangs are like the mules of the horse world. They give new meaning to words like:
  • stubborn
  • opinionated
  • survivor
  • tough
  • heart
If a mustang has an opinion about something (and most mustangs have opinions about everything under the sun) you will know, and quickly!

An Example of an Extreme Mustang with a Strong Opinion
A few days ago I took Reyacita, my 5-year-old buckskin mustang mare (pictured above) to a roping practice. Reyacita and I had had a couple of private lessons with the Robosteer, during which we tracked the steer positioned at its left hip. When you first start teaching a heeling horse her position, you position them at the steer's left hip, because this is the position from which you will ultimately throw the rope.

Reyacita, being a Metal horse personality type, instantly locked onto her position. Metal horses want desperately to learn their jobs, and then do their jobs without further interruption. Reyacita "got it" that her position was by the steer's left hip.

Unfortunately, when you start roping as a team, with another horse and rider in the heading position, the heel horse has to start at the steer's right hip. The head horse starts at the steer's left hip, ropes the steer, then turns the steer. That's when the heel horse turns and steps into position at the steer's left hip.

Reyacita did NOT like this concept at all. When she saw my buddy Heidi and her horse Shady step into position at the steer's left hip, she got upset. She perceived that another horse was in "her position." To correct what she thought was a mistake, she simply side-passed over and tried to bump Heidi and Shady out of position.

It took me quite a while to convince Reyacita that we were now in the next phase of training, and that now we were supposed to start on the steer's right side. She didn't like it, thought very hard about bucking me off, but trusted me enough to try this new position. Once Heidi had roped the steer's horns and turned, then I allowed Reyacita to step into "her position" at the steer's left hip. She was much happier. She also understood this new arrangement, and allowed Heidi and Shady to take up the position at the steer's left hip with no further trouble.

Mustangs are So Extreme!
What cracks me up is that most horses would have simply followed their person's guidance without question. Not mustangs, especially Metal mustangs. When they think they KNOW what their job is, heaven help you if you get in their way. Metal horse types don't like interference at the best times. Metal mustangs really don't want to hear from their riders once they think they know their job.

One thing that has helped Reyacita become less rigid and more allowing is the herbal supplement Eleviv. Although this herbal supplement is usually given as remedy for horses who have been traumatized or who have physical problems as a result of emotional trauma, it also works will with horses who are mentally rigid. Of all the types, Fire and Metal horse personality types can be the most mentally rigid. If they don't understand "why" something should be done, don't count on getting it done anytime soon.

Test your horse's personality type here.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out my ebook for wacky horses and humans, or holler at me if you want to know how I fund my horse addiction ... and you can, too!


  1. Reyacita is such as Metal. What a funny story. Madalyn

  2. Yeah...extreme METAL! Totally! Stephanie