Wild Mustang Taming
Some good folks that I know are participating in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, Rich Garner and Victoria Cappetta of rural Virginia Beach, known as Creeds. The photos that I am sharing today are of Rich and a young Mustang mare called Rulla. Her build is slight, about 14.3 hands tall, and she is a grulla color.
Rich travelled to Ohio from Virginia Beach not knowing which horse he will be assigned to. He and other trainers participating in this challenge understand that it is the luck of the draw. Rich knows that training Mustangs offers unique challenges due to the strong wild instinct that these horses exhibit. It is obviously a challenge he enjoys since he has rogered up for it many times. For Rich and Rulla, this is the first day of training, which takes place in a round pen. Rich's goal for that day was to gain mutual trust and respect. Rulla's goal may have been to resist Rich's efforts at all cost. Today, he uses a hands off approach by incorporating a communication style that horses understand. Rich has a small human audience eagerly gathered next to the round pen to witness the first time Rich works with his new Mustang mare. Since Rich has worked with many in the past, he has a vision on how this day will go. He speaks to the audience, explaining his methods. He does not speak at all to the horse.
After an hour or so spent in the round pen getting to know the ways of this mare, Rich decides to go with his lariat to capture, then entice, Rulla to accept Rich into her space. He uses a gentle technique where he tugs securely on the rope until Rulla decides to give in to the pressure by stepping forward. Any amount of movement in the right direction, the direction towards Rich, is quickly rewarded by relaxing the pressure created by the rope. With practices of this nature, timing is every thing. Typically, on the first day of Mustang training, Rich would accomplish a first touch and maybe a halter. On this day, with this horse, he accomplishes neither. At the end of a two hour session both cowboy and horse are mentally and physically tired. Rulla has been especially challenging for Rich. He will press on tomorrow, as he only has 100 days to accomplish his goals according to the rules of the competition, with this seemingly unwilling mare.
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