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Extreme Mustang Makeover – Leela Week 4
 By SuperLevi   •   14th Mar 2016   •   1,474 views   •   0 comments
Extreme-Mustang-Makeover

Leela is starting to show great potential as a future trail horse. This week most of our highlights involved going out and seeing new sights on a ‘trail walk’ where she and a fellow competitor’s mustang were walked in hand out on the trail.

Although she did have her first ride out of the round pen, Leela certainly was not ready to for real trail rides in the great wide open. So a trail walk was the next best thing to safely expose our mustangs to new experiences. As a bonus, I find that taking a horse on a walk is a fantastic way to bond and build even more trust.

We encountered many bizarre and frightening things for a mustang less than a month out of the holding pens. First, in order to get to the long wooded gravel roads, we had to walk a short distance on a narrow winding road. Most vehicles that we did come across were courteous enough to pass with extreme caution and slow down. I was pleased that Leela had no issues with a huge yellow school bus that passed with more speed and less caution than I would have liked. Only one vehicle upset our horses and that was a garbage truck whose driver decided at the last minute that rather than rolling on by slowly, he’d just go ahead and stop. The air brakes were extremely loud and pushed a gust of leaves in front of the horses which understandably spooked them. Fortunately there was a nearby drive way where we back tracked into to allow traffic to pass at a further distance.

Outside of the garbage truck incident, the majority of the walk was uneventful. Leela was able to investigate and see plenty of unordinary objects like garbage and recycling pales, mail boxes, flags in neighborhood yards, and parked tractors. Not everything we stumbled upon was stationary. Countless dogs would race up to fence lines, barking territorially. The dogs were probably the second scariest thing to Leela outside of the garbage truck, but even when she’d get a little worried, she would settle and relax back down quickly. Some of the other animal encounters included other horses, donkeys, and cows that would run up to the fence as we passed.

Extreme-Mustang-Makeover

Some more natural obstacles discovered on our trail walk through some woods provided a great experience for Leela and the other mustang as well. We found a creek to practice crossing. The first time took some convincing for our mares to cross, but as we continued on our walk each water crossing became easier and easier for the mustangs. Most of the woods were probably too dense in some parts to ride through but Leela was still able to have all kinds of brush from every direction touch against her. We even came across some stumps from recently cut trees which made for great little pedestals.

With an open invitation to ride at a neighbors later on in the week, the mustangs were walked over to try an obstacle course. We started by introducing each obstacle in hand. My main focus was on three primary obstacles which included a bridge with a slight ramp on either end, a cowboy curtain, and water obstacle. Since Leela was proficient at the pedestal, the bridge was the obvious starting place to gain her confidence. Starting with just placing her front feet on the bridge and giving her praise and rewards, she willingly crossed the bridge before long. Once she went over it once, crossing from both directions became like nothing to her so we moved on to the cowboy curtain. Surprisingly to me, Leela found the cowboy curtain to be extremely easy and only gave a moment’s hesitation to figure out how to push the flaps to cross through. The water crossing was the toughest obstacle for my little mustang but she soon figured it out. The hardest part was convincing her to get that first step on a tarp like object that held water. Whenever she tried to avoid the obstacle I would patiently continue to ask until Leela figured out the correct answer. By the conclusion of that day I was able to mount Leela once she was confident with those obstacles with me on the ground and ride her over them.

Behavior wise, this week she’d gone back to being my sweet Leela and over all seems to be a happier and friendlier horse than the previous weeks. Her riding work is coming along great as she continues to expand on her basics. I look forward to when I get to ride her out on the trail after her proving much potential as an awesome riding partner this week on her trail walk.

Extreme-Mustang-Makeover

Extreme-Mustang-Makeover

Extreme-Mustang-Makeover
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