Monday, June 20, 2011

Zephyr on Winners Week Challenge Painting #134

Danielle Guinn's, of Craig Colorado, Story of how She and her mustang Zephyr  Came together. Danielle is a winner!
In her own words:
This is the story of Zephyr. He is a BLM registered mustang. While now he has a sleek Bay coat, is nice and well rounded, smart and appreciated, it wasn't always this way.
 I first met Zephyr when I was in the sixth Grade. A friend of mine's step father owned him. He was in a field, maybe 2 acres of parched grass. He was actually at a good weight... Granted it was in the middle of winter. He had two pasture mates. I was in awe of his talent.

5 by 7 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

He had not been touched in a few years, and he made it clear that he would rather keep it that way. His owner was not kind to him, and expected him to behave, but instead he reacted on instinct. This earned him several beatings and several bad habits.
By the time I had been in a financial spot to get a horse, I was on my own. I called the guy up and asked about Gambler, a little appendix quarter horse he had on the same property as Zephyr. He told me that Gambler would never be sold again, as he was for his daughter to learn on. He told me he had another horse he would be willing to part with. So arrangements were made to meet this horse up close and personal.
I drove up to the familiar house and he told me I could have him for free, because if he couldn't get rid of him, he would sell him for meat. He was at wit's end. He said the horse was too much for him as he was getting too old to risk broken bones. I saw a wild horse, untouched for years, possibly lame from ten to fifteen years of hoof neglect... His mane was matted, and he had mud everywhere.
Any other sane person would have turned around and drove away. I walked out into the bare paddock, and as to be expected, he ran, head held high and proud. I wanted a challenge/project horse, as the last one didn't work out all too well. I spent about an hour out in that paddock, bucket of grain in hand. He was shy, but eventually (curious about the feed, no doubt!) he wandered close enough for me to get a good look at him. I looked into his eyes as he cautiously got closer. He wanted a bond, he wanted to trust. His eyes were so kind and gentle... I walked out of the pasture, him watching me the whole time.
I told his owner "Get that horse a brand inspection. You just sold him." I came back, two weeks later with a two horse trailer hooked up to my little SUV. He had Zephyr caught, with a lead rope on him, and he backed the trailer up to the fence. He then told me he had tried to take a hack saw to his hoof, to try to help him break off the excess. I fumed quietly, for I knew he would NEVER have to deal with that EVER again.
This was the first time he had ever been loaded into a step up trailer, and he wanted no part of it. Eventually, he loaded up, and we were on our way. We hauled him 90 miles that day, and soon his new life began.
I spent the first week I had him sitting outside of his stall, just listening to him breathe, and move. He soon learned my scent and recognized me as someone he could trust, at least half heartedly. I took him on daily walks and cared for him, and a few weeks in, time for training. I lounged him in the round pen for weeks trying to get him to accept me as his "boss"... One day, I was lounging him, and he stopped when cued, as usual. He turned toward me, snorted and walked up, and placed his big, soft nose into my outstretched hand. This was a huge breakthrough.
With the help of a few friends, we soon had him riding, the first time ever for him... Bareback. He felt a connection with people for the first time. He loved every single one of us, and he made a huge impact on everyone he's ever met. He's now my trusted partner, and I ride him bareback most of the time. I love to spend time brushing and braiding his mane. We're now working on letting Boss handle his tail. His hooves still need a lot of work, but he's getting there. I love him, he's the best horse and the best friend I've ever had."   
Danielle told us that the Brand Inspector confirmed that Zephyr was from Wyoming, although not certain which  HMA.

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