Equestrian Life


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day 3..what I did on my (unexpected) vacation...

Today I fed 300 Mustangs, literally!! I was up early to get to the "Wild Horse Sanctuary" to help founders, Diane and Ted, feed their band of 300 wild ones plus about 50 saddle horses. I was graciously invited to help feed, after having dinner with Tami, Kim and Lori (WHS volunteer) the night before. I jumped at the chance.

The Wild Horse sanctuary is 5000 acres of safe haven for 300+ wild mustangs. The mustangs come from a variety of sources, but was mainly founded by the "Original 80". The bands also include horses from the Santa Cruz herd and also the more famous, Phantom Herd. Phantom has been made famous by the many books written about him by Terri Farley.

From the "Wild Horse Sanctuary" website..

"Rather than allow 80 wild horses living on public land to be destroyed, the founders of the Wild Horse Sanctuary made a major life decision right then and there to rescue these unwanted horses and create a safe home for them. And just as quickly, they launched a media campaign to bring attention to the plight of these and hundreds of other wild horses across the west that eventually led to a national moratorium on killing un-adoptable wild horses.

The Sanctuary is located near Shingletown, California on 5,000 acres of lush lava rock-strewn mountain meadow and forest land. Black Butte is to the west and towering Mt. Lassen is to the east. The current location features better accessibility for the public, a milder winter climate with more natural cover, and other benefits for the horses."

Along with caring for the wild ones, the Sanctuary offers trail rides, camp overs and cattle drives to the public. Please visit their website for more details on these fun events.

The Sanctuary is always looking for qualified interns, volunteers and donations. If you would like to help, please visit: How you can help

I plan to help with the camp ride in October, acting as a drag and helping the guests with their horses and tack. Come and join me!

Back to my day with the herd...

I arrived about 9 am and was met by Ted, Diane's husband (the hired help!). He escorted me down to the barn and I watched while he loaded hay on this gi-normous fork lift!

I sat atop the lifted forks with Bobby, the farm dog, and Ted at the helm. First, we fed the "old saddle horses".

Then we fed the current saddle horses. These horses are used for the rides and camp outs. This one was my favorites, although I believe her nick name is "Captain Snotty Pants"!

Then we moved onto the wild ones. We were greeted at the gate by a band of geldings, led by one lone stallion from the Santa Cruz herd. He was friendly enough to let me touch his nose, but that was it! He was gorgeous!

The wild horses are fed way back on the acreage, so the band of geldings followed along..

This was my favorite gelding. Are you beginning to get an idea of my favorite color pattern??

Phantoms herd..."Shy", the Palomino is Phantom's main mare. Sadly, Phantom was not with his herd. I really wanted to see him. He had been spotted a week before, but he was not around today.

Phantom's last baby, the grey in the middle...

The new stallion of the Phantom herd...

See all the fun things you can do if you are stranded in Redding????

After my feeding excursion, I went back to the barn and we practiced picking up our feet on command. Not all that exciting, but the right rear was a bit unnerving for Monty.

We also practiced "beauty shop"! He was groomed up and brushed out and looked like a domestic! He promptly let me know that mustangs are meant to be dirty, as I watched him roll in manure. sigh

1 comment:

Anne Beggs said...

Greetings, and isn't it wonderful when so much work can be so much fun! Looking forward to following your progress. Glad you met so many nice folks in Nor Cal. We did end up with rain and hail--but then it turned unbelievably beautious for Easter! someone's gotta live here.