Kana: My Story
 
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   I think that a special few girls in the first years of life learn at the moment they see a horse, they will always have a special love for horses.  I can’t remember the first time I saw my first horse, but I still have that love for horses.  As a child, I grew up riding horses, first, taking lessons in western, and then taking lessons in English.  One of my dreams was to own my very own horse.  I even thought about liking the idea if I ever owned my own land to have a Mustang.  I grew up, had a family and that dream and love for a horse was still there.  I could not get that dream out of my heart.

     So I decided to start looking for a horse, even though I didn’t have a place to keep it.  I did the typical thing and started looking in the trading post (paper).  A lady one hour east of me placed an ad to get rid of her pregnant mare.  I thought I couldn’t beat this deal: $450 for two horses.  I found out quickly why she was so cheap.  One, she was a mustang.  That wasn’t so bad except she was never handled and she had an extreme head fear.  And second, she would bolt when she would get scared.  After two days of searching for her, a neighbor saw her outside of the paddock.  He takes one of his horses and leads her into the paddock.  We took her back.

I would still come over after I brought the mare back and hang out with the owner and we became good friends.  I worked with her horses off and on.  About nine months later she decided to thin out the herd.  When she said that she was going to sell some more horses, I jumped on the chance to buy one of her other mustangs.  She had two mustangs that were buddies, so they were called Buddy.  My horse, Kana, was Red Buddy: being a dark bay.  He was only a little over two years when I bought him. 

Before I bought him, I always thought he was a nice looking horse, but he would never let me get near him.  When I decided to buy him, I knew I was in for a challenge, but not that big…

To get a halter on him was just the beginning!  The two of us, the previous owner and I, tried to bribe him to go in the barn.  That didn’t work the first time, so we had to lead him in with other horses.  Until, he realized what we where trying to do.  Eventually, we put, I should say he went in.  Now it was time to try to persuade him to put on the halter.  After an hour, I was able to get the halter on.  I left it on him the whole time and he did fine with that.  Every chance I’d get, I would go up there to see him.  We would go through the ritual of me following him and him walking away.  I learned that Gray Buddy, his friend, loved to be petted.  And when I did this Kana, Red Buddy, would get jealous.  So I would start petting Gray Buddy and here would come Kana over to see what was going on.  I would gently reach over and touch him.  He would side step a couple of steps away and slowly step back like he didn’t really wanted to be touched but he would put up with it. 

                My friend started having trouble with her fence.  The deer started knocking it over.  So the horses started getting out.  I showed up her place and I could not find the horses anywhere.  I  walked up to the highest point of the hill and start looking.  I didn’t see anything, I started to worry-still no horses.  Later, we found out that they got out.  My friend told me that she got all the horses except mine and that I had to get him on my own, but I did not have a trailer and she would not come back and help me to load him back in hers.  So I had to walk him back by foot. 

                So she told me where he was and I drove to where he was.  Yes, he was there.  He still had his halter on, that was a good think.  All I had was a lead rope and my feet.  I did the “run away from the human” game for about 2 hours.  I gave up and set down on the grass.  He slowly started to come closer to me.  When he was about 10 to 15 feet away from me I slowly stood up and waited for him and waited and waited.  I moved closer, he moved closer and I moved closer, he moved closer.  That went on for about another hour.  I didn’t read any of this.  This was before what I heard about the horse whisperer-at least his techniques.  I slowly reached up, yes, got him. 

                Now I had to figure how to lead him.  You need to remember that he has never been lead before in his life.  Remember I had just put a halter on him a month ago, so now I’m going to lead him down the rode back to the property. I had trouble just getting him to follow me.  All I kept telling myself was “don’t let go of the lead, don’t let go of the lead!”  I finally convinced him that he would be fine if he followed me.  We ended on the side of the street walking.  I think he knew I was there to help him or I was more stubborn or should I say more nieve).  We slowly walked our way back to her property.  Kana would stop every hundred feet or so and freak out either at a fire hydrant or a piece of trash.  And if a car came by that was when the real fun started.  I had to hold on and dig my feet in and hope he didn’t bolt.  I know that was the wrong think to do, but if he took off he could have been hit by a car.  The herd ran through properties to get where they ended up.  But I couldn’t go back the same way, so we had to go back on the side of the rode.

  Well, Kana and I made it back to her property over three miles later.  I put him back in the field with the other horses.  They were happy to see him.  I walked back to the house and saw her husband and thankfully he gave me a ride back to my car.  My muscles and feet were so sore, all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  But I still had to drive home, an hour drive home.  All I could think about was a new place for Kana.  Well, that was decided for me my friend called me and said she wanted me to get Kana out of there and get him out fast.  She knew some one that would take him, so that was where he went.  She knew a lot more about horses and she help me out with working with Kana.  Her place was not quite as far, only 45 minutes.  She and I got along great.  I found a barn right down the rode from me.  I was put on the waiting list.  I told them that he was a Mustang they didn’t seem to mind but I think they didn’t know what they were getting into either.  About three months later, a stall opened up I took it.  We stayed there for almost a year before we were asked to leave.  The management gave me a bunch of reasons, but I believe it was everything to do with politics. 

He was three years when we moved from there.  There was couple other places we were at.  What I learned about not owning your own place is that you have to really listen to the horse that you own.  Two places Kana was at, he started acting out of his character.  I knew he wasn’t happy there so I found  new places for him.  Then he was happy again.  He prefers to be out all the time, but the new place we’re at now, he isn’t.  He is out on a rotating basis.  Normally he would mind this, but he doesn’t, because the place is close to the house so I get to see him every day.  On the days he’s in we go trail riding.  He loves to go trail riding.  We had to build that trust.  He had to trust me that I’m not going to tell him to do something that is dangerous.  And he is learning to trust himself that he is a skilled horse to not loose a rider off his back on the trails. 

He is six now and he is become a great trail horse.  I want to some day ride him in an endurance competition.  I think he would do fine.  For a "wild" Mustang, he is a quiet horse-until he plays with his horse friends out in the field.  To label the Mustangs "wild" doesn't do them justice.  be out in a wild environment has made these horse survive.  And for that they have become very intelligent, not wild.  And for that the Mustang needs to be patient with the human and the human needs to be gentle with the horse.  Training down to the horse will only break their spirit not train them.

 

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