The Gentling of a Mustang
We arrived at the Rodeo grounds at a quarter to seven. Already people were
waiting for the facility to open. Once the grounds opened, the agents had
everyone gather around an area enclosed by red tape. An agent then went over
the requirements for adopting a horse and prohibited acts regarding wild
horses and burros. Also they limited the number of selections to two.
Everyone seemed to be tense as we lined up to choose numbers. The couple
ahead of me selected 20, I selected 21. Once everyone had their numbers,
the agents called up number 1.
Number one was lead off to the corrals. Everyone watched expectantly as the
couple made their selection. They came back and the agents crossed off the
numbers of the two mustangs they had chosen from the poster board where all
the numbers listed. Those mustangs had been on my list.
Slowly, each person made their choices. More and more of my selections
were crossed off the list, until I had two left. The people who were 20th
in line were led off to the corrals. I trailed to the holding area
to look one last time at the horses I selected to see if I could make one
last selection--just in case all my previous selections were taken.
The wranglers had separated out horses which had been selected already.
There were three or four left in the corral. In the middle of the group was
a small gray mare. She seemed to have a kind eye though smaller and older
than what I wanted. I looked at the list posted on her corral. She hadn't
been chosen yet but she was listed as four years old. I put her number, 1240
down and made my way back to the office area to await my turn.
As I arrived, the couple ahead of me returned. They had selected 1260 and
1254. Both of them were the last ones on my list. Only 1240 was left.
The BLM agent called my name and as we walked down to the corral I wondered
if selecting a horse that I had on my list only for minutes would be a lucky
bit of fortune or a big mistake. I asked John what he thought, but said the
decision was mine. I looked at 1240 through the fence as she and the others
galloped around the corral. She did seem to be quieter than the others. The
agent asked if I had made a selection. I pondered a few minutes more.
I decided to take my chances with this four year old mare. We went back to
the office and the agents crossed 1240 from the list and handed me the paper
work to take to the cashier's stand.
After taking care of the paperwork and receiving her papers, I had to
arrange her shipment to our property. We went to the shipper
and gave her 1240's information and headed off to the loading area to await
the little mustang`s loading.
We arrived at the loading area just in time to see a rather lengthy struggle
between a little red roan mustang and a BLM agent. The horse was in a cattle
chute with the agent who was trying to get the halter and lead rope on its
head. Every time he would lower the halter, the horse would drop its head
and try to back out of the chute. If the agent got too close, the horse
would lunge forward in its tiny compartment. Finally the halter was on and
agents opened the front of the chute which lead into the trailer.
When 1240 arrived in the cattle chute, the shipper backed her trailer
expertly into place. The agent only had a few struggles before the halter
was on. The required 20 foot lead rope dangled on the ground as 1240
cautiously approached the trailer. With nostrils flared she jumped in,
seemingly eager to escape the little cattle chute.
After closing the door and driving back into the parking lot, I gave the
driver instructions and a map of how to get the horse to my home. With a nod
to John, the shipper and I left with our little mare.
At home the trailer rattled and banged as the driver backed up to the corral.
Our other two horses watched with rapt attention. With the trailer close to
the opening of the corral, we opened the gate of the trailer which created a
chute to the corral so that 1240 could not escape.
1240 backed carefully into the corral. Once she was unloaded she was greeted
with whinnies from Cameron and Chico. She wandered around the corral
sniffing everything. The driver closed the trailer door. We thanked her and
she drove away leaving us with the little gray mustang mare.
John and I gave her a small bit of hay and left her to acclimate to her new
home. Back inside the house, John asked me what we were going to name her.
She is a darling little gray horse. John went to the T.V. to watch a little
tennis. Monica Seles was playing Steffie Graph. Why not Seles? Then John
says, how about Celis White, the name of his favorite beer. The name seemed
to suit her, so Celis White it was!
That evening, when we went out to feed, our dog Daisy came with us. Before
we thought about it, Daisy went up to Celis's corral to look for "horsey
goodies". Both John and I held our breath--we both thought that Daisy might
make Celis panic. Celis however, did not seem to fear this little dog. She
walked up to Daisy and started sniffing. Celis, who was afraid of people
standing and milling around her enclosure, was not afraid of the dog.
Celis's reaction gave me an idea. With a handful of hay in hand, I went to
the edge of her corral and squatted down. At first she put up her head and
walked to a corner. She turned around and faced me. Slowly, with her
nostrils flared, she approached. She could smell the hay, but was not to
sure of the human offering it to her. I crackled the hay in my hand and she
took another tentative step forward. She stretched her neck out as far as
she could. Her lips lightly touched a few strands. Celis then snatched
her head back up and looked at me.
Once again Celis came forward, this time she was able to snatch a large
mouthful. John and I were elated. I left the rest of the handful on the
ground and proceeded to do my nightly horse chores.
We felt bad for Celis since she still had on the halter and 20 foot lead
rope. But she would not let us approach her. As she walked around the corral
she would occasionally step on the lead rope. At first she was a little
panicked by the resistance. But after a few moments she would figure out
which foot the rope was under by backing up and lifting each foot. I hoped
she wouldn't become entangled in the rope and hurt herself. The BLM agents
recommended that we leave the halter and rope on her in case she escaped or
if we had to treat her in some way.
We left Celis, Cameron, and Chico alone, and went inside for the night.
Celis sniffing Daisy
Celis snatching hay