The Gentling of a Mustang
The Beauty Trip
Every day I worked on expanding Celis White's world outside her corral. She
was becoming more accustomed to being haltered and actually seemed to enjoy
seeing more of her new surroundings. At first I limited her trip to just
around the grounds, but eventually I started taking her off property.
The first time off the property, Celis had to get used to some dogs barking
from behind the neighbor's fence. The dogs would bark at anyone passing by,
and there was no way around them. So I led her to the end of the drive way
and waited a few moments. I wanted her to see them for the first time from
the front so I whistled and as usual, the dogs came bounding the the edge
of their property barking up a storm.
Celis raised her head very high and started snorting. She started to back
up, but once she felt the pressure of the halter, she stopped. I
didn't ask her to step forward either, I just wanted to let her see that
the dogs were contained and couldn't get to her. We stood there for several
minutes. The little white mare just stood there with her nostrils flaring
and her head up. Finally the dogs got tired of us and went back toward the
I led Celis toward the corral, but turned around to repeat the experience.
So again I took her to the edge of the property and called the dogs. They
came running up and started their ruckus. This time Celis didn't try to back
up. I let her stand and drink the situation in. She bobbed her head up and
down a few times. I pressured her halter to walk and she took one step
forward. I petted her and told her she was good. I asked her to move again,
and she took another step. Seeing the movements, the dogs intensified the
I let Celis stand and get used to this new level of barking. She kept her
eye fixed on the dogs. I stood there for a few more minutes talking
soothingly to her and petting her. After a bit, I asked her to move forward
again. She didn't move, so I took the end of the rope and tapped her side to
urge her to move forward. Celis walked forward strongly into the dirt road.
I kept her moving, walking quickly to keep up with the mustang.
The dogs bounded along the fence line barking and Celis White swung
her hind end back and forth as if to see if they were going to try to ambush
her. Finally we reached the other end of our driveway where the dogs' fence
stopped. I halted the white mare and turned her toward the dogs so she could
see that they were still on the other side of the fence. The mare looked at
the dogs, but her nostrils were not flaring as much. Finally I led her back
up the driveway. For several days I continued this training with Celis. She
slowly became accustomed to the dogs and regarded them as a part of the
Celis White's feet were now growing quite long and trimming was long over
due. I placed the call to the farrier and he said he would be out in a week
to trim her. In the meantime, I decided it was time for her to learn about
The weather was quite warm and sunny on the day I chose for Celis' first
bath. I got all the equipment out and ready for use--the hose, sponge,
bucket, and some shampoo. I made a very dilute mixture of water and shampoo
in the bucket. I didn't want to accidentlly leave suds in her coat if I
couldn't rinse them out.
With all the materials in place, I went to get the mare. I brought her out
to the washing area, a place that has gravel to drain away the water. I
started the hose and brought the running water to Celis' nose for her to
sniff and see what it was. To my surprise, Celis didn't seem to mind it
much. She just moved her lips in the water. I started to rinse the mare off,
beginning with her legs. The mare didn't move! She just stood there while
let the water run down her legs. I rinsed the other side. The mustang was
Slowly I began rinsing higher and higher on the mare's body. She didn't seem
to object. With the lead rope draped over my shoulder, I began to scrub the
water into the coat. When I got the mustang completely wet, I took the
bucket of soapy water and started to sponge it on to her. The mare again did
not try to get away. She allowed me to sponge her all over. I cleaned her
mane, scrubbed her legs and washed her tail. After soaping the mare I rinsed
her carefully, making sure I got all of the suds out of her coat, mane and
When I was finished I took Celis White back to the grooming area to scrap the
excess water off. I then led the mustang around to dry her off in the warm sun.
She dried quickly and I took her back to do a final polishing. I combed her
mane and tail, then brushed her body. When she was dry I let her back into
her corral where she promptly rolled. So much for the beauty trip!