Friday, April 20, 2012

What Adopting a Mustang is Really All About

This week I have been painting some of the wild horses being offered for adoption over the Internet  by the BLM in hopes of helping to get some of them adopted. There are some amazingly beautiful animals and well handled ones too. Anything I can do to help preserve, protect, help adopt, or anything positive in dealing with Wild Horse issues I will do.

 Everyone who loves these mustangs has the same concerns about them. Over all we are worried about what will happen to all those 35,000 plus horses that  are in Long Term Sanctuaries also known as BLM funded Long Term Holding Facilities and what will happen to the horses that are adopted into situations where they aren't handled at all or are put a risk because people find themselves inadvertently in financial crisis and cant keep their horses any longer.

We find ourselves in a quandary, the underdog, the ones who are trying to break in to the already competitive big money breeders retailing Horse industry. We continually seem to be trying to convince people that mustangs aren't culls, castoffs and useless animals.. and we are right to do so. Truthfully this isn't working for either us or the horses( and burros and mules) that are running wild and protected through the Wild Horse and Burro Act. And those wild horses not protected by the act are even more at jeopardy.

I wrote the following and posted it to a group I am in on facebook advocating for mustangs.

Maybe we are looking at this from the wrong direction. I don't think its a positive thing to always be comparing Mustangs with any breed or domestic horse... its like saying the cheaper generic brand is just as good as the original thing.

I don't think we should compare Mustangs with other breeds. Thats where it falls down. Mustangs are a unique living history of our country. Every time someone does a DNA test on a mustang it tells you things.. about the people who settled our nation and about different events in history.

You don't go into a dog show and judge a poodle by the standard for a Doberman. You judge poodles by other poodles or you judge different dog breeds against a test of skill. Even in best of breed or Supreme grand champion you don't judge an Arabian against an Appy. You judge them against the breed standard for the breed they represent.The one with the highest score is the winner.

What we should be selling is the uniqueness of owning a piece of living history, the adventure of finding a connection with a wild animal that far surpasses anything in a book or movie, Owning a mustang is more than owning a horse; It is owning an adventure. Its traveling down a path that is going to teach you not only about a horse that can think for its self and problem solve but it will teach you about yourself. All of our support development for new owners and trainers and all of our marketing for the horses and potential first time buyers should be along this line.

We who have trained mustangs( I haven't) and we who have friends who have worked with mustangs right off the range (I have) know that working with a mustang after having worked with any sort of domestic range bred or fancy breeding farm bred horse is a completely different ball game.

People need to know that they are getting something special and unique, that has an interesting history that will wrap them up in the imagination of experiences and yes the mystery and ambiance of the old west, the pioneers, those who made it through wars, economic disasters, natural calamities. Mustangs are not just horses they are America.

Yes of course you can do almost anything with a mustang that you can do with another horse with patience and hard work but that isn't the point. The point is as long as we compare a mustang with every other domestic horse out their all we have is a horse but if we let mustangs come into the market place and stand on their own merit then we have something special, unique and completely sell-able that with a tweak or two in marketing and owner support will bring about a high demand.

Lets face it people in this country are still making emotional purchases and if we can show them how to maintain these guys and develop relationships with them we will have successful adoptions.

IMO we have to change the insecure bad self image way we talk about them and talk about them, especially to the outside as being something worth having, worth paying the feeds bills for , worth the time and effort to train. etc. All the "bad self talk" and defensiveness is going to take time to over come regarding Mustangs ... I don't think we have time to waste.

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