Legacy Mustang Preservation – Craig Dodson 2

Continued from last week…

Immediately upon arrival, he was released into a covered paddock on the side of a barn, with a stall door available to him. The training process began. The halter that was placed on him was close to falling off his nose. 
Jamie understood that this could result in further trauma and fear, so she set herself immediately to fixing it. Working from early afternoon until one in the morning on approach and retreat in his paddock, Jamie kept him calm while earning his trust, finally being able to remove his neck tag and fix his halter. 
The following morning, training began at sunrise. Again, there was
no round pen, no running, only approach and retreat, gaining trust. It was here that the miracle happened. Buster, a saanen goat, came up to the pen for no apparent reason other than to get some human attention. He immediately made his way into the pen, introducing himself to the frightened and curious mustang. As Jamie backed away, Buster, as if requested, walked into the horse’s stall, the horse following behind. Stall training, done. Jamie stared in disbelief as her husband, Craig, snapped pictures feverishly. Jamie’s eyes lit up as an idea surfaced. When Buster returned, she attached a lead rope to Buster’s collar. She then placed her saddle backwards on Buster’s back. Leading the goat to the horse nose to nose she led the goat side by side with the horse. As the horse was fixed to his fascination with Buster, Jamie placed the blanket, then the saddle on his back with no reaction whatsoever from the horse. He carried it willingly for the next hour with no reaction. Saddle training, done. Craig, still snapping away, said, “If that’s not Divine will, I don’t know what is.” 
Legacy’s Divine Will, or Willie, had a name.
Training began in earnest, with the first steps under saddle on day 3 and first trail ride on day 5. By the end of the second week, Willie had completed a trail ride with the Keswick Hunt. While searching for trail rides on the net, Craig discovered a ride in Palmyra, VA hosted by Robin Tilghman and ACTHA. People, trails, obstacles, camping, and competition was everything we needed in one package. Craig called Robin, who welcomed Willie with open arms, offering to make Willie a focal point of the weekend to assist in his socialization.

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