It's hard to believe that only 2 weeks ago the 100-day mustang demonstrations were still going on and the auction hadn't started yet. It's still fun to tell the story of that day when I won Odin in the auction.
Since he arrived at his new home in Arlington, WA and met his pasture mate, Koda the Appaloosa, he's had about 8 or 9 days of professional training, lots of hand-walking with me, and a mani/pedi. Odin is a thoughtful horse, he likes to consider the question before answering. Can you walk with me through this building? His answer is temporarily no then it becomes well, okay. The yeses are coming more frequently. I've only seen him spook twice but he realizes quickly that nothing is going to eat him.
I can't help comparing Odin to my OTTB, Beege, as they are complete opposites in terms of training. Both are absolute sweethearts and want to please. Odin will think about new things then decide they're okay. Beege will react about new things then take a long time (months, years?) to decide they're okay. Odin reacts then calms down immediately. Beege reacts then has to take a valium to calm down. I'm exaggerating a bit about Beege. I can ask Odin to do five new things in one session and we do it. I ask Beege to do one thing in a session and am immensely relieved if a) we accomplished the one simple thing, and b) neither of us were particularly traumatized by it.
To be fair, Beege's youth was spent on the racetracks in New York, Maryland, etc. Odin grew up on the eastern plains of Oregon with his friends. Beege was hopped up on grain, stored by himself in a stall, and asked to work for maybe an hour a day. Asked to work may be too polite. Demand is possibly more accurate. I'm not saying that racehorse owners don't love their horses but it's hard to reconcile that thought when racehorses that don't make money are shipped out, best of luck, buh bye. Odin grew up being trained by his mother and his herdmates, the way a childhood should be. Who knows if Beege got to spend his nursing years with his own mother or whether he had a surrogate.
Life was mostly likely unfair for Beege and he acts like it. I get that, which is why I still have him even after he told me no, I can't be the horse you want me to be. He's taught me more about horsemanship than any other horse I've had in my life. Odin is a joy to work with because he acts like a horse. He's okay with the questions I ask him, as long as it doesn't hurt. My training philosophy these days is to see how soft and gentle I can be, which is helping me develop a bond with both my horses. Odin and I will get further afield eventually, ideally out in the mountains, maybe in the show ring. I'll be happy with Beege when a flag or a little static electricity doesn't scare him.
Every horse has a story. Beege's might've been electric shock to get him to go faster. Later he may have been "flooded" by flags and other flappy things to show that they wouldn't hurt him. However, that makes him go into panic mode with no return. Now I can ask him to target a flag, even one flapping in the wind, to get him to move from one place to another. It's like playing tag and is fun for him.
Odin's' story so far been pretty ideal. The roundup may not have been much fun, nor was living in holding pens but he was fed, watered and left alone for a few months before he went to 100 days of training with a kind trainer. If I can help it, he will live without pain and fear. He has a like-minded "godmother" in the unlikely event something happens to me.
I've heard that owning a mustang is like eating one potato chip -- impossible. You want more. Maybe someday but my limit is two horses and Beege is mine, warts and all.