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Owning and training a wild horse is not for the faint of heart. According to the most seasoned professionals, training a wild horse takes more time than most expect. For horsewoman, horse clinician, and Western trainer Vivian Gabor, the task was one of the most difficult she’d ever undertook but also the most rewarding. In the book Mustang: From Wild Horse to Riding Horse she shares the ups and downs of the 90-day journey training an untamed mare she named Mona.
Gabor’s time with Mona begins in Frankfurt, Germany, where Gabor lives. Mona was part of the “Beauty Butte” herd rounded up in Oregon and then transported overseas to meet the woman who would help domesticate her. The process used to make Mona rideable in a three-month period involved a series of exercises. Gabor called the first exercise she employed “Follow My Leader.”
When Mona is placed in a pen for the first time, she follows after Gabor seeking connection and contact. “If we can manage to assume this protective role when training horses, the horse will happily follow us,” Gabor noted, “and to a certain extent, hand over to us responsibility for his survival.” Using that idea as a base, Gabor was able to gain Mona’s trust and prepare her for a complete makeover.
Mustang’s record of Gabor’s experiences training Mona comes alive in the wonderful color photographs that accompany every facet of the venture. Informational sidebars on the science behind the process of horse training help explain Gabor’s reasoning for the methods she chooses to following with working with a Mustang. Steps for patiently and naturally introducing groundwork, liberty work and first rides are vividly illustrated.
Mustang: From Wild Horse to Riding Horse isn’t just an instruction manual that gives readers the opportunity to imagine what it might be like to train a mustang of their own; it’s about a touching friendship between a woman and a horse.