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Murray’s Mustang, part six

Published: 1/18/2012
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Editor's Note:
A few years ago, John Murray of Sebago, Maine, adopted a young Bureau of Land Management mustang. He graciously agreed to write about his horsemanship journey for our pages. What follows is the last of six installments. Thanks, John!

Read Part One
Read Part Two
Read Part Three
Read Part Four

Read Part Five


By John Murray


This mustang journey began in the spring of 2007 when I first got the idea of getting a mustang.  Nitro was adopted in August of that year. 
The year 2008 was year of getting experience for me through DVD programs, clinics, events, trial and error, failures and successes. 
The following year was much of the same with more trail riding thrown in.
After that clinic with Libby in May 2010, the rest of the year was filled with much success.  
I continued to refine things in the round pen.  And began riding out with more confidence.  There were many trail rides around my home. 
Nitro and I returned to Ever After Mustang Rescue for their annual event Mustangs in Motion.  Every year the rescue invites owners of mustangs and their horses to come to the rescue and the public gets to see just how wonderful these animals are. 

Also, that year I joined a competitive trail riding club and throughout the summer had some great experiences as both as a judge’s assistant and as a competitor.
Nitro was my only horse and he seemed quite content and well bonded to me.  I really did not want to get another horse to take my attention from him, but I thought he might enjoy an equine friend. 
So, in June 2010, I adopted a wild burro.    He came from a herd in southeastern California in the heart of the Mojave desert.   A wild burro that had been free for 6 years and recently captured.
  
Keeping with the explosive theme I named him Sparky the Wild Burro of the Mojave.  I thought a mustang was challenging to train but a burro is a whole different experience and whole other story.

If you read the very first part of this story, you may remember that I lamented about how life can throw different challenges at you and other priorities can overshadow horse endeavors. 
2011 was one of those years. 
Some challenges with family took center stage. 
Nitro and Sparky were quite happy to oblige and be pasture pets for a while.   I’m happy to report that late this fall I’ve been back in the saddle. 
The first time I worked with Nitro to any large degree, I was shocked that he did so well.  It was almost like we had taken no break at all. 
Thankfully, the weather has been unseasonably warm and Sunday rides during hunting season are what we have been able to do. 

On a recent Sunday we were out on the trail and headed back home after a nice ride.  It was late in the afternoon and the sun was hovering just above the trees before it made its way to the horizon.   The sun was at my back and I could not help but notice the long shadow of me and Nitro that was cast in front of us. It made me look very tall in the saddle. I sure was.

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1/19/2012 Mike Smith
awesome John

   
"It is the hardest pill for all of us would-be horsemen to swallow, but it is absolutely true - if the horse is not responding properly, we are doing something wrong" - Mary Twelveponies