What a day. Travis and I headed down to Redding to pick up some materials to try and get a little bit more done on Honey Bandit's "temporary winter nursery". We were thankful to find out that Lowe's was happy to help with some of the materials we needed to work on this ongoing project. Their generosity is so appreciated, and it made me so happy to know they were concerned enough to help make sure that Honey Bandit has a warm, safe and dry place to stay this winter. The manager at Lowe's told me that their community is important to them, and they certainly demonstrated that with their help today. I grew up in a small town and my dad ran the local hardware store. Customer service is what made them special, and I can certainly attest to the fact that it is important to Lowe's.
We are making baby steps, but each step forward is one step closer to the end. We are extremely grateful to our wonderful community. The support and love for Honey Bandit is heartwarming. I have been asked for Honey Bandit's Christmas Wish List, and I promise I will post it soon. Wow, our first Honey Bandit Christmas!..Ya'll are way ahead of me, I am still planning Thanksgiving. But I will get it together soon and put one up. Thank you for asking about it.
Honey Bandit has grown so much! The first time I measured him for a blanket, he was 40 inches. He is now 52 inches plus. Can you believe it? Also, when we first got him, he seems to be about as tall as my hip, and now he is almost up to my chest. I think he's grown about a foot or so. Sometimes when I look at him in the morning it seems like he is bigger than the night before. I know that isn't really true, but he is just so big. He is going to be a very, very big boy. Maybe a "gentle giant".?
He is such a complex little (big) guy. On one hand he is so mellow and sweet, but other times he is still the wild mustang that is ready to fly away from anything scary. He is bonding so well with me, but if I throw hay "over" the fence, divider etc., he is still ready to go. I think those helicopters can leave some serious "overhead damage".
One thing I think that should be brought up a little bit more is the fact that mustangs are different from domestic horses. They are incredibly smart, loyal and quick to learn. However, there are some things that make them harder to train also. Having worked with mustangs for about 8 years, I have seen so many different scenarios with adoptions. I have seen a person who knew next to nothing about horses, adopt a wild, mustang colt and filly and form one of the most incredible bonds with them that you could imagine. She didn't need any knowledge beyond knowing they needed soft, slow, gentle handling and the chance to learn to trust her.
I have spent several months trying to put back together a beautiful filly whose leg was broken and we eventually had to put down because the person didn't "understand" the difference between a domestic horse vs. A mustang. This gentleman was a "trainer" and came in and pushed this little filly too hard. I had worked with her and she was totally sweet, but very reactive. In not realizing that mustangs are different, and are very susceptible to pressure, he continued to push her even after she had tried to jump over the panels 5 or 6 times. The 7th time her leg got caught, had to be pried out and her bone was chipped. We spent the next few months helping her fight to recover, but there came a day when she looked at me and I knew it was time to let her go. She had fought valiantly and would hold her leg up for me to treat it. This wild horse that was so frightened by too much pressure, was also intelligent enough to "help" with her care and know she could trust us. Her memory of trusting me remained, even though she had been scared so badly by someone else that she almost died trying to escape. They don't forget.
Now if she was that scared from a "trainer with a whip in a round pen", how do you think those helicopters make them feel. Like a flying mountain lion they can't get away from???"
(I am glad that Honey Bandit never reached the point where he did not want to keep fighting. If he had, I would respect his choice, but PTL he never did. All this little boy did was fight to be here, and with all your good help he is thriving.)
I also worked with a colt that was considered "unadoptable" and "dangerous". This little guy was terrified. After I had him for a couple of years, you could do anything with him. However, I could not erase a memory he had that was terrifying. We could never tell what the trigger was, but narrowing it down, it seemed to be related to a mountain lion. We could never hear or see anything, but apparently he would smell something and the fear came back so strong that he would go crazy, crashing into fences or through whatever was in his way. Most of the babies in his band had been killed by a mountain lion. So since he was never going to be "safe", we returned him to his wild state. However, about 6 months later I saw him. He was not travelling enough to keep his feet in decent shape, so I drove him into a round pen. Even after being "back in the wild" for about 6 months, after being "sent" around the pen about 2 times, his memory was there and he stood ground tied while I trimmed his feet for the last time. He never forgot what he experienced, the good or the bad.
Obviously mustangs are awesome horses. However, most often, they need to be handled by someone who knows what they are doing and require a little bit different handling than a domestic horse, until they have time to adjust. They are much more sensitive to pressure, but if treated properly make some of the best horses there are.
In a world where there are hundreds, if not thousands, of already trained, often high dollar horses, for free or very low costs, why would the government think that there would be many of the mustangs adopted? And if the government knows that no one will be adopting these mustangs, then how does it justify the 3 strikes and you're out policy. If a mustang is taken to 3 "adoptions" and Isn't placed, then it can go to an outright sale. So you have horses that need special handling for the most part, flooding a market that is already flooded with too many horses and no buyers, and we have the answer as to why our mustangs end up on dinner tables. We need to stop rounding up the horses until it can be done humanely and all the horses that are already in prison are placed in a healthy and safe environment. We are losing our wild horses and our heritage and they are being maimed, killed, injured, and stripped away from their families in the process. It is time to step up and save our history.
This has just been on my mind lately. If we all work together with Honey Bandit, we can make a difference and use his story to stop these round ups. The fact that ya'll have helped support and save him makes it impossible for people to "forget". When these horses die in the round ups, we cry for awhile, but they become lost and often forgotten. And even if they are not forgotten, their stories get buried. Well, Honey Bandit is alive and well, and he is not going to go away. Together, we need to make sure that his story is burning bright, shining a light so bright on these horrors that they cannot be ignored. Please share his story with your friends and loved ones, and tell them to share his story. We need to stop this now before there are any more horses going through what Honey Bandit did, or the other horrors that are happening. Thank you for being part of Honey Bandit's mission. God Bless. p