An intro to training

We’ve been receiving some questions about two of our mustangs – Chanel and Stardust – who disappeared after several months on our ranch. They are not gone, just temporarily offsite for training!

Why train?

Horses come to MVHR from a variety of backgrounds and situations. Food, shelter and physical care are their first and most immediate needs, but often these horses need time, love and trust – in the form of training – to be happy and healthy in the long term, and find adoptive loving homes.

How does training work?

Much of our training occurs here at MVHR but sometimes these horses need more, so we enlist the help of outside training professionals. Chanel and Stardust have gone to a ranch near Grand Junction.  They were completely unhandled before coming to us, but were starting to become less shy and more curious about people - this represents a critical moment for horses for training to be successful.

Training varies by horse and is customized in a way that fits their personality and needs. Mitch, who is training Chanel and Stardust, will spend weeks and even months earning their trust.

The first and most important aspect of this training is that it is a full immersion, and the horses cannot be rushed.  Mitch is touching and haltering these horses for the first time, and the process takes respect, understanding, and most of all patience.

Some of the tactics he uses include introducing a tarp, which acts as a dummy, mimicking the legs of a person on the horse’s back. Mitch will introduce the tarp, and haltering, during feedings, during the day and at night until each horse gains his trust and feels comfortable moving to the next step.

It’s important for trainers to speak “horse,” paying close attention to every detail of the horses’ body language and their own, including even how they walk into the arena, so that the horse gains that trust and feels confident and safe.

What’s next?

Every horse and every training is different, but we expect Chanel and Stardust to return to MVHR by spring. With proper training and support, Chanel and Stardust will be ready to be ridden and, when the time is right, adopted into their forever home.

We miss them and can’t wait to see their progress after their time away with Mitch!

Shana Devins