A Metal Mustang

Beautiful Reyacita

Beautiful Reyacita

I’m not talking about a bronze statue here. I’m talking about a constitutional type that in Traditional Chinese Medicine is called Metal. And Reyacita is an adorable little Mustang mare who falls into that category.

Reyacita, Rey for short, is the most recent of my friend Stephanie’s Mustangs, having been adopted by her last January from the Canon City, CO, prison BLM Mustang program. She was 3 years old and had been haltered, but that’s as far as her training had gone.

Stephanie has adopted one Mustang a year for many years, and every single one has been totally different from all the rest.

As you can see, Reyacita has an exceptionally beautiful head and face for a Mustang, and a very soft eye. She looks like a pushover, doesn’t she? She did to Stephanie too, and she started out that way. Then things turned rough.

The well-balanced Metal horse, according to Horse Harmony — Understanding Horse Types and Temperaments, by Dr. Madalyn Ward, D.V.M., is “hard-working, consistent, dependable, and tough” and can do well in just about any job.

So what happened with Reyacita? She started out calmly and solidly and looked like she was going to be all those things — but then she blew, and blew hard in a totally unexpected bucking fit! In Stephanie’s words, “I think I pushed her too fast in the beginning, but she was too stoic to let it show.”

This would make sense, given what Stephanie soon found out about Reyacita’s health and considering Dr. Ward’s recommendations for training a Metal horse:

Repetition is the key to success for the Metal horse. Of all of the types, the Metal horse is the slowest to grasp new concepts. It is not that the Metal horse is not intelligent, but he does best when he is allowed to master single skills before moving to the next lesson. Therefore a methodical, step-by-step approach to his training works best.

Stephanie got back on after the bucking fit but then gave both herself and Reyacita a couple of months off.  She also discovered that Rey had a lung problem known as heaves, and Dr. Ward hypothesized that this was the reason she had bucked in the first place — she couldn’t breathe! With good holistic and homeopathic treatment for the lung problem, and once back on a very routinized and revamped training program, Reyacita came right back around to the solid, steady mare she had seemed to be at first.

Reyacita’s lung problem ties in with the Metal constitution and was no doubt one of the clues that helped Stephanie finally figure out her personality type.  According to Dr. Ward, Metal horses are prone to respiratory diseases and heaves. They also have a high pain tolerance, which means they will often keep working until injury or illness incapacitates them, which is what happened with Rey.

This case study is a great example of how figuring out your horse’s constitutional and personality type can make all the difference in how you train, feed, and handle her. Without the changes Stephanie was able to make in Reyacita’s training and care program, no telling what the future would have held for this adorable little horse!

Rey and Steph are way past this point now, but this is the slow, careful approach Stephanie took when she resumed Reyacita's new training program.

Rey and Steph are way past this point now, but this is the slow, gentle approach Stephanie took when she resumed Reyacita's new training program.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    This is really interesting, Leta. I didn’t realize the tie-in with respiratory issues. I wonder if my Patches is a metal horse. He has had respiratory problems which have cleared up so much over the past months, due to a respiratory supplement. And he’s been running around his new home without gasping for breath. I’ll have to consult the book! Thanks for a great article.


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