The Mustang Mystique

What is it about the wild Mustang that captivates and holds the attention? People of all ages and backgrounds love this American icon, and increasing numbers are fighting for its survival.

The horse throughout time has represented power and freedom, a connection with both the higher realms and the earth itself. If you want to feel grounded, just sit on a horse. If you want to transcend to higher levels, just touch and spend time with one, on his back or not.

Combine these mystical qualities with the traits of a truly wild animal and the results are, in the true sense of the word, AWESOME.

When you first meet a Mustang you will know what I mean.

Even after being tamed and trained, there is something about a Mustang that is different. A trainer I know who works with them a lot says:  “I love working with them because each one is just a blank slate.” I think what he means here is that he is working with what nature has crafted, not what man has bred or shaped through behavior modification.

Another friend who has adopted several Mustangs over the years pinpoints some of their unique qualities. She says:

Mustangs are like the mules of the horse world. They give new meaning to words like:

  • stubborn
  • opinionated
  • survivor
  • tough
  • heart

If a Mustang has an opinion about something (and most Mustangs have opinions about everything under the sun) you will know, and quickly!

A case in point. My Mustang mare, Bella, whom many of you have met through this blog, has never cottoned to the training exercise of lunging — with anyone, be they owner, friend, or trainer. Everyone who has tried (and believe me, many have) has simply given up. One seasoned horse woman who thought she could set Bella straight and make her lunge was put in her place by Bella’s turning toward her and facing her off, even after the woman continually whipped her on her haunches. Bella simply stared her down, face-to-face, and wouldn’t move, and the woman was totally intimidated and handed the rope and whip back to the owner. Now you have to know Bella to realize how strong is her energy, because she’s huge and very black, but the sheer presence she presented to the woman is what is typical of the Mustang.

Horses of domesticated breeds can also certainly be very stubborn and opinionated — just ask any horse owner. But a domesticated horse’s stubbornness is usually a product of his breed or upbringing. The Mustang’s is not. The Mustang does nothing just to curry your favor. He has not been raised around humans and their ways so could care less about your approval or rewards. He is wild at heart and really has nothing to lose if he doesn’t please you. But he will, finally, please you if he wants to please you and decides you are worth it.

What more can I say? The Mustang is the absolute paragon of strength and freedom, the very essence of what we revere in the American culture. These beautiful animals deserve our respect and our support, and I hope you will take steps to aid in their survival. They are truly in danger and are — I can say from first hand experience — truly worth saving. They are part of America’s heritage and preserving them is, I feel, preserving the best in each of us.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Karen said,

    Great post! They really are worth saving. I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Onaqui herd last June. That became the inspiration for a series of paintings. Just a few days before they were first exhibited, I learned that 200 of them were rounded up.
    As a symbol of American Freedom they also stand as a stark metaphor of American life.

    • 2

      Wonderful observation and comment, Karen. Had I thought of it I would have said this myself in the post. Thank you so much for contributing. Please send a link so I can see your paintings.


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