Lesley Neuman: The First Touch Gentling Your Mustang
Lesley works with 3
wild horses at a BLM adoption, and very clearly
explains what is happening, what she is doing, &
what she sees in each horse as it progresses. Study
this video and you can learn "pressure and release"
gentling techniques to gentle your own new mustang!
Help for Burro adopters! Crystal Ward
All the basics of
gentling, handling, and training. A MUST for new
burro adopters! Good for domestic donkeys, too!
WILD MUSTANG MULES
Susan Watkins riding Walley (Twin Peaks HMA) and leading
Caldwell the BLM Mule (also Twin Peaks HMA)
Wild Mules do exist. They aren't common, and are produced by only a handful of Herd Areas. The Twin Peaks Herd Management area in Northern California produces the majority of wild-bred, wild-born mules, and occasionally one or two are found in other herd areas. In 2006, two were captured from one of the Oregon areas.
These wild mules were gathered in Oregon.
Lesley Neuman works a mature adult wild mule at a BLM adoption. She reported he was "awesome."
Very few wild mules make successful transitions to
domesticity, and those that fail lead a sad life. Even among wild mule
adopters who are excellent and experienced adopters and trainers, the
success rate is abysmally low.
A mule who has lived for any length of time in the wild is usually so smart, and
their wild self-defense mechanisms to strong, that they are very difficult to gentle and train. Wild Mules are definitely not for the novice adopter! It is the opinion of this author that they ought to be allowed to live out their lives in the wild, since they do not reproduce.
The wrangler in
the background is riding an appaloosa mule. Since this was a BLM adoption, I believe this was a mustang mule. But I don't know for sure.
Left: Susan Watkins riding Walley and Mike Kerson leading Caldwell the BLM
Mule at Napa Mustang Days
Right: Susan riding Walley and leading a well-packed Caldwell over an
Caldwell is one of the rare
exceptions: a wild-caught BLM mule who is successfully gentled and trained,
and able to transition to domestic life. Susan Watkins, his adopter, is a
professional trainer and experienced Extreme Mustang Makeover competitor.
Ginny Freeman with "Tommy" (ThomASS)the BLM mule colt and his mentor-friend, Ashley the burro. Tommy
was one of 5 young mules brought in with the 2006 Twin Peaks gather. Although ThomASS started out seeming as though he might be successful in captivity, he backslid after going to a new owner, and in the end, the Freemans decided he would be best served by going to a permanent sanctuary. he now lives at Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in Tehachapi, CA.
Lesley Neuman's "Blue Mule" Will, also from Twin Peaks
We came across this animal while driving past a dry lake bed in Nevada north of Pyramid Lake and east of Susanville (map says Smoke Creek Desert). I think it looks more like a mule than a burro and was surprised to learn that there are wild mules in CA and NV, especially in the Twin Peaks HMA which could be where we were. Of course, I don't even know that this was a wild creature--but, the area is quite desolate.
Above left: Colby, owned by Sal in Northern California, and at right, Eleanor, owned by the Kerson Family, are full-sibling mules out of an Oregon mustang mare and a large domestic donkey. They were bred by Rhonda Zinkel of Etna California.
Many mule lovers have learned that mules produced from adopted BLM mares and domestic donkeys produce an excellent hardy mule.