While strolling the BLM corrals in 1991, I locked eyes with the weakest of the bunch, complete with hoof print implanted into his slender forehead. He couldn’t have been more than 18 months old and obviously not the most popular in the herd. Of the thirty or so in the pen, he was the only one to cautiously approach me and allow me to rub his head. We adopted him a week later, and he was brought to us.
I let him settle for a few days and gathered my thoughts on what I had done. Since I knew nothing about training horses, and he knew less about humans, in some twisted way, this might work. My naive idea was to place a lawn chair in the middle of the corral and open a book on training Mustangs. Reading aloud, perhaps he would pick up a few pointers from the manual, if he didn’t, it wasn’t lost time. At least I would learn. Within two weeks he was approaching me begging for attention. The ugly duckling was slowly becoming a swan.
Training to carry me was relatively uneventful. As a greenhorn, I learned to saddle him, lead him and walk him. Kahuna never bucked when I garnered the courage to climb on for the first time. He listened carefully as I called out both orders and compliments. This horse took his work seriously, and I couldn’t ask for more. He became as gentle and loving as a puppy.
Patience is not one of my strong suits. My wife calls me a triple “A” personality, intense and mindless when it comes to slowing down. So this was much a test for me, as my horse. I reckon he decided I had passed. Kahuna probably saved me from myself. It’s a trail I never expected to undertake, let alone win. All this from a very special friend.
My grand friend died suddenly April 23, 2013. The grief is overwhelming. I honestly never thought it could cut so deep. Even thinking about wonderful memories hurts so. I don’t believe I ever truly understood the “bonding” process until that day. I lost part of my heart. I love my boy and miss him beyond words.