Yesterday I grabbed my friend, Steve, and we headed down to check on a mustang. Alladin was part of a 30 horse seizure earlier this year, unfortunately just one of many such cases that Animal Control has been called in on. He was placed with a young lady south of Seattle. Unable to do much with him, she handed him over to a friend, who decided that perhaps she, too, was in over her head.
Alladin is about 4 years old. It turns out he was a rather a friendly sort. According to his owner, he'd supposedly even been ridden at some point before he'd been removed from his former home. But given half the opportunity (and stealing away with the rest) he'd managed to convince everyone around him that he couldn't be handled. He'd let you stand next to him, he'd check to see if you'd brought any treats, and he'd sometimes allow you to touch him. But that was it.
Steve brought his handy lariat along and we set out to catch us a wild horse. Steve is also a volunteer with the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program and is the person who'd kept Sunny earlier this year while we were waiting to process paperwork. Sunny had rubbed her halter off as well...twice...and Steve had roped her in order to get it back on. I figured he'd be useful to have around.
Steve got out his rope and made an attempt at throwing it over the horse's head. Missed. Another toss. Another miss. Alladin's pasture was just too big for someone on foot to get a good shot, especially when that someone doesn't throw ropes for a living. A smaller pen and he'd have had the horse in no time. But with enough room to outrun the lasso, we had a lot of close landings but nothing more. Alladin had been roped before and knew to duck his head just enough to send the rope skimming across the top of his head.
After playing cowboys and wild horses for a good 20 minutes, Alladin decided he needed a break. He ran to his favorite corner to hide; except I was there. That's when the game switched to good cowgirl, bad cowboy. I was the lesser of two evils, so with one eye warily on Steve, the gelding stood and let me scratch his neck for a minute before taking off again. Another 20 minutes of this game and Alladin began to wear out. It didn't matter where he went, he was either dodging ropes from Steve or finding himself standing next to me and my halter. The halter was beginning to look like the easy way out. A couple minutes later and he was allowing me to slip the halter over his nose. We left the halter on him hoping that he wouldn't rub it off and that his owner would now be able to catch him and work on handling him a bit more.