Training A Mustang: It’s A Cinch

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By Tommy Brannon

On April 7, 2017 The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a wild horse and burro adoption event at Arena One in Batesville, Mississippi. (See MSHR article May 2017 issue). Among the horses adopted, one Mustang never left the premises.

Reagan Box, one of the trainers at Arena One, picked up a 13-hand, five-year-old black gelding that she named Cinch. Mustangs can often be a challenge for many trainers, but Reagan said that her gentling and training of Cinch is coming along rather nicely. This is the first full Mustang that she has trained. “He wants to be friends,” she said. “He has made friends with both adults and children. He likes people to pet him.” 

Reagan taught him to pick up all four feet and be brushed. She started riding him about two weeks after his adoption, first starting with Cinch in a round pen and eventually graduating to a big cow pen. She said she used a 15-foot lead rope like a lunge line. “He would flex and look at me, take a step and then walk to me. We did this two or three days, and by the next Sunday I saddled him up. I usually work him about an hour and a half per day, but we have 43 head of horses to be worked here and I can’t ride him every day. Fortunately, he usually picks up right where he left off. It took him about a week to learn to eat gain though. I fed his hay to him on the ground in the round pen and put the grain on top of his hay so that he had to eat some grain when eating his hay.”    

Reagan said that about 3½ weeks after she started with him, which was the third time she rode him, there was a cutting horse show going on at Arena One. Lee Garner, the owner and head trainer there, asked Reagan to ride Cinch into the arena during the show. The announcer let everyone know what was going on and the 5’11” Reagan rode her 13-hand Mustang into the arena, around all of the other horses and back out the alley way. Cinch handled the situation very well, paying attention to Reagan and not getting upset about anything. She said that Cinch will now stand for opening gates, and he has been introduced to cows and is now working with the mechanical cow. He seems to be a quick and willing learner! Her plans are to continue working him on cows and see how he develops. We’ll let you know when he becomes a full-fledged working cow horse!

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