People were getting to know about Magnum – the beautiful horse that did not want to be near humans.
There were many suggestions about how to manage him – ranging from keeping him in a paddock right near our shed – to getting a round yard – to a small pen with electric tape around it. He was labelled as dominant, strong willed and stubborn……. But most of all he was described as beautiful.
Now Emma had Ducati, I really thought I needed to find a more experienced home for Magnum. In my mind, I didn’t have the knowledge or expertise to deal with him – there were others who knew more and could give him a better life.
At the time, the owner of the local trail riding business, where I had ridden each week, came to look at him. He had seen photos of him and had fallen in love. He had previously had a paint horse like Magnum and was looking for another. He wanted to buy him. He would be his own personal horse – not a trail horse, and would soon get used to the routine there. He would have plenty of horses to spend time with – and the young girls who worked there were doing wonders with new horses that came in.
Emma and I discussed it and agreed this would be the best thing. I had seen the owner’s previous horse and he was very well cared for. So we sold Magnum to him for $300. He said he would bring his horse float to our place and put it in the paddock for a few weeks so Magnum could get used to it. During this time Magnum did get used to it sitting there. I did try to put his feed on the ramp but Magnum would take a mouthful and move away.
I really wondered how they were going to do it! Still in my head I had this mindset that people who had been with horses for a long time would have no trouble – it was because I had no real experience.
So the day came to put Magnum on the float to his new home. I will describe what happened next using pseudonyms for the people involved.
Chris, the owner, arrived with friend Bob. Bob had been handling horses all his life and said it would be easy. They built a small area off the paddock he was in. They were going to load Magnum from there. They would drive him into the pen, then close the gate. Magnum was standing on the far side of the paddock, looking very nervous. Bob walked around behind him and waved his hands to drive him towards the pen. Chris was standing to one side of the pen ready to shut the gate once he was in.
Bob chased Magnum around the paddock for some time. Finally he came over and said he was going to call a few people to help. Soon Max and Toby arrived. Bob told me they had experience in catching wild horses and would get him in the pen. Max threw food out for him and Toby and Bob were able to narrow the space Magnum had to run away. This went on for ages. Magnum was suspicious but did come near him for the food. Each time he did Toby and Bob moved up and narrowed the space. They had some tape so it acted as a barrier between them. Each time Magnum ran in their direction they waved their arms and yelled. In the end , the only direction for him was the small area they had made.
Finally they got Magnum into the pen on the side. It was a long, narrowish pen, with a couple of wattle trees in it. Everyone was exhausted – Magnum was wet with sweat and shaking. Emma ran inside to cry – and I stood helpless wondering what was going to happen next.
By this time, someone had called Neville – who had originally transported Magnum from the sale. They were discussing the possibility of getting Magnum back on the truck – as by then Chris realised Magnum may well break out of his horse float. He had now seen his strength and determination.
At this stage they asked if we could bring Ducati up and tie him to one of the wattle trees in the pen for some security for Magnum. We did this. Ducati was an absolute gem. He stayed so calm as Magnum frantically ran from one side of the pen to the other while they attempted to get a halter on him.
They then decided to head to Neville’s place to check out the truck and see how close a set of yards were. Once Emma and I were alone with Magnum we started to cry. He was exhausted and traumatised. Yet he stood close by us once the men had left. How could I have let this happen?
When they came back they said if they could get a halter on – they could lead him to the yards by keeping Ducati with him. Lead him???
At that point I said “This just isn’t going to work “– and Chris readily agreed. I gave him his money back . They all shook their heads and said they had never seen a horse like that – and admitted they were beaten. To be fair, they were only trying to get him to another place the best way they knew how – but that way had left Magnum, Emma and I traumatised.
I was so shaken, and felt so bad about the whole incident, I said to Magnum “I will never do that to you again. This is your home forever. I promise that.”
And so Magnum went back to his peaceful life grazing – with an even greater distrust of people….. especially men!
Coming up – EARLY DAYS WITH DUCATI
IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS STORY, PLEASE START HERE AT THE BEGINNING – Part 1 – An Introduction