The Story So Far
Willowvale Spanish Mustangs (formerly Takoda Spanish Mustangs) is located 55kms west of Gympie in a small town called Kilkivan. Our herd of Spanish Mustangs run on a large and rocky paddock paradise system most of the year, ensuring the mares and foals maintain good fitness and hoof health. My name is Kirsty Hagger and I am the proprietor of Willowvale Spanish Mustangs. I have a background in natural horsekeeping and hoof care practices and have studied barefoot trimming in the USA with Jamie Jackson from the AANHCP and also completed a Pete Ramey course over there. I am dedicated to keeping the Spanish Mustangs as healthy as possible and continue to partake in the latest research to ensure the horses and foals are always in top health. A good nutritional start beginning right from conception, ensures the best possible future health and full growth potential for our foals.
I was attracted to the Spanish Mustang breed for many reasons. Imagine a horse so tough in body and mind, they see nothing as an obstacle, a horse that has hooves so strong they can comfortably run barefoot over rocky terrain, a horse that bonds so strongly with their person if treated as a respected partner that they are always waiting at the fence for you to come and interact with them. This breed has all these traits and so many more. I have setup this breeding program with a focus on soundness, extremely strong and balanced conformation and above all else - wonderful temperaments.
I have been extensively researching the Spanish Mustang bloodlines for almost 10 years. Through this research and with some trial and error along the way, I am now proud to be able to be the only breeder in the Southern Hemisphere to offer world class Spanish Mustang foals for purchase to lifelong, dedicated homes.
Our foals are handled from birth and progressed at a speed dictated by them. This ensures that they are very confident and self assured when it comes to their handling and their future with people. They learn from day one that people are nothing to be afraid of due to my close relationship to all the mares. The mares seem to delight in showing me their foals and are content for me to be present at the birth of the foals.
I don't use traditional weaning practices and instead, in the case of the fillies, the mares wean them themselves. Colts and geldings are slowly introduced to our bachelor herd which consists of our extremely gentle stallion Neosho, who does a stellar job at raising colts and teaching them good manners for their future. The geldings are also offered the opportunity to join the bachelor herd or stay with the mare herd. So far they seem to choose to join the bachelors at around 10 months old.
When working with the adult Spanish Mustangs, I use positive and empowering training methods. Horses that choose a working career are bought forward and progressed at a speed dictated by them. Scouts Honour or Lacey as we call her, started showing a strong desire for a working lifestyle. I started her under saddle when she was 5 and we progressed at a pace dictated by her. At 6 years old, she showed clearly that she was ready to go into a full and steady working schedule.
Spanish Mustangs are a slow maturing breed and there are so many exciting things you can do with your horse prior to riding. I don't condone the starting of these horses before 5 years of age. If they are given that initial period to grow and not have to bare weight until their spine has fused, then you stand a good chance of having a strong and sound riding partner for at least 20 years. A little patience in the early years will give you and your horse a much better chance at a long and sound future.
Is a Spanish Mustang the right horse for you?
A Spanish Mustang forms an incredibly strong bond with their person if treated with kindness and compassion. Some Spanish Mustangs can become 1 person horses and will do anything for their person but may object to being handled and ridden by others. If you are a person that is looking for an extremely strong working relationship with your horse then this breed may well be for you. If you are looking for a horse to train up and sell on at a later stage, then a Spanish Mustang isn't the best choice due to the connection they form with their person. If you use harsh training methods then these horses definitely aren't for you. They are an incredibly easy horse to train and work with when you understand them but if ego and fight becomes involved in their training then you will not win against a Spanish Mustang.
The Spanish Mustang likes to see a reason for what is asked of them. They don't tolerate well repetitive training and are incredibly intelligent. Once they have grasped a lesson, then you must be prepared to keep moving forward to something new. They seem to enjoy a working lifestyle and will bond even stronger with their person when they start working. They thrive in many disciplines due to their hardiness, incredible agility for their size and exceptional intelligence. Their immense bravery makes them formidable riding horses on the trail. My mare, Indian Scout, hesitates at nothing and sees nothing as an obstacle when we are out. When she had only had about 10 rides, we rode down a busy street during peak hour, under shop awnings, past dogs barking and children playing, trucks whizzing past and she never faltered for a second. Her sons and daughters are the same in temperament.
An adult Spanish Mustang requires a minimal diet to stay healthy. Lush green pastures are definitely not good for this breed. They are easy keepers and are very economical to keep. They have incredibly tough hooves superior to any breed I have seen before. Their hoof walls are extremely thick and give me a tough job of trimming them. Maintain their diet and lifestyle in the correct way and you will be able to ride your Spanish Mustang barefoot over the very toughest terrain.
So to sum up, if you are looking for a lifetime partnership with your new horse, a horse that just wants to be with you, you use gentle handling methods, would like a horse that will thrive on variety in their training, a horse that is extremely tough with wonderful hooves and an unparalleled, brave and bold temperament, then look no further than a Spanish Mustang. Be warned though, it is very hard to stop at just one!!!