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This Is Not A Fight. This Is Redemption.

This Is Not A Fight. This Is Redemption.

A recount from the 2016 Kaimanawa Muster

While I am working with my two Kaimanawa stallions from this year's 2018 New Zealand wild horse muster, I thought I would share with you an old post I put on Facebook two years ago when training Rem, a 14.1hh, six-year-old bay stallion from the Kaimanawa Ranges.

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By Amanda Wilson | Monday, 30 April 2018

I am excited to introduce my 2016 Kaimanawa for the New Zealand Stallion Challenge who I have named Redemption.


I was going to name him after a fighter, because he has a lot of attitude, but realized that this year is going to be different with my work with the Kaimanawas. Two years ago when I tamed my first wild horse I wasn't prepared for the challenges I would face and the emotions that came with them. My 2014 journey consisted of a lot of heartbreak, frustration, fear, disappointment and I gained a lot of insecurities in my ability to train wild horses.


Before applying for the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge I wasn't sure whether I wanted to go through it again but having learnt so much from both the Kaimanawas and Mustangs I decided to give it another shot. In simple words, I wanted to redeem myself.


Although challenging, there were plenty of good moments with my horses from the 2014 muster, and I was very proud of how much Nikau and I achieved together. But mostly I felt disappointment because in many ways I felt like I failed. I didn't get the breakthrough with Hoff that I had hoped for and Nikau had to be retired from ridden work due to an old injury to his whither.


I did learn one of the greatest lessons of my life though. Making mistakes is not bad and failing is not failing. From making all the mistakes I made I learnt more than I could ever have imagined. Both horses taught me the most valuable lessons about human beings and animals alike. That no one is intentionally bad and if they do behave badly it is due to pain, physical or mental.



I look back in disappointment but really I should look back in pride. Every mistake I made has shaped me into who I am today. Every mistake has given me the chance to grow as a person and a trainer and because of this, I get the chance to redeem myself. To train this stallion with all the knowledge I learnt from the highs and lows with Hoff and Nikau, as well as my Mustangs who were some of the most amazing horses I've ever worked with - they came into my life when I needed them most.


Yesterday was the first time I worked with Redemption. We put him in the crush where we touch them for the first time. I was standing on the boardwalk beside him filled with dread, and I had to mentally check myself and adjust my thinking. Of the three stallions mine was the one with the most attitude, and I thought to myself, of all the luck and after everything I've been through surely, I was due an easy one.


Once he stood relaxed, I leant over the boardwalk to touch Redemption on the rump and he bolted forward. Another two tries and the same reaction. With Nikau and Hoff, I never had this. I got frustrated pretty quickly after that. Not with him but with myself because I didn't know what to do. Vicki walked up beside me and said 'try touching him on the head.' We generally don't approach the front end first as normally the horses prefer us being out of sight, but willing to try I moved forward and very quietly placed my hand between his ears. He was scared but stood still and after half an hour I managed to slip a halter over his head. When I got back to the house I was apprehensive about going back to work with him the next day.



Today I bought him into the crush and touched him again on the head. After working with him for ten minutes something inside of me shifted. I had a moment with him where I ran my hand down his face and he pressed his nose into my hand and sighed. That's what is so special about these wild horses. In order to succeed in this journey, we must put our trust in them and they must put their trust in us. In that small gesture, I realized how special Redemption is going to become to me. Not only because of what he will teach me but because of what he will give me. I think for a wild animal to give you their trust is an extraordinary thing and certainly something to be proud of.


I didn't name him after a fighter because I didn't want this to be a fight. I named him Redemption because the meaning is so fitting; the action of saving, or being saved from error. For the first time in my journey with the Kaimanawas, everything feels so right - I am excited to see what the rest of the journey brings.'




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