Yep, Mustangs are really, really good with their feet. Until Jesse reached her grown size, she would "climb through" our buck fence, literally, putting her feet in various places to walk right through the rails. When she got too big to do that (about 14 or so hands), she discovered she was strong enough to "pick up" the fence to get out. We had strung a hot wire around the fence to get her to quit going through, so she found the one little section by the feeder without a wire, put her head under the bottom rail, stiffened her neck and lifted, at the same time continuing to walk forward. The rail would slide down her neck onto her back as she lifted her head higher (lifting the entire fence for 3-4 sections). As she continued walking, the rail would slide along her back and drop off over the tail. Several times the neighbors called to say she was out wandering around and I would walk the fence line looking for a break in the wire or any sign of jump marks (she sails over things on a whim, also). Nothing. One slightly muddy morning I saw tracks that looked like she literally walked through the fence. How? A couple of days later, when I was out cleaning the corral, I noticed the fence 'wiggling' and turned around in time to see it thump off her butt. She looked at me like she wanted me to know how it was done; just stood there then walked over to the gate to be let back in!!! Now this is not a small fence, made up of 12 ft. poles, with posts about 8 ft. apart and 4 ft. high, crossed in and out at the center with about a 3 ft. spread at the posts - a pretty normal mountain cross-buck fence. Imagine its weight and you know how strong these guys are. Oh, and don't let the old horse guys tell you a horse can't go under something lower than its withers. If I tell Jesse to duck, she will splay out her front feet to lower her withers and wiggle forward, lowering her butt to get under just about any hitch rail we've been around. Something she learned crawling through the fence. You have to work really hard to stay ahead of the young ones.
Now, Jesse has always been a Houdini. I had gotten her at five months old and before she was a year, she had proven difficult to keep in any enclosure. A trainer friend told me to teach her tricks. ??? He said that for every 10-15 minutes a day you work with them, they will spend the next 24 hours working the trick out in their head. Sure enough, as long as I spent time with her on a fairly daily basis, she was no longer a problem. However, when we would get extra busy at the Lodge, Jesse would be seen more and more around the neighborhood, sampling their grass. As she got older and bigger, her escape methods became more sophisticated, hence the fence “pick-up” (at about age 5 – 6 yo). I thought she was just ultra smart, however, after going to a clicker training clinic with a friend I learned that clicker training helps them to learn a sort of cognitive-type thinking. It encourages them to ‘think’ and try new methods to get the outcome they want – a treat. Now don’t just think food when you hear the word treat. In true clicker training, a treat can be anything the horse likes; some grass, a goodie, a rest from pressure, etc. I had used clicker training for Jesse and she is a thinker, so in my opinion, I have a pretty smart horse that has been trained better “learning patterns”.
All I can say to Beautiful Mustang and her person is you have a lot of fun and challenges ahead of you. Enjoy every minute.Juanita