2007 bay BLM Mustang gelding
Type of Rescue: Owner Surrender
Intake Date: 7/28/22
Adoption Date: 6/5/22
Length of Time with SAFE: 11 months
ADOPTED!! by Lyndsay
Nyx was a 14 year-old-bay BLM Mustang gelding when he came to SAFE with a herd mate, Freya. Sadly, their owner was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was struggling to care for them. They both had very overgrown hooves and a month before coming to SAFE a farrier cut their hooves too short. Once at SAFE, we got put them on soft footing to keep them comfortable, and had shoes put on Nyx. He did really well in the horsemanship program and it wasn’t long before Nyx was swooped up by an amazing adopter, Lyndsay.
Nyx’s had his first trail ride with volunteer rider Lexee N! Here’s what she had to say about their experience:
On this Sunny Thursday (4/7/22) Nyx and 4 other SAFE horses went on a trail ride/walk. Nyx has gone on a couple of trail walks before but today was his first time with a rider and he did so well! He was mellow yet alert. Every time the path had an opening he would always turn his head to look down there to see if anything was coming, but he didn’t miss a beat walking forward and just continued on with his head low and supple.
There was a bunny that decided to run into the bush next to us, which scared me so also understandably him, too, however, he just sped up a few steps and returned to normal soon after.
Bikes are also scary. Totally valid. And we got lucky with some really kind bikers who stopped and talked with us so we could walk past safely. And although he had a rubber neck watching the bike as he walked past, he still continued a nice pace once we got around.
Nyx was so content, trails are clearly something he loves but I’m thinking he won’t be able to go alone, at least for now. He enjoyed the presence of the other 4 horses, but hopefully on the next rides we will change up positions so he can either lead or be at the end. Overall I’m so proud of this big guy and was impressed in the confidence of his steps and his head for our first ride. I look forward to more as the weather continues to get better for summer!
Spring is just around the corner, and although some days, when the ground is frosty and the rain won’t stop, it certainly doesn’t feel that way, there are days (becoming less rare) when it feels almost something like June. Here at SAFE, we take full advantage of days like this, as well as easy access to the park trails next door – a match made in heaven.
On a few of these days, we saddled up some horses and took to the trails. The order of go as follows:
Bonnie on Owen, bravely leading the way.
Kaya on Jill, comfortable to lead but just as comfortable to follow.
Lily walking Pepper, happy to be middle of the pack, but not necessarily uncomfortable when her leading friends would occasionally disappear from view.
Lexee walking Nyx, content to bring up the rear.
While there are many routes to take, the tried and true staple is a loop trail that takes the horses through all sorts of unique scenery and obstacles.
We start out on a forested path, evergreen branches swaying overhead, the soft earth of the ground muffling the hoofbeats. Birds chirp and plants rustle as we pass, a snapping twig or crunchy leaf adding to the ambiance, but otherwise, the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. The horses are alert, their ears pricked forward, but no one shies or spooks. We round a corner, and the forest opens up, with a thin trail banked by an expanse of lawn to the left. There’s a playground here, and the shouts and calls of children at play reach our ears before the children themselves come into view. The petting farm is in sight too, and roosters squawk as donkeys bray – quite the cacophony after the relative quiet of the forest. But our horses continue bravely on, not always totally unfazed by what’s going on around them, but able to find comfort in our direction. We may need to pause and let them take it in, having them change eyes on the source of their anxieties to show hey now, nothing to be afraid of, here it is from both sides and how you can move your feet. Once we’re past it, emotionally, we move past it, physically. The forest closes in on us once again, the trail winding around trees and stumps until we reach the first bridge we must cross. This could be quite the obstacle, but our horses cross bravely with little hullabaloo (for a brief moment, Pepper is concerned, but it doesn’t last). From there we go up, and for a time it feels like we are no longer in Redmond, but rather deep in the woods somewhere, far removed from parking lots and roadways. We keep a careful eye for anyone who shares the trail, announcing ourselves as we round bends. When others do pass, we turn to face them as they approach and turn to follow them as they leave, in a way giving chase. The trail opens at a point – where it intersects with the powerline – and we embark on a steep downhill journey towards where it reconnects with the park. In summer, the bushes that line the road will be thick with blackberries that we may or may not feed to ourselves and our horses, but for now they sit as brambles, a promise of what’s to come. Then, back into the park we go, this time coming up the side of our neighbors and then the fenceline that our own property shares. We step over logs as we see SAFE horses from a different perspective – Nova and Rae rush towards the fence once they realize who’s coming, and a small chorus of calls erupts from the herd.
And then, we’re home, with a few more trail miles under our cinches, and dreams of summer when we can go out all the time.
I’ll admit, the title is a bit misleading. But to see new herd-mates Nyx, Montana, and Otto out together, I think it would quickly become apparent to anyone who are the men and who is the baby. A brief description of the herd has –
Nyx starring as the benevolent leader of the pack, a gentle giant not only in appearance but also in mannerisms. His signature display of dominance involves floating a hind leg up in warning, rarely if ever following through with a half-hearted kick that never lands.
Montana cast as a (mostly) stoic member of the band who often spends his time sidled up to the fence line that adjoins the filly’s paddock. He has been known to participate in a romp or two with Otto, but is just as comfortable lounging around with Nyx.
Otto, rising star. It is hard not to look at Otto and not be reminded of your little brother or mischievous younger cousin. Most of the time, Otto would rather run and play than eat breakfast – often he can be found nipping at Nyx’s heels or tail in an attempt to draw his large friend away from the food (it has not worked yet). When Nyx won’t play, Otto tries his luck with Montana, and often is able to rouse a bit more interest from his paint companion.
These three boys were fast friends, and it’s clear that they really enjoy each other’s company. Often, all three can be spotted eating from the same hay net (Nyx and Montana usually work on the net itself, while Otto finds vacuuming up the fallen scraps to be more his speed), and they have been known to take communal naps together on occasion. It is truly a pleasure to watch the three of them, as their personalities mesh so well together despite being so different, and it’s clear that they all have something to learn from each other.
Nyx is a 15-year-old big mustang boy standing at 16.0hh and he’s ready for an intermediate rider! He came to SAFE as a rescue in Washington, but he’s originally from Beatys Butte, Oregon HMA–a herd that is known to have traces of everything from Spanish mustang to draft-type breeds in their gene pools, the latter of which would explain Nyx’s stature and large, kind eye.
No doubt about it, Nyx is a handsome guy, but his size and a fairly crooked left front leg work against him when it comes to getting his weight off his front end. SAFE’s volunteers have focused on groundwork and attention to straightness under saddle, and he’s come a long way in just a few months of our horsemanship program. Nyx has a ton of try and lots of love for his handlers, he will need an intermediate rider with experience helping big horses free up their feet and find their balance.
Nyx has been a very gentle boy for our volunteers to handle, feed, and lead in and out of turnout–and he also plays nice in turnout, especially with a young mustang named Otto, whom Nyx has adopted as his little brother. Nyx is up to date on all medical care and has had regular worming and farrier care since coming into SAFE. He’s located at our Redmond, WA barn.
Fill out an adoption application at: https://www.safehorses.org/adopt/ or email questions to email@example.com
Terry had this to say about Nyx:
I have started to ride Nyx a few times a week. He is making some great changes and does well with a good groundwork session at the beginning of the week and then comfortably ridden. One observation is how crooked he was moving even on the ground. Helping him “stand up” and move straight on a unified circle was almost impossible when we started working him. We had a few good solid groundwork sessions to address this and felt a great amount of change then on the following rides.
He has a fairly crooked left front leg and, while sound for everything we are asking of him, this does cause some extra needed attention to his straightness work. Not to mention, let’s just be honest, Nyx is a huge dude! There is a ton of body weight there that has to learn to get “off the forehand” and distribute weight off the front and on to his hind quarters. He tends to naturally become heavy on his front end which, if left uncorrected, could result in falling. As a result, we are working on everything that can help him distribute this weight more appropriately for riding. This, too, will help with longevity as a sound riding partner. This also has helped his expression while being worked. As he has freed up his feet and felt more balance, he has a softer and more peaceful eye while being worked.
Nyx is a big boy with a ton of try, heart and love for his handlers. He is a good boy but remains best suited for intermediate riders with experience helping keep big horses balanced. He may have taken a bit longer than we had expected to prepare to meet adopters but in the beginning of this year, we are getting very close to looking to introduce him to potential adopters! He is updated on all medical needs (vaccines, worming and dental care). He also has been able to return to going barefoot after he has grown out his hoof from the harsh trim he had before coming to SAFE that left him very tender. He looks great, has no soundness issues and has been a very gentle boy for our volunteers to handle, feed and lead in and out of turnout. Who wouldn’t fall madly in love with those big dreamy eyes?
As expected, we’ve discovered some trouble in Nyx as we’ve started transitioning him back into a riding horse. It appears he may have had some “liberty” type training in his past that has left him with some resentment toward humans. This is evident in working with him and the poor expressions that appear when asked to move freely. Our goals are to help him make a change and find immediate release for better expressions. Nyx also has issues changng eyes, so we are working on different ways to help him gain more comfort seeing things from both sides. Since these exercises are new to him, it is great opportunity for us to build a new foundation for riding. When riding, we are working on getting his braces to come all the way out and not allow him to tighten his neck against the rider. We are able to set him up to have him run himself into the halter so he gives to it rather than a rider pulling on him. We are also working to help him find better balance. When he can distribute more of his weight onto his hind quarters he will feel freedom in his feet and much of his resentment and any feeling of being trapped will go away and result in a peaceful and pleasant expression.
Nyx’s freeze brand, a hallmark of all BLM horses, is not just pure ornamentation. It actually acts as a unique identifier, and grants a bit of a window into his background. It tells us that he was born in 2006, and that he came from a herd in Oregon. Further investigation tells us that he is from the Beatys Butte herd management area, a dry, desert landscape around 65 miles east of Lakeview, Oregon, rather close to the California and Nevada borders. Horses from this herd management area (HMA) are of varying size, ranging from 14–16 hands, and there are traces of everything from Spanish mustang to draft-type breeds in their gene pools, the latter of which would explain Nyx’s stature.
In preparation to be ridden, we have started groundwork with Nyx. He is proving to be everything we could have dreamed of. He’s sweet, soft on the halter, has a good amount of life, responsive, connected to us and VERY gentle. This video is our third day working with him. He was amiable to everything we presented to him and was relaxed about saddling. We will be up and riding him in the next week, continuing his weight loss and fitness. After a month under saddle he will be ready to meet potential adopters!
Two new friends arrived at our farm last week. Freya is a 30+ yr old Morgan type mare and Nyx is a very large BLM Mustang. Sadly their owner was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was struggling to care for them. The two horses had very overgrown hooves and about a month ago, a farrier trimmed them way too short, causing them both a great deal of pain and discomfort. We have them in a paddock with soft footing and they’ve already seen the vet for checkups and floats! They even got a spa day (bath time) and both did great. We had xrays done for Nyx on his two front feet. It looks like he has thin soles after getting trimmed a month ago. Most likely just trimmed too much off, too fast, but luckily no rotation. We are going to give him time to grow his feet out and possibly get him shoes with pads on them. For now, we have him on soft rides on his front feet 24/7 to help ease the pain.
The two horses are very sweet over the fence, but they can be a bit pushy on the ground, so as soon as they’re feeling better, they’ll be starting with our horsemanship program to find out what they know.