In our very first conversation here at Come Along for the Ride you will hear from Kirsty Hagger of Willowvale Spanish Mustangs who decided that she would be the first ever person, and so far, the only person ever, to import this critically endangered breed to the southern hemisphere. This is not only an incredible story about a woman who brought the first ever Spanish Mustang horses to Australia and is thus far still the only breeder here. It is also a story of transition from traditional dominant methods of horse training, to natural horsemanship, then to a very gentle way of training and being with horses where relationship and choice are paramount. I have 4 horses and when I asked the photographer to come and take photos for the cover of this podcast I thought that Gypsy’s mother, Kiowa would be the cover shot as she is so photogenic. Little did I know that Gypsy had other plans. She brought herself into position for the photo and proceeded to stare straight into the camera and gave us the shot we were after! It seems she had her own plans to get her face and the Spanish mustang breed known. So it seemed only fitting that the first ever podcast would be about this beautiful breed and Kirsty who was the first person to bring them to our shores.

Spanish Mustang Gypsy

Tracy’s horse Kiowa. Gypsy’s mother.

Willowvale Spanish Mustangs Stallion Neosho, Gypsy’s father, with his owner Kirsty Hagger.

Kirsty speaks about her life with horses, the one horse, Woody, that changed everything for her when she was younger and who changed the way she trained all horses. She talks about her Australian Brumby Mare Sienna who made her change her ways even further to have to be so gentle as even looking at her was far too much pressure for this traumatised horse to handle.

Sienna is an Australian Brumby Mare who changed the way Kirsty trained horses forever.

After years of seeing soundness and confirmation problems in many horses here in Australia, Kirsty came across the Spanish Mustang breed. This led her to a lifelong love and obsession with the breed. Kirsty tells us how she travelled across America and how she chose the horses, or rather how they chose her, who have been the foundation of her breeding stud here in Australia. She goes deep into the breed and the type of horse they are, the type of human you have to be to own one and the type of training they need in order to thrive. She also let’s us know the horses that she has up for sale at the moment, just in case you became as enamoured for the breed as I did when I first met them all those years ago.

Willowvale Spanish Mustangs Greyfeather. The etherial one!

I have known Kirsty for many years and I am thrilled to be able to bring you her story. She is one of those people who is part horse, she is so gentle and kind with her horses and on her Facebook page you can read the incredible stories of her journey with the breed, how and why she trains them as she does and the results that she obtains. To find out more about Kirsty you can find her on her website or her Facebook page I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. The episode with Kirsty will be up available for download on Monday 23rd April. You can find us on iTunes, Stitcher and it will be posted here on my website.