This week, we hear from the good folks at the Colorado branch of the National Mustang Association. The group has been intensely dedicated to helping the wild horses at Mesa Verde National Park.
Writes the NMACO:
For several years, we have lobbied Mesa Verde National Park to leave its horses wild and manage the population. The Park’s mandate to protect the antiquities and archaeological sites, however, was deemed to be incompatible with wild horses and the Park is finalizing its plan to remove the horses from the Park.
NMACO is collaborating with the Park, Whit Hibbard, editor of Stockmanship Journal and expert in low-stress handling, and horseman Tim McGaffic to make this a pilot project for capturing the horses without helicopter or horseback chases, by using habituation principles, bait trapping, and low-stress livestock gathering techniques. We are hopeful that this will result in better domestication for the horses and successful human-equine connections.
In the interest of finding the best possible outcome for the horses, NMACO has agreed to take possession and title to all of the horses gathered, and to re-home them to adopters or sanctuaries. Toward that end, we will be releasing a select few horses to qualified trainers and transporting the remainder to the Mustang Camp in Milan, New Mexico. Patricia Irick of Mustang Camp has developed an innovative, scientifically-based training program that uses positive reinforcement without punishment, to domesticate, tame and train these horses, who will then be available for adoption.
The horses will be trained to be touched, groomed, haltered, trailer-loaded, and to be ready for saddle training. NMACO will be responsible for costs of the horses while they are held at the Park, for feed and transport costs, and for paying Mustang Camp for their feed, care, and training.
Even if you cannot adopt a horse, you can help by donating to this cause (tax deductible). If you are interested in adopting a Mesa Verde wild horse, stay tuned to the NMACO website and Facebook page for updates as this project unfolds. For more information, see our website here.