While most adoption news comes with the pitter-patter of little feet, ours is accompanied by the thunderous sound of galloping hooves. In the spring of 2018, we brought home five mustang rescues through the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. We’ve opened our ranch—and our hearts—to these majestic creatures, because we share the BLM’s commitment to protecting and preserving mustangs as living symbols of the West’s pioneering spirit and as beautiful creatures worthy of our care.
Few things embody the wild, independent spirit of the American West quite like the mustang. These hardy animals were first brought to the Americas by the Spanish. The word “mustang” comes from mesteño, meaning running wild. Today, nearly 70,000 wild horses roam public lands. While they are protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act of 1971, the BLM is tasked with protecting public lands and controlling the population through roundups for relocation and adoption. Of course, not many can take in one wild horse, let alone five, but Equestrian Manager Jackie Kecskes hitched up the trailer and drove to Utah, bringing back the first four in March, with the fifth arriving in April.
Tonto, the painted gelding of the bunch, was the first to make it under saddle, and he spent the entire 2018 season leading trail riders, pushing cows and learning to be roped on, dragging logs and crossing creeks. The other four, a gelding and three mares, have inspired visitors to Paws Up through demonstrations and interactive workshops where guests were able to assist in gentling and desensitizing these animals to human interaction.
It’s been an awe-inspiring journey of discovery and transformation as the mustangs have acclimated to their new home. We can’t wait to introduce you to the newest members of our family.