Horse lovers from across the country are gathered at Renegade Equine Ranch near Bend this week for a rare opportunity to learn how to gentle wild mustangs.
The wild horses have been rounded up from the open ranges on the Warm Springs Reservation and are being readied for adoption.
“These horses had the beauty of being raised wild with their family band. Now they are being introduced to their human family and in a kind, gentle way in which they have a voice, they have a choice,” said Cyndi Davis, President, Three Sisters Equine Refuge. “They have the option to reach out. Some of them will move on into adopted homes.”
Most of the 13 mustangs are foals and yearlings; young horses that are more tolerant of people than adult mustangs that have spent their entire lives on the open range.
“Success for me would be to get them from a stage where they go from fear—flight, fright and fight—to understanding that we have something to offer,” said Anna Twinney, Founder of Reach Out to Horses. “Success also means perhaps getting a halter on a horse. A halter on a horse means they’re more likely to get the home they wish to see happen.”
These wild mustangs were rounded up from the Warm Springs Reservation where drought, fire and overgrazing by wild horses is degrading the rangeland to the point there’s not much for wild or domestic animals left to eat.
“We are talking about quarter horse, Lippizaner, saddlebreds, there’s Venezuelan creolos, Turkmens…they go all the way back to Ahwatukee, so there’s incredible diversity with the Warm Springs horses,” said Beth Matanane, Warm Springs Horse Network
A positive to those varied bloodlines is Warm Springs mustangs are strong, smart and have great endurance.
They can be trained for trail riding, dressage, showjumping, and cross country riding.
The Warm Springs yearling mustangs can be adopted for about $700 but they will require additional training and special attention before they bond with a human.
The value of the yearling mustangs greatly increases thanks to the gentling provided by volunteers participating in the Reach Out to Horses training event.
Once adopted, they can be registered as Pacific Northwest American Heritage horses from Warm Springs.