Wild horses trained by Veterans in Colorado

Our BLM Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Program staff are getting creative in finding new ways to ensure wild horses have the best chance of being adopted! This month, our Acting State Wild Horse and Burro Manager Lynae Rogers worked BLM Eastern States David Farrar to partner with Lindsey Gabbard of Branded Equine Therapy in Harrison, Arkansas and Veterans Rescue Ranch in Westcliffe, Colorado to tryout a horse training partnership with the BLM.  

Three people stand beside two horses.
Roccay LaRock, Lindsey Gabbard, and Geoff Schram are several of the trainers helping to gentle wild horses. They have many years of experience working with animals.

Nine horses were sent to the Veterans Rescue Ranch to be trained by Veterans over a ten-day period. The wild horses will be halter broken, get used to human interactions, and be a little less wild for their future adopter – which will hopefully open the door to finding them good homes quickly! Training a wild horse can be daunting for many potential adopters, so the ten-day training will make the horses more appealing to some while providing a valuable service to Veterans at the ranch. The Veterans Rescue Ranch focuses on giving Veterans a place of solitude and an opportunity to have therapeutic interactions with domestic animals. After the ten-day training period, the wild horses will be adopted. The training is going so well, one horse has already accepted a job at the Chicago Police Department – seriously! After further training this horse will be used in a mounted patrol unit in Chicago.  

A man stands beside a horse.
Meet Batman! Soon he will used by the Chicago Police Department after undergoing specialized training for mount units.

The program would not be possible without Rebecca Wills and Lindsay Gabbard, coordinators for the training at the ranch, and Mustang Heritage for assisting with funding the training. Both have valuable experience in training wild animals and working with Veterans. Depending on the interest and success from this training boot camp the BLM may look to create a long-term partnership to continue training wild horses.  

A man on a horse rides on a trail through the mountains.
These wild horses are already enjoying some gorgeous trail rides through the Rockies! Soon they will be enjoying time with their new families.

Partnerships and creative planning are exactly what makes our Wild Horse and Burro Program successful in Colorado. Shawn Farnsworth and Wayne Trachea are both members of our Wild Horse and Burro Program who helped Lynae in organizing this partnership and ensured the work on the ground happened to make it successful.  

“I’m looking forward to the potential for a long-term partnership to train wild horses locally,” said Lynae Rogers. “We have a passionate community in Colorado, and we can be successful in supporting healthy horses on healthy rangelands by continuing to find innovative ways to find good homes for horses.” 

We look forward to finding good homes for wild horses and new partnerships to make our programs successful.  

Brittany Sprout, Public Affairs Specialist

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