Every Friday, HN teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, we salute a New Mexico mustang sanctuary on a mission.
This week’s honoree:
Love Road is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization as of February 2011, dedicating itself to the simple yet vast mission “to reduce the number of wild horses in BLM short-term holding facilities.” Love Road seeks to achieve this mission by providing sanctuary for up to 300 mustangs, increasing adoptions of wild horses from short-term holding and educating and engaging the public about America’s wild horses. Jaye Pratt, founder and executive director of Love Road Wild Horse Sanctuary and Adoption Center, kindly took time to answer our questions about how Love Road plans to achieve these goals.
Describe the process so far of finding the perfect home for Love Road.
We’re currently in the fundraising stages to purchase the Rimrock Rose Ranch, which is absolutely the perfect location for Love Road: it’s just an hour and a half from Santa Fe, New Mexico and is adjacent to the 16,000-acre Sabinoso Wilderness. The ranch property itself is over 11,000 acres and includes a wide, lush canyon with 92 springs — plenty of water.
We spent two years just looking at properties: we needed land that would sustain horses, so finding water was critical. Some sanctuaries do great work but the horses essentially live on a dry lot on hay, which can cost up to $20,000 per month. Our goal is to build a sustainable program, both for the horses and for funding, and we’ve been researching how best to build this program for the very long term.
(Click each photo to bring up a larger view of the Rimrock Rose Ranch.)
Can you elaborate on your sustainability plan?
The sanctuary will generate revenue through tours, our proposed North American Wild Horse museum and visitors center, and our educational programs. There are miles of horseback riding and hiking trails on the ranch, as well as in the Sabinoso Wilderness, but we’ll also have four-wheel-drive routes for those unable to walk or ride. Through rotational grazing, the property itself can sustain up to 250 mustangs while remaining in balance with the existing wildlife and vegetation.
The revenue generated through the sanctuary will support the bigger goal of Love Road, and that is to run an aggressive wild horse adoption program. We plan to have a large staff of TIP trainers [the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Trainer Incentive Program] to start other mustangs from short-term holding, giving them 90 to 120 days of training before making them available for adoption. Love Road’s goal is to find stable, knowledgeable adopters for 400 to 500 animals a year. We have plans for a bunkhouse, so interested adoptees can come and stay for extended periods of time, either to work with a trainer and their adopted horse, or even to start their own under a trainer’s guidance!
Housing 250 mustangs for life in the sanctuary won’t make much of a difference in the BLM’s mustang population … but finding adoptive homes for 400 to 500 mustangs from the short-term holding pens, per year, will make a huge difference.
Where will the sanctuary’s mustangs come from? Will those be animals from the holding corrals?
If we were to take a bunch of two- or three-year-olds from the holding corrals and turn them loose, visitors wouldn’t see a lot of natural herd dynamics. The sanctuary horses will be natural family bands, rehomed from a roundup and bypassing the adoption process. We have a very good relationship with the BLM, so we should be able to take on an intact family group that way. The sanctuary will not be breeding; all stallions will be gelded. But this way, the natural herd dynamics can be observed by visitors and horses will live in a natural, free-roaming habitat for the rest of their lives.
How you can help: Love Road is currently running a crowd-funding campaign for individuals to donate any amount towards the purchase of Rimrock Rose Ranch. In addition, Love Road is operating a major donor campaign.
Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected] Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.