For the last two years we have focused on staying healthy enough to care for the animals in our keeping, and on providing fresh animals for students to train, documenting that training, and developing new educational resources. We limited our plans and worked with very few volunteers.
The National Mustang Association of Colorado (NMA-CO) reached out to us to train horses gathered from Mesa Verde National Park. They have been long-term friends and supporters of Mustang Camp, so our answer to them had to be an unqualified "yes". The Park intends to gather all 70+ horses over the next few years. Mustang Camp has committed to take 20 at a time for as long as there are animals in need. Unfortunately, the Park has not committed to a specific window of time to gather animals and has postponed trapping them for several years, making it impossible to plan.
The NMA-CO is providing some funding for this project; this will allow Mustang Camp to pay trainers on a per-animal basis. Mustang Camp needs to recruit trainers and volunteers early in the project to most efficiently train these gathers, but the lack of definitive dates make it impossible for us to make commitments to prospective trainers. We are stuck until we know more and last year we did not know we weren't getting 17 animals until a few weeks before a single horse was gathered (as in they only gathered one horse in 2021).
The opportunity to be part of this project is incredibly unique. It is a gather of all animals, young and old. The animals have very limited handling prior to arriving at Mustang Camp, but they get to remain in their family bands at least until they are ready for new homes and have learned to trust humans. This is very different than the BLM animals where the family units were shattered in the gathering pens. This project is historic in many ways and it will be documented as such.
To be part of this as a trainer, you must be experienced in our methods of training. We will not be able to provide significant on-the-job training. You can get that training by completing the Basics and Animal Training classes on the MagicMustangTamer.com then coming for a practicum experience.
To be part of this as a volunteer, you will be helping to care for the animals and make the trainer's jobs easier. That will include housekeeping, gardening, and maintenance activities.
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