A few times over the years I have written about the Wild Horse champions out in Nevada who work tirelessly to rescue local family bands, retrieve hurt foals, make homes for feedlot estray mustangs, erect fencing over a weekend to house a needy group of newly rescued horses… you name it, these folks have done it or are thinking of doing it to help the Mustangs…

Remember Diamond, the filly who was dragged with baling twine?

Remember Iron Man who was found standing next to his dead mother?

Remember how the people of Stagecoach saved Bandit’s Band and how the town of Carson City came together to save the Virginia Range 33?

All the same group.

Do you remember Iron Man who was rescued after standing by his deceased mother for 36 hours?

Do you remember Iron Man who was rescued after standing by his deceased mother for 36 hours?

Do you remember Diamond, the filly who was dragged back into the catch pen with baling twine?

Do you remember Diamond, the filly who was dragged back into the catch pen with baling twine?

Do you remember the town coming together to erect fencing to house the Virginia Range 33?

Do you remember the town coming together to erect fencing to house the Virginia Range 33?

How do they continue to save the Wild Horses when their facilities are filled to capacity?

Well, this group of thinking do-gooders needed to come up with a solutions to find sanctuaries for their charges (over 500 now) and to make room for the constant onslaught of Mustangs being gathered and held.

The obvious answer was to adopt them out.

But, we all now know that training a wild horse is not the same as training a domestic horse.  Adopting out wild horses hasn’t been all that successful.


Another foal, rescued in the middle of the night by these kind people...

Another foal, rescued in the middle of the night by these kind people…


Well, why not hire one of the very best mustang trainers who has extreme experience training mustangs – day in and day out – for years, successfully!  Literally, that is all he has done. For years.  Train Mustangs.  Make them good citizens.  Make them totally adoptable.  Save them from the jail-like mustang holding cells of Nevada.

And luckily, that very special trainer needs a job…

Yup.  The plan is to hire the breakout star from the Carson City Prisoner Trained Mustang Program… Fred Winkler.

This is Fred.  The horses just like him...

This is Fred. The horses just like him…

Fred bareback

This is Fred when he was still in the Prison Program.

bringing back the cattle

Again, Fred training the mustangs on cows when he was in the Prison Program.

This is Fred atop one of the many mustangs he's trained.

Successfully trained, adult mustangs…


Yes, sure… there is risk.

But really, this is such a win-win… Fred isn’t expensive, he loves what he does and he needs a fresh start and he’s doing it anyway!  Why not make it formal and give him that exact job… with housing on the premises with a venue to do his work and his mentor and support system at his fingertips.

Eight horses a month could be adopted out with proper marketing – which is already in place.

You can’t win without trying.  Fred wants this as bad as the people from this group want to help him and help the mustangs.

And, who else is willing to work really hard with wild horses for not a lot of money – but just for the respect and personal boost of a community behind him?

Yes, a risk… that could pay off hugely for the Mustangs.

What have they got to lose?

Really.  Think about it…

Here is one of the mustangs ready to go into training to be adopted out.

Here is one of the mustangs ready to go into training to be adopted out.

cinnamon and willis-1

This is cinnamon, another one who will be the first to be trained in this new program.


To top it off, there is a donor who will match whatever money we raise.  So, the goal is a 6 month program… Total cost, around $6000.  If we can raise $3000, the donor will match it.  If we raise more, same same.

A win-win.

A win-win.  This is one former group of previously wild mustangs who were trained.  Fred was the breakout star of this program.


If this program is successful, it will receive long term support and hopefully become an training model and institution for the Mustang.  A way to facilitate the best freedom possible for captive horses – and a once captive man.

This is Fred on a wild horse - taken just today... working in the arena created to train the wild ones.

This pic was taken of Fred this morning on a wild horse in the arena with other volunteers who created this arena to train the wild ones.


Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) will be the coordinator in cooperation with the Let ‘Em Run Foundation, the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, Return to Freedom as well as other regional wild horse / rescue nonprofits who wish to collaborate – and you.

Let’s give this guy, this community and these very deserving horses a chance… Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that they both can be healed together.

Let’s do this thing and perhaps start a new wave of opportunities for both horse and man.

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Thanks for giving the trainable a chance...

Thanks for giving the trainable a chance…

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

6 comments have been posted...

  1. MET

    I don’t know that I agree. I think the point is that helping any creature (human or non-human) counts. The starfish story is actually very Zen.

    Not many of us are powerful enough to effect huge change, a la Gandhi or MLK. As an example, I adopted one rescued horse five years ago (coincidentally named Fred, so of course I had to donate to this cause). With the money I’ve spent on board and medical care, I could have helped save many going to slaughter. But I’m not going to apologize for giving this one old guy a great end to his life after some pretty terrible years. When he’s gone, then I can try to help save others that I don’t adopt.

    But then I’m a glass half-full kind of gal. And try to fight cynicism in my personal life.

  2. Barbara

    And therein is my point! The story of the starfish has become a myopic excuse for stoking our own internal feel-good fires.

    Concentrate on the singular and the small and that is what is returned to us.

    If we truly believe the starfish story and that we cannot do the big things because we are not big enough or knowledgeable enough, then the horses plight will be a burden they and us will carry for a very long time.

    We can put all the starfish back into the sea! Its time we stood up and said so.

  3. MET

    This reminds me of the story of the starfish. For those of you who don’t know it:

    The Starfish Story
    A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.
    “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.
    “Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”
    “But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”
    The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

  4. dawndi Post author

    Barbara: I hear you… I think we do EVERYTHING we can to help. I am not big enough or knowledgeable enough to find lobbyists, but I do what I can. This program will help some mustangs – and for those mustangs, it is a very good thing. I do know that the groups mentioned are doing well in Nevada, which is a start. I will promote any good cause for the mustangs – always.

  5. Barbara

    By all means help Fred and in doing so help some horses. But the rest…its a pipe dream. We will never have enough adoptive homes or sanctuaries to handle the number of horses displaced.

    We need to start taking the long-view and put our money where it will do the most good, into more litigation and intensive lobbying ( by professionals).

    The rest of this makes us all feel good but its not effective, has been tried before and is shielding us from what these programs are really doing; keeping us from admitting we have given up keeping them in their natural habitat.

    Right now we have NO money going to the long-view. So we will help Fred and some horses and just keep running in place.

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