In 2001, the Mustang Heritage Foundation was established with a mission of helping to increase the number of successful adoptions of America’s Mustangs that are under the management of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.
From 2001 to 2005, the Foundation worked on selecting a comprehensive and effective Board of Trustees from diverse equine backgrounds. Selected trustees then worked to develop a plan for meeting its mission. The Foundation was incorporated in Nevada, and ran a virtual office for the first four years with an executive director based in Colorado. While the first formative years were spent on developing the governance of the organization, it was in 2005 that a group of trustees and equine industry leaders got together in a strategic work session to map out how the Foundation could reposition the mustang among the most influential audience, horse trainers.
Also in 2005, the trustees presented to BLM officials a plan on how it would gain the necessary traction in promoting Mustang adoptions and ultimately diversify the Foundation funding beyond the grants that came through the BLM and the State of Nevada Commission for the Preservation of Wild Horses, funded by the Heil Trust.
In 2006 the Foundation entered into a continuing Financial Assistance Agreement with the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. The agreement focused on MHF creating and implementing marketing and adoption programs that would support the BLM Adoption Program and increase the number of successful adoptions.
In accordance with the agreement, the Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Makeover, a wild-horse training event that gives horsemen and women 100 days to gentle and train an assigned, untouched Mustang in preparation for an all-around equine competition. At the conclusion of the event, the competing, gentled Mustangs are offered to the public for adoption through competitive bid. The event was designed to show the trainability and versatility of the living legends.
In 2007, the first Extreme Mustang Makeover training event was held in Fort Worth, Texas. A large crowd gathered at the Will Rogers Memorial Center to witness the first-time event showcasing 100 trainers and 100 previously wild Mustangs that had 100 days of training. The event was highly successful and soon became the talk of the horse industry. Today, the Extreme Mustang Makeover has traveled to more than 15 states and has provided thousands of equine enthusiasts the opportunity to witness the talents and capabilities of these amazing equines while creating a demand for the brand.
The following years consisted of a continuation of the original idea as well as the implementation of youth programs, the Trainer Incentive Program, veteran programs, and the monumental Mustang Million that placed over 560 Mustangs into adoptive homes though a single event and attracted over 6,000 people to the freestyle finals. All MHF programs focus on the gentling and adoption of wild horses to encourage successful adoption.
Since that first event in 2007, the Foundation has successfully placed over 7,500 BLM-housed Mustangs into private care, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. More importantly, MHF programs and events have elevated the desirability of the American Mustang within the horse world.
With over 5 Extreme Mustang Makeover events scheduled for 2017, the Foundation has high hopes of placing over 1,200 horses into private care this year alone. If you are interested in training or adopting through one of the Foundation’s programs, or would like to become part of MHF’s official community supporting Mustang adoption, visit www.mustangheritagefoundation.org.