Mustang Mentors - Joining Veterans with Wild Horses.
Finding Adoptive Homes for Mustangs while finding Healing for Themselves.
What is the Mustang Mentor program?
The Mustang Mentor Program supports Veterans through providing a wild horse training experience. With the help of the Mustang Heritage Foundation, veterans choose a Bureau of Land Management wild horse, untouched by humans, and transform the horse in approximately 100 days to a gentle, adoptable animal. The veteran experiences the transformation from “wild to mild” within the horse. The previously wild horses are then placed into adoptive homes.
Veterans learn marketable vocational skills and gain on the job training for a future occupation in the equine industry if they choose.
Mustang Mentor Program - Summer 2015
Program Coordinator Andrew Hayes-
Andrew (US Army Veteran) with his wife (US Army Veteran and VA Spinal Cord Primary Care Physician) are currently the owners and managers of the Rocking E bar W Ranch in Troy, Texas which specialized in the breeding, sales and stock lease of registered Texas Longhorn cattle and horse boarding. Relying on his past experience as a bronc and bull rider, 1st Cavalry Senior Demonstration rider ( training for four years at Ft. Hood, Tx) and 12 years of service for the US Army (including 5 combat tours), Andrew draws on his many experiences to manage the day to day needs of the ranch. Having experience as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer training soldiers has helped Andrew as he now provides Ranch Stockmanship lessons, coordinates ranch clinic activities and instructs others in colt starting principles and techniques. A true patriot at heart, Andrew’s focus and interest is the Old West History of the United States and has led to his interest in the Texas Longhorns, American Quarter Horses, Mustangs and ways of preserving the old West traditions for others to experience and honor at his ranch. This has also led to his interest in pursuing possible further support and work with the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
My name is Austin Brown, I grew up in a small town called Chunky, Mississippi. Growing up, my family ranched cattle and had strong military connections. Having a strong military family I decided to join the military. I enlisted in the Army in 2002. I have been on various deployments which include the initial invasion of Iraq. In between deployments and my busy military career I followed a desire of mine to ride bulls. Upon meeting my wife I was introduced to the horse world and the fever of horses was then upon me. I have since begun working with and riding our horses and have developed a passion for learning more about the equine world. I feel as though I would be a strong candidate for the Extreme Mustang Makeover due to the fact that the mustangs are wild animals and have been through traumatic life events. While similarly myself being a combat veteran I have also experienced many trials and tribulations as well as many life changing experiences. I feel as though being able to relate to the mustang I choose to work with it will assist myself as well as the mustang develop a bond that will exhibit it's utmost respect from the mustang and allow my horsemanship to thrive.
He has 20 years on Active Duty and will retire Feb 29, 2016. In his 20 years he has served in numerous state side assignments, with Ft. Hood being his current assignment. He has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. While in Iraq his vehicle was hit by an anti-tank land mine, resulting in him being awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He is married, and has three kids. He is looking forward to this program to help with this PTSD.
I am a survivor of the Fort Hood shooting that took place of 2 April 2014. I was the third person shot in the entire ordeal, my NCOIC and First Line Supervisor being the very first two targets. I was awarded the Soldier’s Medal because I was able to react in time and stared SPC Lopez in the face as he shot me through the door I was closing. I have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of this and I have been working with a behavioral health provider for over a year. I feel I could benefit from this program because it would help me to rebuild my ability to place trust in others. It would also help me with a sense of accomplishment knowing I can bond with an animal and together we can teach each other various things. It can also help to provide a sense of peace and safety which is now hard for me to come by as a result of PTSD.
Mustang Mentors is seeking veterans to participate in the summer training program. Candidates must be physically able to safely handle a horse. Prior horse experience is recommended, but not necessary. Those wishing to participate in Mustang Mentors who have no prior horse experience are encouraged to enroll in the R.O.C.K. Horses for Heroes program.
Please contact Byron Hogan for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-869-3225.
What can you do?
Veterans need opportunities that are active and challenging. They come from a life of active duty and activity is healing. Working with a wild horse is challenging while connecting with an animal in need. Your tax-deductible contribution will help Veterans in the following ways:
Sponsor 10 Veterans and their wild Mustangs for a full quarter (120 days).
Sponsor 5 wild Mustangs for a full quarter (120 days)
Sponsor one Veteran and one Mustang for a full quarter (120 days)
Provide a travel stipend for one Veteran to be reimbursed for travel expenses to and from training sessions.
Sponsor one Veteran and their family for Camp Wildfire, a wild horse learning experience
Mustang Mentors is 100% funded by private donations. Every dollar received goes directly to funding the pick-up, gentling, and training process for each veteran and Mustang.