Bookmark and Share




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 2014

Five veterans began the summer program, June 3. Each participant is training and gentling a Mustang gelding in preparation for an adoption to be held at the Mustang Heritage Foundation, Sept. 6, 2014, beginning at 10 a.m.

Martin enlisted into the United States Army in April of 1997.  His career was very diverse as his education had a wide variety.  He enlisted as a Power Generator Mechanic and later changed his M.O.S to Chemical Operations. Due to his M.O.S being of a support element, his assigned units were plentiful.  He has served in Field Artillery Units, Tank Battalions, Forward Support Battalions and Chemical Battalions.  Martin served 4 overseas tours; one of these tours being a combat tour.  The threat for Chemical Warfare was limited in the OIF/OEF Theater, so he sought education outside his daily duties.  Martin volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group; with this came special schools.  He is also a Graduate of the Primary leadership Course, the Basic Non Commissioned Officer Course and the Transportation of Hazardous Materials Course just to name a few.  He has explained that his number one priority was the ‘Accomplishment of the Mission and the Welfare of his Soldiers’.  He retired in 2011 as a Staff Sergeant with 16 years of honorable service.  Martin is now learning to cope with his ailments and actively works with horses as a coping mechanism.  He has a wife of 13 years and two children.

Martin Ghrist

Kota 11614747

3-year-old gelding

gathered from Triple B, NV


Larry joined the Army in November 1993.  He completed Basic Training at Fort Sill, OK. Larry's first duty station was at Fort Sill, OK, with 6th Battalion 27th Field Artillery. While there he was deployed to Kuwait in 1995.  He was then reassigned to A38 Field Artillery Regiment from July 1997 to July 1998.  He was a launcher gunner and was selected to the United Nations Honor Guard. Larry was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2004. Upon returning to Fort Hood TX, he was reassigned to the 30th Field Artillery Regiment as an Instructor on the HIMARS New Equipment Training team until he was reassigned to the 6th Battalion 37th Field Artillery in South Korea in 2006. He was also deployed to Iraq in 2008 for a 15-month deployment.  However, he only made it halfway through the deployment before he was medivaced to Landstuhl, Germany.  He was transferred to Fort Hood for further treatment and in 2010 he was assigned to the Wounded Warriors Unit until retirement in June of 2011.

Larry Howell

Bo 11021361

3-year-old gelding

gathered from Jackies Butte, OR

Heather enlisted into the U.S. Army in 2004 as a 91J, which is a Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Specialist. After AIT, she went straight to Korea for her first duty station. After leaving Korea, Heather was put on a plane for my first deployment hit.  She didn't want to be in the motor pool for a full year, so she volunteered to become a door-gunner in a Blackhawk.  It was hard work and fast paced. She was medically retired in March 2013.

Heather Kurtz

Ariat 09021035

5-year-old gelding

gathered from Murderers Creek, OR

Laura is a native of West Jefferson, North Carolina, where her mother and father currently live. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a minor in Military Science.  She received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army (Aviation branch) in May 2003.  After completion of Apache Longbow helicopter flight school in Alabama, she was stationed in South Korea for a year, then on to Fort Hood, Texas, in 2005.  Laura held numerous leadership positions in various units, and was deployed twice to Iraq in support of OIF 06-08 and OIF 09-10.  In November 2010, she transitioned from active duty to the Army Reserves until November 2013, being honorably discharged as a Captain.  Laura currently lives in Copperas Cove, Texas, where she teaches math at Copperas Cove High School and attend Killeen Bible Church. She is also an active volunteer at R.O.C.K. in Georgetown, Texas.

Laura Parunak

Rosco 11727181

3-year-old gelding

gathered from Onaqui Mountain, UT


Kaylea served 3 1/2 years for the U.S. Army before being medically discharged. She was a combat medic and did go outside the wire during her service.  She treated people injured from "the enemy".  Her life was affected most by the military not by these things but by 3 counts of MST that happened while deployed by U.S. soldiers.  Serving in the Army has made Kaylea proud.   She believes the way the system works to protect people and help people asking for assistance is flawed.

Kaylea Wilson


3-year-old gelding

gathered from Sand Springs, OR



These geldings will be available for adoption Saturday, September 6th, during the Meet A Mustang event held at the MHF facility in Granger, Texas. Call 512-869-3225 or email to learn more about this adoption opportunity!

What’s next?

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, 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.

Please contact for more information about supporting this program or adopting a gentled Mustang.

Donate to this program

(Please add Mustang Mentors to the comments section. Thank you!)




Western Horseman Wild Horse & Burro Program Pfizer Animal Health Smith Brothers Vetericyn Martin Saddlery Equestrian Singles ACTHA Wheaties Fuel