Team changing perspectives on wild horse populations | KOB 4

Team changing perspectives on wild horse populations

Meg Hilling
November 21, 2017 07:19 PM

BLANCO, N.M.  -- As wild horse populations continue to climb in the Southwest and surrounding regions, one wild horse team is working to help change how these horses are viewed.


“You change the way to look at them. Rather than being disposal problems, if you see them as resources,” Mustang Camp’s Patricia Barlow-Irick said. “They already have an inherent value to the American public, because Americans really love their wild horses.”

Taking in wild horses from all over, the team at Mustang Camp work to tame the horse so they can then be put up for adoption. The camp uses positive reinforcement with treats to make this happen. By doing so they are able to counter suggestions like slaughterhouses and exportation as solutions to overpopulation.

“So at the end of our process, we can catch them, halter them, lead them, brush them, tie them up, put them in a horse trailer,” Barlow-Irick said.

According to Barlow-Irick, what many people don't know about these animals is that once they are used to human interaction, they can turn out to be some of the most loyal animals you will ever encounter. 

“These horses are really smart. They have figured out to live,” she said. “They have to make decisions on their own. They have to do a lot for themselves.”

So far, Mustang Camp is placed around 500 wild horses in homes.

“We are in the middle of nowhere. So if we can get 500 horses adopted from here, they should be able to do a better job in other places.”

According to Barlow-Irick, most of the wild horses in the New Mexico are on the Navajo Nation. There are currently 17 wild horses at Mustang Camp.


Meg Hilling

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