Wild horses from Mesa Verde National Park arrive at New Mexico animal shelter

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COUNSELOR, N.M. – Last month, a band of wild horses were captured at Mesa Verde National Park. They were roaming around the park, and searching for water.

“Some of these horses had learned to break into the ice machine at the park to get water, and they did find one of them in the bathroom at one time drinking water,” said Patricia Barlow-Irick, executive director of Mustang Camp. 

But this park wasn’t the best spot for an animal that can weigh up to a 1,000 pounds, 

“Mesa Verde has a special mission of protecting its archeological resources and so if you just imagine a piece of pottery under that horse’s foot you’ll kind of get the idea,” Barlow-Irick added.

19 mustangs were rounded up but how these mustangs were rounded up is playing a huge role in their relationship with humans. 

Barlow-Irick said in her 13 years of experience these are the friendliest wild horses she’s come across.

“These horses were trained right from the beginning while they were still wild to trust people there was never any pressure put on these horses that made them afraid of people,” said Barlow-Irick. 

So when they arrived at the Mustang Camp for training, they warmed up right away. 

“Within a few hours we were able to hand feed all these horses and pet some of them even though they were really freshly wild,” Barlow-Irick said. 

Nine days later they are coming up for pets, and letting their personality’s shine.

“The biggest problem with this horse is not getting it to come to you, it’s getting it to go away,” Barlow-Irick said.

Especially if you are using alfalfa to train them.

“By doing it with food rather than doing it with more pressure techniques the horses learn to love to engage with us – so they do stuff for us of their own choice- we tell them what we want them to do and then they do it,” she said. 

Barlow-Irick added that these horses will be ready for adoption close to the end of November.