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Wild Rose Mustang Advocacy

Protecting the Future of America's Wild Mustangs

First introduced to the continent centuries ago, horses have dramatically shaped history in North America and over time the American Mustang, descended from horses first brought here by the Spanish, has come to represent a great many things to Americans. Freedom, adventure, even the very spirit of the American west, so much so that Congress recognized their importance to Americans everywhere through the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which tasked the Bureau of Land Management with protecting and managing wild horse populations. Since shortly thereafter herds have been allowed to exist safely on wild rangelands, occasionally having portions of their population captured and either offered for adoption to private owners or moved to long term homes off of the range, all males are gelded regardless of their end destination but the wild population still greatly exceeds the capacity of available rangelands to sustainably hold them.

The management of wild horses has been fraught with difficulties, not the least of which is that there are too few private adopters to take in horses captured off of the range. Even less potential adopters possess the resources and experience necessary to train a wary and wild horse into the wonderful companions, or workhorses they are able to be. This need, for a bridge between the range and the ranch, is what gave rise to Wild Rose Mustang Advocacy Group. Founded in 2018 by Ruth Rose and Cayla Stone, the Wild Rose mission is to, “Foster, train, and rehome American Mustangs to showcase their innate talents and versatility.”

Having just picked up another twelve mustangs, recently removed from the popular Sand Wash Basin herd, the Wild Rose team is off to a running start for 2022. Each of these horses, just like their others, will be worked with by Stone, who serves as lead trainer for the non-profit and her assistant trainer, Sera Mendoza, until they are ready to be adopted by a private owner. This process typically takes between four months and a year, although there is no firm timeline.

“Personality-wise some horses might be great as a riding horse, where some might take a long time,” Stone says of the varying temperaments of the horses and how that impacts their pace of training.

The financial burden of caring for these horses during their time with Wild Rose is not insignificant of course adding up to around $12,000 per year for just one horse. In addition to donations and grant funding, a major fundraising effort for the non-profit comes in the form of their Denim and Diamonds dinner and silent auction. At this year’s event they shared updates on their partnerships with researchers and youth trainer programs and the growth of this young organization. Their rapid success is no accident, with a team as dedicated and tireless in their pursuit as Wild Rose’s board, it seems almost inevitable. Ruth Rose, Cofounder and President of the non-profit, remains amazed at what they’ve accomplished regardless.

“It’s relatively uncommon for non-profits that are less than five years old to receive foundational funding,” Rose says of their early success in acquiring funding. 

Rose, a CSU Veterinary Surgical Oncologist, felt called to work on impacting the situation as soon as she learned of it. With Stone, then her riding instructor, beside her the team began working to make an improvement in the lives of as many mustangs as they possibly could. So far they’ve successfully trained and rehomed over twenty wild horses through their program and have many more working towards the same goal. There will be no resting on laurels for these horse lovers however, as they’re actively working to expand their operations to create opportunities for as many horses as possible. As with any endeavor, they’ve learned quite a lot along the way. 

“They can do so many things,” Stone says of the mustangs versatility, “most of them can become whatever you need them to be.” She believes that their hardiness and flexibility can make them an invaluable asset in a multitude of situations.

  When they look to the future of their non-profit, the Wild Rose team wants to expand their ability to care for more animals and partner with other organizations to bring the benefits of working with horses to more people in the region.

“We have lots of big dreams,” Rose says of their plans to expand the operation.

From protecting and preserving an American icon, to spreading the joy they find in building relationships with their horses, and educating the public on their mission: Wild Rose Mustang Advocacy Group is working tirelessly to keep these incredible animals safely incorporated into the American horse tradition.

If you’d like to get involved and volunteer, donate, or even adopt a mustang of your own, you can visit the Wild Rose website at