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Missoula's Montana Reins of Hope paves the way in healing horses, humans and habitat

Posted at 3:49 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 17:49:37-04

MISSOULA — Did you know that horses are the only animals we can fly? No really. When they gallop all of their hooves are off the ground! We can also fly if we get bucked off. But if you don’t believe it, hear it from the people at Montana Reins of Hope. They provide training for wild mustangs- going from wild to rideable in their one of a kind program.

At the Montana Reins of Hope ranch just outside of Missoula, there are over 15 wild mustangs being trained in these stables, by some of their biggest advocates.

“The longer they're in the wild, the more habituated are to being wild,” said Joe Misner, Wild2Ride program director.

Taking what is wild and turning it mild to rideable. For Montana Reins of Hope, their goal is to protect and train wild mustang horses.

“This is Ava, she's a three year old," Misnder told MTN News on a tour through the stables. "She ran wild for two and a half years of her life.”

Minser is the director of the Wild2Ride Academy at the ranch, and a key player in developing the program that turns these mustangs into rideable horses. The group takes in forest service or Bureau of Land Management wild horses, and gives them a second shot through a 90 day training program, where wild turns to rideable.

To give you an idea of how important this program is, here are some numbers: Just looking at the Bureau of Land Management side of things they have 50,000 horses in holding. Of those 30,000 are in long term holding- never to be adopted. And 20,000 are in short term holding waiting to be adopted.

And in 10 Western States, there are 86,000 wild horses running free. Misner says that is about 30,000 horses over what the land can hold.

“Let's change you by you helping change something else,” Misner told MTN News.

The program puts an emphasis on leadership.

"We train horses based on their leadership," said Misner. "And so we want to teach leadership obviously to the person so that they can portray it to the horse so we find people that come that might be too assertive and we teach them to have empathy and compassion.”

The horses can do just as much healing to their human counterparts.

Michelle Coleman, a Wild2Ride Academy student and her wild mustang, Cherry Blossom, are in the process of training.

“I love here," said Coleman. "Here's my family away from my hometown and all I love here. So it's my dream come true.”

When asked what lessons Coleman has learned from Cherry Blossom, she said, “That everything is possible.”

And that is the main goal of the organization…

“If you can touch a wild horse has never been touched by anybody else and you can ride it and 90 days," said Misner. "What makes you think you can't do anything you wanted to in this world?”

Montana Reins of Hope does sell horses they save and train.

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