MISSOULA — There is something to be said about the special bond between a horse and a human.
That is why at the Montana Reins of Hope Ranch when you put on your cowboy hat and your saddle, there is healing that takes place in more ways than one.
The mission of the ranch is “healing horses, humans and habitat, one stride at a time”.
The Montana Reins of Hope program started two years ago and has since been making strides in protecting land, by providing over 40 acres of wildlife sanctuary.
The ranch is home to wild Mustangs and through the process of teaching humans leadership skills they are able to save these wild animals.
“We work with the YMCA and Flagship after-school programs, we are doing youth leadership programs using the forces to illustrate that leadership," said Montana Reins of Hope Director Melinda Corso.
So why save wild horses? Before we had cars and tractors, we had horses. They might have become a pastime to some people, but Joe says there is always a need for a cowboy.
This relationship almost disappeared until elementary school kids gathered together to save the wild horses.
“They unanimously passed in 1971 Congress, the law that put Bureau of Land Management while horses federal protection," said Montana Reins of Hope Ranch Manager and Wild 2 Ride Academy owner Joe Misner.
Because of these children, there are now laws put in place to protect and save these wild animals.
However, based on an appropriate management level, only a certain amount of horses can be on public land. This leaves about 74,000 horses not allowed to be on that allotted public land.
“So we round them up we put them in holding facilities, and hope that somebody will adopt that horse," said Misner.
And the horses that don’t get adopted?
"So those horses end up doing a long-term holding for the rest of their life never offered to the public. So, our goal here is to showcase these horses to people, and that they are trainable, with the right amount of instruction that can get done.” - Joe Misner
Since the mustangs are wild, they offer people unique skills as people learn how to control their emotions, learn new responsibilities, and learn to take care of something other than themselves.
After training, the horse can then be sold or adopted out - a testament to the ranch's goal of healing horses, humans, and habitat.
You can check out Montana Reins of Hope at their website.