Marvel the Marvelous Mustang”

Marvel was born in 2019 into a band of wild horses who have roamed the canyons and mesas of Mesa Verde for hundreds of years. Like his sire, he is a rare Perlino, born white with bright blue eyes. By 2021, as a two-year-old stallion, he was driven from his band and, alone, had to try to find food and water.

NMACO’s mission is to preserve and protect wild horses and promote humane management.

As part of that mission, we have been collaborating with Mesa Verde National Park in their project to remove the wild horses from the park so that it can be done as humanely as possible. The park is mandated to remove the horses because they are legislatively prohibited from managing them and these horses are not protected by the wild horse protection laws. To that end, we have developed a non-adversarial, low-stress capture plan to bait and habituate the wild horses so that they could be trapped without fear-based chasing or other trauma. Our theories and capture plan are based in applied scientific behavioral principles, as promoted by Whit Hibbard (online Stockmanship Journal), Tim McGaffic (www.thenaturofnatural.com), and Dr. Patricia Irick of Mustang Camp (www.mustangcamp.org). Tim and Whit were both personally actively involved in developing the plan, designing and helping build the infrastructure, and educating our volunteers. We believe that this innovative, low-stress capture method will be a new protocol for helping wild horses everywhere who may need to be transitioned to domestic lives.
Marvel is the showcase mascot for the success of this project. He was habituated to water and hay in an open pen until eventually an automatic gate was closed with no trauma. Genetic testing has revealed very unusual ancestry, including almost one-quarter Spanish, some Puerto Rican Paso Fino, and Swiss Franches Montagne among others. He was tamed and trained by Dr. Patricia Irick of Mustang Camp (www.mustangcamp.org), and has now been adopted by a local Montezuma county resident! Marvel has been tamed for touching, grooming, hoof trimming, leading, and loading using combined reinforcement techniques, and will need consistency in the 3 next levels to saddle training.

Marvel was exhibited at the Four States Ag Expo in March, and handled all of the activity and excitement with his usual quiet demeanor.
His new owner, Bonnie, has experience with mustangs and is excited to continue his training. He has shown himself to be extremely calm, tractable and interactive with people. Here Bonnie shows Marvel saddled and ponied by her other gelding— what a nice pair! She hopes to train him for competitive trail or ranch equitation and we look forward to following his progress. NMACO is excited about the success of this project, demonstrating that wild horses captured in this manner may not learn to fear humans and be able to lead successful domestic lives. We are assured by Mesa Verde National Park that more horses will be captured this summer and transferred to NMACO. We will need your financial support to give them the same opportunities as Marvel. Please consider donating to this project!
National Mustang Association, Colorado (NMACO)
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 849, Cortez, CO 81321
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