Our Success Stories
Since 1997, NMACO has been dedicated to the support, protection and rescue of wild horses in Southwest Colorado.
Following are some stories of the horses.
Traveler / Spring Creek Basin
Traveler, the beautiful grey stallion in the Spring Creek Basin Herd was a magnificent and iconic representation of the wild horses who roam the west. Photographers and tourists came to the Disappointment Valley hoping to catch a glimpse of this amazing horse, who was known throughout the west. At the time of the last BLM round-up in 2011, BLM officials agreed that Traveler would remain wild and free.
However, Traveler was mistakenly gathered with others and hauled to Canon City to be gelded and put up for adoption. Pati Temple, (NMACO president at the time and now deceased) was determined to rescue Traveler. She lobbied tirelessly for his return to the herd area, and many others joined in to advocate for Traveler’s release.
Ultimately, BLM agreed to return him to the herd area, on condition that he would need to stay in quarantine for several weeks. Pati and her husband David created a small sanctuary for the stallion and kept him safe for the allotted time. As soon as possible, they returned Traveler to his home and mares in Disappointment Valley, where he lived for the remainder of his life.
Traveler was aging in the past few years – it was estimated that he might have been around 30 years old. He disappeared last year not to be seen again. However, maybe we can believe that perhaps Pati and Traveler are now running free together through the Valley they both loved.
Chief and Royal / Jicarilla Forest New Mexico
Local Mustang Rescue and Rehabilitation
It does not take long for a horse lover to drive by neglected horses before they simply have to do something. Such was the case with Chief and Royal. Two NMACO members had watched the thin and mismanaged horses, with no shelter and inadequate food, and learned that they were mustangs gathered from the Jicarilla Forest in New Mexico. NMACO stepped in and purchased the mustangs. They were transported to a member’s ranch until a permanent home could be found, where they were fed, vet checked and cared for with shelter, shade, pasture and gentling work. Happily, a local home was found for the two mustangs, who could thus remain together to be trained for driving. Today, Chief and Royal continue to progress and bring their new owner friendship and joy.
The Wild Horses of McElmo Canyon
During the spring and summer of 2017, a band of seven wild horses made their way into McElmo Canyon to roam and graze among the private ranches. It was a peaceful little family with two foals, four mares and a stallion. While some residents were content to have them visit, others were painfully aware of the danger they were in as they wandered back and forth over the dangerous and curvy McElmo Road.
Before long a mare was struck by a vehicle and killed on the road and a foal was trapped in a fence and killed by a mountain lion. NMACO members successfully lobbied Montezuma County to install warning signs of the horse crossings, and brought hay and water to the horses when they were finally captured in a local pasture. The NMACO team got to work and with the help of both the Ute tribe and volunteers they were able to load and transport the horses and send them to a trainer to be be gentled and trained. Two of the mares and one of their foals went to a sanctuary.
An NMACO member graciously fostered one young horse (Loki) and a mare and foal – all whom found loving homes. NMACO volunteers devoted many hours of time and thousands of dollars to feeding, caring for, gentling, finding and transporting these wild horses.
Tanq was not a happy horse. He was another mustang adopted by unskilled, well-meaning folks who gave him a poor start, and he had changed hands several times by age six. NMACO stepped in and got Tanq to a good trainer.
Tim McGaffic (co-founder of the Nature of Natural horsemanship and NMACO member) took on Tanq as a project and has been able to re-start him in a very kind and humane way, using positive reinforcement. He has been great with finding Tanq’s “issues” and slowly, calmly and patiently retraining his fears into confidence and curiosity. Tim ultimately bought Tanq from NMACO and is continuing to train and have him safe and ready for his next home.
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