Patti Mosbey: A horse with no name
As I looked at a wooden tag with a number 8479 scrawled on it, I stood there and memories flooded across my mind. Unless you’ve had the thrill of holding one of these in your hand you won’t get it. Having adopted our fair share of wild horses I found myself lost in the moment and lingering with the flashback of a time that still holds a piece of my heart.
This tag is a number, assigned to this specific wild horse. He was pushed off the range, torn from his freedom, his dam and his family band. Frightened and scared he found himself crowded into a dark place with other horses and taken miles from the only land he has ever known. He was shuffled through endless corrals, squeezed into a narrow opening where foreign beings hovered over him. He had a terrifying noise at his neck when his hair was removed and then the burning sting as the beings pressed against his neck. He was freeze branded and marked for life. A nylon rope was attached and his number, 8479, then hung on him like a marked criminal. He was labeled a Bureau of Land Management Mustang.
Fortunately 8479 will be one of the lucky ones. After a few months he found his way to a new holding facility where eventually he was acquainted with foreign beings in a much friendlier setting. He began his new life at the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary in Deer Trail, Colorado. Life for this branded mustang was about to take on a whole new meaning.
Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary, GEMS, provides gentling, training and adoption to quality homes for these once wild horses. They have formed a partnership with the BLM, to “storefront” the horses. Accessing the holding facility in Canon City has become more difficult with all the visiting regulations. At GEMS you can get a close up, hands on and look at adoptable animals. The initial gentling is accomplished on the younger horses and saddle training is done on the more mature ones.
Through a vision of her father, Michelle Sander pressed on to see her father’s dream of a wild horse sanctuary come to life. We visited the back acreage where the once wild ones who needed sanctuary can now roam on the wooded hills and run free again. They are free to live out their days in this beautiful serene setting.
GEMS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, and is an innovative model working with BLM and other key organizations for both on range and off range collaboration for healthy herds, lands and homes for mustangs.
It’s a peaceful sanctuary — safe and nurturing. GEMS offers people and animals a place to reconnect with themselves, reconnect with their families and reconnect with the land. Finding this has proven to be a journey in itself. We’ve met some amazing people and learned many lessons. The requirements become more apparent daily for creating a successful sanctuary. In 2012, we found the perfect location in Deer Trail, securing approximately 900 acres of beautiful rolling open meadows, stands of pine trees, ponds and numerous springs, a magnificent place for the wild ones.
Sand Wash horses are a priority with GEMS. Their initial startup was adopting the remaining Sand Wash horses still in holding from the 2008 roundup. Currently GEMS has taken on some of the horses from the West Douglas roundup last fall. Their corrals are full and their training staff is working long hours to accomplish the mission at GEMS.
Stowe is the name of number 8479, and a future in a peaceful home as his training continues and he waits for his forever person to find him here. His tag will soon be removed and he will be known as Stowe, with a bright future.
Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash Basin. Her passion is photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash herd. For more of her photos and adventures find her on Facebook: Sand Wash Adventures. For more info on GEMS: http://greatescapesanctuary.org/sanctuary/Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash Basin. Her passion is photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash herd. For more of her photos and adventures find her on Facebook: Sand Wash Adventures. For more info on GEMS: http://greatescapesanctuary.org/sanctuary/Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash Basin. Her passion is photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash herd. For more of her photos and adventures find her on Facebook: Sand Wash Adventures. For more info on GEMS: http://greatescapesanctuary.org/sanctuary/
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