May 22, 2012
Tracy and Blaine Scott know what it means to devote your life to saving wild Mustangs. In 2010, the couple established Steadfast Steeds, a 501(c)(3) non-profit Mustang sanctuary for showcasing America’s wild horses in a publicly accessible environment. Guests and clients who visit the facility receive interactive experiences and learn new skills that impact their lives and bring a new awareness of the legacy of Mustangs as a living national treasure. This worthwhile endeavor now occupies most of the couple’s time in one way or another.
Born with the horse gene, Tracy says she has loved and been connected to horses all her life. With 47,000 Mustangs currently in BLM holding pens without their families, freedom or natural way of life – and each costing taxpayers as much as $6/day – she felt something had to be done. As a certified Equine Facilitated Learning Coach and Instructor, her passion for Mustangs is now intertwined with the people who can help and be helped by interaction with the energy of these amazing animals. If the experience touches someone’s heart, it can change him or her forever, and that is the goal of Steadfast Steeds.
“Mustangs are different,” Tracy says, “in the way they interact. In the wild, they respond to the authority of the lead mare, who is responsible for teaching youngsters the rules and regulations of the herd, the intent of which is to keep everyone safe. A person has to approach them with that in mind.” She goes on to say, “Mustangs’ feet are different too, as well as their metabolism.” The hoof of a Mustang has a thicker wall and a harder sole to stand up to traveling rough terrain. (The horses sometimes must travel 20 miles just to find water!) As for their metabolism, most have had to subsist on sparse vegetation all their lives, eating what they can find here and there. When captured and introduced to domesticity, there is a tendency to overfeed them, which messes with their digestive system, so adoptees have to be careful. She goes on to explain that horses, with their eyes on the sides of their heads, are prey animals, while humans, with eyes in the front, are predators. Tracy believes the fact that the animals can overcome their natural fear of us and allow us, a predator, to sit on their backs is extraordinary. It speaks volumes on what trainer Monty Roberts calls “the horse’s sweet and willing nature.”
There are now seven formerly wild Mustangs enjoying life on the couple’s 42 acres on Glade Park above Grand Junction, Colo., where they have the freedom to run and play and interact with their herd mates as they would in a natural setting. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t handled occasionally and schooled in the ways of the world. Tracy conducts “DiscoverRing with Horses” workshops where she utilized the socialized Mustangs and teaches clients to develop “horse consciousness.” It’s a win-win situation for both horse and human.
“You can’t be successful with horses unless you are fully present and authentic, with congruent energy,” she explains. In other words, your own personal energy must not be scattered, or the horse will go away from you and not be responsive. These perceptive creatures are sensitive teachers for the distinctive work of equine experiential learning. As prey animals, their instinct of “flight” is an instant non-judgmental feedback mechanism for humans. Horses, especially wild horses, sense and respond to thoughts, emotions and intentions that are expressed subconsciously via body language and vibrational energy. Upon noticing the horse’s response to the participant’s directions, each individual discovers how to manage fears and their emotions, communicate more effectively, and become more congruent and authentic with their actions.
Through observation of wild herd dynamics and individual interaction with socialized Mustang horses, participants learn a new way of relating with others. A remarkable boost of confidence is obtained from connecting with and directing a 1,000-pound animal while standing on the ground. Several types of seminar formats integrate relationship skills, community building, and communication skills.
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While Tracy works with clients and horses, husband and professional photographer Blaine captures the Mustangs in all their exquisite beauty, running wild and free across the property, or in poignant close-ups of individuals. Prints of his work are available at the ranch as posters, framed photos and note cards, with all proceeds funding the upkeep of the horses. Blaine also teaches Mustang photography sessions at the ranch.