A wild horse is poetry in motion, beautiful and powerful. No one knows that better than Diane Delano, president and founder of Wild Horse Rescue Center in Mims. The center is dedicated to the preservation of America’s wild horses. The horses who live at the facility, mostly mustangs, have been taken from the wild and from there, ended up in neglectful or abusive situations. Caring for a wild horse is different than caring for a tame one, which often leads to mistreatment and neglect.
In the mid 1800’s there were millions of wild mustangs free roaming in the United States. In 1971 a federal law was passed that banned capturing, harming or killing free-roaming horses or burros on public land. The care and management of the wild horse herds on federal land was turned over to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM.) Today about 50,000 wild horses live on private ranches, wildlife refuges, Native American reservations, federal land and in sanctuaries. The BLM gathers wild horses from the public rangelands because of overpopulation.
Diane’s goal is to nurse those abused and neglected horses back to health, then tame and train them so they have a chance at being adopted into a loving home or in some cases, released to sanctuaries where they can live as wild horses. With a gentle touch and years of experience, Diane personally works with all of the horses. As a lifelong animal lover, particularly of horses, she has worked with the BLM as a volunteer in the Adopt a Horse Program and a volunteer compliance officer, before beginning her own nonprofit rescue in 2000.
Since opening the rescue and rehabilitation center, Diane and her team of volunteers complete all the daily chores of caring for an estimated 40 horses and arrange for the care and rehabilitation, even training with specialists and veterinarians. The facility has the proper pens to keep them in safely including six-foot high fencing and 24 by 24 square in size. Up to 25 horses are on a waiting list to be located to the rescue at any given time. Through an international volunteer program, young people from Germany, Sweden and all over Europe who have an interest in caring for horses volunteer their time in exchange for room and board. Trainer Chezz Perlini assists Diane with the troubled horses. Veterinarians regularly care for them as well. The animals are from all over the country including Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Wild Horse Rescue also works with the Abraham Foundation, which seeks to preserve and protect the natural world and all the domestic and wild animals who inhabit it. The Abraham Foundation originates, develops, and finances projects. Through the support of the foundation, the Wild Horse Rescue will now be able to move and expand the facility with additional land to help even more horses. The new facility will include a sanctuary for wild horses who cannot be adopted.
“Sadly some of them will always carry the scars both emotionally and physically,” Diane said. “But at least they would be worry-free and able to run and romp like wild horses do.”
Wild Horse Rescue Center also holds workshops to educate the public about the concerns of these amazing creatures, bringing mustangs to community events and offering mentoring for mustang owners.
While mustangs will forever hold a place in the history books, the Wild Horse Rescue Center works to guarantee their legacy will be honored in future years.
“Horses are no different than humans,” Diane adds. “They want to be safe, happy and with those they love.” To find out more visit WildHorseRescueCenter.org or call (321) 427-1523.