Video by Brian Buss
Mustangs are a symbol of the American West. But while their legacy appears in popular cultural touchstones like Westerns and muscle cars, the actual feral horse population has run rampant on public lands. There are roughly 50,000 mustangs in holding facilities, paid for by public dollars, and that is causing a troublesome scenario.
Colorado State University alumna Cayla Stone is trying to change that.
Stone, who graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences with a concentration in equine science, is the co-founder and head trainer for the nonprofit Wild Rose Mustang Advocacy Group Inc., which works with horse owners and riders to find homes for the over-populated mustangs.
“Right now, with our nonprofit, we’re trying to bridge the gap and get these horses more readily adoptable by just the average person,” says Stone, who also owns CSTraining in Fort Collins, Colorado.
While she had a rich background working with horses in her home state of South Carolina before college, her time at CSU helped prepare her for opening the business.
“I came to CSU with a good amount of horse experience, but I was able to make a ton of connections here,” says Stone. “I’d have to say that the diversity of the [Equine Sciences] program is worth it in itself. You get hands-on experience and riding classes, but you also get business experience. It prepares you for all the things you tackle in the equine industry.”
Since graduating and opening her business, Stone continues to be part of the Ram Family.
“I’m very involved,” says Stone. “I’m still friends with my professors, and I still go to events. And every year I have a ton of student interns. Clients of mine are also CSU grads. It makes me feel part of the community.”