Sponsor Bender: A Wild Gelding That Needed a Little TLC


In the summer of 2010, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rounded up and removed 174 wild horses that had migrated off protected public lands in the Pilot Valley and Toano Herd Management Areas in Nevada. As a result, the horses lost their legal protection under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and were put up for sale at a livestock auction in Fallon, Nevada. Bidding for over five hours against kill buyers from Canada, Ellie purchased every horse at the auction to save them from going to slaughter. 

There were 18 mares with foals by their sides, two orphan foals, 76 stallions and 59 other mares, many who had lost their foals in the roundup. These are the original horses that inspired Ellie and Chris to purchase the ranch and create MCR as a place to keep them. We have adopted out almost half of these horses. They are primarily light duns, and some grullas, with a few dark bays sprinkled in.

One of the horses rescued was Bender, named after his quirky ear that bends to the left.

In April, we found Bender with his leg tangled in wire. Even though he’s a wild horse, he stood still while we untangled his leg and loaded easily into a stock trailer so that we could bring him in for care. He was treated with oral antibiotics and pain medication until there was no risk of infection. In July we were able to turn him back out onto the sanctuary and his family was waiting for him.

At the Ranch, Bender runs with a herd of 19 horses which we call “Annie’s Group”. The lead mare Annie is a very large dapple brown BLM mustang. The band is made up of a hodgepodge of horses from different areas across the West - Pilot Valley, Ft. McDermitt Reservation, and depending on the day, members of the Deer Run herd can be seen with them.