What is the Trainer Incentive Program?
The Trainer Incentive Program was started by the Mustang Heritage Foundation as a way to help BLM mustangs find qualified adopters. Not everybody that wants a mustang has the time, experience, or proper facilities to gentle a wild horse. The Mustang Heritage Foundation started the TIP program as a way to increase adoptions.  Trainers pick out horses from the local BLM facility and gentle the horse. The trainer helps to locate an adopter. The adopter pays the same $125 fee as they would if they were adopting a completely wild horse but gets the benefit of the horses training as well as being able to pick the horse up from the trainers facility instead of driving to the BLM holding facility. The trainer is remunerated by the Mustang Heritage Foundation once the horse has been adopted.
What is the Platero Project?
The Platero Project was started by the Humane Society of the United States as a way to help BLM burros find qualified adopters. Not everybody that wants a burro has the time or experience to gentle a wild burro. The Humane Society of the United States started the Platero Project as a way to increase adoptions.  Trainers pick out burros from the local BLM facility and gentle them. The trainer helps to locate an adopter. The adopter pays the same $125 fee as they would if they were adopting a completely wild burrobut gets the benefit of the horses training as well as being able to pick the horse up from the trainers facility instead of driving to the BLM holding facility. The trainer is remunerated by the Humane Society once the Burro has been adopted.
How can I get certified as a TIP trainer?

The Trainer Incentive Program is NOT a certification program. Any TIP trainer that says so has misspoke. The TIP program consists of trainers who have submitted applications and been approved, based on the merits of their application and references, by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to train horses for the program. There are no compulsories or demonstrations of training ability required.

Most horse trainers will qualify and the application process is pretty simple. Remember that training mustangs can be extremely rewarding but is also, at times, a lot more difficult than training a domesticated horse. Mustangs were wild and even those born in a holding facility can be fearful and may rear, buck, bite, strike and kick as a result of that fear. One of the great things about mustangs, however, is that they have no bad habits. They come to the trainer a completely blank slate. For more information on the requirements for the TIP program please read the Rules and Regulations document provided by the Mustang Heritage Foundation.

How do you pick out names?

This one is easy, I go in alphabetical order. I started with TIP horses at B (cause he looked like Biscuit the dog). So if you consider my first horse A Tabasco Fiasco letter A…at any one time you (or I) can figure out how many horses I’ve trained for the TIP program.

About Training Days

I consider a training day any time I actively work on improving the horses response to humans for over 5 min at a time. I do spend some time with the horses just cleaning stalls or stopping in to visit with them for a few minutes each day. Of course any time you spend with a mustang helps with the gentling process I don’t consider these sessions “training”. Starting with horse “I” I will list the # of days of training separately from the number of days I have had the horse.

How Can I Adopt Your Mustang?

The mustangs I have are being gentled as part of a Trainer Incentive Program. The adoption process is very similar to adopting a mustang directly from the BLM corrals, however, I must provide you with a code to write at the top of your application. I do perform a basic screening of the people who are adopting a horse from me. My goal is for a successful adoption, so I need to make sure that you understand that these horses are not old Nellie from down the street that has been there / done that. I need you to understand that even though these horses are gentle, they are not broke. Most importantly, I need to make sure you understand that this horse can still be unpredictable. Other than that, just like the BLM, it is OK with me if this will be your first horse as long as you understand the training requirements.

What if I want to adopt your Mustang but he has not yet met all program requirements.

From the first day these mustangs arrive I am looking for a “Commitment to Adopt”. Someone who is willing to say YES, when this horse is available I DO want it and WILL adopt it. That’s it. No money needs to be exchanged, no deposit placed. Due to previous experiences with potential adopters backing out on their commitment I no longer list horses as adoption pending until the BLM has received and approved the adoption application. Sometimes the adopter needs to wait for me to finish the horse in order to submit their application. Once somebody “commits” to a horse I will stop showing it to other potential adopters as well as stop actively updating ads / soliciting adopters.

Does the horse lead, tie, _______________?

The Trainer Incentive Program requires that the mustangs can be haltered, lead, pick up all four feet and load into a trailer. I showcase mustangs in training as soon as they arrive so depending on the stage of training the mustang has he / she may not have learned all of those behaviors yet, but they will know them before they are adopted.

Can I come see the horses?

We welcome visitors almost any Saturday and Sunday at our location in Littlerock, CA. No appointment necessary but we prefer you call the day before your visit to ensure somebody will be available to meet you. It is OK if you are not interested in adopting a horse right away. We are happy to let you see the horses and learn about mustangs and the various adoption opportunities offered by the BLM and Mustang Heritage Foundation. We can even let you observe short training demos if time permits on most days.

Will you provide additional training such as starting the horse under saddle?

Unfortunately my schedule does not permit me to accept outside horses. I maintain a full-time job and train horses under the TIP program because it is fun for me. Through the TIP program I am able to train these horses as time permits. I am under no obligation to train a certain number of days per week or complete a horse’s training in a certain time frame. I can’t ethically train outside horses because I cannot guarantee they will receive regular work. For potential adopters looking to have additional training for their mustang I highly recommend you check the TIP Trainer list and locate a trainer near you. It is always a good situation when the owner can observe and be involved with their horse’s training. Hiring a local trainer will allow you to do just that!

Locally I recommend Jen Smith Lyon. She operates out of Norco, CA and is an experienced mustang trainer. She has competed in numerous mustang makeover events and is a great choice to get your horse started under saddle! She charges $650/month for full training (board included!). Her contact information is:

Jen Smith Lyon
2425 Valley View Ave Norco, CA 92860
Dustyjeansranch@gmail.com
Www.facebook.com/dustyjeansranch
951-818-0859

What are the steps involved?

Be sure to click on the Adoption Process link in the menu above. We have also created this short video to answer some of the basic questions we get about the mustang adoption process.