Laguna Beach family adopts a real wild mustang this Saturday – it’s the ASPCA’s National Help a Horse Day

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

EARTHEART, an organization committed to fostering programs that sustain the natural environment, together with Wilderness Ranch, will be hosting an event on April 26 to save the wild mustangs of the west. That is the day the ASPCA has designated National Help a Horse Day.

The intention of the event, and their “Wild Horse Solution” is to educate and raise funds to rehabilitate the more than 50,000 wild mustangs that are currently confined in holding facilities. The Bureau of Land Management has been tasked with removing these animals to keep western ecosystems intact.  But where can they go?

The Wild Horse Solution has demonstrated that wild horses, once gentled and trained, make reliable mounts, and are used for both competitive and recreational riding. In the short term, adoption is one answer to reducing the number of wild horses in holding facilities.

Laguna Beach residents John and Taryn Bernard became aware of this program, and felt impassioned to help, as they each had grown up around horses. Their four children love horses too, but especially their 11 year-old daughter, Lola. They will be adopting a wild mustang on Saturday that Lola has named “Ripley”.

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Submitted photo

Lola Bernard gives a loving pat on the nose to Ripley, the adopted wild mustang 

“Lola’s obsessed with riding horses,” said Taryn. “But we all lead busy lives, so we welcome the opportunity to go riding, and get away from it all up in the hills.” 

Ripley will begin training this week, going from “totally wild”, to “totally ride-able”. The training takes about 90 days. Lola will be documented as she bonds with Ripley, for the educational program at Wild Horse Solution. After the 3-4 months of training she can get on the back of her “little buddy”.

We look forward to following up on the story of the Bernard’s, and life with Ripley.

Saturday’s event at the Wilderness Ranch will feature the Bernard’s adoption of Ripley, mustang demonstrations, local artisans, live music, food and drinks – and fun for the whole family, from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. For more information and directions contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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