History of MWHR

In 1971 Congress created The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (Public Law 92-195) to compel the “protection, management, and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands”. The act “declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people”.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was assigned to administer this law. One of their duties is to maintain healthy populations of wild horses and burros, and to that end the BLM has developed a program of reducing populations by rounding up wild horses and burros and making them available for adoption by the general public at a bid price starting at $125 per horse. The advent of wild horses into the domestic horse scene precipitated new needs in the private sector including programs to train the wild horses and burros, and specialized programs to rehabilitate those wild horses and burros that have been abandoned, abused or neglected.
Recognizing the need for wild horse training programs, in 2000 MWHR founder David Hesse spent time in the high desert country in California learning to gentle wild horses. When he returned to Georgia he started the Mustang and Wild Horse Training Center in Ball Ground to teach new mustang adopters how to safely gentle their wild horses. Over time, increasing numbers of these adopters realized that there was more involved in the care and training of mustangs than they anticipated. They often left their horses behind when they dropped out of the training program which created a need for a different program to provide safe haven and rehabilitation for these abandoned mustangs. So, the training center was transitioned into a rescue in 2002, and Mustang and Wild Horse Rescue of Georgia was born. Soon after the rescue began accepting abused or neglected horses that were reported to authorities by concerned citizens, and continues to do so today. MWHR is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization that is run entirely by volunteers and funded solely by private donations.
In January 2016, David retired from the day-to-day operation of the rescue to devote more time to travel and writing novels. He appointed Elizabeth Montgomery as Executive Director of the organization. Elizabeth’s passion for horses has spanned over 30 years starting with her first pony when she was 11 years old. Her equine experience includes many years spent working for local barns assisting with the care of client’s horses, as well as caring for her own horses at home, competing in Hunter/Jumper events, and occasionally judging at local horse shows. In addition to her equine experience, Elizabeth has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia and gained extensive business experience with an emphasis on Sales and Management during her 16+ year tenure with a local technology company. Her goal in leading MWHR is to create more public awareness about the plight of America’s wild horses and burros, as well as raise money to help as many mustangs in need as possible find loving forever homes.


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