*As seen in The Logbook
The quintessential embodiment of the American spirit, the wild mustang has, for centuries, symbolised the wild freedom and galloping spirit of the nation. Today, the aptly named Mustang Monument is the only American location that allows guests to interact with wild horses and provides them the enviable opportunity to see these glorious animals in their natural habitat. While also staying onsite in authentic tipis and glamping luxury.
In 2019 Mustang Monument reopened after a period of closure with ten customised tipis, ten ranch-safari styled cottages and thirty five staff members. Open from June to September they offer the chance for visitors to the states to experience the Old Wild West. A time of heroes when wild horses galloped across the plains, kicking up dust as they chased the sun over the horizon.
“Much of human history has been shaped while on the back of horses,” says founder Madeleine Pickens, businesswoman, philanthropist and eco-pioneer, “And nothing is more American than the mustang.”
Covering nine hundred square miles, the eco resort benefits from luxury tipis and luxury cottages and an all-inclusive approach to food and beverages. Every aspect of the location has been tailored to a world class standard with the intention of leaving their guests utterly spellbound.
Combining rustic with comfort, the safari cottages and the spacious tipis feature luxury furniture and amenities such as amazing Victorian style stand-alone bath tubs, indoor plumbing and heating. All within the most authentic prairie wilderness that appears untouched for hundreds of years.
“It was important to preserve the local feel of the location and to make sure that the accommodation and activities worked with it to bring the authenticity to life,” says Madeleine, adding, “By enhancing the wild mustang culture while at the same time, providing guests with the greatest comfort we’ve brought high luxury to the Old West.”
Understanding that most guests seek authentic experiences that can be found on their own terms, these creature comforts and luxurious amenities play an important part. King-size beds, oversized soaking tubs and extreme privacy serve to counterbalance the days spent enjoying the many different activities with nights characterised by hot baths, gourmet meals and superbly comfortable beds.
“Afterall, in every Western the cowboy is never happiest than when he’s sliding into a hot bath,” Madeleine says, “And enjoying a delicious meal with some good company.”
While many of the most popular activities include engaging with the mustangs, the activities are not limited to the wild horses or horseback riding. There are many adventures to be had ranging from day hiking to practising yoga. Dune buggy riding, range shooting, paintballing, archery, rappelling and rock climbing.
Food plays a big part in the Mustang Monument experience and in addition to three meals each day, guests are invited to indulge in the extras, such as a scenic picnic which requires a horseback ride to 9500 feet in the mountains. Cooking lessons are also available, and ingredients are all sourced locally in true farm-to-table fashion. Even the hay is grown onsite.
But Madeleine points out that the most special experience happens in the morning. After breakfast, guests go on a hayride and within the morning light watch the horses start to gather…
“At first there are ten horses,” she says, “Then fifty and then double that and before you know it, you’re surrounded by over six hundred. Which for most guests is over a hundred times more horses than they’ve ever seen before!”
In such a unique setting, with such a special offering the responsibility to maintain the everyday cleaning and upkeep of the rooms and common areas falls to their professional team of housekeepers. They’re the ones who are responsible for making sure that when guests walk into their rooms they are greeted with a perfect accommodation and the promise of a comfortable, indulgent sleep.
“Hospitality all revolves around customer service and guest engagement,” Madeleine says, “Guests need to feel welcomed, respected and valued and we spend time training our staff to do just this. Be it assisting guests with activities, special requests, unique requirements or information.”
A tale as grand as the horizon, the story behind the creation of Mustang Monument is one of courage and heroism. It really started when Madeleine Pickens founded Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation in 2009. This was her reaction to the inconceivable announcement made by the Bureau of Land Management in 2008 that the United States government was considering euthanising or selling over 30,000 wild mustangs to slaughterhouses overseas!
Madeleine, who grew up in Europe and is an internationally recognised business women and well respected equine authority, animal welfare activist and philanthropist, took it upon herself to stop this. Testifying before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands she announced her plans to develop a sanctuary for wild horses in support of H.R. 1018, the Restoring Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act.
“In October 2010, I purchased a property in Northern Nevada spanning over half a million acres and renamed the area Mustang Monument,” she reveals, “And this serves as a wild horse eco-sanctuary, returning thousands of wild horses currently in government-funded holding facilities and pastures to their natural habitat.”
This means that Mustang Monument is not just a luxury destination for those wanting to experience life on a ranch, but it is also a foundation serving an invaluable purpose. Every guest and every visit directly benefits Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation and helps them do more.
“It is an incredible story which I am lucky to be involved in,” she says, “People come here for a vacation expecting luxury beds and beautiful horse rides, but they leave having learnt something about the West and about how close we came to losing these wonderful animals.”
MAKING THAT CONNECTION
Travelling to Africa on a safari is predominantly a “look but don’t touch” experience because those animals require to be left alone. But at Mustang Monument there is the opportunity to feed the mustangs and even ride them. It is a rare chance to connect with an animal that has been an ever present companion to humanity throughout our existence.
“You can see people connecting with the horses,” Madeleine says, “They connect with them and appreciate their story and will leave having been changed by this interaction. They leave realising that the world is a much bigger and beautiful place. That’s how we know we’re succeeding.”
Mustang Monument was closed between 2016 and 2018 and opened again last year to massive popularity. As their first year back, Madeleine says that she and her team are looking forward to what the future has in store.
“We are excited for the 2020 season,” she says, “And hope to develop more awareness of both Mustang Monument’s presence as well as the cause behind Saving America’s Mustangs . And through this keeping these horses not only wild and free but alive in the hearts of all who have the chance to see them.”
$1650-1800 per night, 3 night minimum
ADDRESS: HC60 Box 300 Wells, NV 89835
Fly to Salt Lake City and it’s an easy 2 1/2 hour drive to Mustang Monument.
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 1-888-979-1422
*All adventures, risks, challenges and good times undertaken by our readers are solely their own responsibility. Before choosing please read our Responsible Usage.