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Project Cirrus

Project Cirrus is Protecting Mustangs in Western Colorado.


Project Cirrus stands as a beacon of hope for the protection of Mustangs, the iconic wild horses of the American West. Operating in Western Colorado, this initiative is dedicated to preventing these magnificent creatures from entering the slaughter pipeline.



The commitment of Project Cirrus is to protect and preserve the Mustangs in Western Colorado. Every Mustang deserves a safe and secure home, away from the threat of kill pens. Since its inception in May 2022, the project has made a significant difference, securing a brighter future for twenty-eight Mustangs. 

         


Sold at a local auction, Cirrus, a Little Book Cliffs mare, found herself in a kill pen in Eaton, Colorado. Rescued by a California-based organization, she fell ill and was fighting for her life. When Grand Valley Horse Rescue was contacted about taking her in, we didn't hesitate. We couldn't bear the thought of another Colorado mustang enduring such hardship.



 Thus, Project Cirrus was born. Our mission is to protect the Mustangs in Western Colorado, ensuring they never have to face the trials that Cirrus did. The project is a collaborative effort of Grand Valley Horse Rescue (GVHR), and George Brauneis’ Eagles and Wild Horses Ranch. These organizations have dedicated their efforts to ensure the well-being of these majestic creatures. Project Cirrus goes beyond the auction houses to ensure the safety of the mustang. During the Western Slope Equine Assist Weekends, co-sponsored with Colorado Horse Rescue Network, GVHR retained all three of the Little Book Cliff mustang mares that were surrendered. Members of the Project Cirrus team monitor Craigslist and other websites that sell Mustangs and assist in finding suitable homes.

 

Last summer, Project Cirrus was contacted regarding a Mustang mare named Angel, who was going through Centennial Livestock Auction in Eastern Colorado. The reason Angel was brought to our attention was because of her documented history of abuse. GVHR partnered with Colorado Horse Rescue Network to purchase her and get her transported to Western Colorado.

 



After eight months with GVHR, Angel will stand quietly while being brushed with the person in the paddock with her, without fear of being abused. Working with an abused horse takes an enormous amount of time and patience, but it also takes skills. GVHR is so blessed to have George Brauneis on the team.

 

Back in 1971, George Brauneis was one of tens of thousands of children who wrote letters to Congress and our President in support of Wild Horse Annie’s efforts to better protect our Wild Horses and Burros. He was in the saddle before he could even walk. He grew up with Taffy, a beautiful palomino mare and Old Ed, a scruffy and loveable Mammoth donkey. The love of horses, donkeys, Mustangs, and burros runs deep.

 

After graduating college, he found his way to Long Beach, California where he worked in aerospace engineering. His fingerprints can be found on the International Space Station, the B2 Bomber, the Global Hawk drone, and the C17 to name a few. But, after September 11th, 2001, he had a change of heart and returned to rural Colorado. He came back full circle to the roots of his youth with horses.

 

George is a master at working with QiGong energy with horses. He has a way of being that mirrors a still lake in his Qi (energy) that helps the horses feel safe and cared for and seen without stressing them out or chasing them around to get them to connect. He calls this “Becoming Catchable To Your Horse.”

 

George is a purely positive trainer who understands the deep energy flow of Qi running through him, the horses, and the burros and all the animals at the Eagles and Wild Horses Ranch. His practice of QiGong led him to discover that Qi is a horse’s natural language and by matching his Qi state with the horses' state amazing results were possible that allows the horse to shift their behavior naturally and with very low stress.

 

George has come to develop his own unique style of “Slow Dancing” with the Mustangs which allows them to trust him based on their choice of being able to connect with him when they are ready. George’s primary concern is the restoration of each horse’s essence which so often becomes shut down at (or by) and the hands of humans. Even though they may have experienced great trauma, they can once again learn to feel safe in their own bodies and trust humans again.

 



  

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is being held at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado, March 15 through 17. The expo will feature over six hundred horses with over thirty-five clinicians performing in seven clinic venues in six arenas. George will be in Pen 2 on Friday at 9:30 AM, Saturday at 4:30 PM and Sunday at 11 AM.


The training of six yearling fillies is set to be an exciting and challenging task for George and his fellow Mustangers. Over the course of three days, they will be working with these young horses, each displaying their own unique colors and characteristics. Five of the fillies hail from Utah, boasting a range of stunning colors including pinto, grey, red roan, bay, and palomino.


The sixth filly is a blue roan from the Piceance - East Douglas HMA in Colorado. It is hoped that George will have the opportunity to personally train this filly, adding an extra layer of anticipation to the event. Following the intense training period, an auction will be held on Sunday at 3:30 PM. This will be a chance for potential buyers to see the fruits of the Mustangers' labor and perhaps take home one of these beautiful horses.


George's Ranch, the Respite, and the Rescue are the three main locations of GVHR. The Respite is a unique place where horses, like Angel that are not yet ready for the busier Rescue location, are kept and cared for. In addition to these locations, GVHR also runs a foster to adopt program, providing another avenue for these horses to find their forever homes. This program allows potential adopters to foster a horse before making the decision to officially adopt. The aim of all of these efforts is to ensure the best possible outcome for each horse under GVHR's care.


The demand for space is overwhelming. Every week, one to two phone calls are received, each asking to surrender a horse or two. Turning away these animals is a heart-wrenching task. The capacity of GVHR, despite its numerous locations, is simply not enough to cater to the needs of our community. The situation calls for a broader solution like purchasing a large property. This would allow the organization to accept more horses, provide them with the care they need and the necessary training to allow them to be safe.



When Blackjack was purchased in February of 2024 from the Delta Livestock Auction as part of Project Cirrus, he went straight to a temporary foster home. Therefore, GVHR will need to find another place for him at the end of March. The need to expand to a larger location is great but at the same time, it is imperative that we have the necessary funds to care for the Project Cirrus horses and future Mustangs to be rescued.

To raise awareness of Project Cirrus and the great work it is accomplishing, GVHR is offering a Project Cirrus T-Shirt with the design created by local artist Melodie Mayre. These stunning shirts can be purchased by clicking the shop button.





GVHR has set up a Project Cirrus membership on our website for those who support the cause of protecting Mustangs in Western Colorado. The Defenders membership is $25 per month, and those who sign up during the month of March will receive a free Project Cirrus T-shirt. Membership information is available by clicking on the button.



GVHR has been planning the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the purchase of property. However, the BLM changed the number of Mustangs being rounded up from the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Herd from 68 to 120-horses causing us to expedite the launch.


Every Little Book Cliff Wild Horse surrendered to GVHR has been adopted out in a few months. They are in high demand because of their temperament and physical prowess. Based on previous auctions, the BLM can easily find homes for 40 to 50 of these Mustangs, but that is way short of the 120-horses being removed. The horses rounded up but not adopted will all be sent be headed to Canon City where they will wait with up to 3,000 other horses for an adopter.



Project Cirrus’ mission will be to adopt a few of the Little Book Cliffs Mustangs that have the least likelihood of being adopted out of Canon City and to ensure that Cirrus’ son, Blazer, and Rango’s daughter are safe. Therefore, GVHR has decided to launch crowdfunding for the expansion now.



“There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” This wise quote by Desmond Tutu perfectly encapsulates the approach GVHR is taking to raise six million dollars. By breaking down the large sum into manageable $60 donations or $20 monthly segments for three months, the task becomes less daunting. Furthermore, if each donor can also find two more individuals willing to contribute, the entire amount could potentially be raised in just twelve weeks. This strategy not only makes the goal seem more achievable, but it also encourages a sense of community and shared responsibility. Each bite, each contribution brings us one step closer to the ultimate goal!


Life is easier with a friend. Crowdfunding works best when a large quantity of people donates a small amount. So GVHR is asking everyone who donates to find two friends to donate with them.


This way, the impact of the donations will be tripled, leading to a significant increase in the total funds raised. The power of community can truly make a difference. By donating together, not only can you contribute to a great cause, but you can also strengthen your bond with your friends, knowing that you've collectively made a positive impact.


Moreover, this approach can also help spread awareness about GVHR and its mission. When you ask your friends to donate, you're also informing them about the cause, potentially leading to even more donations and support.


So, make your donation today and invite two of your friends to do the same. Your collective contribution can make a huge difference.


The goal is to purchase between 150 and 200 agricultural acres with 100 acres used for housing horses and the remainder used to grow hay to feed the horses. This will allow GVHR to consolidate the Ranch, the Respite, and the Rescue to one location.



Merging the Ranch with the Rescue would allow George to teach the kids in the Horsemanship Herd the Slow Dance method of becoming catchable. It is important that society teaches the future generations. Please consider donating to the GVHR expansion so George can share his life work with the next generation.



Most of the members of the Horsemanship Herd at GVHR are too young to have social media accounts, therefore we are asking the community to please assist us in spreading the word about our expansion. There will be shareable links on GVHR’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok accounts.


Donations for the land can be made on GoFundMe under Grand Valley Horse Rescue Expansion



Or at GVHR.org under plans and pricing to become a Buckaroo Builder at $20 per month for three months.



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