Horse whisperer breaks wild mustangs

26794008_0gp8.png, Russell Biven

25246741_55k2The wild mustang saddles a mystique that few American animals carry. Its muscular body and relentless spirit have been used by millions of United States soldiers in war, and it continues to roam the western plains today.

But while its population grows, the land around it does not.

Mike Branch of Grainger County has been hired by the Federal Bureau of Land Management to help.

“There are roughly 35,000 in captivity that need good homes,” says the expert horseman.

Branch gentles several dozen mustangs each year. Then, he tries to get them adopted, but it’s the way he does it that’s brought him worldwide attention.

He’s one of an elite group of horse whisperers, much like the character played by Robert Redford in the movie by that name.

“You have to develop a relationship so that the horse is willing to trust you with its life,” says Branch, who does countless demonstrations at horse shows across the country.

Members of the royal family even invited Branch to England a few years ago to teach his techniques.

“As far as the horse world goes, this is why I’m here,” says Branch.

Now, he might have his toughest challenge yet, teaching 10News anchor Russell Biven to break and ride a wild mustang using his techniques.

“Well,” jokes Branch, “if he gets bucked off it should help ratings.”

To learn more about Branch’s efforts to help the mustang, go to



AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Mike and the TV program need to get some facts.

    April 30, 2013
  • Please comment. I am trhe only one who has so far. That program is full of misinformation.

    April 30, 2013
  • Sue

    The biggest mistake I see is both in the wording and spoken: “But while its population grows, the land around it does not.”

    Well, thanks to the BLM, the population is NOT growing, both due to round ups and birth control.

    Personally, I’d rather have Buck B. or Monty “gentle” my mustang.

    April 30, 2013
  • Arlene

    Misinformation distorted facts, If this man is a true Horse whisperer, why is he so misinformed????? To be a true Horse Whisperer , you must first understand and Love the Horse , to understand him on any level you would want to defend this Beauty that has allowed you be with him…… To me this man is directly insulting the Horses……To earn their trust then deceive him , represents someone with no character !!!!!!!! !!!!!!! and in essence is nothing but a cruel deceitful person……… Who can no more Whisper to Horse,then tell the real truth, only lie to him. Shame on your misrepresentation !!!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2013
  • Jeannie Baggett

    Mike is not the bad guy here…if it wasn’t for people like Mike getting these horses onto farms and ranches, the alternative is much more grave. They are not re-released once they are captive and most of the yearlings that Mike gets have been born in captivity at a prison/blm holding facility in Canon City Colorado. I adopted a yearling from mike a couple years ago when a much larger shipment than expected came in. He only has so much room so I along with a couple friends adopted some yearlings that were untouched. It was very rewarding to be the first person to halter and make meaningful contact with this animal. He is the friendliest horse I own and one of the quickest learners. He was so different to train as there was no need to do any untraining…he was a perfectly clean slate with nothing but pure and instinctual intentions. He has never known a cruel hand and when old enough to ride I literally was able to throw a saddle on his back and get on…he had absolute trust in me by that point. If getting these horses gentled and started under saddle so they can find a “job” instead of living indefinitely in overcrowded facilities or being sold to the highest bidder for meat is wrong… then I guess I would choose to be wrong.

    April 30, 2013
  • Again please leave comments at the article site to correct their misinformation. I am the only one who has commented so far. I posted some facts only, nothing against Mike.

    April 30, 2013
  • Daryl

    Tha land may not grow, but where the horses are removed cattle are brought in and more then the horses that left, this is not right, not fare or any part of the rights of these horses, they have the right to stay on the land and the waters rights are theirs also. this was fought for many years to get it , now it is just taken away.

    April 30, 2013