Does anyone have any good information about success rates? Do the majority of mustang adoptions turn out well? Lastly, could anyone expound on my question about the business/practical reasons why mustangs are not adopted more often?
I don't have success rate info for you, since I have no interest in actually working with the mustangs, so haven't researched it.
How do the adoptions turn out?
I'd say the majority end up not being used at all, going back to being above most folks ability to train them. The ones who get adopted by capable trainers and learn to work with humans are probably good horses, look at our own BSMS's Cowboy. But I'd venture a guess that most end up not being used due to being very difficult to get through to. The successful mustang is very wily and untrusting, hence getting it to the point of being handleable and and enjoyable to be around takes a lot longer than a domesticated horse. When you have a horse that is always on guard and ready to fight or flee on an instant, that make most people afraid rather than just healthy respect.
Business/practical reasons a mustang isn't adopted more often. They aren't quickly profitable. My trainer can take an unhandled domestic horse and have it under saddle in 30 days, the owner on it in 60 if the owner is timid. Mustangs could take that long to allow you to handle them at all. Take every step of the training process and multiply it by several weeks and your profit margin is less than $0 when you figure out all your time and costs. Your basic grade horse, while well trained and safe to ride, will only sell for around $1000-1500 as a decent trail mount. Most training costs around $650/mo around here, add in farrier and vet costs because with mustangs you know nothing has been done, and you take any possible profit right away.
Here's kind of a limited break down of domestic vs feral:
Domestic Colt, registered, 2 years old
HAS BEEN BRED TO TRUST HUMANS and at least handled a little since birth
Comes to the trainer already halter, lead trained
Has had his feet trimmed several times
Current on shots, Coggins
Trainer works on ground work and saddling in the first week. Is riding the horse by the 3rd week at the latest. After 4-6 mos training, horse is sold for $7500 or more.
Mustang Colt, grade, unknown exact age
HAS BEEN BRED TO BE VERY SUSPICIOUS AND WILD, never handled prior to arriving at the trainer
Can't be caught, was herded loose into transport, comes out to catch pen
Can't be haltered,
Can't be brushed or groomed or petted
Never seen a farrier
Never had shots or Coggins
Trainer works 2 weeks just to get hands on horse without being kicked or struck
2 more weeks to be able to walk up and touch horse, possibly gets halter on and leaves it
Rinse and repeat until after 4 more weeks, trainer can approach and brush horses but still can't handle feet
When observed in round pen by strangers the horses will stop and face off with the stranger and will not remove their eyes or focus on the trainer until stranger leaves.
2 months later, horses are still not under saddle and not really considered reliable, will let trainer pick up feet most of the time, have been trimmed once
2 months later horses are just starting to lunge under saddle and not blow up, owner runs out of money, patience, time and horses are abandoned or put in "storage".
It's kind of the difference between buying a pet store kitten or one from a breeder and taming a feral cat and running the risk of getting rabies and cat scratch fever. Why would you?