Student Spotlight: Elaine and Clea Reach Out to Untouched Mustangs at Whisper’s Sanctuary in Arizona

Tucked into the Canelo Hills in the mountains of Southern Arizona is a place of healing for animals in need.  Whisper’s Sanctuary is a 501c3 nonprofit lifetime home for animals who are unwanted, abused, or retired from public service.  Begun in 2005, the Sanctuary is now home to over 50 animals, many of whom are long-time residents.  The Sanctuary sponsors a children’s educational program to teach about good stewardship – that animals are part of the family and not “disposable.” The Sanctuary also offers therapeutic day programs for adults and families, with the capacity for weekend workshops with guests staying at our Bed & Breakfast.  Our main fundraising venture is Sparky’s Cantina, a vegetarian, vegan and allergy-friendly food trailer that frequents special events and retails food and desserts through a local co-op market.
Whisper’s Sanctuary is the dream come true for the late Ross Romeo and his wife Toni Leo.  Toni has carried on the dream of providing a beautiful, safe place for healing for humans and animals.  Toni is the volunteer Sanctuary director and part-time animal caretaker, and also the volunteer chef for the Cantina!  She operates the B & B and also has a “day job” to keep the Sanctuary afloat.  Donations are greatly appreciated, with 100% of funds received going directly toward the cost of feed and healthcare for the animals.
Current residents include horses, donkeys, mules, goats, geese, chickens, dogs, and a barn cat.  We would love for you to visit us and experience the magic of Whisper’s Sanctuary.  We frequently need animal caretakers, too, so if you are interested in working for us please be in touch!  www.rrheartranch.com
Val’s Story of Rescue at Whisper’s Sanctuary and her Connection with ROTH’s own Certified Trainer/Instructor, Elaine Ackerly:
It was one of those moments when I asked myself  “oh goodness, what have you done this time?”
Whisper’s Sanctuary is a place of last resort for many animals out of options.  We home the leftovers, the unwanteds.  A friend was headed to South Dakota to pick up a load of mustangs from a failed sanctuary.  I was intrigued.  Over 800 needing homes.  She inquired what I wanted.  I responded, “you know me, I’ll take whomever is left.”
Valentine is a lovely, large bay mare from the White Sands, New Mexico lineage who was born at a sanctuary in South Dakota.  An orphan foal, she was bottle raised.  Currently estimated at age 6, she retains hind end lameness due to malnutrition.  Val was bound for another rescue who was unable to take her.  It was one of those moments that one wishes “no” was an option,  but it just wasn’t.
I anxiously arrived home after a long day at work.  It was hard to see in the dark, but there were only two horses in the corral, not three.  I was informed that Val wouldn’t load, and the men who tried said she was out of control.  One, a very experienced horseman, thought she might be “dangerous”.  So Val stayed at his ranch, boarded, while we figured out what we were going to do with her.  Euthanasia?  I just knew there would be no way I could handle a wild, out of control horse thought to be possibly dangerous.  What were we going to do?
A friend suggested I contact Anna Twinney.  Anna’s website resonated with me.  I watched a video on Facebook of the man boarding Val.  Although highly skilled, he is a conventional horse trainer.  He was puzzled by her behavior.  He said she didn’t know how to be a horse, and he couldn’t understand why.  He moved her about a round pen.  My heart sunk. I learned Val’s history.  I knew I needed Anna’s help.
Val needed emotional healing, not a round pen.  A mare lame on both hind legs endured a 1400 mile trip from South Dakota to Southern Arizona.  Maybe she wouldn’t load back on a trailer a day later because she was in pain. A scared orphan in a new place, no one to reassure her.  Alone, in pain, with no one who understood.
After an email exchange, Anna Twinney called me.  I was in shock.  An equestrian celebrity called me.  Anna offered to send us her DVD set about gentling wild horses.  That was so kind.  Then she offered to send an internet request to her network of students to inquire if anyone might be willing to volunteer to come to Arizona to help Val.
I communicated with Elaine Ackerly and Clea Hall. We found we had some things in common and they agreed to visit to work with Val.  I am still in awe at how these two very accomplished and busy women put their lives (and incomes) on hold to help our mustangs.  Elaine visited for eight days, Clea visited for five days.  During that time Elaine worked with Val while Clea worked with Chante and Canela (our other two SD mustangs).  Clea used energy work/healing with all three mustangs in addition to Anna’s ROTH techniques.  They taught me techniques that were very helpful and easy to understand from the perspective of someone with no horse training experience.
Within a few days of their arrival, with hours of Elaine and Clea simply being present with the mustangs, transformations started to occur.  Although I had been in Val’s corral frequently to muck and feed, this time she quietly stood with me by her side.  It was one of those moments when I believed for the first time that there was hope for Val.  You have come all this way, Val, and you are finally home.
Elaine and Clea are inspiring.  Their knowledge, kindness, and willingness to help us has been amazing.  I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for the mustangs, and myself as their caretaker.  Elaine and Clea are both truly a blessing.  Our paths have crossed for many reasons, for which I am grateful.  Thank you so much for giving us hope.
All said and done, with rave reviews from Whisper’s Sanctuary…
Hi Anna,
thank you for emailing and for your interest in the Sanctuary.  Elaine and Clea were such great horsewomen and made progress with the mustangs.  I was appreciative for them teaching me some of the basics, and I will continue to use the videos that you sent as a guide.  I have also told several others in similar situations with unhandled horses about your work to spread the word about what you do.
Thank you so much for your kindness in so many ways.  Your work is already benefitting the horses here and I can only see that growing exponentially in the future with our therapy programs too.
Toni
Below watch Elaine and Clea as they Reach Out for first touches and more with the mustangs at Whisper’s Sanctuary.

 

 

For more info on how you can learn to Reach Out to the Untouched Horse, visit us at:

http://reachouttohorses.com/training.html#gentling

Wild Horses of Sea and Sand

Wild Horses of Sea and Sand

November 2016

In October, Ann Evans and I visited the northernmost point of the Outer Banks Islands off the coast of North Carolina. I have wanted to see the wild horses there for a long time.

The island might seem inhospitable for wild horses but, for nearly 500 years, it has been home to a wild herd. Named for the Island on which they live, the Corolla Wild Horses are survivors of shipwrecks on a turbulent coastline called the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  Now, however, the horses are severely endangered. Recent, rampant development of their tiny island threatens to destroy the herd. Fewer than 100 animals remain.

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Photo Above-Ann Evans

DNA work on the herd by Dr. E. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M University confirms their unique Spanish heritage and also their vulnerability to inbreeding. The herd has only one matrilineal line remaining. Plans for captive breeding are underway but uncontrolled development could leave the herd with no room to roam.

If you want to help these tough, little survivors we urge you to contact the Corolla Wild Horse Fund-www.corollawildhorsefund.org. Ask the Fund what you can do to help.

Our thanks go out to Karen McCalpin, Executive Director of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, and Meg Puckett, Herd Manager, for guiding and educating us. It was an unforgettable trip as you can see from this video!

Happy Trails,
Ginger

Click here to donate and support wild horses and burros: Donate!

 

Herd Deemed Too Big To Support… Needing Your Help to Secure Their Future

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http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/hundreds-of-sd-sanctuary-horses-impounded-future-uncertain/article_d39c6fc0-d2bb-5fea-bb9b-384ad470cdc3.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share

Please follow the link to read more about how you can help support these horses and their needs this winter.

 

Victory for Wild Horses in Wyoming!

Dear Friends;

On the heels of winning a victory for Oregon wild horse mares, threatened by dangerous sterilization surgery, comes yet another win for the wild ones. The U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands across the state including mustangs from the Stewart Creek Herd.  

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Ironically, Quinn and I were visiting the Stewart Creek mustangs with Lynn Hanson, my friend and fellow wild horse advocate, when our attorneys learned of this second victory. Being out here with these beautiful, family and freedom loving icons of the West reminds me of why we fight. Their home is over 230,000 acres of sagebrush valleys and windswept rims along the Continental Divide. (below-Lynn shoots GK filming)

The first time I saw the colorful Stewart Creek wild horses, it was the dead of winter. Ann Evans and I were driving from Riverton to Rawlins, and we were thrilled to see a family band just a short distance from highway 287/789, about 20 miles north of town. 

Winters are bitter and long in Stewart Creek. The foals above didn’t seem to mind. We saw this lone mustang in his huge home during our winter drive-by. He, too, was not far from the main highway. I imagine his friends were just out of sight below him.

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When I left Stewart Creek a few days ago, there was a colorful group of five bachelor stallions only 100 yards or so off the highway. It was grand to see them in nearly the same place as the winter ones.  We encourage you to try your hand at finding them. If you have a high clearance vehicle, you can enter the range on a number of sandy roads.

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Take your binoculars to verify that these often distant dots are real wild mustangs!

Happy Trails!

Ginger Kathrens
For more on Cloud and the world of the Mustangs across the U.S. follow the link:

The Cloud Foundation

 

 

Mijita’s Story…

Hi, my name is Mijita! I was recently taken off the range land in Warm Springs, Oregon, where I roamed freely with my family group. I am the color of honey, which is actually what my name means, as well as “my little daughter.”  I excel with a gentle approach and  like to know that I am being understood. I am smart and learn pretty quickly, as I showed during the foal gentling clinic.  I excelled at adapting to different approaches, touch, grooming, haltering, and the first steps for leading.   I am currently looking for my forever home and I can’t wait to see what my future holds. 

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For more information on where I can be found please visit Anna’s Website at:

Reach Out to Horses.  You can also call ROTH at 303-642-7341, and speak to the bipeds who are in charge of helping find me a home.  Thanks for considering making me a part of your homes, herds, and hearts!  I have been started so well that I am ready to go forward from here with my new forever family.  My gratitude to you for your consideration!

Sincerely,

Mijita

 

Kathrens to Present Humane and Economically Sustainable Solutions to BLM’s Beleaguered Wild Horse and Burro Program

 

 WASHINGTON, DC (Tues, June 22, 2016) – Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation has documented and advocated for wild horse herds for over 22 years.  Known as the Jane Goodall of wild horses, Kathrens’ documentation of Cloud the Wild Stallion represents the only continuing chronicle of a wild animal from birth in our hemisphere.   At the invitation of Representative Raul Grijalva, (D-AZ) she will testify before the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands oversight hearing entitled, “Challenges and Potential Solutions for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program,” Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm (Eastern Time) in Room 1334 Longworth House Office Building.

On May  11, 2016 the BLM issued a Press Release titled  “WildHorses and Burros on Public Rangelands Now 2.5 greater than when the 1971 law was passed,”  bemoaning problems which they themselves have created.  Instead of embracing realistic management strategies, the BLM and some western politicians have attempted to derail the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (Wild Horse Act) aimed at protecting wild horses on public lands.

For over 20 years the BLM has had reasonable, cost effective and humane ways to maintain healthy populations of wild horses and burros on their legally designated homes on the range in the form of the fertility vaccine PZP.   Dr. John Turner wrote: “. . . the consequent cost of one un-prevented foal is many times greater than a PZP-22 dose in terms of capture, processing and adoption (estimates > $ 2K) or lifelong warehousing (estimates up to $ 10K). A forty-thousand-dollar cost savings to the taxpayer on each treat/retreat mare is significant.”

Instead, BLM has chosen to ignore solid recommendations by Equine Professionals, The National Academies of Science and thousands if not millions of comments by the public recommending rational strategies and economically sustainable solutions to manage wild horse and burro populations “on the range” rather than continue inhumane and costly helicopter roundups and holding.

Prior to the hearing, Tom McClintock, Committee Chairman, released a memo describing the BLM’s program policy.  Kathrens commented, “BLM alternatives are not humane and do not consider the welfare of a species protected by a unanimously passed act of Congress.”

BLM’s proposed solutions, deadly sterilization experiments on wild mares (some as young as 8 months of age), have met with public outcry not only against the BLM but also Oregon State University for expenditures of taxpayer dollars to finance surgical experiments, which have little practical application unless the death of mares is acceptable.

Kathrens, Humane Advocate on BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, will offer well-thought out solutions and outline problems with the BLM’s current strategies.  “Overpopulation of wild horses and burros on public lands has been alleged by the BLM and passed on without question by media for years,” Kathrens states. “However the BLM manages the population of most herd management areas at levels far below the population required for genetic viability (150-200 animals). In her testimony Kathrens states, “BLM has so marginalized wild horses that the majority of herds are too small to meet even minimal standards to ensure their genetic viability…  It is obvious that one solution to warehousing wild horses and burros in costly short-term holding is a reexamination of appropriate management levels (AMLs) and a fairer allocation of available forage between wild horses and livestock.”

By establishing appropriate management levels at ridiculously low numbers, the BLM declares a huge overpopulation of wild horses and burros.  However, when you look at BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro statistics closely it is easy to see that the problem lies in the herd size BLM wants to manage.  Several examples are shocking.  The Montezuma Peaks herd in Nevada on nearly 78,000 acres is managed at a population of 2-4 horses, therefore the current population of 64 horses is represented as 1600% over AML.  BLM’s manipulation of numbers has been so successful over the years as to dupe the American Public and the media into believing that western public lands are overrun with wild horses and burros.  And their “estimated” population numbers based on 20% annual reproduction has perpetuated a “sky is falling” mentality and rhetoric aimed at destroying thousands of wild horses across the west.

Rangeland Degradation by wild horses has been grossly overstated by the BLM to cover up years of livestock overgrazing. In 1990 the GAO reported: “BLM’S decisions on how many wild horses to remove from federal rangelands have not been based on direct evidence that existing wild populations exceed what the range can support. While wild horses are routinely removed. Livestock grazing frequently remains unchanged or increased after the removal of wild horses, increasing the degradation of public lands.”

A Peer review of BLM Rangeland Health Assessments states, “As of 2012, based on the records PEER received from the BLM… the agency claims that 10,480 allotments have not met standards (55% of total allotment area), and that 16% of allotments (29% of total allotment area) have failed standards due to livestock grazing.

“We have at our disposal humane and economically sustainable ways to manage wild horses on the range,” states Kathrens, “if only the BLM will agree to pursue a different path.”  The Cloud Foundation and many other organizations have offered volunteer assistance to the BLM to make management of wild horses and burros on the range a reality. “It is high time the BLM perform their legal mandate to protect wild horses on public lands.”

The Preamble of the unanimously passed Wild Horse Act concludes, the wild free-roaming horse and burro “are to be considered … as an integral part of the natural system of public lands.”

The opportunity for the head of a wild horse advocate organization to testify before a congressional oversight hearing is historic.  “Constituents concerned for the welfare of publicly owned wild horses and burros are tired of being ignored by the BLM and their congressional representatives,” Kathrens concludes. She continues, “Wishes of the American people are not being taken into consideration.  There are far more cost effective and humane measures for managing wild horses on public lands than those under consideration by the BLM.”

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LINKS:

Written Testimony, Ginger Kathrens

Wild Horses and Burros on Public Rangelnds Now 2.5 timesGreater than When the 1971 Law Was Passed.

Tom McClintock Hearing Memo

Live Streaming of Oversight Hearing

Mare Sterilization Research EA

1990 GAO Report “Improvements neededin Federal Wild Horse Program” (see Appendix 1)

Peer Report, “The BLM Grazing Data,” 

The Cloud Foundation

BLM Wild Horse and Burro PopulationStatistics 

1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses andBurros Act 

“Using Science to Improve the Wild Horse and Burro Program,” NAS Report 

Media Contact:

 

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

 

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.

Paula Todd King

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

Communications Director

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720