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.”

###

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

Help to Preserve a Legacy!

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Have you ever had a dream where you were standing before a wild, untouched, untamed horse; a majestic, powerful, intelligent being.  You have no ropes, no chutes, no intention to force him into submission.  Instead, you have communication, mutual respect, and trust;  a trust that you have spent time building… together.  
Finally, feeling the time is right, you reach out… waiting… and this wild heart in front of you says, “Yes”, comes forward, and allows you, a human, to touch him for the first time.  You feel the connection between the two of you and know that, through your efforts and your willingness to see him as he truly is and to be seen, you have created a genuine bond of trust and partnership.
Now know that this dream is not just fantasy but a reality that happens every year during our Reach Out to the Untouched Horse event.  Over the course of 7 life-changing days you will experience what real connection, communication and horsemanship is all about.  You will begin to see the world through the eyes of a wild horse.  As you learn their silent language, you’ll connect and experience what feels mystical and magical but is truly a learned skill that you will find useful for the rest of your life with all your horses, whether they be wild or domestic. 
You will discover how the natural horse communicates, herd dynamics, develop a bond through building a trust-based relationship.  You will uncover their motivation and learning styles, begin the training process, and socialize a group of untouched horses.  
 
You will also have the opportunity to visit the Nokota in their natural environment and witness firsthand the world of the wild horse. 
 
This experience is perfect for those who have recently fostered or adopted untouched horses. Don’t miss this rare chance to meet, work and learn from a truly beautiful representative of the wild, untamed world of Equus.
ABOUT THE HORSES YOU’LL BE WORKING WITH…
The Nokota horses descend from the last surviving population of wild horses in North Dakota. 
 
For at least a century, the horses inhabited the rugged Little Missouri badlands, located in the southwestern corner of the North Dakota and now you have the opportunity to experience these majestic beings up close.
When Theodore Roosevelt National Park was created in the 1950s, some of the wild bands were fenced in, an accident that proved to have far-reaching consequences. While the raising of federal fences provided the horses with a measure of protection, the National Park Service (NPS) does not allow wild or feral equines, and is exempt from related protective legislation. Consequently, the park spent decades attempting to remove all of the horses. 
During the 1980s, Frank and Leo Kuntz began purchasing horses after N.P.S. round-ups, named them “Nokotas,” and started to create a breed registry. Nokota horses are descended from the last surviving population of wild horses in North Dakota. 
Anna will guide you through the world of these unique and untouched horses as you learn the language of Equus, enter the magical domain of the wild horse and begin to understand their communication in the natural world.  
This is a unique opportunity to observe wild horses in their natural habitat. You will begin to understand real communication with the natural world, be introduced to herd dynamics and develop a bond through building a trust-based relationship. The young horses being socialized in this clinic have shown a natural desire to relate to humans. While striving to make their futures less traumatic for veterinary care, foster homes etc., these young horses will be your teachers.
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Where in the World is Anna?

Curious where Anna has been and where she will be next? Watch the video to find out! For more videos, upcoming clinics, and helpful information sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter here: http://reachouttohorses.com/contact.html

Janette and Mystic

 

My recent trip to Tucson to the Equine Voices Sanctuary with Anna was amazing in many ways, but what stands out for me is the time I spent with my “assigned” horse, Mystic. She was the lead mare in a pen with 5 other horses, 4 mares and one gelding. She is a gentle leader with a powerful presence. I never saw her flatten an ear or use any force, but it was clear that she was the boss.

The first day she allowed me into her space and we connected. I was able to lead her away from her food with a string around her neck. I worked on untangling her mane and she stood quietly. The next few days I haltered her and led her all around the pen. I could feel our connection like a thin piece of elastic between us. I was thrilled and honored that she was willing to leave her food and her herd to be with me. The last morning of class, Michelle suggested that we might be ready to go for a walk outside the pen, so acting as my anchor, we took a small loop outside of the gate. Mystic was calm and relaxed, so we took a bigger loop around and she seemed to really enjoy it. Later, when I told Anna and Karen what we had done, they both seemed surprised. I found out that she had not been outside of her pen in several years. What a gift I was able to give her!

That afternoon we went to all the pens to work on energy and communication. I went to Mystic, but because the food truck was running late, she was busy watching for it and did not want to interact. I understood that she was doing her job and it was not personal, but I was saddened that we did not have that final goodbye. I was however, surprised by the rest of the herd, as they came up to me one by one, as if to say thank you. They had not interacted with me at all the whole week.

As luck would have it, I was able to return for a short time before my flight out the next morning. When I went to Mystic, she stood quietly as we connected our heart chakras. It was a powerful moment in time as we stood together. I was able to have the closure I needed with her, and I felt her connection to me stronger that day than it even was before. I was able to see how quietly powerful a lead mare can be, and that was her gift to me!

Thanks Anna, and Equine Voices for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my mission of making the difference in the lives of the horses there.

 

Janette Walker

Oh Baby! Meet the 2015 Foals!

Ruby was the most delicate foal, underweight and yet quite curious; she did her best to be a little warrior princess.  It was apparent she did not understand her fate and was mourning her mother while fighting for her own life.  No more than a week old with big brown eyes and a red dun coat, tussled from the nibbling of her other young companions, Ruby was an unlucky filly on a date with destiny.  She did not ask to be born to an unwanted mare; she did not ask to become a feedlot orphan foal and she certainly did not ask to be discarded.  

Each year thousands of foals are born as bi-products of the pharmaceutical and nurse mare foal industry or to unwanted mares who find themselves hauled to the feedlots with their foals at foot.

It is illegal to send a foal under 6 months of age to horse slaughter. In spite of the law, foals as young as one day old right up to the to six months guideline, are being skinned and sold for high-end leather.  Others, who don’t meet this gruesome fate and are not rescued are sent to slaughterhouses.

These foals have no chance at life from the start. Their meat is considered a delicacy in some countries.  Horrifically, some countries actually believe that if a foal is skinned while it is still alive the meat will be tenderer.

Recently, during a week-long event, at Friends of Horses Rescue in Colorado, Anna Twinney guided students and auditors through her exclusive foal gentling process. The group worked with recently rescued orphan foals in an effort to introduce them to first touch, halter, leading, loading, and lots more, in a non-stress, compassionate and effective way!  The training they receive is priceless and a crucial step for these young horses getting adopted to the right forever homes and having that second chance at life.

Ruby stood proud and embraced the gentling week holding no grudges, but instead accepting the very first human touch, haltering, leading, veterinary care, farrier prep and holistic health support.  In the hands of rescuers she was found a surrogate mother, who due to the mourning of her own foal, was simply unable to accept her.  Found rejected for the 2nd time in her life Ruby was adopted by Reach Out to Horses where she now embraces another chance to be surrounded by foals and horses who will teach her life naturally.

“By gentling the foals and introducing them to humans it is our intention to make them better candidates for adoption. It is too easy to just throw these horses away like unwanted refuse. It is our hope to show the world just how valuable they are and help them find their way to new life,” Anna explains.

Anna, an equine linguist, animal communicator and energy healer is no stranger to this process and works almost exclusively with rescues and animal sanctuaries all over the world. Her methodologies of what the mainstream would call “horse training” is actually the translation of the horse’s language “Equus” to something humans can understand.

Reach Out to Horses was developed with the mission of bringing harmony to horses and humans.  For more than a decade, ROTH has been instrumental in the rescue and re-homing of hundreds of horses. Nearly every ROTH event doubles as a fundraiser; hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for the care of the horses and the ongoing operation of the rescues with which they worked.

Many of the foals from the gentling event were adopted and taken home by the students and auditors. A few are still seeking homes. To learn which foals are in need of homes please see the video below.

Meet the orphaned foals gentled by ROTH students during our recent course on foals. Several babies are looking for homes!

Meet the orphaned foals gentled by ROTH students during our recent course on foals. Several babies are looking for homes!

To learn more about Reach Out to Horses, upcoming events, courses or classes please visit ReachOutToHorses.com or email info@reachouttohorses.com.

Meet the Mustangs 2015!

With eyes wide open, Aura surveyed his surroundings. His tangled tail, black as soot, was swishing to and fro in anxious wonder. He’d never been touched. He was gathered last fall, in Wyoming, during a roundup of his herd. He belongs to the Bureau of Land Management, and his future is uncertain.

Anna Twinney knows she can’t help every mustang caught in the unfortunate web of population control of the wild herds in North America. Her effort is as steadfast and sure as the mustang’s iconic image in the American West.

Recently back from her annual “Reach Out to the Untouched Horse” event, held in Cody, Wyoming at the Dimock Ranch, Anna talks about Blackjack, Downtown, Augustus, Ohanzee, Mr. Dean, and Aura. “I’ve been teaching people how to listen to their horses for more than 20 years. Horses have a language of their own, no matter if they are wild or domesticated. It’s imperative that mustangs, newly collected into captivity are supported. Every year, we take a group of students to work with mustangs that have been gathered and to observe those still free to roam.”

The BLM’s herding process is a traumatic event in the life of a mustang.  Anna works one on one with a group each year to help aide the transition.

“We show the horses that we are here to support them. We use gentle but effective methods to prepare them for domestication; first touch, grooming, haltering, leading, visits from a veterinarian, farrier … for baths, loading in and out of a horse trailer. Remember, these horses are truly “untouched”. They’ve barely seen people and it’s likely that their first encounter was detrimental … being handled is a big deal. It must be done with correct techniques and a heart for helping them. When they have a good beginning, their chances of finding a good home soars. Some of them are not so lucky.”

Ohanzee found a home, but his five herd mates still wait.

Horses are prey animals, meaning they are hunted in the wild by natural predators. Given the round up process, “man” falls squarely in the predator category. The horse’s reaction to being preyed upon is to either run away (generally the first instinct) or to fight. Often times, newly gathered mustangs are put in to holding pens from which they cannot escape. Given that they can’t employ “flight” all that’s left is “fight”. Because of this circumstance and the disrespect and ignorance in how the horses are treated, they react as nature equipped them to do and then they are often branded as “crazy” or “dangerous”. While all horses have this innate response to fear or danger, the mustang’s reaction times are in milliseconds; in the wild, it’s the difference between life and death.

This is why ROTH is dedicated to working with the mustangs each year and also why Anna created the Whispers from the Wild Ones DVD.

“Education is everything with these horses. People must understand that “untouched” truly means the horses have never had a human hand on them. As people, we don’t even like strangers touching us!  It’s rather intimidating to have an animal that walks on its “hind legs”, smiling at you with its teeth and reaching for you with its “claws”. I teach students about keeping themselves very “quiet” so that facilitating that first touch is smooth and welcome.”

To learn more about what the American Mustang has to teach us and to understand their plight, please visit https://youtu.be/aBI-VGNZBgY to watch the trailer for Whisper to the Wild Ones!

To meet Augustus, Mr. Dean, Downtown, Blackjack and Aura please watch our video below.

Meet the mustangs adopted and still available.

Meet the mustangs adopted and still available.

If you are interested in adoption, please email us at info@reachouttohorses.com.

Snow Day: The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

Snow Day:  The Tragic Consequence and Life-Affirming Perseverance of the Nurse Foal

By Anna Twinney

I had never seen a horse graze from its knees. But that was exactly what Snow, a majestic, 2-year old, Appaloosa Colt was doing. I thought to myself, “I couldn’t have made him do that, I barely touched his line.” I had wanted to move a short distance, so I could relax on the bleachers nearby while he ate, but just requesting those few steps made him drop to his knees. Perhaps it was a desperate attempt to stay on the lush patch of grass or, potentially, a learned behavior pattern.

I reassured him he could stay. He got back on his feet and walked with me so I could sit down.   I could have ignored this mannerism and chalked it up to a fun story about a playful and mischievous colt, but the behavior was so unusual I felt the origin was worth exploring.

I also noted that instead of nibbling at the grass and continuously picking little tufts, like most horses, he took chunks of grass. He filled his whole mouth with one bite and would bring his head up high, as he did his best to swallow the mouthful.   At first I thought it might be that he needed to settle into a groove, but it became clear this was his way of eating. He looked rushed and was taking whatever he could get. With each mouthful he would take the grass out by the roots before moving onto another. There was no casual grazing.   Snow’s way of eating resembled a hungry orphan or someone who was never taught how to eat. I had not seen this behavior before either.

Not everyone would have noticed his unique way of eating, but I did and had to wonder where it originated. A herd will mirror one another and casually graze with their heads down for long periods of time. It’s a beautifully tranquil and spiritual occurrence, to watch wild ones blissfully eat in harmony, but this was not the case with Snow. I wondered if he had ever learned to graze and if this was as a direct result of his youth.

It was then I remembered Snow’s past.

At just a few days, or possibly weeks old, Snow had been rescued 2 years prior by a group including Ray of Light Farm and Reach Out to Horses. He was “Orphaned”. Not because his mother had died. Instead, is was determined that he had been forcibly taken from his mother and found himself abandoned, too young and innocent to take care of himself.   New to this world he was most likely left to fend for himself in either a stall or trailer. His only choice was to figure out how to eat and drink… or die. He was the smallest of the foals we had rescued and the smallest I had ever seen in my twenty years of rescuing horses.

I could hardly believe someone could do this to an innocent being.

 

Unfortunately he had been born into the nurse foal industry. A heartless, cruel business in which, reportedly, thousands of foals find themselves as “biproducts”, of no value to the stewards who manage the nurse foal barn. Their mothers are bred purely to function as nurse mares to raise more valuable foals, normally born to top performance horses. Nurse foal barns can usually be found primarily close to racetracks.

Not only had Snow found himself isolated and lost without ever knowing why, but he also came to us very sick. Within days he sought out human connection and valued the comfort of human touch in the gentling process. Innocently and trusting he forgave the very same species that had tossed him aside to die.   I remember thinking, that nobody deserves to be punished or treated this way, let alone a newborn infant.

When his group of foals first arrived milk replacer was arranged for them and placed in special buckets for the foals to drink. Quickly they began suckling on the side of the buckets for comfort, mimicking suckling their mother’s teats. It was heartbreaking to watch. We noticed missing hair from many of their ears and discovered this was due to the foals suckling one another. Innately they knew to find dark and damp places from which to suck, be this around the buckets, each other’s ears, or sheaths.

We kept the foals next to one another during the day’s training and together in the herd at night. We never wanted them to feel isolated or abandoned again. It was like watching a group of kindergarteners with little parental guidance. With hay provided freely they would munch away throughout the day sporadically napping in between meals. While we watched some of them adopting natural grazing habits, Snow must have created his own way.

We offered our very best; a second chance at life, asking, and apparently receiving, his forgiveness. At first touch he would buckle in pain and through veterinary care we discovered that not only was he not able to drop his penis to urinate, but he was suffering from a potentially fatal parasite. This ailment would take months of special ongoing care from the rescue, but this little warrior showed his true nature and eventually pulled through.

The sound of horses returning to their stalls snapped me back to the present. I realized my time with Snow was up. I had assigned the students in my Holistic Horsemanship Foundation Course a fun exercise of discovering the motivating interests of their horses and, in the distance, I noticed horses returning to their stalls.

Giving Snow a couple more minutes to enjoy his banquet, he understood my telepathic message this time, and willingly came along with simply a soft touch. It had been precious time together. After leading him back to his stall, with gratitude I removed Snow’s halter, and said my farewells, looking forward to our many meetings in time to come. I left him with my love, appreciation and admiration.

Later I inquired with the farm as to why they thought Snow had developed this strange behavior of “knee grazing”. Bonnie the manager of the farm knew exactly what I was talking about and remembered how Snow had even drunk his milk in that manner.

She explained that after the rescue, the farm had found 2 surrogate mares willing to accept the foals, which happen to be mini’s. Both mares took the foals on as their own and accepted their suckling. The youngsters had to lower their heads down quite low to reach these mares teats and it was then that Snow learned to make himself smaller. Snow had the chance to graze and learn from the small herd and yet somehow missed the grazing style. They had provided the most natural lifestyle they could with the circumstances they had available to them.

My heart was filled with both sorrow and admiration for this beautiful soul. Snow had endured so much, more pain than any creature should have to experience, especially one so young – all because he was born to the wrong mare. And yet he found his way out the other side.   He could have given up, fallen into deep depression, and chosen to leave the planet. But he didn’t. He took the challenges of a rough start and, with the help of many kind people and horses, turned his circumstances around and found a new life and a new beginning.

Unlike so many nurse foals, his journey had a happy ending. I take solace in that thought as I, with so many others in the world, continue to work diligently to give more horses like Snow a chance at a life of happiness, partnership, and love.

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans

In support of the Cloud Foundation and our American Wild Horses we are re-posting this press release from the Cloud Foundation

Press Release:  For Immediate Release – July 8th, 2015

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans
BLM sterilization studies spell doom for remaining wild horses on public lands

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, (July 8, 2015) – “The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement of plans for managing wild horses on public lands is not only disturbing but highlights their commitment to managing wild horses to extinction,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF).

Four of the seven proposals being researched at taxpayer expense include permanent sterilization of stallions and/or mares. While the BLM claims they are “committed to developing new tools that allow us to manage this program sustainably and for the benefit of the animals and the land,” and “for the enjoyment of generations to come,” their proposed solutions are contrary to that goal.  Permanent sterilization of wild horses on the range would continue to undermine the already threatened genetic viability of our remaining herds.  Under current plans, BLM would manage 78% of herds at a level below that required to ensure genetic viability (150-200 adult horses.)

Permanent sterilization is inconsistent with the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act which requires managing for sustainable herds. Permanent sterilization is counter to that mandate and would damage the social band structure that has allowed wild horses in North America to thrive.

Earlier this year representatives from several wild horse and rangeland preservation organizations met in Washington, D.C. with BLM Director Neill Kornze, and BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, Mike Tupper, to discuss possible solutions to BLM’s ongoing dilemma regarding management of wild horses and burros.  The proposals presented included strategies for increasing the number of mares vaccinated with PZP to a level that will begin to impact population growth rates, and measures to authorize and encourage voluntary livestock grazing permit retirement in Herd Management Areas.  The groups also recommended repatriation of wild horses in BLM holding facilities to Herd Areas that have been zeroed-out. These proposed solutions would provide an immediate savings to the BLM.

Mike Tupper promised to respond to TCF and the other organizations regarding the proposals but has failed to do so.  “Advocates are more than willing to work with the BLM for sustainable management of wild horses on the range,” stated Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Thus far the Washington, DC BLM is unwilling to consider creative options that would benefit both wild horse herds and the American taxpayer. “

“Safe and effective birth control for wild horses has been available for years but BLM has chosen to use it on only a token number of mares,” continued Kathrens. “The Pryor Wild Horse Herd in Montana, the McCullough Peaks Herd in Wyoming, the Little Book Cliffs and Spring Creek Herds in Colorado are managed using PZP, a reversible remotely delivered vaccine. All these herds are nearly to the point of achieving a balance between reproduction and natural mortality.”

“Unlike the national BLM offices, these local field offices are working successfully with the public to create a situation where future wild horse removals are unnecessary,” concluded Kathrens. “Stonewalling of advocates and the American public by the National BLM office is counter-productive to successful management of wild horses on our public lands.  I fear that their actions would lead to the extinction of the North American wild horse.”

Links:

BLM Announces New Research to Curb Population Growth and Improve Health of Wild Horse and Burro Herds

BLM Wild Horse and Burro, Science and Research, Fertility Control

 

Media Contacts:
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.

Journey Back to Freedom

written by Michaele Dimock

Mariah and Saint Patty are two mustangs that share much in common. Both mares grew up on the wide-open spaces of Wyoming – Mariah in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA) and Patty in the McCullough Peaks HMA. Both were gathered by helicopters, transported and placed in crowded corrals of the BLM Rock Spring’s horse holding facility, and both wanted a ticket to freedom.

Each year I make an annual pilgrimage to the Rock Springs corrals to select 6-10 untouched mustangs from amongst the 700-800 residing there, thanks to a fostership agreement I have with the BLM. I then transport the horses back to my ranch where they become participants in Anna’s ‘Reach Out to the Untouched Horse’ course. In 2010 I selected Patty, and in 2012 I chose Mariah.

It was hard to ignore both Patty and Mariah in the selection process. They positioned themselves right in front of me as I peered out into the corrals to get a good look at all the horses contained within. When I moved… they moved… making sure I took ample time to admire their good looks and suitability. And so the two were selected and came home with me.

Mariah in BLM Rock Springs
ROTH student Janne Jensen did a stellar job gentling Patty in 2010 and would have loved to adopt and take her home – if it hadn’t been for the 6000 mile distance to Denmark! It was easy to see that Patty enjoyed Janne’s attention too, especially the scratching. But with subsequent training, it was also easy to see Patty’s uptight, up-headed, suspicious nature whenever anything new was introduced. Though compliant, I don’t believe that Patty ever really enjoyed or fully engaged in the courses that followed, so she was eventually taken off participant roster and became more of a pasture ornament.

The nature of Mariah was quite different. She let it be known from the very first day that she had no use for humans. She was reactive, fearful, distant and unwilling to participate on any level. Anna suspected that she had been abused – probably roped – sometime between her capture from Adobe Town, temporary housing at the Honor Farm in Riverton, WY, and final destination in Rock Springs. During the next two years I did make several attempts to reach out by offering hay from a bucket; and while she was able to approach to within a few feet, it always felt like a potentially dangerous situation. She became alarmed at even the slightest ‘surprise’ movement and would spin on a dime or jump away, leaving me to believe that this raw, reactive behavior would get me injured or killed some day.

Mariah & Lloyd - clinic session
Discussions about finding a wild horse sanctuary for Mariah, where she could spend her life in freedom, was never far from my mind. During the ROTH get-togethers, it was one of our regular topics while standing by her pen. And while inquiries had been made to various rescues, all was at a standstill until a village of generous individuals stepped up to make it happen.

This past July I met a very special ROTH student, Val Israel, who told Anna and me that she would make the financial commitment to sponsor Mariah at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Val contacted its Director Susan Watt and had Mariah placed on their waiting list. About that same time, an anonymous donor from the east coast told Tricia Hatle (friend, BLM wild horse specialist for the McCullough Peaks, and fellow ROTH student) that she would like to sponsor a McCullough Peaks horse if a sanctuary situation was needed. So when Susan Watt asked if Mariah would be coming with a traveling buddy we could enthusiastically answer, “Yes”! In the days that preceded the journey, Saint Patty bonded instantly with Mariah. I believe they knew the importance of this relationship, their destinies would now be aligned, and they needed to make every effort to make it happen too.

Patty & Mariah bonding
There was only one large hurdle to climb before setting out on our trip. Both Mariah and Saint Patty had Coggins Test results too old for transport. (In the state of Wyoming, horses need a health certificate, a Coggins Test showing negative results from within a year of the blood draw, and title of ownership from the Brand Inspector in order to go over the state border). We knew that drawing blood from Patty wouldn’t be a problem, but Mariah would be extremely stressed and here’s why…

Soon after arriving at my home, Mariah’s BLM identification tag (suspended from a cord wrapped around her neck) pulled over one ear and became so tight that it caused a sore spot along her cheek. It may have even affected her breathing. With dart gun in hand, Tricia sedated Mariah in order to remove this tag but the ordeal did not go well. The veterinary clinic had given Tricia a concoction of sedatives which caused Mariah to struggle horribly in the process of falling asleep. For forty-five minutes she fought against the drug by struggling to get up whenever she fell down; and when she was finally sedated there were only a couple of minutes for removing the tag before the whole ugly ordeal happened again in her awakening. At one point Tricia was fearful that the mare might kill herself. So as you can imagine, both Tricia and I dreaded the idea of drawing Mariah’s blood sample either through sedation or by forcing her into a chute (given her volatile nature and limited chute options available in the area).

Again the stars aligned when Tricia contacted the State Veterinarian for Wyoming and explained the situation. He in turn contacted the State Veterinarian for South Dakota and they discussed the possibilities for transport. Since Mariah was extremely untouchable, both mares had lived on my property for years without illness, and both had previously tested negative for Coggins, they were given a one-time special clearance for transport – provided we go directly to the sanctuary.

One week before our trip, I parked my stock trailer in front of the mares’ open corral gate and offered them hay in the trailer and just outside of it. Though they managed to lean far into the trailer to snatch the hay, they never had the courage to actually enter; but that was okay with me because I just wanted them to get used to its sight, smell and sound. Tricia & Michaele after a successful loading
The morning of October 5th was beautiful with warm temperatures and blue skies. Tricia and I have become experts in loading untouched horses; so with our strategically positioned panels and a little bit of pressure, the girls quickly hopped aboard. Thus we were on our way to South Dakota.

I wish I could tell you that the release into the sanctuary was magical… with the mares galloping off in the distance – manes flowing, tails standing tall, whinnies of joy – but it wasn’t. It was quiet and peaceful, as Patty and Mariah jumped off the trailer and into an initial holding corral. We were told that after a day or two they would be moved to a large ‘kindergarten’ area (surrounding the corrals) where they could meet other members of a selected band with whom they would hopefully bond. Most likely they would remain there throughout the winter until time came when all would be released into the 12,000 acre sanctuary.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to see that wonderful day, but my heart will rejoice when my beautiful mustangs, Saint Patty and Mariah, return to the freedom that was once denied them. Be free my beauties!
Black Hills Sanctuary holding corral

Reach Out to Horses & Friends of Horses Team-Up to Save Slaughter-Bound Foals

Reach Out to Horses, in partnership with Friends of Horses Rescue and Adoption, Centennial, CO began their annual Week of Foal Gentling program on September 8, 2014.

ROTH and FOHRAA rescued 10 foals from the feedlot to give them a chance at a new life.

The rescued foals will be available for adoption on Saturday, September 13, 4pm, at Friends of Horses Rescue and Adoption.

During this week long event, Anna will guide participants and auditors through her exclusive foal gentling process, introducing the foals to first touch, halter, leading, loading and lots more, in a non-stress, compassionate and effective way!  The training they receive is priceless and a crucial step to these young horses getting adopted to the right forever homes and having that second chance at life.

By the end of the week many of the foals are fully gentled and ready to take the next step with a new adopted family.

On Saturday, September 13, at 4pm, the participants of the gentling week will show the foals to an open house for the general public.

4 of the 10 horses have already been adopted but the remaining 6 are still looking for homes and will be ready for adoption.

Did you know?

It is illegal to send a foal under 6 months of age to horse slaughter. However, foals from one day to six months old, are being skinned and sold for high-end leather.  Others who aren’t rescued are sent to slaughterhouses.  These foals have no chance at life from the start. Their meat is considered a delicacy in some countries.  Horrifically, some countries actually believe that if a foal is skinned while it is still alive the meat will be more tender.

“By gentling the foals and introducing them to humans it is our intention to make the better candidates for adoption. It is too easy to just throw these horses away like unwanted refuse. It is our hope to show the world just how valuable they are and help them find their way to new life.”

– Anna Twinney, Founder of Reach Out to Horses

Reach Out to Horses was developed with the mission of bringing harmony to horses and humans.  For more than a decade, ROTH has been instrumental in the rescue and rehoming of hundreds of horses and well hundreds of thousands of dollars to the horses and the rescues with which they worked.

Friends of Horses Rescue and Adoption – With over 150 horses currently being cared for, FOHRAA is a 501 C 3 non-profit charitable organization located in Centennial, Colorado since 2001.  FOHRAA is dedicated to rescuing good horses and adopting them to good homes, therapeutic riding and community service.

For more information contact Vincent Mancarella at info@reachouttohorses.com or Bill Stiffler at 303-649-1155.

 

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