I can’t say that I remember signing up for Anna’s newsletters… but I was receiving them. I remember opening one and feeling like the timing was perfect. The content spoke to me and offered something I could participate in from home, a webinar series on Holistic Horsemanship. This felt serendipitous, having recently become more involved with horses again. My mom and I loved the webinars, but I soon realized that I wanted and needed more in person — hands on experience with these methodologies. So, I went to Colorado to take the 2.5-day intro clinic and I loved it.
I grew up riding horses back east. My grandmother enrolled me in riding lessons every summer as a young girl. Gymkana, jumping, vaulting, trail rides and more. I loved the horses and my teacher.
Upon graduating from college with a BA in Documentary Studies and Photography, I moved to upstate New York and cared for my grandmother for 7 years. After she passed, I moved back to Placitas, New Mexico. There I was immersed in and introduced to a whole new world of wild horses. They were literally in my back yard. I photographed the mustangs, also known here as “wild” or “free-roaming” horses, every time our paths crossed. It felt powerful and special to connect with them as my dog and I enjoyed our walks on the BLM land behind my home. I learned more about the bizarre and intense issues spawned by these community horses.
Two mares were hit and killed in the Placitas village after seeking water during an intense drought, and this prompted me to become involved. I began documenting the wild ones as well as the horses that had recently been rounded up. No longer “free-roaming,” they were transitioning to a life of domestication — confined, engaging in day-to-day interaction with humans, getting microchipped by the livestock board, trailered, moved, vetted, etc. I used all of my tools to support their transition, particularly an energy healing modality called Crystalline Consciousness Technique™.
The grey stallion that was rounded up with his remaining mares was the first to get gelded. He was still very wild, not touched or haltered. The approach was to squeeze him in a secure area to heavily sedate him — enough to have him gelded, vaccinated, and his hoofs trimmed. Long story short, he was given too many drugs and had a hard time recovering from the sedation. Everything went wrong, and in the end he had to be shot. This was quite a traumatizing experience, and very heartbreaking. It impacted me hugely, and I vowed that I would do everything in my power to prevent something like that from happening again. It was clear to me that the mustangs would have to be handled, haltered, and gentled to some extent prior to getting gelded in order to ensure that the procedure be safe, with minimal trauma and not life threatening.
Anna and ROTH were exactly what I needed. The Universe lined it all up. I have embraced the ROTH program and the education, experience and support its offered me as I learn and grow in my journey adopting, raising, and gentling Placitas Mustangs.
Anna likes to say I did her course backwards. I started with the Untouched Horse Clinic before the Foundation Course because that was my primary focus. I’m grateful that I did, but I also realized that I was lacking skills and training that the foundation course covered. I attended the 3-day Liberty clinic which blew my mind as it introduced me to a whole new world with horses. I continued with ROTH, taking the Foundation courses (1 and 3) and graduating in Fall, 2015.
I was granted the opportunity to take the Untouched Horse clinic one more time after doing part of the foundation and filling in the holes in my training. I enrolled in the Foal Gentling Clinic, and against my better judgement adopted my allocated foal because all the signs I received indicated that it was meant to be. I completed the Colt Starting Clinic, rumored to be the hardest. Indeed, it surprised me with a few firsts. I was kicked on day 1, and by the end of the week rode my first “baby”, a horse named Hopi. I then signed the contract and committed to the trainer’s program. Last month, I completed the NEW Simple Solutions Clinic and it exceeded my expectations. I loved everything about it. As I write this I am working on compiling my 20 case studies, done over the past few years, to submit for the Trainers Exams next month at Zumas Rescue Ranch in Colorado. My highlight is starting my own mustang Friendly, now five years old, under saddle with my ROTH sister Liv from Denmark for our Colt Start case study. What an exciting and fulfilling experience for us all! Friendly was also my first horse gelded (when he was 2) after the passing of the grey stallion. I was nervous, so I took my time and made sure he was haltered and ready and that I had a vet team I could trust.
My mom and I now have two dozen mustangs (after all the babies were born). They are our world, and have been for the past 3 years. We have received funding assistance from Animal Protection New Mexico, and have gelded three of our colts thus far — all free from complications.
Studying with ROTH has empowered me on many levels. Understanding the psychology and nature of the horse, and using it to support them in a trust-based partnership resonates with me on a core level. I trust that I was ready and that the perfect teacher, Anna, was placed in my path to help me and the horses I was adopting and raising. The timing was perfect to support a journey I never would have predicted. I believe completing the trainer’s exams will be a jump start for creating my own business as I move forward using all of my tools — holistic horsemanship, energy healing, essential oils and a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of humans and horses!
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.
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.
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.
Take your binoculars to verify that these often distant dots are real wild mustangs!
For more on Cloud and the world of the Mustangs across the U.S. follow the link:
Points to TCF/AWHPC Lawsuit as reason for Halting Wild Mare Sterilization
WASHINGTON, DC – (September 15, 2016) – Yesterday, BLM head, Neil Kornze announced that the BLM was not accepting the recommendation from their National Advisory Board to destroy wild horses in holding and to offer wild horses that had been passed over for adoption for sale without limitation. “This recommendation met a firestorm of outrage across the country and caused our phones to ring off the hook,” states Ginger Kathrens, Humane Advocate on the Advisory Board and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF), the sole dissenting vote to the board’s recommendation.
Prior to the Sept meeting TCF learned that the BLM decided to drop Wild Mare Sterilization Research Experiments in which wild mares (and fillies as young as 8 months) would be surgically sterilized. BLM Director Kornze indirectly referenced the TCF and AWHPC lawsuit requesting to be present to view and record the sterilization procedures, as the reason the experiments in Oregon were cancelled.
Other lawsuits and thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from concerned Americans played a significant part in bringing a halt to the experiments as well as halting the recommendation to destroy captive wild horses.
Kathrens warns, “this does not mean the horses in holding and on the range are out of trouble.” Kathrens recalls the documents that came to her office in late 2008 revealing BLM Secret Meetings in which the agency discussed how many horses could be killed each year and how many psychologists would be needed to counsel BLM employees asked to kill healthy wild horses. In June, Kathrens was asked to speak before the House Sub-Committee on Federal Lands. “It was clear that the Western congressional representatives had no interest in hearing what I had to say,” she states. “They wanted the horses gone, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming purred that euthanasia of thousands of captive wild horses would be such ‘a lovely way to die,’ Kathrens states.
When asked, “where do we go from here?” Kathrens replied, “it is imperative that we continue to speak up, encouraging BLM to use humane tools to limit births in our wild horse herds. The ultimate goal is limiting reproduction to natural mortality. And to reduce the number of wild horses held in short term corrals, we should return these non-reproducing geldings and mares to available BLM lands designated for wild horse use, but where no wild horses currently live.”
This victory is due to thousands of advocates and concerned Americans’ expressing outrage and presenting a united voice for the wild horses.
Paula Todd King
BLM ADVISORY BOARD JUST VOTED TO RECOMMEND EUTHANIZATION OF ALL UNADOPTABLE HORSES IN LONG TERM HOLDING. This is in hopes that Washington DC will wake up and give more money to BLM.
GINGER WAS THE ONLY PERSON ON THE BOARD TO VOTE “NO.”
Send your civil, thoughtful comments to the Adv. Board at this email address. Back up Ginger’s thoughtful, civil manner please:
Wild Horse and Burro Advocacy
—Ms. June Sewing
National Mustang Association
Ms. Jennifer Sall
Mr. Fred T. Woehl, Jr.
Wild Horse and Burro Research
Dr. Sue M. McDonnell, Ph. D.
Mr. Steven W. Yardley
Natural Resources Management
Dr. Robert E. Cope, DVM
Mr. Ben Masters
Dr. Julie Weikel, DVM
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.”
1990 GAO Report “Improvements neededin Federal Wild Horse Program” (see Appendix 1)
Paula Todd King
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
Picture a being created to roam the highlands, to travel in a family band, each having their place, their role… Yet there she was, locked in a small stall like a chute, forced to carry foal after foal, year after year without once seeing green grass, the mountains, the sun, or feeling the breeze. Let alone enjoying time with the baby! Is she broken inside? Or does she manage to just endure what’s happening to her? What about the little ones, conceived for no other purpose than to keep the mare pregnant? What does the foal suffer with such a burdened start in life? Most them end up in slaughter, but a few lucky ones get rescued by people who understand the tragedy and are willing to interfere. Equine Voices in Arizona is one of those sanctuaries that now harbors a good number of gentle giants that escaped the PREMARIN (PMU) industry in Canada.
One of that herd was a beautiful gray gelding. He was rescued by Karen Pomroy of Equine Voices as a six month old in a larger group together with his mother. For the next nine years he spent a quiet life in a pen with a handful of older PMU females. Although he was the most impressive by size, his gentle nature was no match for the mare’s distinct determination, probably fostered by years of not having a voice at all.
Reach out to Horses (ROTH) chose this rescue for the Holistic Horsemanship Certification course. The gentle gelding named Kodiak Raja was on the list of horses that got a student assigned for some daily attention. His history included a vague story of some early training attempts gone horribly wrong with him escaping through a fence in panic and a human getting hurt. He had not experienced much training after that. The approach was thus very cautious especially because the horses were in a large pen together during the sessions.
Kodi showed little interest in being the object of a human’s attention but he was very polite and stood as much as he could until he walked away apologetically. Ropes were not his friends. An introduction to the horseman’s rope exploring the whole body was pretty much the culmination of the first week of class.
A rumor started murmuring that he would be a great candidate for a new home. It is likely redundant to point out to the readership of this newsletter that Anna Twinney (the founder of ROTH and instructor of the class) has a special gift in matching horses to students. Kodi went home in the heart of the assigned student and became part of the student’s story. Before the second half of the class started several months later, the family decided to apply for adoption with the owner of the rescue.
During the second part of the class the daily program with Kodi included grooming and work with the emotion code by Dr. Nelson. Kodi was still very reserved but politely allowed to be approached. He was not integrated into actual class work because he was not ready or trained to even be led to the “classroom”.
In the meantime, the paper side of the adoption procedure was completed. The class was over and it was up to the rescue owner and the student to get to the actual transfer. Because of Kodi’s history and his lack of training, there was worry regarding the trailer loading. Would he bolt? Hurt himself or bystanders? After a lot of consideration, one of the rescue’s regular trainers proclaimed that she would be able to load him into a trailer. A date was set and the future owners headed South early on a Tuesday morning for a five-hour ride. It was exciting! At Equine Voices the trailer was backed up to the stall where Kodi was waiting. He did not seem too concerned as he easily glanced over the tall wall at the preparations.
The trainer took over, opened a door to the outside world where fence panels led to the trailer entrance. She went into the stall and softly coaxed Kodi to move towards the opening. Nobody else moved. For about three minutes he explored alternatives: move left, move right, look for another gate… Then he stepped outside. He hesitated for a moment and approached the trailer. Both front feet went up and the trailer floor made a hollow sound. His head was now really high in this position. He bent his neck and looked back over the fence at his mom and the rest of the ladies he had spent all these years with. Then he straightened up and walked calmly inside the dark, shaky box. Helpers quickly closed the trailer doors but there was no need to hurry. He had made up his mind, he knew.
Considering his history and his experience, it is astonishing how sure his demeanor was to leave his herd behind.
A discussion erupted in the truck on the way home regarding the name. Should he get a new name now that he was headed for a new life? The decision was made to call this beautiful tall man Odin Olaf Kodi Raja.
The trip was uneventful. Judging from the quiet behind the truck, he was not particularly agitated in the trailer. At his new home the trailer was backed up to a gate that led into a corral. He walked towards the open doors and then almost fell down because he had forgotten that there was a step up into the trailer and now there was a step down. He immediately headed straight for his new family on the other side of the fence. This is an eclectic mix of rescued drafts, nervous gaited horses, BLM mustangs, and a laid back BLM burro. All together a group of nine, waiting for number ten. He respectfully offered his nose over the fence for greetings. Then he was herded into his new stall next to everybody, including a clan of alpacas. Not all horses are fond of these funny looking creatures but he wanted to say hi to them as well and stuck his head fearlessly and friendly over the fence for some mutual sniffing. A great start!
This does not seem to be the same horse that I had gotten to know at Equine Voices. He always comes up to the fence when anybody shows up. He loves attention and sticks his head into my chest for scratches around the ears. He is also very vocal and whinnies with a heartwarming bluesy voice at his new equine family, as well as at humans. He is majestic yet gentle, very friendly but still polite and not pushy. Training has started slowly with more rope work and halters. He now follows willingly on a lead into the round pen where the first sessions are going very well. He is definitely very smart and the concept of learning is no problem for him. At this point he would rather just hang out with his humans and snuggle rather than having to “work” but I am sure becoming proud of his achievements will make him look forward to lessons as much as we do. I can imagine slowly moseying through the desert on this gorgeous gray that has a magnificent soul that makes his impressively sized body seem like a tiny box.
We have yet to find his trigger points to know exactly what to work on. The plan is to have him enjoy the rest of his long life with this new family, with learning, with essential oils, with games, with good food, with good care, and above all with a purpose! You are all welcome to come and visit to meet him at our ranch. It is worth a trip.
The humble new parents.
Kodi(left) at Equine Voices: Odin1
Odin (formerly Kodi) first time meeting his new family: Odin2
Odin looking good in the morning: Odin3
Odin and his new friend, BLM burro Zavorine, enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the slow feeder. He is very Buddhist when it comes to standing his ground. Especially my low pecking order horses take great pleasure in chasing him around. Zafi is the only one that just won’t waste energy with pecking order games. So for now it’s the two until he learns to manage the pesky little Paso Finos. We are practicing that whenever I am around to keep an eye on things. Carolina