Yes, Pop

My grandfather (Pop) died three days before Memorial day several years back.
A man you needed to comprehend the language of “grumble” to understand.
An original Teamster he delivered dairy in Brooklyn with a team of percherons.
He fought in WWI and took his eldest sons with him to fight in WWII.
Pop was not a “touchy-feely” kinda guy.

So when he displayed any emotion besides annoyance I noticed. (No disrespect Pop, you know how much your grumbling made me smile).

When I was very young I had my first horse. I was one of the only kids in my “neighborhood” to go to school smelling like horse poop… my favorite fragrance to this day.

So Pop told me a story: It started like most of them did. He liked to try to gross you out… he lost most of his audience that way, but he only drew my attention.

“You know people eat horses?”

“Aw pop, get outta here.”

“They eat soldiers, too.”

“Ok Pop, what ya’ got.”

My grandfather then told me the story of the horses that went to Europe with them. He told me how his unit had Mustangs. He choked up as he noted the spirit of Freedom we were sent to Europe to defend and how the Mustang was the living embodiment of that spirit.
How the strength, love of Freedom and the will to “never give up” was wrapped up a package of loyalty. The best “man to have your back.”

“You put your mask on him first cause he can carry you out. You can’t carry him and without him you’re dead.”

Then in true Pop fashion he said, “So we left them there to be eaten.”

Pop then walked away.

The sense of betrayal, not only to the horse, but to the concept of “American” stuck in my 10 year old heart like a knife.

**********

Isn’t it about time we begin to recognize the contribution these horses have given to our country?
Can’t we actually get it together long enough to recognize the value of America’s horses?

***********

I’m on the road and just got the “go” sign….

I pray with you all this Memorial Day that the way toward communication to actually protect, not just manage, our wild horses shows itself. And that we all step down that road with the strength and will our wild horses can teach us.

Palomino Valley Stallion Update

I am back in the field so this update will be brief.

Just received word from Dean Bolstad that the stallion issue has been dealt with.
Another water source was added and there was no rush to the source indicating no urgency. The stallions must have gotten determined… and successful after we left.

Yes, there were mares on the other side of the fence and they are being removed.

Dean informed us that the stallions were video taped to show that the behavior witnessed was not continuing. Due to the holiday observers could not visit the facility.

*************

NOTE: I’m adding portions of a comment from Lisa Reid into the body of my post as I did not get to my blog until this am.
She includes a very well documented timeline.

But I do feel the need to also add another reminder that this is the second time an attempt was made to address issues with these horses at PVC. A simple “Thanks, we will check it out,” and then a bit of follow-up would alleviate the need for communication to occur in this manner at all.

We were told the facility was closed for the holiday weekend as we arrived Friday an hour and fifteen minutes before closing. At that time we were told we had fifteen minutes to see the horses and we needed to go.

Thank you, Lisa.

Portion of Comment: Lisa Reid

I just wanted to follow up with you and others what happened today since there was no one there from this group to update the concerns you are discussing.

I was notified last night that there were concerns that the palomino horse was guarding the water source in the Calico stud pen. So first thing upon my arrival (approximately 7:50 am), I located the pen as this was my first time to PVC since these horses arrived. What I observed at approximatley 8:10 am on my first observation is that the studs were quietly feeding. No footage taken at this time.

I revisited the pen at 9:25 am, this time taking my flip camera and recording my observation. What I observed this was the pinto stud at one set of feeders and the other studs including the palomino still feeding. No one at water trough.

I revisited at 10:20, this time I found the horses still feeding and no one near the water trough.

I think this is about the time that Sue called.

At 11:15, I revisited the pen to find the palomino stud standing on the small hill located near the water, but it didn’t appear that he was guarding the water source, he just seemed to be standing there dozing. The pinto stud was still in the same location with the other studs still feeding.

At 12:15, I revisited the pen to find the palomino next to the water trough with all the other studs still in their same proximity.

As I said I would do….if I thought there was concern then I would address it. In keeping my promise, the wrangler and I took a water trough and placed in on the opposite side of the pen, near the feeders and a water spickit, primarily to see if the other studs would rush to get water or what. I did not want to leave without seeing at least one of the studs drink. While waiting for the trough to fill, it appeared that the palomino was placing claim on the mares located in a nearby pen which happened to be the same side the water source is located. Once the new trough was full, the truck was moved and we just watched the studs. After a few minutes, a roan walked over to the over-flow sniffed, then sniffed the trough, then walked away. About 15 mins later the roan walked back with 2 bays following. The roan did drink from the new trough but the 2 bays sniffed around then walked back to the feeders. I filmed the roan both times. The second time, when he drank, took about 2 1/2 minutes. I did notice the palomino stud watching but not concerned. The wrangler and I finally left the pen about 1:30 pm.

First thing tomorrow morning (by 8:00 am), the wrangler will move the nearby mares hoping to eliminate any more concerns.

Palomino Valley Stallions

Today we arrived at Palomino Valley to be told we had 15 minutes. They decided without posting that they were closing early for the holiday weekend.

Lightening is keeping the other horses from the fence line. My guess, from his posture and extreme aggressive behavior, is that there is at least one mare on the other side of the fence. Problem here is that the only water source in the pen is on that side of the pen.

General tried twice to lead the group to water and both times was chased off. The second time Lightening separated General (25 years old) out of the group and became aggressive.

We have two band stallions in this group, Lightening and General. General is leading the boys around…. Lightening has chosen the horses on the other side of the fence.

A horse is now limping in that pen that was not on Wed.

Move the water tank…. or better yet move the mares.

When we tried to point it out we were told “they will work it out.”
And then they waited for us to leave. Not just leave the facility, but they waited until we left the public road the facility is on. And then the two employees present left for the holiday weekend.

These stallions have been under considerable stress. Every stress… every single one… will contribute to the potential difficulties any adopter will face. Every stress contributes to the possibility of injury.

Feel like I’m banging my head on a brick wall.

Mustang Magic

Yesterday we went to the Broken Arrow facility as this is a holiday weekend and visitation was rescheduled.

The weather was a interesting mix of sunshine to hail and wind. After using moms bodies for shelter during the hail the foals gave us a nice “show” of playful activity when the storm passed. We are working on a youtube.

Mom is a "port in a storm"

Mom is a "port in a storm"

We were given more info about the adoption event. Mares with foals (or mare/foal pairs) will not be available until foals are weaned. Pairs will be kept at the Broken Arrow.

Aprox 400 animals are slated for adoption events around the country. 82 have been shipped to PVC for the Internet adoption. That adoption event includes the horses advocates have expressed interest in. Another group has already been sorted for an event in Montana.

If you are interested in adopting a mustang please visit the BLM adoption pages and read them carefully.

Some of you have adopted Mustangs… some of you have not. I’d like to just take a minute and address “relationship” with “horse.”

Many of us have watched abused horses learn to trust. To overcome their fear of the human hand because they have been treated so badly. A mustang has no knowledge of the human hand.

Curious beginnings (photo Laura Leigh)

Curious beginnings (photo Laura Leigh)

Bringing a wild horse into your life is a unique opportunity. You are (for the most part) a complete unknown. Mustangs are really smart… they have to be. Survival depends on instant decisions.

I have heard so many say the same thing… “It’s all about Trust. If you can show them they can trust you a bond forms as strong as that of herd. If you break the trust they don’t forget.”

A relationship developed over a commitment of time, slowly… lasting.

When a wild horse makes the decision to approach you they have invited you to a beginning. Remembering it is their space that you walk into… the space where wild meets human… it reminds us how very precious these animals are. We can learn so much from them.

Calico Filly (photo Elyse Gardner)

Calico Filly (photo Elyse Gardner

Wait for the invitation… if you are patient and still it will come. Learn to listen to their voice… they have one.  They will guide you. But remember you are a guest. Watch closely… if there is any discomfort they tell you, at first quietly. If you are a clumsy guest they get “louder.”

Remember they truly need nothing from you if left to be what they are. Their society exists in it’s own order. We have decided we need more land, more resource, more, more, more. In our history we needed them to carry our burdens, expand our ability to travel and win our wars. But they needed nothing from us. We are fortunate to share this planet with a being so willing to give us what we need.

That moment of first touch… if you wait for it, is their choice. They decide I want to touch you…. it is magic. It is a gift that should be honored. And in truth perhaps a moment we can truly learn to appreciate the relationship of “horse.”

The next person to approach this girl and wait for an invitation will most likely receive her permission to touch her legs. She is an amazing ambassador to the bravery of a wild horse. Every horse that watches her gains confidence… let us not break the trust they are willing to give.

Palomino Valley Update

Stallions have been moved to the “Big Pen.”

The dynamic among the group of horses was much more relaxed than yesterday. We saw some “stud pile” socializing and witnessed no aggressive behavior today. A bit of space in a more secluded place in the facility provides a much safer environment for horses and also the handlers.

The "Big Pen"

In order to get to this larger pen you need to walk around the facility a bit. If the idea of keeping them (stallions) in the small pen was to facilitate visibility… walking visitors around to see these horses might just facilitate an adoption or two.

#6171… Sweet and actually pushy for attention.

Ready for a place to call home (Elyse Gardner)

True has been moved to a hospital pen that is off limits to public view.

The BLM staff vet finally paid him a visit.

I asked the assistant manager if he would use my camera and take a quick photo for me. He took my camera but I failed to show him how to use the zoom. He took several pics to let me see that the wound had been treated saying he got as close a pic as he could. He said the flaps of skin had been cut off to reduce proud flesh. The wound treated and bandaged. He told me that he personally had to stick his head into the chute and the blood that was visible at the fetlock was from the injury to the foreleg. I thanked him for getting the pictures for me.

True 5/25 (PVC staff)

I don’t know when they will put him back with his dad. This little guy was gathered, separated from family, then found dad, then was separated from dad and gelded, then put back with dad , then moved and injured and now separated again. Sweet True boy… you will be back with daddy soon.

Putting together more pieces of pieces… will update again tomorrow.

Blog

Want to take a moment to address several things today.

First is that I have stated repeatedly that my blog is a blog. It is a place I express thoughts, info and feelings. On this blog I have an account written in a narrative form “general’s saga.” I have artwork under the “Expressions” tab. I have dialogue that expresses my impressions.

I also have written news articles for Horseback and the Examiner. Those are articles, a few are editorial, but easily identified. (example)

These are different formats.

There is a reason this is printed as a preface today.

Now back to the “True” Issue.

The BLM transported 82 horses last Wed. to the PVC center.

Wild horses, a good percentage of which are intact stallions, were moved for the adoption event earlier than expected. During sorting and shipping a higher probability for injury would exist within the “inventory.” This inventory represents the “items” identified as having a high probability toward adoption. Many because of interest already expressed by the public.

With a higher probability of injury (and at least one witnessed “putting up a fight” and injured) it is unclear to me why a vet visit was not scheduled until six days after such an operation. It is not as if we have a horse owner here concerned about the additional expense of a house call, we have an on staff vet.

Again keep in mind that the population that was moved is considered “highly adoptable” inventory. That population, from a management perspective, has the highest probability of return. It was also a visible opportunity to demonstrate the pro-active care given… instead of the reactive approach to crisis so often witnessed. (From top to bottom in this program).

When a prospective adopter expressed concern over the wounds witnessed in the horses they were following they were not met with any reassuring dialogue toward the animals that would require considerable expense to obtain and maintain. Again… from a management perspective … why would that adopter want to adopt? “Rescue” perhaps… but “adopt?” And then recommend the facility as a place to obtain a sound healthy horse? A large opportunity, not only missed, but turned into a negative experience.

Driving into PVC I expected to find an opportunity to address a more “pro-active” organized facility. An opportunity to look for “positives.” Didn’t find it.

I often approach these issues looking for the “bright side.” Continually I find areas where an understaffed, under funded, reactionary protocol is demonstrated.

In conversation the BLM tries to separate the facilities from the policy makers. It is not what I see. I see the same thought process at work.

Salazar created a “plan.” The plan is based on fear of ROAM (expressed publically at the SRM conference last fall). The plan is based on crisis intervention to an overwhelming inventory created by a protocol that doesn’t work. It is reactionary management. It does not address the root in a proactive form.

We can use many examples of this same strategy in the facilities.

A very basic example would be the stallions at PVC are now in a pen 25% smaller or less than at the Broken Arrow. Feeders are placed on two rails that run at a 90 degree angle to each other. Instead of placing hay down both rows to allow for easier access we have intact mature stallions biting each other at the feeders because the hay was placed only in the feeders on one rail. Stallions recently transported and now under the stress of vehicles, in view of training pens and fillies should have an attempt made to reduce stress. This pen also has the horses injured during transport. This situation can easily create a “crisis” type situation that could manifest by fighting in the pen and tension that will create a more difficult dynamic for the humans that will need to treat and eventually handle these animals.

Proactive measures can create less crisis management.

Back to True boy….

This injury occurred last Wed. I received conflicting information. “Discussions” occurred that were not conducive to an environment of trust and seemed based on a more personal agenda than anything related to promoting an adoption event.

His injury occurred on Wed. I viewed it Sat. The blood trail went over his hoof. I was not viewing the wound as it occurred or even in 24 hours after it was inflicted. If there were still “profuse” bleeding the horse would have been down from blood loss. I saw a wound that had debris  in it. I saw a wound that had the skin that was peeled off the front of his leg beginning to harden leaving the wound itself open. This horse had wounds on three legs.

Another horse was not bearing weight on all fours.

If I managed this facility that adopts/sells horses to the public, a vet would have been on site asap.

The concept. to me, that these horses were not scheduled a vet visit simply related to shipment in a proactive manner toward probability, sits in bad taste. That the vet visit was not rescheduled after injuries were observed? With the animals deemed to have the highest probability of return? To the point that sale authority animals that would normally have slipped off with no recognition have a public recognition that now makes them worthy of a bidding process?

What is the common phrase?

Of yeah… head, desk… head, desk.

True Update

Saw True today.

He has still not been seen by the vet. I have been told the vet will be there tomorrow.

This is a pictire of the largest wound, taken today.

True's largest wound 5/23

His dad is taking good care of him and keeping the other horses away from him.

If this injury occurred to a horse in your care would you call a vet? Waiting six days for a vet to examine a horse with wounds on three legs? Or to examine Commander still tender on that front?

5/23 5 days after injury

My emotions are actually getting the better of me at this moment so I will update about True boy again tomorrow.

True's leg 5/23

The pen holding the stallions is less than 25% the size of the pen they were held in at the Broken Arrow. Today hay was placed in feeders along one edge of the pen. Empty feeders were on the other side. This created a dynamic where all the stallions needed to line up in close proximity to each other. We witnessed biting and aggressive behavior we did not see at the Broken Arrow among this group. Placing hay into the other feeders would allow for more spacing between these horses and lessen the likelihood that we will see a serious injury occur.

Seems like a “no brainer,” doesn’t it?

Bite inflicted at feeder 5/23

I got news about the IDA suit being dismissed on standing. Standing is a tricky thing and rather interesting when it comes to filing a suit against the government. The points raised by the suit have not been discounted… but the points and plaintiffs didn’t match. I know we will hear more about this soon. The issue of long term warehousing is valid… but not in that format. This was not a defeat… the field was never joined.

Lightning looks great…

Lightning 5/23

If you can make the advisory board meeting in Denver… please come.

True in Trouble

Most of you know that I have been following General and his buddy Commander. General’s son True has absolutely stolen my heart.

The three of them were moved to Palomino Valley for the adoption event.

Even though back in January I was told that General and Commander were “sale authority” and I would “pull up my trailer, pay $25.00 bucks and then take them home,” they have now been slated for adoption.

Because I was interested in keeping these three together (they derive great comfort from each other) they were placed into the pen with Tomahawk and Lightening… and all the other horses people had expressed an interest in.

So when I learned they had been moved earlier than expected (we were told they would be moved some time in June) I went to see them right away. (We were told they were moved mid-week, I saw them on Saturday).

Commander and True both suffered injuries in transport.

Commander has blood on his right foot and was not bearing full weight.

Commander

True has injuries to three of his legs. His left leg has a gash from getting “hung up” on an object, (or something). The wound extends from just below his knee for aprox. 6 inches. The gash has an open wound aprox. 1 1/2 inches. At observation time it had not been flushed nor treated. On his right thigh (aprox. gaskin) is a puncture wound. His rear left had blood, I could not see the wound.

True

I was told True put up quite a fight…

The adoption event move was scheduled for June. I expected three sound horses needing no additional care. The original plans need to be adjusted to suit the new circumstance.

I am going to see him this morning… I may need your help.

Please DO NOT call Palomino Valley, please.

I am feeling sick about this today… just need some moral support.

I will post an update this afternoon.

Again… DO NOT call Palomino Valley.

I will be out there with True soon.

Mouse (#1096)

So much is going on right now.

Personally I’ve been in the field gathering data, having meetings, visiting the facilities. Herd Watch is coming together with tremendous support and volunteers.

Somehing happened last week that deserved a bit of time to respond to…

On May 19 BLM listed another death to the daily update.

“A yearling gelding (#1096) was euthanized after he was found down in his pen; diagnosis fractured neck, cause unknown.” This death brought the BLM count to 90. (Does not count deaths of foals).

#1096 was the little guy named “Mouse” by the advocates.

Mouse (Craig Downer)

Mouse was just a little thing.

Mouse gave people a really hard tme during processing…. he showed he was “wild” at heart.

This week horses were moved from the Broken Arrow over to PVC for an adoption event.

On Wed. the BLM update says he was found in his pen with a broken neck. Often wild animals panic when pressed. If Mouse was being separated for loading, or others near him were, a yearling that demonstrated the “spirit” that Mouse had shown might run into a fence. That reaction from this little fella might be expected… particularly with the pressure used to move them.

But the BLM says he was “found” in his pen and lists no known cause for a fractured neck.

“A yearling gelding (#1096) was euthanized after he was found down in his pen; diagnosis fractured neck, cause unknown.”

YouTube by Elyse Gardner

Currently there is a bit of a “rift” about discussions deemed the “daily snivel.”

Advocates need to recognize the value of advocates. There is not one “way to be” that will carry the change needed. We all need to recognize the value that each one of us brings to the table.

This is a simple recognition of a wild horse yearling taken from his home this winter. He did not adjust to captivity…

The current system has no protocol for recognition of individuals that will not do well behind bars toward releasing them.

So this morning we take a minute to recognize his passing…

More about the foal “Sorro”

Going to add a quick post to give y’all some more info on the foal that died at the Broken Arrow last weekend.

Examiner Article Here

I’m out collecting range data… I will report on those findings soon.

“Sorro,” as Elyse named the baby, was overlooked at the Broken Arrow. We were told by Dean Bolstad that the vet is out daily.

A “triage” of sorts was done and three foals given to a wild horse group. The foals given to that group all came from the pen that the weekend observers raised a stink about the weeks prior.

Sorro was not in that pen.

Sorro was in the pen at the rear of the facility. The last pens you see as you go on the tour.

No determination of intervention had been made on that mare/foal pair, none. (After supposedly witnessing that foal for days). The vet came to treat that foal AFTER advocates left that day. By that time it was too late to do anything.

When asked if the vet noted any anomalies (after death) that could have led to the issue, ie. parrot mouth or  other dental or structural issue Dean replied… “I don’t think so, nothing in the memo.” But he was unsure if anything was even looked for.

I’m sure he will answer questions on Sunday.

Discussing the issues at the Broken Arrow is not distraction from the main issue. The main issue is competent management of our wild herds… top to bottom. Any agency or piece of the protocol that fails in that mandate should fall under scrutiny. Just because a horse leaves the range does not decrease the scrutiny needed by the advocate community toward the welfare of that life.

I see faulty practices top to bottom.

A massive gather was done in the harshest portion of the winter. Almost 2000 horses were then trucked to a facility that was still under construction. Hospital pens in January and February did not have wind breaks.

A reported 300 births now brings that total to over 2000 horses. Wooden barriers have been placed to keep the hay near the pens. A piece of wood that forms a 45 degree angle is inserted to keep the hay close to the pen after we were told the abscesses were due to pushing against the fence in order to get hay.

However the 45 degree angle piece that keep that hay close to the animals is missing from the pens that contain the animals with the greatest nutritional needs. No slanted pieces are in place for the mares nursing foals…. but the stallion pen that holds the horses the advocates have named…. has one.

So what exactly is motivating change over there? It is not a “thinking” toward the horses. It is a reactionary response to the “aggravation” of actually allowing the public an opportunity to react to what they see.

If they want to dismiss it by calling it “daily snivel” it shows the continued use of dismissive, derogatory dialogue.

Think back to grammar school… a bully locks a nerd in the locker. When the kid is found by the janitor crying the bully makes fun of him. But the bully is wrong.

Issues that deal with health of the range, viability of herds, numbers of lease holders, adherence to law…. and the life of an overlooked foal… ALL OF IT MATTERS.

Not only the continued smoke screen of “multiple use.” The BLM manages over 262 million acres of land. Horses currently occupy about 10% of that land…. by definition that IS multiple use.

I’m sure when we flood the faxes in DC they have a cute derogatory term for it, too.

And if that means we turn the “daily snivel” into a tidal wave…. good. Maybe then the concept of how much American’s care about EACH LIFE  that is born of a wild horse will finally sink in.

Another Foal dies

Euthanized at the Broken Arrow

I was able to visit the horses at the Broken Arrow again. Many of these horses I have not seen in months.

I wanted to write to you about the experience of seeing these horses again. I entered the facility and expressed a desire to write about the adoption event… and one of the first horses I saw was wearing a tag on his head. Almost a gesture representing a “hey… get me out of here.”

"Get me outta here!"

I had an amazing reunion with some of the younger horses… that have grown so much since I saw them last. One by one a small group came up to say hello and I even got my head nibbled….

"Hello" (Elyse Gardner)

I had an amazing moment seeing General, Commander and True… I will save that for another day.

But instead I get to share that yet another foal has died.

At the end of the tour we observed an emaciated foal. The little thing appeared dehydrated and weak. The mare was present and attentive. She appeared to have very little milk.

She was also one of the mares that had been treated with PZP and released in CA.

The baby was euthanized after we left.

Mare and foal, foal euthanized (Craig Downer)

I spoke with Dean Bolstad today and he was genuinely concerned that this foal was allowed to get to the state it was in before intervention. We discussed the many “reasons” that this could have happened but he was in agreement that it shouldn’t have happened at all.

However we now have another birth and death that will not appear in any record.

So I leave with more questions…

Is PZP associated with a higher incidence of spontaneous abortion? Is it associated with a higher mortality rate to foals?

We will be told “no.” But the truth is that there is no statistical record kept. Studies on “sanctuary” horses are not studies on wild bands. Wild bands that deal with compound stress issues such as those that occur during round up are NOT the same as a controlled group in sanctuary… so don’t even try to convince me.

We are still waiting for the basic numbers of age, sex, etc. on this gather. Apparently the guy that enters the data needed help…. and then the help needs to be checked…. and then….

We are promised the data this week.

The vet at the Broken Arrow has appeared to need an assistant or two since day one. Why are these missed issues still occurring? Are there too many horses at the facility? Too little staff? Too hot to walk the pens?

I am very tired and have much to accomplish in the next few days. I will post more tomorrow.

The Bright Side

I’m in the field so updates are slow in coming.

I want to take just a minute to address more things beginning to circulate on the internet.

Folks… breathe. Keep the faith.

In my inbox are several emails that border on “panic” that address that the advocates are “not focused.”

Let me take a minute to address a few things here…

In Defense of Animal’s has created Action alerts that are well thought out responses that allow for personalization in a click and send format that create an easy way to comment on policy. Many of the alerts have created larger than normal response to issues that have allowed for little response time.

The magnitude of the Calico Complex gather has increased public awareness. The Pryor mountain round-up galvanized the wild horse groups and the anti-slaughter camps into one. Calico has gotten the attention of an even larger segment of the American public.

Out of this event an opportunity to educate through the outstanding reports created by George Knapp’s I-Team, coverage by CNN and what appears to be a willingness on the part of more mainstream journalists to approach this issue a bit differently has occurred.

March for Mustangs and the protests on American soil from NYC to LA have crossed the ocean to Europe.

Internet sites devoted to the preservation of our horses increase in volume and traffic.

The next Advisory Board meeting in Denver includes a “workshop.” Changes in the way the public participates have been long overdue.

The Tr-state Megaplex and the process in which protocol is being determined within that structure also indicate change.

Herd watch run through the Cloud Foundation is a massive national effort to create a database that will stand up to scrutiny.

AWHPC has been active in creating valuable reports that have gone to many that are beginning to listen.

So many… so many groups are working together.

Please take a minute to concentrate on the areas where progress is occurring and build on that. To allow yourselves to feel as if a disjointed misdirected effort is occurring, as we all give so much to this effort, will make you feel defeated. We are not defeated… we are not “misinformed.”

The advocates are more informed than ever before.

We have a lot of work to do no doubt. Areas to improve communication and the speed at which information is shared is seeing improvement. The wealth of diversity among the advocates is creating possibilities that did not exist in the past. From that diversity we will continue to grow…

This summer we have a lot of work to do. Many areas will need to be handled in unison. If the Moratorium remains unanswered many areas, many herds, will need us to continue to unite our voices.

Hang in there. Focus on the areas where we are making strides. And keep going…

“Keep speaking the truth from your heart,” Craig Downer.

Gotta Run…. more later.

Technical Issues

The link has been fixed for the IDA Alert in the post below.

Some of your comments are not posting and a few of the links have dropped from the site.

I’m working on fixing these issues and apologize.

I will update blog soon!

IDA Alert

Please Act Before May 21 - Oppose Removal Of 1,000 Wild Horses From Nevada’s Great Basin Region

Please use the form below to submit comments (and share with friends and family) before Friday, May 21, to oppose the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tuscarora Field Office (Nevada) proposal to round up 1,438 wild horses and permanently remove approximately 1,000 horses from more than 480,000 acres in Wild Horses, credit: Mark Terrellnortheast Nevada. The BLM has decided that only 337-561 wild horses are allowed to live in this 750-square-mile area. Meanwhile, the BLM allows private ranchers to graze thousands of livestock in the same area. The BLM issued a preliminary Environmental Assessment and refused to give serious consideration to alternatives to the roundup. The Obama Administration is intent on continuing business as usual when it comes to the BLM’s wild horse and burro program.

Read more and take ACTION

at the IDA web site!

Herd Watch questions

I have been receiving questions regarding the Herd Watch project.

Many of them are duplicate questions so I am going to combine them and respond in this post. I hope it helps.

I am currently in the field and creating necessary documents for this project.

_____________
If one volunteers, how much time would be involved?

We send out an application where volunteers list skill sets.

Information provided to us in the applications will be verified.

Volunteers can let us know how much time they can give to the project (assignments have differing levels of involvement).

This gives us the info we need for appropriate placement.

How will areas be chosen?

Areas are given priority based on current policy.

All areas will be included within the data base that contain (or have contained) equid populations.

The word “area” implies BLM. Just a reminder, herds exist in many jurisdictions.

How often would a person go to the herd area?

It depends on each Team and need.

Many areas have larger teams so visits can be divided up among members.

Are permits needed, if so who secures them?

Permits are usually only required on public land when individuals decide to camp there.

If individuals decide they want to spend more than a day on public land they will have been provided with all the contact info ahead of time (as well as notified the Team leader of their plans to stay).

If the individual is collecting data at a holding facility (for example) that requires an appointment, it is the responsibility of the volunteer to make the appointment as a private citizen.

Herd watch is a volunteer effort where individuals participate by providing information they gain as individual citizens through observation.

This is NOT a protest.

What kind of training will be provided?

It depends on the duty requirement.

Data entry and file management are a large part of this project.

Manuals and conference calls (or on site if required) will be provided as needed for each specific task.

Will “pro’s” be included to gain credibility with the BLM?

Horses and burros don’t only exist on BLM land.

The integrity of the database is not limited to gaining credibility with a single branch of the Department of Interior.

The integrity of the database is the first concern of Herd Watch. All protocol is designed with this in mind.

Can my teenagers participate?

There will be many opportunities geared specifically for teens and projects for younger children. Those opportunities currently do not include collecting field data.

If you want your teen to accompany you as you collect data you will be required to fill out the same contract of conduct and liability forms you fill out for yourself. As a parent you are responsible for the conduct of yourself and your children in any effort you participate in. Most volunteer opportunities, including those at your local animal shelter, have the same requirements as Herd Watch.

You may be advised that a specific assignment is not appropriate for teens.

Will the database be available for public use?

The database will contain information that will be made available to the public through a website that is under construction.

The website will contain general information as well as any areas that require public response. The database will host an archived section of historical data and a synopsis of current information.

The database itself will be made available for research specific projects (education) that may require data review through a case by case application.

In college I assisted a biology teacher in a research project. Is that what this will be like?

In many respects that is exactly what this project will resemble.

A Team Leader that has a background in the discipline required to complete the specifications of each project will be assigned. Each participant will operate much like an “intern.”

If I can’t participate but want to support the project through a donation can I send you money or equipment?

The only place to donate for Herd Watch is through the Cloud Foundation website. HERE.

If you would like to donate computers, cameras, gas cards, gift cards, vehicles, etc. please call Makendra at The Cloud Foundation, 719-633-3842 to make specific arrangements.

Read About Herd Watch and it’s mission at The Cloud Foundation.

I thank you all for the interest in this project.

Happy Mother’s Day

Almost from the very moment it happens you know… a new life has taken root inside of you.
A life that grows with a unique personality. A being that grows more familiar as it grows inside of you.

It is a secret you carry.
It walks with you, eats and sleeps with you.

One day that being leaves the comfort of it’s secret place and enters your world. It changes everything you are.

Motherhood has strings attached (Cat Kindsfather)

A world that may be filled with hardship, challenges and pain. Yet it is also a world filled with moments of pure love.

You strive to care for that life. To provide for it the best you can. Each moment close together becomes a center to a small universe. A universe you carry with you always.

I thank my mom for all she has taught me. I thank my children for teaching me why.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I wrote a new piece for Mother’s day on the Examiner featuring the beautiful photography of the captive Mothers and their children by Cat Kindsfather. Thank you Cat for this Mother’s day gift. Essay here.

Earlier article about births at Broken Arrow here.

Adoption Tidbit

Just a few tidbits for thought today.

I have written a few times about the adoption events held by the BLM. Recently I posted concern over some of the horses that get very little publicity and move from first adoption event into the realm of “three-strikes” without much fanfare.

Photo taken from BLM INet site

This pretty girl is at PVC. She is in her second adoption event. The second event uses the same awful pictures as the first.  No real publicity campaign associated with either event. Just days ago she had no bids. Today she does! Thirteen of the horses listed actually have bids this time.

Often we hear claims that the public does not “step up.” Those claims are always so outrageous. The public steps up to advocate, adopt and rescue so many that get into trouble. The public at large adores it’s wild horses. People that have never seen a wild horse in person, nor ever will, adore our horses.

But we need our government to really recognize what these animals mean to the moral of it’s people at a time when pride in being American is waning. We really do stand at a cross-roads where WE as a nation can rebuild our economy and social structure not on the backs of it’s people by supporting a select few and selling our land to foreign interests. We can create a real pride by protecting our country and reminding ourselves that being American does not mean being a “sell-out,” but it means being a resourceful survivor… like the mustang.

An effort by those in power could go a real long way right now. They need to show US that the willingness to restore US actually includes the things that matter to US.

I want to take just a minute to point out another horse at PVC that has no bids. This mare is gorgeous… but she’s a bay. Being a bay is a “bad thing” in the wild horse world. I was out looking at horses on private land (checkered land that illustrate that horses only have protection not by where they were born but only by the land they stand on in a moment), where someone may very well have “culled” the bays from the herd he gathers horses from for sale so they don’t breed the color out of the “stock.” Not much I can do about it except recognize the truth of the lack of protection many horses have in our world and the sad truth of what it means to be “just a bay.”

Taken from BLM INet site

She’s here.

Sex: Mare Age: 3 Years   Height (in hands): 14.3

Necktag #: 3616   Date Captured: 12/17/08

Color: Brown   Captured: Callaghan (NV)

Notes:
#3616 – 3 yr old brown mare, captured Dec 08, from the Callaghan HMA, Nevada.

This horse is currently located in Palomino Valley, NV. For more information, call 775-475-2222 or email John_Parsons@blm.gov or Timothy_Green@nv.blm.gov.

And please….

Visit IDA’s action page often for new Alerts even if you are on the mailing list. Sometimes actions are required very quickly and the few hours you can save by forwarding an ALERT before it hits your inbox could prove valuable.

IDA Action page here.

And keep calling the President and asking for a direct answer to the Moratorium call delivered to him last fall.

Whitehouse hotline number: 202-456-1111

Advocate

I am working on many projects and have a lot to share with all of you.

But because of current undertones and accusations I feel the need to state a personal distinction with all of you.

Death threats appear to be increasing to the members of organizations that manage wild horses and burros. Attacks on the character of other advocates is also on the rise, against myself included.

Certain advocate groups have put out statements asking for folks to deal with the BLM in a “civilized” manner. I am making the same plea… but my plea includes our dealings with each other.

I do recognize the absolute outrage. I do recognize the truth of the heart-break. I do recognize the feeling of helplessness against a “machine” that operates without apparent flexibility or apparent awareness of the emotional and physical wounds it inflicts.

But within that frustration exists a destructive way of being that will feed on itself and hurt advocates. It creates a reactiveness that acts without complete information and has the potential to inflict as much damage as the “machine.”

If the current “plea” that has been sent out makes your inbox, I am asking you to take the same logic put forth and apply it to the “advocates” themselves. If there is a “willingness” demonstrated to overlook differences and see “positive” places for dialogue (as some express in statements that ask “attacks cease against those on the ground” and focus on a legislative battle. And some subtly, and not so subtly, point fingers at other advocates) take a moment to think.

Let it be a seed that grows compassionate understanding everywhere.

We have all been drawn here because we care. It is a truth I have observed. But we are all different. Simply because someone comes from a “city” or a background that does not include ever gentling a wild horse does not make their viewpoint irrelevant. In many ways they offer a unique perspective that has unique value.

Statements made about “personal gain” sound like the claims Sue Wallis’ camp makes in the horse slaughter struggle as she accuses advocates of making money “hand over fist.” The majority of advocates, many of them high-profile, devote a great amount of personal resource to engage in this effort. Any funding they receive does not cover the costs incurred.

Yes, there are large organizations that exist in a business capacity that make a living from advocacy, but that is not the majority. It is also not inherently wrong.

Yes, there are many that have figured out how to exist funded as entities that gentle and find homes for horses… but most of them exist on budgets that make it month-to-month.

I have heard accusations that certain advocates really advocate for the BLM. I have heard accusations that certain advocates are in it for personal “glory.” I have heard accusation after accusation that in the big picture create a “drama” that ultimately hurts horses.

Each advocate has something to offer this effort. Each voice speaks a language that is vital to reach the ears needed to create change.

Take a minute to breath… please.

If there is a willingness to recognize the value of recognizing the “humaneness” of those that manage wild horses and burros… please recognize the tremendous value of the wealth of diversity among the advocates themselves.

OK… gonna step off the soap box. But I want to leave you with a few definitions of words courtesy of dictionary online. Y’all know language is a topic I am very interested in.

Be very aware of the interactions we all have with each other. Be very aware of your behavior and how it pertains to constructive action.

ad·vo·cate

   [v. ad-vuh-keyt; n. ad-vuh-kit, -keyt]  Show IPA verb,-cat·ed, -cat·ing, noun
–verb (used with object)

1.

to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
-noun

2.

a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually fol. by of): an advocate of peace.

3.
a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.
4.

a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.

ac·tiv·ist

   [ak-tuh-vist]  Show IPA
–noun

1.

an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, esp. a political cause.
-adjective

2.

of or pertaining to activism or activists: an activist organization for environmental concern.
3.

advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, esp. a political cause: Activist opponents of the President picketed the White House.
Added by request from Anne:

pac·i·fism
Pronunciation: \ˈpa-sə-ˌfi-zəm\
Function: noun
Etymology: French pacifisme, from pacifique pacific
Date: 1902
1 : opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
2 : an attitude or policy of nonresistance

ter·ror·ist

   [ter-er-ist]  Show IPA
1.

a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
2.
a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

ter·ror·ism

   [ter-uh-riz-uhm]  Show IPA
1.

the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2.
the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3.
a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
~~~~~~~~
This issue is filled with passionate people. That passion stems from a core belief that is expressed in many unique ways. Not one person… not a single one… can carry the change needed to make a difference for our wild herds. This change will only come as each hand learns how to drop the stones they hold in order to be able to grab the hand of their neighbor.
That goes for both sides. So does the referencing of the definitions of words.
~~~~~~
Now to end with a quote from Hill Street Blues:
Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: Hey, let’s be careful out there.

Quick post

I’m dealing with several projects (as usual) and have a bunch of stuff to post as soon as I “get it together.”

But wanted to pass two links on for thought…

BLM internet adoption

Mantle Ranch horses adoption going on now.

Only one horse currently has a bid.

https://www.blm.gov/adoptahorse/onlinegallery.php?horseCategory=237

Another death at the Broken Arrow.

“One yearling filly was found dead in her pen, cause of death unknown.”

http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/wfo/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/calico_mountains_complex/gather_activity_updates.html

Cat Kindsfather inspired

Cat sent me a wonderful photo of old General yesterday.

Why am I here? (drawing)

General (drawing by Laura)

It was the inspiration for a short article that attempts to begin to explain the current adoption process and introduce the sale authority concept.

I have a bunch to say on both those subjects but I’m out of time for today with much to accomplish.

I will write more later!

Here is the article:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-45566-Horse-Examiner~y2010m5d2-The-uncertain-fate-of-older-wild-horses

Herd Watch ALERT

Please be aware that the ONLY way to donate to Herd Watch is through the Cloud Foundation website.

http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/index.php/news-events-a-media/news/wild-horse-issues/342-herdwatch

If you receive a request from anyone asking you to paypal to an email DO NOT send funds. Herd Watch will NOT receive them. Several e-mails have been taken: HerdWatchAdmin@gmail as well as others that ARE NOT associated with Herd Watch.

The ONLY email accounts are:

HerdWatch@gmail.com

CalicoHorses@gmail.com

Please pass this on.