One of my readers, that at this time is remaining anonymous, has adopted a three-strike mare.
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.
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.”
Sex: Mare Age: 3 Years Height (in hands): 14.3
Necktag #: 3616 Date Captured: 12/17/08
Color: Brown Captured: Callaghan (NV)
#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.
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.
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
Cat sent me a wonderful photo of old General yesterday.
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:
As the adoption event of the Calico Complex horses draws closer I want to take a moment to begin discussing the concepts of bringing a wild horse into your life and what BLM adoptions/sale policy represents.
Last week Rob Pliskin sent me an article he wrote in honor of a horse named “Tobey.” Tobey was one of our wild ones that had a sad story that turned into a “happy ending” because humans stepped up to the plate at their own expense. Tobey was abused. He ended his life with hands that cared around him. He was one of the lucky ones.
Kiva is the name of a BLM mustang that did not end his life with such fortune. Kiva was BLM branded. It was reported he worked as a camp horse with kids. I know he ended his life at the slaughter house. I tried to help Kiva. He had a home that I could have taken him to. A woman that would have tried her best to give him dignity and recognition of the service he gave after he left his life of freedom was hoping to give Kiva retirement. The packing plant owner needed to “make weight” on his shipment. Another so-called “unwanted horse” shipped to slaughter in a business that has more to do with supply and demand than any assertion that it is a “humane solution” toward solving a “problem.”
All that having been said what is “BLM adoption?”
If you can get past the reasons (spin) that these horses need to be adopted (removed from the range in such large numbers) there is some good information there.
You must provide a minimum of 400 square feet (20 feet x 20 feet) for each animal adopted. Until fence broken, adult horses need to be maintained in an enclosure at least six feet high; burros in an enclosure at least 4.5 feet high; and horses less than 18 months old in an enclosure at least five feet high.
Other facility requirements are listed on the site.
It also lists the coding system for BLM freezebrands.
The BLM uses freezemarking to identify captured wild horses and burros, which is a permanent, unalterable, painless way to identify each horse or burro. The freezemark is applied on the left side of the animal’s neck and uses the International Alpha Angle System, which is a series of angles and alpha symbols. The mark contains the registering organization (U.S. Government), year of birth, and registration number.
There are many ways to obtain a mustang, not only from the BLM. There are several organizations that have given sanctuary to mustangs and adopt out horses that have already been “titled” and gentled to halter and handling. For some of you this may be a better option. A quick search on the Internet can pull up options, many you may find in your immediate area so you can visit and meet the horses available. By adopting from one of these places you free up a spot for another horse and help to keep these facilities in operation. And help keep a “safety net” in place for horses like Tobey and Kiva. BLM has no program that protects these horses after they are titled. That net is left to the private sector to maintain.
The BLM also has training programs at several Correctional facilities. More information can be found here. Many really wonderful horses have come out of these programs. ABC News clip from a program segment of the Outsiders here.
If you decide you want to bring in a horse and do all the training yourself this is a link to the adoption schedule for 2010.
You will not find the Calico adoption listed on the schedule. At this time the horses from the Calico round-up will be offered via Internet adoption in July. Further information will be forthcoming.
The horses currently at the Palomino Valley Facility in Nevada are being “moved” to make room for the horses coming in for the adoption event that will, at this time, include approximately 100 horses from the Calico gather.
Recently the horses at PVC were offered for adoption via the internet. I urge you to take a peek at the page before it gets pulled.
What I would like you to notice are the number of horses that had no bids. Many of these horses now have “one strike” in a “three strike” system that moves them closer to long term holding. It doesn’t matter that the event was held with virtually no publicity, photographs that have many of these horses looking afraid and dirty. The effort involved in placement has nothing to do with the individual life moving towards a life sentence.
Sex: Filly Age: 1 Years Height (in hands): 12.2
Necktag #: 6017 Date Captured: 04/01/09
Color: Brown Captured: Born in a Holding Facility
#6017 – 1 yr old brown filly, born in a holding facility, NV, in Apr 09
She is available at PVC. Please note she was born in captivity. NO bids.
Sex: Gelding Age: 1 Years Height (in hands): 12.2
Necktag #: 6106 Date Captured: 01/01/09
Color: Bay Captured: Born in a Holding Facility
#6106 – 1 yr old bay gelding, born in a holding facility, NV, in Jan 09.
He is available at PVC. Please note he was born in captivity. NO bids.
Sex: Filly Age: 1 Years Height (in hands): 12
Necktag #: 6149 Date Captured: 09/18/09
Color: Sorrel Captured: Beatys Butte (OR)
#6149 – 1 yr old sorrel filly, captured Sep 09, from Beatys Butte HMA, Oregon.
She is at PVC. NO bids.
Sex: Mare Age: 3 Years Height (in hands): 13.3
Necktag #: 6953 Date Captured: 10/31/09
Color: Palomino Captured: Tobin Range (NV)
#6953 – 3 yr old palomino mare, captured Oct 09, from Tobin Range HMA, Nevada.
She is available at PVC. NO bids.
Notes on the availability of the above horses from BLM site:
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.
Pick up options (by appt): Palomino Valley, NV; Litchfield, CA; Burns, OR; Elm Creek, NE; Pauls Valley, OK; Ewing, IL.
Other pick up options: Marshall, TX (4/15-noon-2pm); Asheville, NC (4/16); Springfield, OH (4/16); Midland, MI (5/7); Marshfield, WI (5/21); Kenansville, NC (5/21).
Now I have a few questions for y’all:
While national attention focuses on the round-up that the BLM spent considerable taxpayer resources on, while the court case from IDA moves forward that the BLM is spending considerable taxpayer resources on, did any of you see a public campaign that reflects considerable resources mounted toward an adoption program? I’m not talking about a few hundred thousand spent on an “Extreme Mustang Makeover” event or a few thousand spent on a small adoption event… but anything that reflects a balanced program?
It almost seems as if the BLM relies on the public to not only attempt to create a safety net for these horses vulnerable to abuse and slaughter, but to do the majority of publicity toward adoption, like with the Pryor horses and Calico.
“We need to get AML down to a level that supports the adoption program.” Gene Seidlitz, Winnemucca district manager BLM.
Maybe getting your act together on resource management on the range, bringing the adoption program up to support current populations, creating a management strategy that stops destabilizing populations that increase reproduction, utilizing birth control in existing populations, etc. etc. etc. might possibly represent the concept “management” in a more productive fashion? Instead of keeping the “full steam ahead” approach on a management strategy that clearly DOES NOT WORK?
I have a couple of stories to bring to you about adoptions of Wild Horses.
I’ll start with an article Rob Pliskin sent to me.
In Memory of Tobey, A Wild Horse:
and in Honor of Robert Denlinger and Cher Eastep
by Rob Pliskin
I have been a volunteer in the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program for 12 years. During that time I worked two stints at Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, a gracious way station and sometimes end of the line for horses and burros in the High Desert of southern California.
I have seen horses and burros come and go, from weanlings just off the range who wanted to walk up under your elbow, to adults bouncing off the panels to escape. What I’ve seen in these 12 years runs the gamut, from blessed unions between animals and adopters, to hard rescues of the abused and neglected in dire, deadly straits.
The first strong truth which stands out for me in every case is this: These horses and burros, against their will, have been delivered into the hands and ultimately the hearts of the people who will come in contact with them for the rest of their lives.
Nearly all of these animals (that is, a number far more than any “vast majority” you could name) were living good lives meant for them in the wild before their capture. They lived in family bands and herds in a way which guaranteed them the biggest shot at thriving nature could provide. At the exact moment of their capture, this freedom was replaced by a complete and lifelong dependence on the hands and hearts of humans.
Even in the best of cases, I question whether that is a fair trade. And in the worst, we all know it is not. Who among us would not bounce off steel corral panels in their place? We, who can never fully imagine the freedom of their wild, or the deadly fear of their captivity, would still know it for what it is. And we too would undoubtedly resist.
Regarding this captivity then, the second equally strong truth which stands out for me is knowing the importance of the hands and the heart of the wild horse and burro adopter.
And when I try to describe these hands and hearts, too many words just flat get in the way. So let me choose a few, and then introduce you to two people, Robert and Cher, and a wild horse named Tobey: two sets of human hands and indeed, three linked hearts. The story of the Hands and Heart of an Adopter is really told in the text of the email below, sent by Robert Denlinger of Denstar Farms, one of Tobey’s first rescuers, to Tobey’s second rescuer, Cheryl Eastep of Freedom Ranch, who provided a lifelong home for Tobey until his passing this week.
I met Cher in 1998 and Robert in 1999, when the Adoption Program began co-sponsoring weeklong gentling clinics across the country, providing hands-on education for anyone who wanted to learn to do their best with the captive wild horses and burros in the Program.
With an adoption at the beginning of the week and one at the end, many animals had an improved chance of a good adoption, having received some decent experience with human beings. Many of the public participants during the week also had good experience with the horses and burros, and many took home an animal they could meet in the corrals for a week first at the workshop.
Robert was one of the teachers. Cher was another, and co-directed the weeklong activities in the clinics for years, in addition to founding Freedom Ranch, a non-profit facility for abused and neglected wild horses and burros. While many of the teachers like Robert and Cher were handy and adept with the animals, many of the participants had a lot of that to learn.
But here is the key: Getting handy, good with your hands and your feet, your arms and your legs, your ropes and things, is something you can do – it just takes practice. Lots of practice. And the wonderful thing about the horses and burros is, they like it when you practice, and they are forgiving for the most part when you make a mistake. Because both of those things when put together mean you care about them. And it is in a horse’s and burro’s nature, in their own unique way, to care back.
THIS to me is the most important part of an adopter’s profile. Experienced hands and a cold or cruel heart do not make a good adoption. But inexperienced hands and a kind heart do. The horses and burros know this, and again and again, all they try to do every day is wait their best for you to get better at both. Obviously, it is far easier for them to wait for your hands and not your heart. But they will even wait for that, and sadly for some, even to their starvation, injury, or death.
This, in Tobey’s case, is what makes them horses. And this, ultimately, is the third and strongest truth of this essay. They will wait for you, but do not tarry. It is in the heart of a wild horse and burro. It is why they followed us for centuries, and still do, helping us build this country. Reach in and match the bigness of your heart with the bigness of theirs, in some way, your way. Then, reveal it to them, every day, day in, and day out. That is the Hands and Heart of an Adopter. Find them here, in the email from Robert to Cher. And take them with you into the corral, wherever and whenever you go. Because these animals, no matter what they look like or what they do, are bringing theirs to you.
(Note: Cher at Freedom Ranch is www.freedomranch.net . Robert’s Denstar Farm website can be found in the link in his email below.)
Oh Cheryl I cry with you I am afraid. Tobey came here beaten and
bedraggled by humans. He had three ropes from lariats embedded in the
poll area and maggots crawling out everywhere. He had snaggle teeth on
one side of the jaw from being beaten with boards. He had burn marks on
his back from cigarettes. He had the definite outline of white hair
across his back from being hit so very hard one time with a 2×4.
That was the Tobey I met .. his head hung a little lower than normal,
when he stepped out of that trailer.
When no one was around a little later, I asked him if he’d let me remove
the ropes; spray it with water and put wound dressings on it. He looked
suspiciously at me. So I promised I wouldn’t go beyond certain zones, in
front of the ears nor farther down the neck-line. He agreed and lowered
his head and I knew I was communicating with him. This was Tobey, always
ready to try and believe in someone. Yet he was also always ready to
defend himself in a serious manner.
After 45 minutes, Tobey had patiently let me cut the ropes out and spray
it all off as well as put dressing on the area.
The first picture on this page was taken by Mary just a while after he
got here. I had the spray-wound-dressing in my left hand:
Tobey was so very intelligent and so very regal. When he met Cheryl, we
all could see he knew he’d gone to heaven. At Cheryl’s place in Colorado
Tobey would proudly demonstrate the things he new would get him a
“Click” and a treat.
I loved listening to Tobey ;;; He just really liked to chortle. Chortle
a greeting; chortle that a sheep was in his stall; chortle that he
wanted Cheryl to turn on his favorite country-western radio station.
What a guy he was! That stout chest .. and when he had to demonstrate to
a miscreant horse exactly *WHO* was king, Tobey would sit back on his
butt and punch with two front feet!! It was quite an awesome thing to watch.
Tobey let me ride him, though no one was ever around to take a picture.
He did let Mary watch a few times. I suppose I am the only one who ever
got on his back. I am truly honored to have met him and been allowed to
be his friend.
We are all lucky that Cheryl drove all the way out here to give him a
life long home. I knew I’d lost a buddy but I knew he’d been in the
absolute best care he could ever have. Tobey ate well when Cheryl had
hard times and had to cut back for herself.
Well, I guess I’ll tell Mary about this. I can promise you that there
isn’t a week go by, since he left here, that the splendid guy isn’t
mentioned as a reference to this or that subject.
Long live Tobey’s memory!
Note: Photos included in this piece were taken by Elyse Gardner. Elyse called me as soon as she left the facility on Sunday to let me know General was doing well. His son True has been moved in with the younger horses and seems a bit “lost.”
The horses gathered from the Calico Complex by the Bureau of Land Management this winter, held at the Broken Arrow facility in Fallon, will not be going to Palomino Valley for an adoption event in May as previously planned. The horses will be offered in an Internet adoption event in July.
John Neill manager at the Broken Arrow facility has stated:
Based on National interest with Calico horses, we have decided not to host an adoption event at Palomino Valley in mid May. Instead we will be posting approx. 100 Calico’s on an internet adoption event to be held in July.
The 100 animals will be transported to Palomino Valley in early June for public viewing if persons so wish. However, adoptions /sales will take place on the I-NET adoption in July. Pictures of the animals selected for this
event will eventually be posted on our web site. This likely will not
happen until late May or early June.
John Neill will keep me informed as the event draws closer so information can be made available to the public.
A personal note: John knows I am following specific horses. I asked about the horses by their tag numbers. John responded with General’s name.