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?