Beautiful Girl(s)

19 12 2010

Through this blog, I’ve been blessed to come into contact with mustang lovers all across the country and the world. That has been as gratifying to me as my journey with the horses themselves – and I’ve probably learned just as much!

I’ve known about Linda’s “Beautiful Mustang” blog for a while now (it’s linked to the right under my blog roll), but the calendar posts brought us in closer contact – particularly when she mentioned she was going to do a post about PZP. Linda adopted her mustang Beautiful Girl as a yearling after she was rounded up with her mother from Beatty’s Butte, Oregon, and her blog relates her journey with this feisty, beautiful girl and other paths along the way – such as her cool Irish wolfhound and the other horses and goats and family she shares her life with!

There’s a lot of information out about PZP (sometimes confused with PZP-22) – and about fertility control in general. I’ve been sitting on a draft post about fertility control and some misconceptions I’ve read for about two months now. It’s a big issue, and the post, while longer than most I write, doesn’t begin to cover it all. I worry about what I’ve left out as much as I wonder how people will take what I’ve written – knocking down misconceptions and outright untruths about PZP and fertility control that some have come to see as irrefutable fact.

So I got pretty excited when Linda proposed a Q&A on her blog about PZP and fertility control (native PZP is not the same as PZP-22). She emailed me six questions, and it took me a long, full day to answer them (lucky I got snowed out of the basin that day!). She has Part I up on her blog now along with some pictures that help illustrate it. These are the questions she asked:

1.) Can you tell us how you became interested in Mustangs and a little about the herd you document?
2.) You’ve said that  you’d advocate the use of PZP to control the growth of Mustang herds, can you tell us why you’ve come to that decision?
3.) From your observations and knowledge, does PZP change the behaviors of wild horses?
4.) Your organization has submitted a plan to the BLM, can you give us the highlights of that plan?
5.) What are the down sides, if any, to using PZP—in your personal assessment?
6.) Do you have any unanswered questions about it?

Like I told Linda, I am not a scientifically “knighted” expert about PZP or fertility control. I don’t have letters before or after my name. But with a specific herd that I advocate for, I decided it was in their best interests for me to learn as much as I could – just like the decision I made to document them. Lots of people have put up information about PZP that seems reasonable and logical and workable … and is perfectly NOT suited to reality. I can’t tell you that *I* know what I’m talking about (I can – you don’t have to believe me). I have cited scientific information researched by people who DO have lots of letters before and after their names.

But I have not yet used PZP, and although PZP-22 was given to eight mares in or brought to Spring Creek Basin, that’s a pretty small “research pool.” (And of the five SCB mares that got the PZP-22 at the end of the 2007 roundup, three are surviving.) I can tell you only what I know (from training and my own reading/research and observations of “my” wild horses) and what other people have taught me. I believe it to be reasonable. I believe myself to be reasonable. I am incredibly emotionally invested in these mustangs (possibly the understatement of the year), but I am also realistic. We’ll have a roundup next fall. I will HATE it, but I recognize the necessity of it.

I absolutely encourage everyone who reads this to READ, RESEARCH, DISCOVER, ASK QUESTIONS! Of me, of actual experts – and make your opinions accordingly. The more that’s asked, the more that’s learned. You may not agree with me, but you’ll have the information to make an informed decision.

And thank you, to a mustang angel in Washington, for giving me another forum to add to the discussion. 🙂



5 responses

20 12 2010

You know so much about PZP, it’s amazing. And, you’re practical about it–looking at the facts and what’s best for the wild horses. I admire that. As you know, I’m going to run each question as a “Part” because you have so much information I can’t fit it all in one or two blog posts, but I think it’s all important. I wish more people read my blog, so it would get a larger audience, but I guess every little bit helps!

You have a heart for the horses.

Merry Christmas, TJ

20 12 2010

And what I know is a drop in the bucket compared with the information that’s out there – written by true experts. I think every little bit counts. After the holidays, I think I’ll dust off my post and get it out there. Maybe we can drum up a little conversation about it.

I think Beautiful Girl would agree, you have a huge heart for horses, too! Merry Christmas!

24 12 2010
Pat Amthor

All of the supporters of the wild horses need to say a very big” thank you “to you, for your ability to investigate, learn and share information. What you learn is for the future of the horses we love. Blessings for continuous love and appreciation of the Spring Creek Herd.

2 01 2011
nancy roberts

Thanks TJ for putting the PZP isssue into easy to understand words…I am looking forward to the results of the HSUS study out at Sand Wash. When their study is finished we need people to take over. Hopefully we can all learn from each other. It seems like we have 3 of the herds fairly well documented (someone needs to get going on Piceane). I truly believe we are on our way to better management, at least in Colorado. Thanks TJ. If there is a Spring Creek gather I will be there. Nancy (-:

2 01 2011

Nancy, I’m looking forward to the results of that PZP-22 study there, too. BLM is looking for a multi-year application that’s cheap as well as effective; advocates want to know it’s safe for the horses and no more intrusive than visitors to their daily lives. I have learned from MANY people, and I want to stress that as much as I can! Lots of folks are working quietly for their herds on a very intimate level, and it all helps. Our roundup is on the schedule for Sept. 17-21. Hopefully we’ll meet before then – under better circumstances. 🙂 Thanks for all YOU do for the Sand Wash Basin herd!!

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