They’re totally rock stars

12 08 2017


Earlier this week, I visited the BLM state office in Denver (Lakewood). As we walked into the entry way … I was drawn to the photo of mustangs on the wall (naturally, right?!).


Photos also were on the opposite wall, but the mustangs catch your eye (of course!). (Above: Already out the door is BLM’s Ben Smith, wild horse and burro specialist based in Grand Junction, and holding the door while yours truly geeked out taking photos of a mustang photo is Jim Hyrup, president of Friends of the Mustangs, which is the group that advocates for Little Book Cliffs mustangs near Grand Junction.)


This is the view of the photo as we walked into the building. It’s the view EVERYONE has as they walk into BLM’s state office!

I stopped to look closer … and was about to ask if anyone recognized the horses … when *I* suddenly did.

I might have gotten a little loud. 🙂

Pictured are Hayden, Jif, Chrome, Two Boots and Rio (now named Legado, owned by an NMA/CO board member). The BLM people didn’t know who took the photo, but it had to have been taken in 2010.

Because our wild beautiful ponies are just that famous. 🙂

In other pretty awesome news, we were there to support friends who advocate and volunteer and partner and collaborate with BLM for the good management of our Colorado mustangs on Colorado’s herd management areas and wild horse range: Sand Wash Basin, Little Book Cliffs, Spring Creek Basin (specifically) and Piceance-East Douglas (coming soon, we hope!). BLM folks, including Laria Lovec (on-range management), Steve Leonard (off-range management) and Ben Smith (wild horse and burro specialist based in Grand Junction), were there to recognize folks including Michelle Sander and Aleta Wolf (with Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary and Sand Wash Advocate Team), and Jim Hyrup (president of Friends of the Mustangs).

FOM has been involved with Little Book Cliffs mustangs for more than 30 years and have been using PZP for more than a decade. SWAT and GEMS are about 5 years old, and advocates have been darting in Sand Wash Basin for at least the last three years. We are so happy and proud to support their efforts and call them friends and heroes/heroines for mustangs!


Left to right: Steve Leonard, Laria Lovec, moi, Michelle Sander, Aleta Wolf, Jim Hyrup and Ben Smith.

Many of our valued volunteers couldn’t attend the meeting, but Stella Trueblood and Connie Wagner (SWAT), Marty Felix and Billie Hutchings (FOM), and Pat and Frank Amthor and Kat Wilder (Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners) are standout folks who spend hours working for our mustangs – and have done so for years and years. Marty earns the longevity award for more than FORTY years with Little Book Cliffs’ mustangs! Pat and Frank Amthor have logged TWENTY years supporting Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs!

In the “coming soon” category, Dona Hilkey and Pam and Tom Nickoles have been visiting, photographing and documenting Piceance-East Douglas’ mustangs for at least 12 years. They’ve been working closely with BLM, and folks are close to forming an advocacy group for that herd (and perhaps casting an umbrella over West Douglas as well). When that happens, it will mean every mustang herd in Colorado will have the support of volunteer advocates!

THANK YOU to every one of our dedicated volunteers!

And THANK YOU to BLM for recognizing and appreciating their work for our Colorado mustangs!




12 responses

12 08 2017
Kathryn Wilder

Great reporting on Wednesday’s event!

To TJ’s followers: TJ doesn’t say this, but along with those excellent folks she mentions by name, she herself was specifically invited by BLM to receive recognition for the outstanding work she does–with fertility control and absolutely everything else humanly possible–for our Spring Creek Basin mustangs!

So congrats to TJ along with everyone else outstanding in fields of mustangs!!!

12 08 2017

Thanks. 🙂 Recovering journalist … never put oneself in the story. Gratitude is about recognizing the work of others and paying it forward! Thanks to you and Pat and Frank and all the others through the years who work/ed so hard for our Spring Creek Basin mustangs! A golden eagle launched from right by the road the other day … then flew over the Jeep … 🙂

14 08 2017
Kathryn Wilder

Yes, I know you will never mention yourself, and of course I know you do it for the HORSES, not for any recognition. However, I want to pay forward MY gratitude for all the work YOU do, for the HORSES!!!

12 08 2017
Karen Schmiede

Thank you to everyone who works to help the horses! You are all awesome!

12 08 2017

And YES! It’s ALL about the HORSES!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

12 08 2017
Sue Story

Wow, TJ, “rock stars” indeed, everyone of you! Thank you, thank you to all. The mustangs could not have any better friends. 🙂

12 08 2017

Thanks, Sue!

12 08 2017
Maggie Frazier

GREAT work – should say accomplishments! But read on SFHH this am that the BLM will be rounding up 200 (100 if thats all they can find) wild horses that have left the HMA! They will be taken to Canon City & possibly adoption? The Piceance-East Douglas HMA was the one named. Are you aware of this?

12 08 2017

Yes. I thought it was 72 to 100? It’s apparently to remove the horses from private land. Advocates are trying to form a group to help BLM with that herd. Hopefully soon, it will lead to a PZP program for them, too. Not much in the world is perfect … but optimism and hard work lead to accomplishments for our mustangs.

13 08 2017
Maggie Frazier

Going back & looking – was Wild Horse Freedom site and apparently I was having a senior moment! What it said was there were about 210 horses that had wandered (!) off the HMA & yeah, they are planning on removing up to 100. Hope the advocates are able to accomplish what you & yours did in your area.

13 08 2017

It is wonderful that the phot of Spring Creek mustangs are featured at the entrance. Thanks for the information and even more thanks to be recognized for the work we have loved doing all these years.
Thanks to TJ for all her work for the mustangs.

14 08 2017

Thank you, Pat – and Frank! Your longevity and commitment to Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs is legendary! 🙂 We’re so grateful to have your friendship!!!!

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