‘A resource with a beating heart’

2 05 2022

We had such a great time with the mustangs and visitors Saturday at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum!

A little background: Last year was the 50th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. CANM had a wonderful special exhibit all year that celebrated mustangs – especially our Colorado herds in Spring Creek Basin, Little Book Cliffs, Sand Wash Basin and Piceance-East Douglas. To help promote that, we were invited to a very special one-day event last fall, to introduce a couple of our local adopters of Spring Creek Basin mustangs, have advocate and author Kathryn Wilder read from her memoir, Desert Chrome (published in May), and take limited numbers of visitors (still under Covid protocols) through the exhibit inside the museum.

It was such a success, Amala Posey-Monk, supervisory park ranger with CANM, asked if we’d like to make it an annual event. How fast could we say YES?!

So Kat returned and read again from Desert Chrome, which is being sold in the new bookstore area in the visitor center and museum (which looks fantastic, by the way; drop by and see (among the museum’s other wonderful exhibits about the cultural history of our area) the particular wall full of ways to appreciate our very dark skies). She also signed copies of her book for folks who were there to visit the mustangs.

Tif Rodriguez brought her gentle giant, Whisper, and Keith Bean brought his teddy bear, Skipper, who are so calm and willing to meet lots of admiring strangers! We had one little incident before the event started when the wind caught the little popup tent, but as Keith said, most domestic horses would have catapulted into any of the nearby states if they’d been there. Skipper and Whisper were very startled, but they hardly left the plaza. πŸ™‚ Tif and Keith answered questions and talked about numerous topics related to mustangs and adoptions, and Skipper and Whisper greeted everyone from seniors to the littlest visitors.

Our excellent herd manager, Mike Jensen, kicked off the day with an introduction to BLM wild horse management, particularly in Spring Creek Basin, and also answered lots of questions from visitors. As he said, mustangs are the only resources BLM manages that have beating hearts. πŸ™‚

Mike talks about mustangs at the beginning of the event.

Keith says that seeing Skipper without something to eat in his mouth is unusual. Tif’s mom (not pictured), Lyn Rowley, brought snacks for both people and horses, which were particularly appreciated by Skipper. πŸ™‚

Amala and her 4.5-year-old daughter, Geneva (who came with husband/father and baby sister), also got to meet the mustangs.

Skipper may have liked his treats from little hands best of all. See the very end of the carrot? πŸ™‚ (Lyn pictured in the background.)

And a couple of pairs of little hands are even better!

I know. I should have prepared ya’ll for the overload of cuteness. πŸ™‚

Skipper and Whisper spend a lot of time on the trail together every year with Tif and Keith as they do miles and hours of trail work on public lands (both BLM and Forest Service). Little Skipper is the guy in charge, apparently … and he also evidently loves his big friend!

Thanks to one of our visitors for taking these pix of me, Mike, Whisper, Tif, Skipper and Keith. Unfortunately, we missed getting Kat corralled for this group pic; Mike was trying to get home to his family for Saturday activities, and Kat was signing books inside the museum.

And I’ve been so long out of the journalism game (and my computer-driven slideshow while she was reading was giving me fits), I completely spaced taking any pix of her reading from Desert Chrome in the museum’s wonderful theater. She read excerpts about her first meeting with Maka, the big bay mustang from Divide Basin, Wyoming, that she adopted from CaΓ±on City, then bringing him home. People asked some great questions. A couple of visitors had bought Kat’s book a day or two earlier, then came back to hear her read and get their books signed! This is a pic of her reading last year:

If you haven’t read it yet, find it at your local bookstore or order from Torrey House Press!

To close out this post, a little humor from wiseacre Whisper:

There’s always one. πŸ˜€

Our deepest appreciation and gratitude to everyone from CANM who made this event possible (Amala, Anna and Nick, at least), to Mike, to Kat, to Lyn, to Tif and Whisper, and Keith and Skipper, and to all the visitors to came, whether drawn by interest in the gems of cultural history found in this part of the Colorado Plateau or particularly by the opportunity to meet two amazing Spring Creek Basin mustangs!


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12 responses

2 05 2022
axelsmom20

What a wonderful way to open peoples eyes to our mustangs and to the people who care about them! The comment “mustangs are the only resources BLM manages that have beating hearts” says it all. If only ALL BLM managers felt that way!

3 05 2022
TJ

We’re getting out the good news here.

2 05 2022
Pat

Sounds like it was a great day. Thanks to all who made it possible a

3 05 2022
TJ

It was a very wonderful day!

2 05 2022
Karen Schmiede

What a great day! Horses and little kids seem to have a special connection!

3 05 2022
TJ

Oh, I so agree! Mustangs seem to absolutely adore little children. πŸ™‚

2 05 2022
baileytan

Wow! What a wonderful event. Skipper, and Whisper, such great representation of the mustangs.

3 05 2022
TJ

Yes, indeed, they are. πŸ™‚ They’re great buds!

2 05 2022
Martha Kennedy

Whisper is the kind of horse little girls would dream of. What a wonderful day.

3 05 2022
TJ

They both are. πŸ™‚

2 05 2022
Sue E. Story

Looks like it was a great day, TJ! I’m so glad you had one of the nice weather days to accompany the program! Thanks to you all for making these events so much fun and so interesting for everybody. This is such a good way to bring mustangs and people together!❀

3 05 2022
TJ

Hope to see you and Denny at the next one! We do love bringing mustangs and people together. πŸ™‚

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