Doing good work

19 01 2018

A couple of days ago, we met up with our fabulous BLM guys to install the evaporation cover over the new trough – connected to the new water catchment apron – that we installed in 2016.


BLM rangeland management specialist Garth Nelson, left, figures out which drill bit to use to drill holes through the metal of the evaporation cover to attach it to the supports BLM range tech Justin Hunt is welding to the vertical posts. The post at right already has a piece welded to it.


See the metal thing inside the trough in front of Garth? That’s the critter ladder the guys built. It allows birds to get to the water or an animal that falls into the water to get out. Garth drilled a couple of holes and wired it to the edge of the trough.


Once everything was in place, Justin attached small square plates to the tops of the three vertical posts and welded them into place, then used the grinder to smooth the square edges. At the near corner, you can see the “trap door” the guys built into the cover so the float below it is accessible for any work or replacement that needs to be done. In the background, range specialist and herd manager Mike Jensen, right, talks with Garth while visiting with Bow, one of Kat Wilder’s dogs.


Sparks fly as Justin grinds the edges of the post caps to smooth roundness.

These guys thought of everything!

The cover will help preserve the water in the trough from evaporating so quickly. And with its installation, the new water-catchment project is officially complete. In warm weather, this will provide a second source of clean water for the horses.

Snow is in Saturday’s forecast. Please send good thoughts. This dry weather has to end.


Glad tidings!

4 01 2018


S’aka wants to help ring in the new year. πŸ™‚


In other news, for those of you in the Denver area, please check out the following comment the blog received yesterday from Longmont librarian Devon Yost-Smith:


I am a Librarian at the Longmont Public Library. We have invited Pulitzer Prize-winning author and national correspondent for The New York Times, Dave Philipps, to come speak at the Library about his book β€œWild Horse Country: The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang”. He will outline the history and myth of the wild horse, how both helped create the current debacle, what science can tell us about sustainable ways to preserve the wild horse, and some of the last wild places in the west where the herds live.

I was hoping you might be interested or might pass on the word to your

The event takes place on February 1 (**note date change**) from 7-8pm at the Longmont Public Library.

Registration is required, it is free, and additional info is available on our website.

Thank you.


If you’re in the area, please show your support for wild horses and burros! Note that the event is free, but you need to register (click here to go to the library’s event site).

Holiday of gratitude

23 11 2017


On this Thanksgiving, we have much for which to be thankful.

Our mustangs and wild burros found heroes in the Senate.

Wild Horses and Burros β€” The Committee appreciates the seri-
ousness with which the request takes the on-range overpopulation
of wild horses and burros. With on-range wild horse population 270
percent over Appropriate Management Level; on-range wild horse
populations doubling roughly every 4 years; adoption numbers
steadily decreasing over the last decade, and unlikely to return to
historic levels; range conditions inadequate to sustain both wild
horses and burros and native wildlife habitat; and significant tres-
pass issues and instances where wild horses are found outside des-
ignated Herd Management Areas, the Committee recognizes that
bold steps must be taken to put this program on a path to sustain-
ability. The Committee looks forward to the release of the report
required by the Statement of Managers accompanying division G of
the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2017 and is hopeful that it will
contain a range of humane and politically viable options that can
collectively be implemented to drastically reduce on-range popu-
lations and a variety of methods to limit unsustainable on-range
reproduction and the Committee has provided an additional
$5,000,000 to begin this effort. The Committee again asserts its po-
sition that no one solution will resolve this issue and multiple ap-
proaches employed together are necessary to controlling the cur-
rent unsustainable trajectory of wild horse and burro population
On this Thanksgiving, we are so grateful for the appreciation of the wildness of our mustangs and burros.
Thank you to our BLM employees and advocates – local and elsewhere – who work hard together to protect and manage well our wild horses and burros.
Thank you to those who have ideas and to those who have the ability to implement those ideas.
Thanks to those who write letters and make calls.
Thank you to our families, who may or may not understand our obsession with these magnificent wild beings. πŸ™‚ You, in some form or fashion, are the reason why we do what we do … and why we can do what we want to do for these horses and burros that roam their ranges and our hearts.
Be grateful. It matters.

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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!

A shout for water … and a volunteer

2 08 2017


Ah … full pond. πŸ™‚

‘Nuff said!


Happy birthday to mustang volunteer extraordinaire, Frank Amthor! Thank you for all you do for our mustangs in Spring Creek Basin!


Tiny dancers

26 07 2017

Friend and mustang lover Bebe June Mantooth created this AMAZING scale model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs, and my folks brought it to me during a visit from Texas (where they and Bebe live). It was the first time I’d seen it (not even pictures), and to say it was a “pleasant surprise” is the understatement of the year!

The photos really don’t do it justice. It’s simply spectacular. Specific mustangs in Spring Creek Basin – including horses in two bands and several bachelor stallions – are memorialized in this model (contained in a box that is painted inside – also by Bebe) that I will treasure forever.

Model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs by Bebe June Mantooth, Troy, Texas.

This is the view through the looking glass (window) in one end of the box. Bachelors are in the foreground, and two bands are in the distance (middle ground and back). Can you identify anybody? πŸ™‚

Model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs by Bebe June Mantooth, Troy, Texas.

Looking straight into the box of beautiful. You can see the window at right. Not shown in any of the pictures is the lid, which is lined with tiny lights, so when the lid is closed, you can look in on the mustangs’ tiny little magical world. πŸ™‚

Model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs by Bebe June Mantooth, Troy, Texas.

Another view that shows some of the topographic detail. Don’t miss the grey mares under the juniper trees.

Model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs by Bebe June Mantooth, Troy, Texas.

A closer view of the bands – and look! They’re going to water! Which is awesomely awesome because we’ve just had some more incredible rain, which was a pond-filling gift from heaven!

Model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs by Bebe June Mantooth, Troy, Texas.

A better look at the bachelor boys. Surely readers will recognize some of the horses? πŸ™‚

Model of Spring Creek Basin mustangs by Bebe June Mantooth, Troy, Texas.

Through the looking glass again. Below the window is the little plaque my mom and dad had made for it. πŸ™‚

HUGE THANKS to artist Bebe for the skill and love that went into creating this one-of-a-kind mustang masterpiece! I can’t even begin to tell you all how meaningful and incredible this is!

Celebrate independence

4 07 2017


On the anniversary of America’s independence and declaration of freedom, our wild horses and burros are under attack as never before.

It’s hard to even fathom that the widescale slaughter of tens of thousands of these beautiful wild animals could happen in America, but please make your voices heard – and tell your legislators that YOU don’t agree. Our wild ones are counting on us.