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!


Little Book Cliffs darting team earns kudos

3 02 2015

And rightly so!

The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction did a story about BLM’s team of volunteer PZP darters and the benefits they (and PZP) bring to the mustangs of Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range: “Wild-horse control; dart shooters help manage fertility of herd in canyons behind Bookcliffs.”

The overall article is about the benefits of and process behind using PZP to manage a wild horse herd. This nugget is a little bit buried, but check it out: “The result [of the PZP program] has been a smaller, more manageable herd, longer lives for mares and, this year, recognition by the head of the Colorado office of the BLM of the team as its volunteer of the year. The award, which was presented on Thursday by Ruth Welch, the BLM state director, means the team is a nominee for the agency’s national award for volunteerism.”

Marty Felix and Billie Hutchings are among my original inspirations. This award could go to no better team and for no better reason. Ditto the national award for which they’re now nominated.

Best of luck! I’m going to speak right up for Colorado mustang advocates and say we’re behind ya’ll!

Drummer and Kestrel, stallion and mare in Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range.

The best kind of argument for PZP

23 02 2011

So our roundup is scheduled for Sept. 17-21 this fall. Little Book Cliffs, which had its last roundup less than a month after ours in 2007, was scheduled for a roundup Sept. 17-21 this fall.

Read carefully: The Little Book Cliffs roundup this fall has been canceled.


Now ask “why?” – and why am I doing a victory dance – not to mention the folks associated with the Little Book Cliffs herd?!

Can you guess?

How can you not?

Diamond Rio, Beauty, Chaca - 2008

Fertility control.

This will be the ninth (I’m pretty sure?) year Little Book Cliffs has administered native PZP to its mares, limiting births. There’s been no herd population growth since last year because of limited births and natural mortality. No change (particularly negative) in range condition.

Bandit - 2008

This is on-the-ground success toward a future that saves our mustangs. This is what saves BLM tight funds. This is how the proposed cut to BLM’s budget might affect future management: Stop spending massive amounts of money to round up and remove mustangs from the wild and warehousing them in corrals and Midwest pastures, and put a relatively low dollar amount toward fertility control to keep more horses in their wild Western homes.

Skylark - 2008

Little Book Cliffs doesn’t get the massive press of some other ranges. Why? Mutually respectful BLM-volunteer partnership? Lack of controversy? Public education? However quietly on the public scale, Little Book Cliff’s fertility control program has progressed from being a plan, a hope, an expectation and has become a success.

Roundup canceled (because of lack of population growth). Isn’t that what we’re working toward?

That’s what we’re working toward.

Congratulations, Little Book Cliffs! Keep doing what you’re doing!

Ruger -2008

(I think I updated my notes about horses’ names; Billie, please correct me if necessary!)

Wild Horse Fever

19 06 2010

Time to update links, everyone, and you’ll definitely want to. Tales of the Little Book Cliffs wild horses has moved to this address:

Billie’s former blog is still live, so you’ll be able to access all her great photos and write-ups about visits to the range and the goings-on of the horses. She’s one of my original inspirations, both in keeping an Internet record of the horses and sharing them with virtual visitors and in the work done by her and others who are members of the local advocacy group, Friends of the Mustangs, in documenting the horses and working  to ensure their health and well-being.

So here’s just a nudge in that direction to get readers started on the right hoof this morning! Welcome to WordPress, Billie! I look forward to reading your stories and seeing your photos in a whole new format!