No Colorado mustangs left behind!

2 04 2019

This past weekend in Fruita, Colorado, you would have been lucky to take home one of the 26 mustangs or two burros offered for adoption.

Lucky because they ALL got adopted.

Every. Single. ONE!

Lucky because it took several hundred dollars to adopt many of the mustangs.

Lucky because one 2-year-old gelding was adopted for – wait for it – $2,750.

Twenty-four of the mustangs are from Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, and two of them were captured from private land outside Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.

Twenty-some potential adopters had filled out applications by the end of Friday’s demo day. By the time the clock started on the adoptions Saturday morning, close to 60 people had filled out adoption applications.

Do you have goose bumps now? ๐Ÿ™‚

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One of our BLM partners in Grand Junction – Ben Smith, who started his career here in Southwest Colorado – said later that about 100 people braved the cold, wind and snow flurries on Friday to see the training demos (including Inez Throm, Diane Shipley, Stephanie Linsley, Montrose 4-H kids and their mustangs, Mustang Maddy and Anna Twinney), and at least TWO HUNDRED people showed up for the gorgeous day that was Saturday and adoption day!

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In this pic, taken from the opposite side of the arena from the top photo, you can see the very first adopter driving into the arena (Rimrock Adventure Rodeo Grounds) to pick up their mustang – which is the light palomino mare, named Sunshine, at bottom left.

Also visible in this photo are the booths set up at the far side of the arena representing Colorado’s marvelous mustang advocates.

Let’s take a minute to applaud these amazing folks (follow the links to learn way more about each of these groups than I can possibly share here):

Friends of the Mustangs, advocacy group for Little Book Cliffs mustangs, spent hours and hours and weeks and months preparing and advertising for this adoption, which followed last fall’s adoption of LBC mustangs. Members know every single horse on the range – as well as sires, dams, siblings, etc. (And that’s how *I* know that the palomino above is Sunshine. :)) Their resources don’t end on the range; they offer training help and mentorship to adopters, and they’re the first to congratulate new adopters! This group has been around for nearly 40 years; they have fabulous BLM folks (shout out to Jim Dollerschell, Ben Smith and Wayne Werkmeister); they count as long-time members two of my very first inspiring people (Marty Felix and Billie Hutchings); their adoption team (Kathy Degonia and … ???) pulled off a TRIUMPH here! Massive, ginormous, astounding and grateful KUDOS to all of these folks!

Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary/Sand Wash Advocate Team are the dreams of Michelle Sander (dedicated to her dad) and the hard-working advocates for Sand Wash Basin (including but certainly not limited to Stephanie Linsley (head trainer at GEMS), Petra Kadrnozkova, Stella Trueblood and Connie Wagner). On the range, SWAT documents the mustangs, darts mares with PZP, and hosts range-project days, working closely with BLM. At GEMS, they offer sanctuary to some mustangs, and they take in more mustangs to gentle/train and find new, wonderful, loving homes. Also at GEMS, they host a wide variety of events, including horsemanship clinics and yoga with the mustangs!

Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin also advocate for the Sand Wash Basin mustangs. They raised money to haul water to the horses during last year’s devastating drought, and they’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars to help build fence along the highway to keep the horses within the basin and safe from traffic. Cindy Wright represented the group to help educate people about mustangs.

Piceance Mustangs is a brand-new group formed to advocate for the mustangs of Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area, the largest HMA in the state. Some of the FOM members are taking on double-duty working for this herd, and they’ve already hosted range projects, during which they have removed miles of fence (repurposing old barbed wire into wreaths that they are selling to raise funds) and completed water-improvement projects. They’re working with BLM to hopefully implement PZP darting in the future. Tracy Scott (Steadfast Steeds Mustang Sanctuary) and Kathy Degonia (FOM) are working hard for this herd, and BLM herd manager Melissa Kindall is an amazing (and amazingly grateful!) partner in their endeavors.

And I attended to support these amazing advocates, their mustangs and their BLM partners … and to set some Spring Creek Basin brochures on FOM’s table to round out the full complement of Colorado mustang herds. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The amazing George Brauneis, pictured above with Michelle Sander and me (photo taken by Kathy Degonia), announced all the trainers and pertinent information during the weekend. George has adopted numerous mustangs (he currently has 12!), and he is one of the most enthusiastic promoters of mustangs in Colorado! He has a resource list miles long, all related to helping adopters help their mustangs. He’s a Colorado native, and he is supremely dedicated to Colorado (and other) mustangs. On Friday, his gorgeous black Little Book Cliffs mustang, Rango, helped trainers Stephanie Linsley and Anna Twinney help potential adopters by serving as a model.

My gosh, folks. This is the way it should be done everywhere. Everyone is mutually helpful and supportive and respectful. We appreciate our BLM partners, and they listen to our voices when it comes to our Colorado mustangs.

BLM’s Northwest Colorado District Manager Stephanie Connolly and BLM Colorado State Director Jamie Connell attended the adoption and saw the benefits of their partners for Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, Friends of the Mustangs.

Also deserving of a big round of appreciation for their work for and during this adoption event are the following BLM folks: Steve Leonard and Monica Mohr (from Canon City); Jim Dollerschell, Ben Smith, Wayne Werkmeister and Bob Price (Grand Junction Field Office); and Melissa Kindall (White River Field Office, Meeker).

To repeat: Not a single horse went unadopted this weekend. Not a single horse returned to BLM’s short-term holding facility at the prison complex in Canon City. Not a single horse costs taxpayers another dime.

As George and Kathy said: No mustang left behind! ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t say enough about the people who make up Colorado’s mustang advocate community (and although I specifically named several people in this post, never doubt that there are many, many, MANY more). There simply aren’t enough superlatives. They worked long and hard, and their ultimate reward was seeing all of the horses and burros get adopted.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHMAAAAAAAAAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some additional links: Photo gallery in the Grand Junction Sentinel.

And this little girl, Jade, stole everyone’s hearts!

 

 

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Snow white

28 01 2019

Piedra

Pure as the driven snow, Miss Piedra. ๐Ÿ™‚

**********

Out here, government employees aren’t nameless and faceless, one or more of the 800,000 workers adversely affected by the government shutdown. They’re our partners, they’re members of our communities. They visit our local farmers markets, and their kids and our kids are classmates. We work together for common goals.

Yesterday, as I was driving out of Spring Creek Basin, our lead BLM law-enforcement ranger, Tyler, was headed into the basin, in uniform and driving his BLM vehicle. He and his law-enforcement fellows have been required to be on the job – without pay – but I know him and others like him well enough to know that it is at least moral duty, not simply required duty. It’s a duty to protect the resources of our local community, which, in our case (as in most across the West), is large, wide and sprawling, not easily connected.

And yet, on the Sunday before government resumes operations, Tyler was in Disappointment Valley, headed toward Spring Creek Basin, checking on our mustangs and the range that sustains them.

We ARE connected. And we’re grateful for our neighbors. We hope the (temporary) return to business is for the good of all our government-employed neighbors.





Our Pati

8 01 2019

Seneca; Temple Butte and McKenna Peak

Check out this wonderful article in the Telluride Daily Planet by writer Katie Klingsporn:

https://www.telluridenews.com/news/article_d8e1bd26-112e-11e9-b31f-0f3d56d820bc.html

In the photo above, Temple Butte is the prominent promontory behind snow-covered McKenna Peak (shaped like a pyramid).

Seneca is the lovely mustang, walking through her lovely, winter-white-coated world.

Thanks so much to all who contributed to the success of our application to name Temple Butte in honor of Pati (and David) Temple. It’s the least we could do to honor a woman who did so much for the wild she knew and loved.





Temple Butte forever!

19 12 2018

Seneca; Temple Butte

It’s official! Temple Butte IS Temple Butte!

Just last night, we received word that our application* to name Temple Butte, above Spring Creek Basin’s eastern boundary, in honor of our beloved and much-missed Pati Temple was approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

We are ecstatic. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pati was an integral part of NMA/CO‘s long mission to protect and preserve Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs in a way that sustains both the herd and the range upon which they depend. With perseverance and commitment, our partnership with BLM’s Tres Rios Field Office is stronger than ever, and our horses and their range are beautiful and healthy.

We are forever grateful for Pati’s guiding light, and, thus named, Temple Butte now is a testament to her memory.

The formerly unnamed promontory has its forever name. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just in time for Christmas!

*Heartfelt thanks to Ann Bond for her diligent efforts gathering and submitting the paperwork for the application!

** Another aside: Pati is responsible for Seneca’s name. ๐Ÿ™‚





NMA/CO’s night for mustangs

19 10 2018

Wednesday night at the Sunflower Theatre (Cortez, Colorado), the Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association hosted a fundraising gala to benefit the mustangs of Southwest Colorado, including Spring Creek Basin, Mesa Verde National Park and off the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation.

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin was our guest speaker and presented information about the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office‘s Mounted Patrol, which uses mustangs, on the long-ago recommendation of members of Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen, some of whom are mustang adopters.

Short film “500 Miles” also was shown. It’s about Heroes and Horses, and how these wild horses help human warriors after combat and service to their country. From the Heroes and Horses website:

“Heroes and Horses is a Montana-based nonprofit organization that has created an innovative, three-phase reintegration program, which is offered to qualifying combat veterans (at no cost to them) suffering from PTSD. Our program utilizes the remote wilderness of Montana, coupled with human and horse connections, to challenge and inspire personal growth in veterans suffering from mental and physical scars.”

We know mustangs help those of us who *don’t* bear these tremendous physical, mental and emotional burdens. How much more intense must their connection be with these veterans??

On behalf of board members Tif Rodriguez, David Temple, Lynda Larsen, Sandie Simons and Nancy Schaufele, we are so thankful to our donors and to everyone who came to the Sunflower Theatre last night to help us in our ongoing endeavors to support and protect the wild horses of Southwest Colorado. (List of donors at the end of this post.)

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Board members Sandie Simons (right) and Lynda Larsen look over the offerings for the night’s silent auction.

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Some of the art donated: At left is a painting by renowned artist Veryl Goodnight of Mancos, Colorado (just east of Cortez); in the middle is a print by Corrales, New Mexico artist Ric Speed; and at right is a drawing of my boy, Grey/Traveler, by my friend, Denver-area artist and Spring Creek Basin mustangs (two!) adopter, Teresa Irick.

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Also close to my heart is this painting by friend and long-time supporter of Spring Creek Basin mustangs Karen Keene Day. It’s of Grey/Traveler (disclaimer: yes, it came home with me! :)).

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Taken from the theater balcony as people arrive to the fundraiser. Two Spring Creek Basin mustang supporters and often-visitors – Sue and Dennis Story – are in this crowd. Fun fact: They were the first to arrive!

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Attendees talk near the sheriff’s display of photos of the county’s Mounted Patrol Unit, which features three mustangs.

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Sandie, right, talks with Jeri Friesen while Jeri’s husband, Vern, bids on an auction item. Jeri and Vern have adopted three Spring Creek Basin mustangs, and as members of Four Corners Back Country Horsemen, have ridden two of them in Spring Creek Basin as part of 4CBCH’s wild horse counts. At left, Lynda talks with artist Veryl Goodnight (in blue) and Kate St. Onge, who bid on and won Veryl’s beautiful painting.

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Tif Rodriguez, NMA/CO’s executive director, introduces our organization and what we do to help mustangs. In the foreground is a photo (part of the auction) she took of Mesa Verde National Park mustangs a few weeks ago.

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The attentive crowd.

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Sandie speaks about the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office’s Mounted Patrol Unit during her introduction of Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

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During Sheriff Nowlin’s presentation, what struck me most – even more than all the work he and his staff did to bring mustangs to Montezuma County – was how admiring he is of the horses and their deputies and the work they have done, not only in crime fighting (pulling over drunk drivers!) but in community outreach.

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Because of grants and BLM help, bringing mustangs here as part of the county’s first mounted patrol cost taxpayers nothing. Each of the three mustangs – Rebel, Charlie and Cody – is valued at about $85,000. WOW – am I right? These horses are valuable not only because of the time and training and care put into them but because of how they help Montezuma County be a safer place. Criminals apparently ignore people on horseback (this is a rural county, after all, and people on horses is a common sight), but kids and community members are drawn to them as if by magnetic force, the sheriff said.

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Sheriff Nowlin also told the crowd how he and a local representative crafted a state bill that affords law-enforcement horses the same legal protections as law-enforcement canines. That bill was signed earlier this year by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Sheriff Nowlin has a framed photo of the occasion and the pen used that he brought as part of his display.

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The sheriff showed the display his office made that they took to all the schools in the county, asking for help naming their new mustangs. More than 2,000 schoolchildren responded, and the names Rebel, Charlie and Cody were chosen (Nowlin said it took his staff a month to pick from all the suggestions). The horses and their deputies visit schools and senior centers throughout the county as part of their community outreach efforts.

Sheriff Nowlin said he has received interest from police and sheriffs across the state and country, asking about their program. Another big win for mustangs. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Also recognized during the evening were these talented young wordsmiths from Mancos Elementary School. Hannah Sword, right, was presented with a poster featuring her winning poem about Sundance and Arrow. Aysia Mathews was presented with a poster featuring her winning poem about Spirit. Each of the girls read their poems to the crowd. The third winner, Jordan B., who wrote about Sundance, moved away earlier this year (her poster will be mailed to her). The girls were in fifth and fourth grade, respectively, when they wrote their winning poems.

Artist and idea-bringer Ginny Getts also was recognized for her help in getting Mancos teachers and kids excited about mustangs. (And she donated a painting to the auction!)

Added thanks to San Juan Mountains Association‘s volunteer coordinator, Kathe Hayes, who not only provided finger foods for this event (and others we’ve done) but has done so much for Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs through work projects, especially alternative spring break (see blog roll for posts … late March every single year :)). Alternative spring break brings University of Missouri students to Southwest Colorado for a week each March to work on projects on public lands: BLM Tres Rios Field Office (including Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area), San Juan National Forest and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

Again, we sincerely thank every single person who donated to our silent auction and came to our event to respect and honor mustangs and the work NMA/CO does in Southwest Colorado on their behalf. Special thanks to Tif Rodriguez who did the lion’s share of work pulling together this fabulous evening!

Many huge thanks to these donors who helped us help mustangs (below from Tif … list unfortunately delayed by yours truly, who had technical difficulties this morning ๐Ÿ™‚ ) :

Kerry Oโ€™Brien
Montezuma Mexican Restaurant, Dolores
Shilohโ€™s Steakhouse, Cortez
Ric Speed
Equus Chiropractic โ€“ Petra Sullwold
Skyhorse Saddlery
Ginny Getts
Teresa Irick
Veryl Goodnight
Karen Keene Day
Dunton Hot Springs
Victoria Calvert
Trail Canyon Ranch
Chavolitoโ€™s, Dolores
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Cortez
Abundant Life, Cortez
Kokopelli Bike & Board, Cortez
FB Organics, Cortez
Millwood Junction, Mancos
Lynda Larsen
Tim McGaffic
Wendy Griffin
Nancy Schaufele
TJ Holmes

Special thanks to Ginny Getts, Mancos Elementary Students, Hannah Sword, Aysia Mathews, Jordan Berry; and to Diane Law (graphic design for poster art), Lisa Mackey (photo/poster printing).

AND

Sheriff Nowlin and the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol Unit mustangs
Heroes & Horses – https://www.heroesandhorses.org/

And a very special thanks to:
Sunflower Theatreโ€™s Dan and Desiree, Lyn Rowley, Kathe Hayes, Sandie Simons, Curly and Madison Rodriguez, and TJ Holmes





Doing good

18 10 2018

Sundance

The Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association held a fundraiser last night at the Sunflower Theatre in Cortez, Colorado.

I’ll do a longer post with pix from the event hopefully tomorrow, but for now, THANK YOU to NMA/CO board members, donors and attendees who made the night very successful and helped us raise money to help our work on behalf of mustangs in Southwest Colorado.

We so appreciate all of you!





Tribute to Mariah

6 10 2018

This post is specially for my friend Roy Garner, who grew up with his family in Disappointment Valley. He still visits a couple of times a year, to see the area and the mustangs. Roy is in his very fit 80s, and until recently, he was still trimming and shoeing horses. Love you, Roy!

Mariah

Thursday in Durango, Colorado, Dave Stamey was the headline performer for the opening night of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, now in its 30th year (!).

Regular readers of this blog will know that every now and then, I quote Dave Stamey lyrics to go along with some photo of Spring Creek Basin and/or its mustangs.

Dave Stamey simply is the best cowboy singer/songwriter in the Western universe. That ain’t opinion, folks; that’s pure, simple fact. ๐Ÿ™‚ (The mustangs know it, too. I like to sing (poorly, I’m afraid, though they’ve never complained) Dave Stamey songs to them while sitting in the sunshine and breeze while they graze and nap, especially my favorite songs, “Sunrise” and “The Circle.”)

Thursday night, one of the first songs he performed was a “classic,” meaning, in part, that he hadn’t written it (he writes true-to-hard-gritty-dirty-(and-sometimes-romantic-and-sometimes-hilarious)-life cowboy songs as only someone who lives the life can write).

This is where the tribute to Mariah – and my friend Roy – comes in.

He sang “They Call the Wind Maria,”* which is the song behind Roy’s naming of Mariah when she was a bitty babe, seen first by Roy during one of his spring visits to Spring Creek Basin.

Later, between shows (friend and fellow advocate Kat Wilder paid for my tickets as my birthday present – thank you, Kat!), we talked to Dave, and I thanked him for singing “They Call the Wind Mariah,” telling him that we have a mustang named Mariah … named for that very song.

“They Call the Wind Maria”

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria

Way out here they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire’s Joe
And they call the wind Maria

Maria blows the stars around
And sends the clouds a-flyin’
Miriam makes the mountain sound
Like folks were up there dyin’

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria

Before I knew Maria’s name
And heard her wail and whinin’
I had a gal and she had me
And the sun was always shinin’

Then one day I left my girl
I left her far behind me
And now I’m lost so cold and lost
Not even God can find me

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria

Out here they got a name
For rain, for wind and fire only
But when you’re lost and all alone
There ain’t no word but lonely

And I’m a lost and lonely man
Without a star to guide me
Miriam, blow my love to me
I need my girl beside me

Maria, Maria
They call the wind Maria
Maria, Maria
Love, my love, pull me

~ Lyrics by Alan Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe

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Here, Dave Stamey sings/performs “They Call the Wind Maria” at the historic Henry Strater Theatre at the Strater Hotel on the opening night of the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Durango, Colorado.

If you appreciate the Western way of life exemplified by rich singing, perfect lyrics and masterful guitar playing, check out Dave Stamey. You won’t be disappointed.

*Note on pronunciation, from the above Wikipedia link: “In George Rippey Stewart’s 1941 novel Storm, he names the storm that is the protagonist of his story Maria.[19] In 1947, Stewart wrote a new introduction for a reprint of the book, and discussed the pronunciation of “Maria”: “The soft Spanish pronunciation is fine for some heroines, but our Maria here is too big for any man to embrace and much too boisterous.” He went on to say, “So put the accent on the second syllable, and pronounce it ‘rye’.”