They’re totally rock stars

12 08 2017

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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?!).

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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.)

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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!

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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!

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To arms

28 05 2017

Spirit

By now, you all must have heard about the explosion of disbelief and outrage about the 2018 budget proposal. No one seems to be happy … and wild horse and burro advocates are no exception.

My friend Pam Nickoles has a succinct post with pertinent links on her blog.

More information is available on all the major advocacy sites, and news sites are covering the issue as well.

Surely we can work together for better treatment and management for our wildlife.





Sand Wash Basin advocates get ’er done

20 09 2016

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This handsome hunky stallion is Star, and he lives with his family in Sand Wash Basin, in northwestern Colorado. He posed extremely considerately Sunday morning with the setting full moon.

This past weekend, Michelle Sander, Aleta Wolf, Stella Trueblood and others with Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary and Sand Wash Advocate Team, along with Gina Robison with BLM’s Little Snake Field Office in Craig, hosted about 50 people who came from near and far (including Texas, Missouri and Toronto, Canada) to help with work projects that directly and indirectly benefit those gorgeous mustangs.

SWAT members are directly responsible for the successful PZP program in Sand Wash Basin. In place for just about three years now, it’s having a direct impact on slowing the population growth of this popular herd. BLM plans a bait-trapping operation there later this fall, with which SWAT and GEMS will be intimately involved. BLM plans to remove 50 horses. They’ll go to Cañon City for “processing” (brands, vaccinations, gelding, etc.), then to GEMS, in northeastern Colorado, to be gentled and offered for adoption through GEMS’ partnership with BLM as a TIP storefront.

Read more about the great weekend of camaraderie, work projects and MUSTANGS in this Craig Daily Press article.

SWAT and GEMS and all the folks associated with these groups are doing phenomenal work for this beautiful herd. Any chance you get, please send out your thanks to these ladies and gents. They are compassionate and passionate, considerate, caring and vastly knowledgeable.

In short: They rock. 🙂





Raise your voices

15 09 2016

Cassidy Rain

For those of you waiting for a way to tell BLM that you won’t stand for the mass slaughter of wild horses and burros in holding, please visit the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign’s website: http://act.wildhorsepreservation.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=23589

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Right after I sent my own comments, this popped up in my emaill from a friend: http://news.trust.org/item/20160914201301-s43hn

Thankful. 🙂

But we need to continue to tell BLM – and the U.S. government – that the threat of slaughtering and/or sterilizing our wild horses and burros is not acceptable. Humane solutions exist – including PZP and reopening ranges that BLM has zeroed out, enabling horses in holding to return to the dignity of life on the range.

 





Black is beauty

17 08 2016

Raven

Pretty Raven in the secret forest.

Many readers know that Raven was born and raised in Sand Wash Basin and came here in 2008 with Mona and Kootenai to help boost our genetics. Because Spring Creek Basin’s appropriate management level currently is just 35 to 65 adult horses, BLM periodically introduces horses in order to help keep our herd’s genetics viable, per a recommendation by equine geneticist Dr. Gus Cothran (at my alma mater, Texas A&M University).

An EA has recently been released for a bait-trapping operation in Sand Wash Basin. Information about where to send your comments by the Sept. 4 deadline may be found here, in a news brief in the Craig Daily Press.

“The BLM seeks comment on the Environmental Assessment of this gather plan, available at the Little Snake Field Office at 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625 and online at: 1.usa.gov/23gjg6w. Public comments will be most helpful to the BLM if received by Sept. 4. Written comments can be mailed to the Little Snake Field Office or submitted via email to blm_co_sandwash_hma@blm.gov.”

(Note that the website indicated in the press release leads to an error page.)

Of note in the very positive category, Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary and Sand Wash Advocate Team are specifically mentioned for their partnership with BLM in managing this herd: “Our partnership with SWAT and GEMS has been vital to meeting our goal of maintaining the health of the Sand Wash wild horses and the lands they depend upon,” BLM Northwest District Manager Joe Meyer said in a news release.

Also: “While confined in a corral, BLM employees and Sand Wash Advocacy Team members would identify mares, that would be treated with a contraceptive called PZP, which delays fertilization, before being released back to the range. Up to 50 young wild horses would be removed for placement in the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary training and adoption program.”

Please take a look at the EA and send comments. SWAT volunteers are currently using fertility control in Sand Wash Basin, and they need support in order to continue their efforts to manage this herd well.





Some gold

30 07 2016

Chromesrainbow

A few days ago, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign alerted wild horse and burro advocates to some good news: BLM Colorado doing good things for our wild horses.

“Please sign the petition below to THANK BLM Colorado for leading the way in humane management that Keeps Wild Horses Wild! Your signatures will be hand delivered by our friends and wonderful wild horse advocates TJ Holmes and Kat Wilder, along with a thank-you card to the BLM. 

“Let’s give credit where credit is due and support the BLM when it takes important steps in the right direction! Hopefully, the ongoing success of the humane management programs in Colorado will encourage other BLM districts across the West to implement similar programs.”

Also:

“On Aug. 4, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado will hold its annual public hearing on the use of motorized vehicles in wild horse management. While we are usually critical of the BLM’s wild horse policies, this hearing provides a rare opportunity for us to SUPPORT the progress that the BLM in Colorado has made toward implementing humane management of wild horses in that state.”

Please consider signing the petition – click here to go to AWHPC’s site – to let BLM Colorado know that you’re aware of the good things happening with mustang management in our state, and that you’d like to see these good things continue – and spread to other states and other herd management areas. At that meeting, Kat Wilder and I will present BLM with the thank-you card that honors all that BLM has done and all that BLM is doing to support our wild horses staying wild on their home ranges.

We have come a long way with BLM managers who are willing and committed to working with volunteers to ensure “thriving natural ecological balance” on the rangelands our Colorado mustangs call home. We will always work to ensure the best management for our wild ones.





Mudder mare

17 04 2016

Reya, La Sal Mountains

Jaunty, shaggy, feisty, muddy pinto pony! Some of the horses seem nearly fully shed out; others still are long-haired. All in good time.

Disappointment Valley and Spring Creek Basin got an awesome soaker of a rain system Friday and a little more Saturday evening, so presumably the ponies are even muddier – and the seeps and springs and ponds are even fuller! We are relieved and grateful that the “omega block” brought much-needed moisture to our corner of the world!

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Also in the grateful category, thanks to Kat Wilder and to Suzanne Roy of American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign for posting the first in Kat’s series of “Mustang Tales: Bringing the Reader to the Range”! This first post records our meeting with Jen Maramonte and Suzanne last summer in Spring Creek Basin, where we were privileged to introduce them to the range and to several bands of our amazing mustangs. 🙂

Suzanne and the AWHPC team work tirelessly to keep advocates informed about threats to our wild horses and burros, as well as highlighting the good work being done by countless volunteers across the West (and elsewhere). Kat is working on a variety of “tales,” in a variety of formats, to highlight challenges faced by – and successes made by – advocates and BLM managers on behalf of the now-wild equines whose ancestors were instrumental in developing this country.

Join Kat on the (digital) range with the mesteños!