I was perusing a Wild Horse Yahoo group digest last week, when I came across the heading to a post entitled “Awaken Your Spirit.” I recognized the name of the author – she had recently purchased my DVD set and we had e-mailed back and forth a few times – so I went down the page to view her post. I wasn’t expecting what I read, but found it inspiring and thought others might too. I asked Jennifer if she would like to share her article as a “Guest.” She agreed – so in her own words…

“Awaken Your Spirit” by Jennifer Gage

In my dreams thundering across the plains, race immense herds of mustangs, running like the wind-free in every sense of the word in all their glory. “In riding a horse, we borrow freedom.” –Helen Thompson.

We will never see this magic again and like the buffalo, the mustang too will be gone before we know what happened if we don’t act now. Please vote now on Change.org to save the mustangs: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/stop_cruel_blm_round_up_of_wild_horses

Every single day mustangs (wild horses) are being rounded up and put in holding pens like discarded waste. Families are torn apart, mothers and babies put in separate pens. Their fate is uncertain; to be slaughtered for Europe’s elite diners (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gAX5snG7-4 **Warning – Contains Graphic Material**) or to live in some holding pen the rest of their lives is not what most Americans believe they deserve. These horses have been grazing these lands for over 200 years, and in fact, horses are an integral part of American heritage and culture as even Congress declared in 1971 with the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

A captive Bolder from the Pryor Mountains of Montana

What the opposition and people like Sue Cattoor, Bob Abbey, Ken Salazar can’t see or feel is the true beauty these precious, magnificent creatures exude-their spirit is one with Mother Earth and all that She has to offer the mustang. Those that cannot see the treasure that is the mustang with all its beautiful colors, spirit, freedom, joy, fierce loyalty and love of family have grown dull toward this world in which we live; they have forgotten that it is not normal or scientific in any sense of the word. “Every once in a while something will come along and shock us right out of our dullness and resignation.” That’s what the mustangs and watching “The Stallion and the Foal” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JKKWF0ZUGk)
have done for me.

Thanks to photographers like Pam Nickoles, Carol Walker, and cinematographer Ginger Kathrens, I got to experience the mustang like I never have before. I didn’t even know they existed wild on the plains of 10 states. There used to be 2 million mustangs in 1900 throughout 16 states. They are now extinct in 6 states. If YOU do not act and do not let the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), President Obama, senators and congressmen know of the value these animals have, they too will go the way of the buffalo and the wolf. We cannot let that happen to them – to the horses that took us to battle when our nation was young and brought the pioneers to the west. I cannot let that happen.

“Just as we have lost our wonder at the world around us, we have forgotten what a treasure the human heart is. All of the happiness we have ever known and all of the happiness we hope to find is unreachable without a heart.”—John Eldredge.

My human heart is telling me the mustang is capable of bringing me this happiness-this borrowed freedom. To know this happiness yourself, go to YouTube and watch the videos about Cloud and his herd by Ginger or “Stampede to Oblivion”
(http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/news-update-the-stampede-to-oblivion-is-now-online/) or Calico, Nevada-Where the Wild Horses Roam (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-0OK3i1YFI) or countless other wild horse videos found on YouTube.

Cloud - Pryor Mountains Montana

The wild horses are protected by The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195), which states that Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.

“Less than one percent of humans who live in America have ever seen wild horses running free. I have spoken with many of the few who have and each has said the view they made will never be forgotten. As remarkable as a distant sight of wild horses can be it remains the tip of a glorious iceberg. The actual lives of wild horses reveal to humanity the privilege having a life on the planet earth and how vital it is to respect the privilege.” Twelve the King, -Michael Blake

Michael Blake with his gelding Tomas

“Before I purchased El Mariachi, that beautiful horse belonged to each and every one of you. All of the BLM managed Mustangs belong to you. Many people don’t even realize this, but the wild horses belong to the PUBLIC. You. Their futures are in your hands as well. If you ever have an opportunity to view a wild horse in its natural surroundings, I guarantee that you’ll be changed forever, and maybe you’ll begin to understand why many people work so hard to preserve them. Hopefully, you’ll become involved in the wild horse protection efforts yourself. There are so few wild herds remaining, it’s imperative that people act NOW. The wild horses are magical, spiritual creatures and they absolutely deserve their place on our Earth.” -Pam Nickoles

El Mariachi

Some facts:
• The half-million acre Calico Complex herd management area is the last stronghold of the American mustang and was designated by Congress principally for the wild horses and burros. Millions of head of livestock graze at a cost of $1.35/cow-calf pair/month.
• Overall welfare livestock constitute a net loss of $123 million annually to the American tax payer.
• The scapegoating of wild horses and burros for range deterioration must stop—they comprise only a tiny fraction of animals and wildlife grazing on our public lands.
• Cows graze within a mile of water. In comparison wild horses are highly mobile, moving 5-10 miles from water and grazing on more rugged terrain.
• BLM does not adequately control cattle on the public’s land and has not sustainably balanced use of the “forage”, water and space.
• A 1000-lb cow not only eats 26 lbs. of forage daily, but they consume as much as 30 gallons of water a day and defecate in it as well.
• Private and corporate livestock outnumber wild horses at least 100 to 1 on public lands.

Search your deep heart and investigate what I have just told you if this has motivated or awakened you to the dullness of your life. Pass this on and awaken your family, friends, coworker, children and grandchildren. Let’s not leave a legacy of dust to our children and grandchildren where the mustang once roamed like the buffalo…YOUR HELP IS DESPERATELY NEEDED TO SAVE THE WILD HORSES OF THE WEST! YOU ALONE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES!

I leave you with this piece of beauty…All the Little Ponies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXl8GwrBkxM

May you be blessed,
Jennifer

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Resources:
http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/
http://www.wildhorsepreservation.com/resources/calico.html
http://www.wildhorsepreservation.com/
http://www.theamericanwildhorse.com/
http://www.madeleinepickens.com/
http://www.idablog.org/category/horse-campaign/

Jennifer has been involved in the wild horse protection efforts for only about 3 months. She is obviously passionate about the cause and she has done some research to back up her beliefs. I hope that others will be inspired by her words, follow her lead and decide they too can make a difference in the lives of our wild horses. Thanks Jennifer. I’m honored to have been a small part of your journey of discovery into the beauty of, and the issues facing our wild ones.

Adobe Town HMA wild horses

Stay updated with current Wild Horse news: http://nickolesphotography.com/HTML/wildhorseinformation.htm

More Wild Horse video clips: http://www.nickolesphotography.com/HTML/videoclips.html

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images.)

March For Mustangs

February 27, 2010

(From The Cloud Foundation)

When: Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Time: 1:00-3:00 PM – Press conference and speakers at 1:30 PM (Filmmaker/Advocate Ginger Kathrens, Author R.T. Fitch and many more- including special guests to be announced)

Where: Lafayette Park (northside of White House, on H Street between 15th and 17th Streets, NW). At 3:00 PM. Protesters will march with signs to the BLM office at 1849 ‘C’ Street.

Plus Mustangs on the Hill II: On Friday morning we’ll meet and brief people on meeting with their Representatives in meetings to save the mustangs. Please schedule an appointment with your Representatives for Thursday morning or Friday.

Why: BLM’s cruel and poor mismanagement is destroying a vital piece of the American west. The American public is standing up for our horses and burros- please join us in a March for Mustangs rally and protest.

Roundups increased significantly in 2000 in the Bush years and they haven’t let up under the Obama administration. 12,000 wild horses and burros are scheduled for removal from our public lands this fiscal year alone. These helicopter roundups come at enormous expense to our wild herds and to the American taxpayer.

Recently, the roundup of 1900 mustangs took place in the Calico mountains of Northwestern Nevada during the dead of winter, ending early in February when BLM realized the herds were far smaller than estimated. To date, 60 horses have died due to this roundup and the death toll continues to climb daily. This does not include the 30 plus mares that have aborted their late-term foals in the feedlot style corrals in Fallon, Nevada where the horses are being held. Two foals had their hooves literally separate from the bone after the helicopters ran their families for miles over rocky and sharp volcanic ground.

Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees the BLM, has decided there is no room left for our mustangs on their designated lands in the west. The Secretary and has proposed purchasing private land in the East for our Western wild horses. This only adds to the financial and humane train wreck that the Wild Horse and Burro Program has become.

So rather than spending over thirty million dollars this fiscal year to remove our wild horses and burros from the range, let’s protect them on their western lands. The intent of Congress’ 1971 Free-roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act was not to warehouse horses, but allowed them to live in freedom in self-sustaining numbers on western rangelands designated primarily for their survival. Drastic change is needed in the management of wild horses and burros if they are to survive, as wild animals, into the future. Wild horses benefit the land as they evolved in North America and they represent our living history in the west.

Annually we lose $123 million running a taxpayer subsidized grazing program is often referred to as “welfare ranching” due to the small fees charged to livestock permittees. The rate is currently the lowest allowed by law—$1.35 per cow/calf pair per month. This rate needs to be raised to over $9.00 in order for the program to break even. If cows were removed and horses allowed to stay, we’d save even more—including our valued mustangs. Holding the 1900 Calico horses alone in a feedlot style facility amounts to a staggering cost of over $10,000 per day!

But change is on the way for our wild horses and burros! Some 25 protests have been mounted from coast-to-coast including Chicago, LA, NYC, Denver, Las Vegas, Reno, and Sacramento since late December. Thousands of people have braved the cold and come out with their families to hold banners and signs demanding that President Obama react to the hideous mistreatment of our spectacular wild horses and respond to the incredible waste of taxpayer dollars on a broken program that only lines the pockets of powerbrokers and cattle barons. Now is the time to say enough is enough. Open the gates and return our wild horses to their rightful ranges.

Please take action for our wild herds. An immediate moratorium on all roundups is needed! This must be followed by hearings and investigations on BLM mismanagement; accurate and independent assessments of just how many wild horses we have left and the real range conditions. Then we need to develop a sustainable plan for our wild herds on our Western public lands and restore their protections set forth in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Moving our wild horses in non-reproducing, broken families to the East is not the answer.

Join us on Thursday, March 25th for a Mustang March on Washington and take action today to save these incredible animals who are currently being managed to extinction.

Call President Obama 202-456-1111

Call your Senators 202-224-3121

For more information, go to The Cloud Foundation: http://www.thecloudfoundation.org

You can follow the Calico horses through the Humane Observer, Elyse Gardner’s Blog: http://humaneobserver.blogspot.com

Stay current with Wild Horse News: http://www.nickolesphotography.com/HTML/wildhorseinformation.htm

There are many other informative sites listed under my Links heading on the right.

Adobe Town HMA stallion (Wyoming)

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