Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wild Horses

So I guess I am one of those people who just don't get the whole mustang mystique. So you adopted a wild horse, so you can gentle it and ride it, so you can turn around and brag about it being a wild horse? Huh??? It's a horse!! I could go down to the reservation and pick up a few that are just like the mustangs and NOT have to deal with the whole government thing.

Please don't get me wrong. I bear no ill-will toward the mustangs. They are just horses caught between a rock and a hard place in today's society. Much like their domesticated brethren.

To start my research, I had to go read the actual Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. all actuality, it is a pretty well written piece of legislation. People are screaming about the amendments to it, as bolded in the document I linked too, but personally, I see them as a sign of changing times and needs. The only problem I see, is that specific numbers are not mentioned...for a lot of people, that leaves the whole area gray. However, in a true animal management situation, numbers are relative. In good years, acreages can handle more numbers, in poor years, less. Unless, you base everything off of the absolute poorest conditions and keep the numbers there consistently, the numbers are going to be ever changing depending on the current condition of the range these animals have access too. Why is this hard for people to understand?

Now, from what I can find out about the 700 head that will be making their way to South Dakota? They will be going to this ranch...It's rather'll see why, when you go to this link...Triple U Buffalo Ranch. the buffalo is out and the horse is in?

Funny how priorities change with the decades. From what I have been able to glean from the people who know anything about this...the price is $38 per head, per month for each horse, one of the conditions is that the ranch must maintain one big round bale per head of horse on the property and yes, it is the U.S. government that is picking up the tab. Obviously, there will be no breeding allowed...this is simply a place for these horses to go to live out the rest of their natural lives.

Researching this is not so much a daunting task as one that stirs a huge emotional response. I am absolutely dumbfounded at the ignorant and emotionally unbalanced responses people write on behalf of these horses. The BLM is under constant bombardment from people who have NO knowledge of horses, BLM land, range management or any concept of the magnatude trying to figure out what to do with THIRTY THOUSAND HORSES. That is just the horses that are currently IN holding pens. What about the other THIRTY-THREE THOUSAND horses they are responsible for monitoring and maintaining on TEN MILLION acres? And Iwonder just how many horses are already placed on ranches throughout the U.S.? Four thousand on one ranch in Texas, a couple hundred more on another ranch in South Dakota(not the same ranch as the one I just learned about), a couple hundred on a ranch in Wyoming? Those are just the ones that have made the many more are out there?


Anonymous said...

Mustangs are such a hot-button topic because people romanticize them. There is nothing romantic about a few thousand feral horses starving to death every year because they have very few natural predators and they are breeding out of control. During a bad year they suffer and die because there isn't enough food for all of them.

It's a tough issue for everyone involved. I don't want to see them all slaughtered, but I also think it's ridiculous to spend hundreds of thousands to maintain a feral animal while pushing native species off the land. There are hundreds of thousands of feral dogs and cats out there, too, why aren't they being shipped to ranches and maintained with government money? It's all political.

We already have a serious problem with an overpopulation of poorly bred, poorly fed, poorly trained domestic horses without throwing thousands of poorly bred, feral horses into the mix.

MichelleSG said...

It's retarded and that's just the way the US government rolls, what are we to do when it's business as normal for them to play with money like that. They want to put on a pretty public face and the only way to do that is to do retarded things that piss away the nations non-existant money. If you want to see some of the other ranches that have Mustangs I think they are included in some of the links on my blog. I did a little off shot of your rant here but with a different look at what else they government does to try and make the Mustang effort look pretty. There is a silver lining to every could, even if the silver is a bit tarnished. Oh and the Drummand's run Mustangs at their ranch too but I'm not sure how many head of cattle they got rid of to do so. Dub never mentioned that when talking about the Mustangs.

Andrea said...

No thanks, I don't want a mustang. No thanks. The less "wild" the better. I am having enough problems breaking out domesticated horses, let a lone "wild" ones!! LOL!!

And yes, people do romaticize mustangs, and horses in general!!

Mikey said...

Tough issue right now. I know Pioneer Woman has some on her ranch in OK. Be interesting to know how many are out there on ranches and how much is being spent to have them "live out their days".
Nothing romantic about it. It's wild, it takes a lot longer to work with and it's just another horse. You're right, you can go to any Rez and get the exact same thing.
I say as long as it rides well and works well, it's all good. Don't care where it came from, so long as the horse does it's job.

Rising Rainbow said...

The issue with the slaughter houses was the same as the mustangs in my book. Lots of people who knew nothing about horses were deciding what was and wasn't good when they really didn't understand a thing about horses or the industry.

They thought they were saving Flicka or Black Beauty and knew nothing about the killer horse or a dozen other legitimate reasons a horse might go to slaughter. Not that I'm saying the industry didn't need some regulation to be sure it was humane but a Pollyanna solution was not the answer and it won't be in regards to the mustang either.

As for PW's horses, she's mentioned they have just females there. Sometime in the spring the males born the year before are removed and some females too. Then new females are added. Of course, some of those incoming females are pregnant so there are foals along the way. But you have to wonder what's up (details, details) with the coming and going.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

It is tough guys. The biggest bitch I have about it is that everyone seems to want to blame the cattleranchers for this. Well, in all reality, this problem has been caused in large by special interest groups, namely animal rights activists that put so much pressure on the BLM that they just held on to the excess horses rather than putting a few to sleep every year from the start. The animal rights activists blame the cattleranchers/sheepranchers for using the government land, that they pay leases on, they blame the BLM for not managing things correctly, well, quite frankly, they blame everyone but themselves for this mess.
The number of people that have the facilities or the experience to handle mustangs is decreasing every year, not to mention the fact that the price of already broke saddle horses had dropped dramatically. And what about all of the people who started breeding these "oh, so special" mustangs? Why would someone want to go buy a really, really wild ass horse, when they could go to a breeder and buy a "mustang" that was already pretty gentle? And you didn't have to deal with the government paperwork?

Myself, I am pretty damn sick and tired of the special interest animal rights groups creating so many problems with their unrealistic version of life and death. You can bet, that their idea of a "natural" life is not the same as people who understand that nature is not kind and benevolent. "Natural" deaths in the wild are either a brutal attack by a predator or a slow death from disease or starvation.

Personally, I don't think the BLM should auction off excess horses-either they get adopted or they get put to sleep. Period!! Especially now-since the government decided that slaughter is not an option in the U.S. They need to take the stand that responsible horse owners need to put their excess or old or crippled animals to sleep. Isn't it about time the government lead by example??

Callie said...

Tracey from Mustang Diaries has a good insight into how it all works, if you've ever read her posts. I think a lot of the contraversy has to do with cattle grazing ground as well, but I don't know that for sure. But Tracey does definately has good insight to it all. I don't know enough to state an opinion on right now.Will have to do some more reading.

Unknown said...

Yeah this is the tip of the iceberg of a very large issue.

First - I agree no Mustangs for me, my aunt is a full blooded Colville Indian and I could drive my little butt over to the res and pick up one there any day. The tribe "maintains" (kinda) a herd over across the river.

Second is that I just hate how everyone thinks that a bunch of horses turned out on a big range for a couple of generations are "wild" yeah......about as "wild" as a pack of feral dogs. Horses are not Deer. We have had a hand in the domestication and the fate of the horse for like 20,000 years - not so with deer. We can't undo that in a couple of generations.

When they are turned loose to live their "natural" lives we all know that means and how it ends - it ain't pretty.

I truly don't believe that today's horses are as armed as they need to be - as they used to be, to return wholly to the "wild" they will always require some human invention and it's our own fault. This opinion of mine jades my views on anything "mustang".

Oh yeah - I agree as well, not the ranchers fault. But make a convenient scape goat for the groups you mentioned huh?

Okay now - I'm done now.

gtyyup said...

I read this when you first posted it...but, refrained from commenting...I don't debate well at all. I have 4 mustangs; and I also have 3 Quarter Horses. I love them all for each of their own strengths.

Personally, I have found that the mustangs make the absolute best trail horses. Sure footed with natural common sense. I've found great satisfaction in gentling them and creating the bond of trust between human and horse. And yes, once they are gentled, they are like any other horse.

Are they feral or are they native? It all depends on which studies you have read and that you believe to be true. There are arguments to both sides.

Below is a link to an article from National Geographic that has just came out that you might find interesting to read.

My hope is that wild horses will continue to be part of our public lands and that cattle, sheep, wildlife, and horses can share our lands. I am for controlling herd growth but believe that herds must be large enough to be genetically viable.