Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Story and Good Information

This may be - as Dennis says - preaching to the choir but I want to tell you about a great story that I just read on Raye Lochert's website.

I met him at the Mane Event that we had here in Vancouver and then again at the Hands on Horses Expo that Silver Buckle put on earlier this year. He is a very good trainer that also has a gift of connecting with his audience. And he writes good informative and entertaining articles.

The one that I just read was about a training ride he was on with a green horse and their encounter with a run away horse. The real excitment was after the poor scared horse had passed and then came the 'herd' of horses and riders chasing the escapee. He goes on to talk about a 'better' plan in that type of situation and the happy ending to the whole adventure.

Take some time to read his article - Loose Horse

Have a Safe Weekend

Mt. Adams fire in July

Perhaps some of you have already left for your grand adventure this weekend. Lucky you.

We don't get to leave until Saturday night but 2 nights are better then none. We are headed out into Wendy's territory - we are going horse camping! Well, trail riding too but that we've done before.

Our trail riding experience has mostly been on a great ranch in Klickitat county looking for cows. If you find cows then it was a gather. If you don't find any cows, then it was a trail ride. Dennis and I have around Battle Ground Lake a time or two and down a few other local trails and he has been on some incredible rides with the Mounted Search and Rescue on searches and on training (on trails I wouldn't ride!). But not to just head down the trail with friends. And that is what we get to do this weekend.

We are going up with some Fence Rider friends to Glenwood, Washington. If you haven't been up there, it is a cute little (and I mean little) town at the foot of Mt Adams. It was in line for that forest fire in July. Fortunately, it didn't do a lot of damage to people and structures.

Actually Glenwood is famous for their N.P.R.A. Ketchum Kalf Rodeo on Father's Day weekend. It is a good blend of great cowboys, local folks and beautiful scenery and one of the best burgers around.

The area also has a great new horse camp that we'll have to tell you about later but this trip, we are staying at the rodeo grounds and riding out on the local trails. Or so I'm told.

It is good that the weather has been a bit wet so that all of us recreating out in the woods this weekend wouldn't be in quite such danger of wild fire but still remember to be VERY careful of any type of open flame while you are out there. We don't want any more of those nasty things around. It seems that Mother Nature is starting enough of them by herself.

So with that said, have a great weekend and I'll try to get some pictures of the area to share with you when we get back.

Stay tuned ......
And Blessings to you all,

We have good friends that live up there and they sent us this picture when that fire first started.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update on BLM Horses

For those of you interested in the wild horse situation, I wanted to pass on this update that I received in the newsletter today.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) isn't likely to make a decision regarding the use of euthanasia in wild horse herd management until the end of the year, a spokesman said. The euthanasia option decision was originally expected to come shortly after the fall meeting of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Council.
Spokesman Tom Gorey said the agency will reserve its decision until after the Advisory Council meets in Reno, Nev., in October, and until the U.S. General Accounting Office presents its yearlong audit of BLM operations to the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee in September.
Continue reading ......

Sunday, August 24, 2008

To Ride the Search

Earlier this month, I told you about a search that our Mounted Search and Rescue group participated in. It was from my prespective as a 'ground support person'. I finally talked Tim Kienitz, one of our mounted searchers, to write up his experience out on the trail. Now mind you, Tim is a fireman and a paramedic so he's tough. But even with that in mind, I know that it was a very different experience than mine becauce of how relieved everyone looked when they first walked off the trail and back into the command center.
So here is Tim's account of their ride ---

So there we were, The Fence Riders at the Clark County Fair, relaxing, waiting to head out on our afternoon ride at the Fair when the day is shattered by a phone call from the Sheriff’s requesting the Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue to help in a search. An autistic boy is lost outside of Chelatchie Prairie area in the mountains and has already spent one night out alone.

About 2 years ago the Fence Riders, AKA Clark County Fair Mounted Patrol, was approached by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department to form a Mounted Search and Rescue group. A hand full of the Fence Riders said yes. That group of Fence Riders formed the Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue. Today the team would be put to the test.

The unit was activated, all the gear and horses were gathered up and we headed up to aid in the search. The drive was long, maybe an hour and by the time our team was assembled the hour was late, later than we would have liked. We met with the Sheriff’s Department and were briefed on who and what to look for. Our team was 7 mounted and 2 ground-support people.

By the time we were finally in on the trail it was the better part of 2 pm. The team dropped in at the Siouxon trail head. This trail is about a horse wide and cuts back and forth through the forest dropping from 1700 feet to about 400 feet. Mostly a nice drop and the team was able to set a pretty good pace; not placing the fastest horse up front. There were a couple of spots on the trail that would test a good rider. One was crossing under a log with flat rocks that were covered with moss and had water cascading over them. This is one spot were boots vs. shoes was a topic of discussion for some people.

The trail was good until we approached the river crossing. The trail to the river was, well for lack of other terms, not really there. There was enough room for a horse to think he could fit through and they did. That just landed us on a rocky area were we were able to cross the river. I was on a 15.3 hand horse and was still getting my boots wet. My horse still went on. On the other side of the river was another bank quit similar to the one we went down, it was steep up and narrow as could be. There were plenty of low branches, enough that I laid my head down on my horse’s neck, dropped the reins and said “get up the hill”. Sure enough he did. The rest of the trail up was more switch-backs and a very steady up-hill climb. The higher we went up the steeper the trail became. One side was steep down and the other side was steeper up. There were plenty of trees to break our fall though.

Less than half way in on the ride we reached a downed log over the trail. This was tough. The log was about 40-50 feet long and 2-3 feet thick. With no way around, we thought the best course of action would be to cut through it. Well, with 2 hours of cutting with a small pruning saw and a hatchet, we were through the log. By this time the Sheriff’s Department had ordered all teams out of the search area so the air patrol could use a heat sensing device from an airplane to look for the boy. Our only course of action was to turn around and to retrace our steps. So down the switch-backs and down to the river. Once across the river it was more steep climbs, and looking for the child while on our way out. We exited the trail head at about 7pm, dusk. We hauled our horses to a close spot to bed them down for the night, while we rested our selves. The plan was to ride out at next daylight and complete our trail.

The morning greeted us with our host cooking fresh coffee and the best biscuits and gravy I have tasted in some time. Just before first light, we loaded our horses and up the mountain we went. The team arrived at the spot we were to tack up, parked our rigs and got our horses ready to go again. Our saddle pads were still damp for the ride the day before. At about the time the horses were tacked up and our riders mounted and ready to ride, the boy walked out of the woods unharmed. That is a wonderful thing.

We may not have found the missing boy, and this is not our first search, but it is always a good thing when the person is found and is in good spirits and uninjured.

Our search and rescue group is always looking for people that are interested in a lot of training and not much action. Both the rider and the horse need to be certified before they can go out on a search.
We have a meeting every other month on the 2nd Thursday at a local fire station. If this sounds interesting to you, let me know and I'll make sure you get notified of our next meeting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vancouver Mounted Police

The 3rd Annual Friends at the Farm fundraiser hosted by the Friends of the Mounted Police Unit (MPU) will be this Saturday, August 23rd at the Clark County Saddle Club, 10505 NE 117th Avenue, Vancouver, Wa. 11:00 to 3:00.

The day includes a BBQ, demonstration from the Vancouver Police MPU, a Silent Auction and Raffle plus a whole lot of fun!

Tickets $10 per person or $25 per family. For additional information and reservations call: 360-772-5883. .

If you have never seen what goes into training police horses or seen what they are capable of doing, come check them out. You can also just come over to visit with these dedicated officers. They are excellent horsemen and are committed to this unit. What many may not know is that the officers cover the expense of their own horses, tack and transportation. This is very expensive – as most of you know – and Friends of the Mounted Police Unit works at raising funds to help them with those expenses. “Friends at the Farm” is their major fundraiser for the year.

Check out a little bit more about this special unit on their city web page and watch a very good video - City Minutes Interview - linked at the bottom of that page. Lt. Dave King and Sgt. Keith Hyde are interviewed about the mounted unit and about this fundraiser.

See you there -

Monday, August 18, 2008

Horsepower Under The Hood

Coming on Saturday, August 23rd is an event for the whole family.

The horsy people can hang around and talk with their kind, support the youth of our county and cheer on the kids.

The non-horsy (4 footed) kind and hang around admiring and talking about their horses – power, that is.

Ridgefield Booster Club is having its 2nd Annual Car Show to benefit The Ridgefield High School Equestrian Team. There will be a spot for all entries from the oldies and street rods, to the 4x4's, jalopies, and classics, and even the daily drivers.
There will be games, prizes, food, drawings and trophies for the car owners.

When: August 23rd Sat. @ 9 am
Where: Ridgefield High School
Contact: Sharie Rayburn 360-904-1443

Living on the Land Class Series

Registration Is Open for Fall 2008 Living on the Land Class Series

Would you like to learn how to reduce mud and weeds, improve pasture and soil quality, keep your animals healthy, and reduce chore time? Join us for the twelve week Living on the Land – Stewardship for Small Acreages series of workshops sponsored by WSU Clark County Extension and the Clark County Clean Water Program. The series provides a basic, holistic understanding of soil, water, plant and animal interactions on small acreage properties.

“Living on the Land - Stewardship for Small Acreages”
Wednesdays, September 3 to November 19, 2008 - 6:30 to 9:30 PM

Registration is free but class size is limited to the first 40 farms or properties. Please call Erin Harwood at 360-397-6060 ext. 7720 or e-mail her at to register, get directions, or for more information about the Small Acreage Program.

WSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. Persons requiring special accommodations should call WSU Clark County Extension at (360) 397-6060 ext. 0 at least two weeks prior to the event.

If you have already taken this class in the past, but missed a class or two, or would like a refresher, please let me know and I will send you the schedule.

Erin HarwoodSmall Acreage Program CoordinatorWSU Clark County Extension11104 NE 149th Street, C-100Brush Prairie, WA 98606Phone: 360-397-6060 x7720Fax: 360-397-6122

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Horse gets Eviction Notice

This story is from a 'bedroom' community of Lincoln Nebraska but could it happen here? I hope not but it is an interesting story.

Check it out at This site has a lot of interesting information. You need to register to read some of them but the registration is free and they don't seem to be too invasive.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SBYEC Buckle Series

Silver Buckle Youth Equestrian Center (SBYEC) is offering a Buckle Series starting this weekend, August 16th and continuing September 6th and 13th.

There will be Team Sorting and One on One sorting and then Barrels and Poles.
Dennis and I went out to their Thursday night Team Sorting this winter and had a ball. It is nice for us beginners – fun without a lot of pressure. We also took part in a Sorting Workshop and it was the same. Very welcoming to us beginners.

For the Series, points will be given for the first 3 places on each day and then a buckle will be awarded to the high point winner in each event and division. There will also be a daily cash pay out to the 5th place for all events and divisions. 5 team minimum required to hold ‘cow’ events.

Give them a call at 360-260-8932 to pre-register. Drop-ins will also be accepted.

Now, if you're not going to enter this event, they are in need of some more volunteers.
They are specifically looking for:

2 timers with stop watches, also keep track of times
Tractor driver
Assistant Book Keeper
Concession people

This would be a good opportunity to help out this organization. They are really stepping up their activity schedule to offer more events for the community.

Come on out to give them a hand, meet some nice people and have a good time.

Olympic Updates had a lot of Olympic news in the e-newsletter I got this morning.

They have the results of the Eventing competition, an article on the U.S. Team Cross Country and some Veterinary Updates from Hong Kong.

There is also a link to the award-winning author Jennifer Bryant's blog of behind the scene at the 2008 Equestrian Olympics. This looks like it will be really interesting. She is seeing things the way I would look at them. Jennifer wrote "Olympic Equestrian: A Century of International Horse Sport".

I just checked on the Equestrian portion of the Paralympic Games to be help in Hong Kong September 6 through September 17th. Their website has some interesting information including qualifications and classifications.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Olympic News

We have a local connection to the Olymipics thru the horse community.
This first piece is from Back Country Horseman of Washington (BCHW) -

During the next couple weeks the Olympics will be the most watched event around the world. We have a local "connection" to the Games......

2008 Olympian Kara Patterson, who will be competing in the Javelin event in Beijing, is the daughter of Mt. St. Helens Chapter BCHW members Bruce & Rona Patterson.

Please join us in congratulating Kara on earning the right to represent the United States, and in wishing her continued success in the upcoming Games!


A follow-up from Rona Patterson..........

If anyone is interested in reading my blog at, I'll be journaling about our trip and about Kara's performance (in case NBC misses it). We'll wave at every camera we see!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Clark County Fair Results - 8/5/08

Congratulations to all the Intermediates that competed on Tuesday.
You all did a great job.

These are the top awards -

Intermediate Novice Showmanship
Grand Champion - Kyra Davidson
Reserve Champion - Bianca Lujan

Intermediate Showmanship
Grand Champion - Nadine Miller
Reserve Champion - Danielle Pongratz

Intermediate Bareback Equitation
Grand Champion - Tamzen Corum
Reserve Champion - Amy McDonald

Intermediate Novice Rider English Walk/Trot
Grand Champion - Anna Dolliver
Reserve Champion - Corinna Niebur

Intermediate Hunt Seat Equitation
Grand Champion - Riley Bylsma
Reserve Champion - Nadine Miller

Intermediate Western Equitation
Grand Champion - Brittany Williams
Reserve Champion - Kaitlyn Eckhart

Intermediate Practical Horsemanship – Trail
Grand Champion - Jordan Linn
Reserve Champion - Amy McDonald

Intermediate Novice Practical Horsemanship – Trail
Grand Champion - Natalia Hoffman
Reserve Champion - Tyler Morris

Friday, August 8, 2008

How Green is your Grass?

Join the Small Acreage Program for a free workshop that will provide tips, suggestions, and ideas on how to improve pastures, control weeds, and reduce feed costs for your animals. The workshop will provide information on installing fencing to increase grass production and set up rotational grazing, along with other tips and tricks to reduce chore time and save you money.

The Small Acreage Program, co-sponsored by Washington State University Clark County Extension, the Clark County Clean Water Program, and the Clark Conservation District, will provide information, handouts and answer landowners’ questions at the workshop.

“Greener Pastures”
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
6:30 to 8:30 PM

CASEE Center
11104 NE 149th Street
Building B
Brush Prairie, WA

Registration is free but class size is limited.
Please call 360-397-6060 ext. 7720 or e-mail Erin at to register , or for more information about the WSU Clark County Extension’s Small Acreage Program.

Rodeo Tonight

If you are going to be at the fair today be sure to stop by the horse arena at 6 o’clock. That’s when the Grand Entry starts for the Telephone Pioneer’s Handicap Rodeo.

After the ‘cowboys’ and their partners parade in on wagons drawn by draft horses, the flag is presented by the Clark County Fair Queen and her court and the Fence Riders ride in on the ‘barrel horses’, the rodeo begins.

The teams compete in relays that include untying the flag from the goat's tail, roping the ‘saw’ horse, and the wheelbarrow race. The grand finale is the barrel race where each contestant gets on a horse for the ‘race’ around the barrels.
Some of these kids have been riding in a therapy riding program but for others, this is only time that they get to ride a horse. And we all know how special that experience is. These kids remember the horses from year to year.

Come on by and help cheer on the kids. You will never forget the experience.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Successful Search

On Sunday about 11 am Dennis got word while we were at the fair grounds that Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue (MSAR) had been called out for the search for the 11 year old boy that was lost up in Skamania County.

Because most of the MSAR are Fence Riders, a lot of us were already off work and the horses were on site and available. We called our phone tree and found the riders and trailers that were close and available. Most of us did not have our search gear at the fair grounds so those that lived close or on the way to the search gathered all their available gear to help supply the ones that didn’t have any with them. After all this, we were able get horses, gear, food and people loaded and headed out of the fair grounds by 1:00.

One of the things that we work on is getting as rapid a response as possible. It’s not quite like loading up a backpack and heading out. Each member needs to have gear to survive for 24 hours out in the field for both horse and rider.

Eight horses and 10 people got to our base camp on the 57 road, tacked up and the headed out to the command center, on the 5701 road, about 3:00. The command center is usually as close to the search site as possible and that means that there is usually a very limited amount of real estate. One of the issues of having a mounted group is that we need more room to maneuver so our base camp is often separate from the command center. Because of that we also need base camp people to stay with the trailers.

Gary and I had a radio so we could hear what was going on and had our maps to plot where all the different search groups were looking. We watched with great interest the Washington State Patrol (WSP) fixed wing aircraft as it did its methodical search and of course the news helicopters trying to get their news footage. We could hear some of what the WSP pilot was reporting and it was great fun to have command give ‘Smoky’ their GPS coordinates. With that information, we found out where the command post was located. (at that time, we hadn’t left our gravel pit)

That is a real interesting process. Each searcher has a radio and the command center keeps track of where each group is on a computer map and can plot who has searched where and correlate any feedback so they can make sure that they have looked everywhere in the designated area. It really is quite an involved process.

Of course there were TV crews everywhere with their big camera and satellite trucks. Did you see our guys in the footage? They got quite a bit of screen time.

Command called everyone in at 6 pm but it took quite some time to get them all back. Our mounted group didn’t get back in until 8:00. They were a tired bunch. The Siouxon trail is really rough. The horses were dripping wet, even around their eyes, but they were troopers. They carried their riders through some very rough terrain with hardly any issues.

The search was scheduled to start at 6 AM the next morning. Because it took us so long to get clear up there on ‘not so trailer friendly’ roads, one of our members offered to put us up for the night at his place right down the hill in Amboy. He had room for all the horses to stretch and roll and he had beds, chairs and floors for us to bed down.

After making sure the horses were watered and fed, we all loaded up to go to Nick’s for dinner. Boy those hamburgers tasted great and the service was excellent. They even turned on the 10:00 news but we didn’t think of it soon enough so we didn’t see the story about the search. We had a great meal and did a lot of de-briefing. At the end of the meal when we went up to pay, the ladies that waited on us said no, the meal was on them. I want to personally thank them for the generosity. We all really appreciated it and want you all to know what wonderful people they are. I have no idea what their names are but next time you get a chance to go into Nick’s, say hi and pass along our thanks. I want them to know we appreciate them a bunch!

4 AM came way too early but when we got up, our hostess had biscuits and gravy and eggs ready for our breakfast. She kept saying we need a good breakfast to ride up on those trails. A big shout-out to her also.

Our horses were great sports and were more than ready to leave their spacious digs and load up for the days work. It was still dark! One of the things that we practice with our group is loading into ANY trailer and being able to ride with ANY horse. They all just jumped in where ever we put them and off we went.

We were tacked up and ready to mount when we heard over the radio the little guy had walked into camp ON HIS OWN. What a tough little bugger! We all gave a big shout and a ‘Thank you, Lord’. A deputy came by minutes later to thank us for our help and to sign us out. It was a job well done. So we packed back up, loaded the horses and headed back to the fair grounds. We got back there earlier than most of us get there on normal days. Our day seemed half done by 10:00 and we were ready for lunch.

Because I wasn’t on the actual ride, I’m having one of the riders write up an account of their ‘trial ride’ and will post it as soon as they get it done.

Because this is still fair time and we are all out there working, things have been slow to appear here and I apologize for that.

But we’ll ‘get r done’.

Favorite Flavor

I read this on one of my chat boards and thought it was interesting ----

Equine Flavor Preferences by:
Lydia Gray, DVM, MAJuly 15 2008, Article # 12280

Does your horse have a favorite flavor? Eight research horses in England did.

Deborah Goodwin, BSc, PhD, research director of Applied Animal Behaviour Programmes at the University of Southampton, set out to discover what flavors horses actually like, compared to what horse owners and product manufacturers think horses like. In Goodwin's first trial, she offered 15 flavors to eight stabled horses in a small amount of grain and measured how much they ate, how long it took them to eat it, and if any horses partially or completely rejected it. Some horses refused to eat three flavors--echinacea, nutmeg, and coriander. This left 12 flavors that were universally accepted: apple, banana, carrot, cherry, cumin, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, oregano, peppermint, and rosemary turmeric. In the next phase of the study, the eight flavors the horses ate the fastest of the 12 offered were presented again, in all combinations of pairings, to rank the horses' overall order of preference. The horses' top-ranked flavors were (in order): Fenugreek, Banana, Cherry, Rosemary, Cumin, Carrot, Peppermint, Oregano. Finally, in Trial 3 she offered the horses three versions of a mineral pellet: banana-flavored, fenugreek-flavored, or unflavored. Horses ate the pellet much faster when it was flavored with either fenugreek or banana than when it had no added flavor.

The take-home: if you want your horse to eat his medication or supplements, choose products that already contain the top eight flavors horses prefer, or add them yourself.

Goodwin D, Davidson H P B, Harris, P. Selection and acceptance of flavours in concentrate diets for stabled horses. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 95, Issue 3 - 4, Pages 223-232.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clark County Fair Results - 8/4/08

Congratulations are in order for all of you Seniors that competed on Monday.
Great Job!

These are the top awards -

Senior Novice Showmanship
Grand Champion – Sarah Carr
Reserve Champion – Amy Stadelman

Senior Showmanship
Grand Champion – Sophia Howard
Reserve Champion – Erich Hodges

Senior Bareback Equitation
Grand Champion – Holly Bahr
Reserve Champion – Hannah Behrent

Senior Saddle Seat
Grand Champion – Holly Bahr
Reserve Champion – Pari Treptow- Wagner

Senior Hunt Seat
Grand Champion – Holly Bahr
Reserve Champion – Sophia Howard

Novice Senior Western Walk/Trot
Grand Champion – Amy Stadelman

Senior Western Equitation
Grand Champion – Jaclyn Sprenger
Reserve Champion – Amber Rios

Trail Senior
Grand Champion – Lindsey Morris
Reserve Champion – Kaycee Cook

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Missing Horse

This came by way of a Back Country Horseman of Washington (BCHW) email -

Monday, August 04, 2008 3:58 PM
From Dike Rd, Rainer Oregon: (Southwest WA)

Missing or taken 10 year old Solid Black Registered American PaintHorse.

This mare is ready to foal, or just has foaled. Mare has a bad attitude - will lay her ears back and make you want to leave the stall. 15 hands. Has been ridden BUT because of attitude has been used as a brood mare.

Also missing, oblong large rusty water trough and 20 large kennel panels (look like the panels you take camping for your horses, but larger and with chain link in them.)

Phone 360-751-4466

Saturday, August 2, 2008

At the Fair

Just a short note to keep you up to date a bit on the fair.
Tonight's entertainment is Eric Church at 7:30.
You can get more information at Clark County Fair on times and cost.
It is looking to be a good fair. If you haven't seen the bits on the local news, there is a trick horse this year and he looks amazing and he's a beautiful Paint.

Open class showing is this weekend. Engish today and Western tomorrow.
The lead line class is at 4:00 if you want to come out and see some real cuties. I wanted to put up some of the results from yesterday's events but there were computer issues and the office was way behind. I'll get them on when they have time to give them to me. Because this is so new, no one is set up to hand me the results and I don't want to cause anyone any extra work. The behind the scene stuff is so hectic anyway! If you see any of the workers out there, be sure to just give them a big smile and tell them how much we all appreciate what they do. All of the workers out there in the horse area are volunteers and it is a lot of work.

The Dock Dogs are back this year and if you haven't made it down to that end of the fair grounds, go spend an hour or so. It is a blast to watch those dogs go splashing into the water and to watch how the trainers/handlers work to make it a game for those dogs. They put a lot of 'english' in their body actions.

Now, I've got to tell you funny story -
I was going to be lazy and get the fair grounds web address off Eric Church's 'on tour ' page. Guess what - it links to the "Clark County Fair" in Springfield, Ohio! oops!
We are always being mistaken for the other Vancouver or the other Washington. Now we are the OTHER Clark County Fair.

I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wild Mustangs

My idea for the blog today was originally to include a forward of an email that I had received about a BLM action affecting a wild mustang herd. Because the email was a bit old, I decided to do some checking to see if there was an update.

After some digging I called the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center and talked with Matthew Dillon. He has a blog linked on that page that is very interesting and has great pictures. Visiting with him, he felt that the most good we as horse people can do for wild horses is to become more educated about them and their issues.

There is a lot of information out about wild horses. Some of it is accurate and some of it not quite so much. The more any of us know about a subject, the better opinions we can form and share. He felt that the Pryor Herd is being well managed at this time with good communications between the BLM people and the herd advocates.

He sent me to the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Program website and pointed out several places that we could learn about the issue and make comments. Matt said that at least for the Pryor group, they have had a “lot of comments”. What he said suggested that the best help would be for people to become informed and then share well formed comments about the issue. The BLM managers are more likely to listen and take in that type of information. Sounds basic but sometimes when our emotions take over, what comes out is not always very helpful and will fall on deaf ears.
The BLM site has a Fact sheet on Wild Horse and Burro Management Challenges and a feed back form for Public Input. There is even a link to a page about how you can help if you can’t adopt a mustang.

Be sure to check out the links to the different Mustang Challenges including the Extreme Mustang Makeover 2008 (EMM 08) in Fort Worth, Texas on September 18-21, 2008. (I may get to attend that event - I'll keep you posted) This page has links to the pictures of all 100 mustangs in the 2008 challenge along with the trainer’s name and location. There are several from the NW.

Two of the things that Matt said would be good for all of us to become more informed about was the current push to relax some rules about adoptions and some laws about outright buying of mustangs. He was very careful to not give opinions about either one. Just that it would be good for the public to become more informed about those issues.

And more thoughts about wild horses from a friend …….
The effort to remove wild horses from public lands is a repeat cycle. The government has tried for the last 30 plus years to remove wild horse herds as they do not want to manage them as wildlife. The horse is native to North America and although the Spanish did re-introduce horses, there is data supporting the fact that the horse never died out in North America in the North territory. All evidence has carefully been discredited or destroyed through the years to prevent the knowledge of the horse staying a native species. I personally viewed the vet at Palomino Valley, Nevada euthanizing a population of what appeared to be "Bashkir Curly" horses back in the late 70's stating that they had thyroid issues.

To give an example of numbers, there are less than 40, 000 wild horses in the entire US with population data ranging from as low as 21,000 to a high of 44,000 depending on various estimates. Wyoming has about 110,000 elk, but wildlife biologists consider the elk population at risk. If a species population falls below 100,000, its gene pool is at risk. Because we cannot hunt and kill horses, they are viewed as "feral" non-native species that need to be removed.

Horses can do damage to the environment when they are not properly managed, but little effort has been directed to mange wild horses. Most of the effort has been to remove and capture with no awareness of behavior, leadership, or the social ecology of the herds.

What people can do--Contact and write your local US senators and representatives, write newspapers and media. Contact the BLM and the Secretary of Interior. Your own representatives and senators will listen more because they are your local leaders and need to know what their constituency thinks.