Mustang whisperer could have answers for BLM’s horse dilemma
The helicopter round ups done by the Bureau of Land Management’s contracted agents are absolutely deplorable. Anyone or any organization who chooses to use this method knows this, unless they are absolutely insensitive. Helicopter rounds are not an efficient method of moving wild horses. Horses are injured and family groups torn apart – stop this madness now. ~ HfH
From: The Santa Fe New Mexican
By: Staci Matlock
More than two decades ago, a South Dakota ranch hosted 1,500 unadopted mustangs on the first federally approved wild horse sanctuary. Owned by H. Alan Day, the ranch was unique for more than just the horses.
Day, the brother of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, tried a “gentling” method he had used with wild cattle to get the horses to trust and follow humans. He thinks his experience with the mustangs could help the embattled Bureau of Land Management as the agency struggles to care for thousands of wild horses on drought-stricken Western rangelands and 50,000 more stuck in holding facilities.
The trick is to think more like horses and less like people. In the end, Day said, changing the approach could save the agency money and grief.
Day details the innovative method of working with mustang herds, and his seven decades of life with horses, in a new book, The Horse Lover (2014, University of Nebraska Press), written with Lynn Wiese Sneyd. He’ll be in Santa Fe and Albuquerque on Friday and Saturday to talk and sign copies of the book.
People have spent more than a century trying to manage wild horses on Western lands. When a few horses escaped Spanish settlers in the 1500s and were joined over the ensuing decades by horses from other migrants, it wasn’t a big deal. But by the early 1900s, the wild horses were competing with livestock for forage and making ranchers mad. Ranchers and hunters began shooting the wild horses.
Habitat for Horses is always on the lookout for a few great people at our ranches. The work is unique, the animals are special and we want folks who both know and understand the special connection our animals need.