Protecting Alto’s wild horse herd

alto new mexico horse advocates

From: Ruidoso News
By: Dianne Stallings

Part I Avoiding slaughter: Advocates search for a way of protecting the animals

alto new mexico horse advocates

Three of the advocates for the wild horse herd of Alto are, from left, Audrey Breeding, Bruna Campos and Lynda Blaney. (Dianne Stallings — Ruidoso News)

(This is the first part of a two-part series on the future of the wild horse herd of Alto, following the sale of three of its members, one to slaughter. In this first part, advocates for the herd express their disappointment and frustration, but hope for the future. The second part will cover the position of the New Mexico Livestock Board and of one of landowners who complained and has been the target of much of the community’s anger.)

The first reaction was rage.

When residents around Alto who have protected, cultivated and cared for a herd of wild horses realized a gelding, mare and her yearling were penned, hauled away and possibly sold for slaughter, social media boiled over with anger.

But a week later, wild herd advocates were talking about strategies to protect the horses from a similar tragedy by enlisting public backing for protection of the herd, looking at ways of changing how such herds are classified and handled, and working with the District 20 supervisor for the inspection arm of the New Mexico Livestock Board.

Amid the tears about the possible loss of the gelding called Rock Star, a glimmer of good news emerged that the mare and her yearling were purchased by a Capitan resident.

The Ruidoso News last week requested copies of the reports about the horses filed by Brand Inspector Don Hatfield and about their ultimate disposition. The reports were received Tuesday, confirming that Hatfield called several people about caring for the horses during the required holding period. The mare and colt were sold by bid to a landowner in Capitan. But records provided by the Livestock Board show that after paying $85 for someone to hold Rock Star, a favorite described as tame and inquisitive, he was sold for $42.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • How much for the PRECIOUS LIFE OF A MUSTANG $42.00 DOLLARS?????? Makes me sick all over!!!!!!

    July 19, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    I agree – this is shameful. BUT – sadly these horses aren’t wild horses. Why wasn’t Rock Star taken back to the person who adopted him & possibly kept in a stronger fenced in pasture? The thought of these horses being so close to people & their homes just makes me feel sad that they didn’t “stay up on the mountain with the stallion & mare”.

    July 26, 2014