Running with Nevada’s wild horses

Madeleine Pickens

No studs, no family groups… are these truly “wild horses”? According to this promo piece – $2400 for 4 days to see what was free before, Pickens’ eco-sanctuary looks more like a wild west tourist trap. ~ HfH

From: Financial Times
By: Beatrice Hodgkin

Madeleine Pickens

Madeleine Pickens

Some 40,000 wild horses still roam free in the US, and at a new ranch and sanctuary in Nevada guests can watch them close up

The mid-morning sun is simmering over northeast Nevada as 20 or so mustangs – a dusty haze of caramel, chocolate and hazelnut – thunder along, hooves pounding. Driving them are two cowboys in Stetsons, checked shirts and spurs. Behind soar the magnificent snow-capped Ruby Mountains. It’s an exhilarating welcome to Mustang Monument, an eco ranch and wild horse sanctuary which opens this weekend 160 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Around 2,000 mustangs roam this 600,000-acre ranch, which is being opened up to tourists by Madeleine Pickens, a glamorous and feisty animal welfare activist (as well as the widow of Gulfstream Aerospace founder Allen Paulson and former wife of Texan oil billionaire T Boone Pickens). Her goal is to allow visitors to witness the wild horses running free – a spectacle she considers North America’s equivalent of Africa’s great wildebeest migration – and in doing so to raise awareness of the complicated issues surrounding their survival.

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AUTHOR: Posted by Habitat for Horses Calaway
11 Comments
  • Shane Destry

    I saw no place to comment on the site so I will comment here. Falsehoods abound in this article justifying Picken’s idea of “wild horse zoos” as if this was the only alternative to leaving wild horses alone on their home ranges and demanding the BLM return those in their holding facilities as well.
    “But the herds can grow rapidly, and to prevent overpopulation, the authorities remove thousands of animals each year, often rounding them up by helicopter. These horses are held in corrals and pastures, with some eventually being “adopted” by private owners. A century ago there were around 2m mustangs; today around 40,000 horses roam wild, fewer than the 47,000 currently held in corrals and pastures. Pickens and fellow campaigners argue mustang numbers should be controlled by castrating the stallions, rather than removing the animals from their natural habitat.” This repeats the BLM lie that herds are growing at a rate of 20% a year which is biologically impossible as this is foaling rate and half of the foals don’t survive the first year of life. There are not 40,000 left running free on the range the number is less than half that and most herds hover on the edge of being unviable and extinct. Gelding stallions or using PZP on mares will certainly push them into extinction – a “solution” to a problem that never existed in the first place : that wild horses are mysteriously overpopulating. Perhaps with unconscious irony the observer notices “Despite the problems of mustang overpopulation, over the several-hour safari we see no wild horses” ha !! that is obviously because there is no mustang overpopulation. Wild horses do not need to be sterilized and sentenced to existing in zoos. They need to be returned to their home ranges and then left alone as is the intention of the 1971 federal law protecting them !

    June 14, 2014
  • Lin

    i agree that these horses are not wild anymore and lets not forget the 33 thousand from 2008 that she wanted 500 dollars a head to take them . I wouldn’t step one foot on her so called wild horse sanctuary because she knows that 33 thousand were butchered and it was all a smoke screen. if we ever got a count ourselfs. I bet there isn’t 10 thousand left wild.

    June 14, 2014
  • N.Laurel

    She didn’t come up with the ideal plan, and this is still a drain on taxpayers. (to her benefit.) However, she is sheltering 2,000+ horses that didn’t end up at Bouvry.

    June 14, 2014
  • Janet Schultz

    Well, media is so odd. On the one hand, we learn that the water is noot being reallocated to wild horses, hence if she pays for livestock rights, she will have to actually adopot or buy the horses outright and not be in line for the BLM ubsidy. We learned on Thursday that the county comissioner complained to BLM that Pickens had gated and locked public land. We also were informed that Pickens had just the 600 Pauite horses, which was odd for I personally know of an additional 5-7 AdoBe Town horses she practically starved a year ago.which is of no matter, except wild horses are always used and abused but given NO respect – except our dear Cloud. No comment from the sanctuary. And now this, what 20 horses do they drive back and forth everyyday. I think some are our Adobe Town horses – again, no matter.

    And now this! Opening to fanfare and without acknowledgement. I’ve also read that molybdenum prices have droppd by almost 60% globally and hence, the Chinese are no longer so intensely interested in creating the world’s largest mine, using millions of gallons per day of our precious water. This gigantic mine is to be run on property just north of Pickens property. And of course, her global market for the sanctuary was focused in China. What a sick world we live in, so much duplicity, so much aggregious gluttony. Pickens never meant this sanctuary to be for us and our horses, that much is plain. Unless she carries out symposiums of the wealthy to purchase lobby power to clean out the Burns Amendment, to immediately disintangle the politics of the BLM programs involving the animals upon our ppublic lands, to stop the internal policies and regulations that have prostituted the 1971 law, to return the original HMAs to their original place and sizes, to reduce and eliminate public grazing on wildlands sanctified for use by the wild horses, burros and other endangered species such as the sagegrouse, mule deer, bighorn, TORTOISE, burrowing owl, to return the wild horses to their land and lastly, to strip BLM of the management of the HMAs and wild horses and all matters involved in those HMAs. Unless this is her purpose

    June 14, 2014
  • Callie1983

    This woman is nuts and she is horrible for the horses. She was trying to get Chinese Tourists because they apparently adore the ‘Wild West’ of America. Chinese Tourists are very wealthy and could not care less about animal welfare. They have their annual DOG MEAT FESTIVAL. They are a barbaric culture and she shows who she really is by courting them.

    June 14, 2014
  • Sue

    She certainly isn’t aiming for US tourists at $600 per night!

    June 14, 2014
    • Callie1983

      Indeed. This has been going on for so long, it is definitely exhausting. Bad folks with too much time & funds to burn equals slacktavism at it’s best. Let’s get these pretty horses and let them be together even though they are all ‘Bachelor’ Geldings. Even Geldings have ‘Harems’ and they will fight over Geldings that are weaker. We know this and so did Pickens. I have been hammering her each chance I get!

      This entire thing is wrong on every level.

      June 14, 2014
  • Lin

    they are selling land to China out west . I think getting rid of the wild horses was planned out 10 years ago when Harry Ried had their bill fixed and the Obama administration went right along with it. Very sad that thousands of us couldn’t get together to try and save them. 150 of us showed up for March for the mustangs . Yes Pickens saved 2000 or more for her zoo and eventually they will be examples of what wild horses were.

    June 14, 2014
  • Heres the thing with M.Pickens she could have been a awesome help and a huge asset to the Mustangs in regaining their Freedom, but she chose the Lieing BLM way ??? She does have Mustangs but they are all fixed non producing , so what did she accomplish???? She saved them from Slaughter !!!! which is a good thing ,!!!! She signed a contract with the BLM any mustangs she gets she must fix them ?????

    June 14, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    Apparently, noone explained to this writer that NONE of the horses are stallions – or possibly she didnt know the difference! She also tells of 2-four month old foals??? Were these possibly from the Indian horses she rescued? As Arlene said – she did save them from slaughter. Thats about it tho. Really big bucks for anyone to stay there. Not for the “little people”, is it?

    June 15, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    Also – in order to comment – you must sign in with the Financial Times?

    June 15, 2014