Teen twins promote mustang movie to bring awareness of wild horse plight
As the documentary American Mustang makes its way around the country, we can hope that more people will become aware of the plight of the American wild horses. ` HfH
From: Oregon Live
By: Monique Balas
For West Linn twins Abigail and Audrey Minch, however, their passion for horses and activism is gradually gathering speed as they’ve gotten more involved with the animals.
Thanks to the girls’ hard work and persistence (and a little help from their mom), more viewers maylearn about the plight of mustangs through the documentary film “American Mustang,” screening in Portland next week.
Abigail and Audrey, who attend seventh grade at Rosemont Ridge Middle School, have been riding horses for four years.
As part of their Bat Mitzvah, the girls recently began volunteering with Once Upon a Rescue. The Sherwood-based rescue takes in horses from auctions, kill pens and county seizures.
The girls also started a small business called Polished Ponies, which sells hand-crafted polo wraps made by Abigail and Audrey. They donate all proceeds to Once Upon a Rescue.
Then their mother, Michelle Bombet Minch, came across a Kickstarter campaign for a film addressing the plight of wild horses being removed from the wild.
Executive producer Ellie Phipps Price says the film explores different options for managing the horses, which are rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management and stockpiled into holding pens.
Eventually, they’ll go on to auction and are purchased for rescue or riding, or potentially sold for slaughter in Mexico and Canada.
A small percentage are adopted, but the majority – about 50,000 currently – wild horses remain in government holding, Phipps Price says.
“They lose their families and freedom and get stockpiled at taxpayer expense,” Phipps Price says.
As they learned more about the plight of mustangs and found the film would screen in Portland, the girls reached out to the producers on Facebook, offering to help however they could.
“We didn’t think it was really fair that the mustangs had to be, like, captured,” Abigail says.
Abigail and Audrey now cite the sad statistics: There are now 35,000 mustangs in captivity and only about 30,000 in the wild. The land on which the mustangs can run free has been reduced by 25 million acres since 1975.
The rallied their school principal to do an assembly at their school with the producers. On Thursday morning, they and Phipps Price spoke to 720 students.
“They have been our on-the-ground ambassadors extraordinaire,” Phipps Price says.
The producers will be back in town next week to conduct Q-and-A’s at the film’s April 18 opening.
Abigail and Audrey have been working to promote the film through social media and set up an information table at a recent horse show in Washington.
The upcoming events will also feature a hands-on horsemanship demonstration with an Extreme Mustang Makeover horse by Stacey Riggs of Riggs Training and wild horse photographer Mustang Meg.
The family hopes that the film will educate viewers and hopefully move them to action.
“We want people to go to the movie and open their eyes to what’s happening basically in their backyard,” Bombet Minch says. “The government needs to hear our voice and know that there are people who care and that there are other options rather than putting these horses in holding pens and sending them off to slaughter.”
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