Horse Power Gains Favor Among Small-scale Farmers

By Mary Esch as published in The Valley News

“…horses don’t use fossil fuels, their manure contributes to the farm’s fertility, and they cost less than tractors…”

“Due to the advent of the International Equine Conference and travel the weekly installment of ‘Feel Good Sunday’ fell by the wayside…and I was called on it.  So in an effort to bring the planets back into alignment we share with you, today, what should have been shared, yesterday.  Please enjoy and it was an emmense pleasure for Terry and I to see and to share quality time with our trusted and valued equine advocate friends.  Keep the faith!” ~ R.T. Fitch


Donn Hewes leads his work horses back toward the stables from the pasture at The Northland Sheep Dairy Farm in Marathon, N.Y., Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth)

Donn Hewes leads his work horses back toward the stables from the pasture at The Northland Sheep Dairy Farm in Marathon, N.Y., Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth)

Marathon, N.Y. — While most modern farmers work their fields accompanied by the rumble of a trusty tractor, sheep farmer Donn Hewes labors to the faint jingling of harnesses in rhythm with the hoofbeats of horses and mules.

He readily admits that horse-powered farming takes more time and effort than tractor farming. But as one of a growing number of small-scale farmers dedicated to keeping alive the art of the teamster, he’s fine with that.

“People always want to know how many dollars an hour can I make, and can I really profit from farming with horses,” says Hewes. “We can, but to me, that’s the wrong question. I benefit in so many ways. I benefit from working with young stock, building fertility for the farm, and all the time I get to spend enjoying doing what I’m doing.”

Hewes and his wife, Maryrose Livingston, own Northland Sheep Dairy on a hilltop in central New York, 40 miles south of Syracuse. Livingston milks grass-fed sheep and sells handmade cheese. Hewes, who has a night job as a firefighter, works about 100 acres of land with Percheron and Suffolk draft horses and mules pulling implements for haymaking, compost spreading, snow-plowing and log-hauling.

Horse-powered farmers cite a number of reasons for eschewing engines. For example, horses don’t use fossil fuels, their manure contributes to the farm’s fertility, and they cost less than tractors.

As president of Draft Animal Power Network, Hewes is dedicated to mentoring and sharing experiences with other farmers who want to work with horses.

“Young people are starting organic vegetable farms, realizing there’s an opportunity to make healthy food for local markets,” Hewes says. “A segment of that movement is finding out about draft animal power. That’s creating new demand for horse-powered equipment, and Amish businesses are responding to making equipment that’s smaller and more accessible to beginning farmers.”…(CONTINUED)

Update: International Equine Conference Trots Forward

Update from the Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Equine Experts and Politicians Progress Future Well-Being of Horses, Donkeys and Mules

Several of the attendees of the IEC ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Several of the attendees of the IEC ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The 4th Annual International Equine Conference (IEC) kicked off on Saturday, Sept. 20th at the estate of equine philanthropist Victoria McCullough, in Wellington Fl, with an agenda packed to further the future well-being and welfare of equines be they domestic or wild.

From the issues of predatory horse slaughter to proper equine nutrition the group discussed the ways and means to appropriately “get the message out” to the public while not alienated potential future advocates/supporters to the current plight of horses and donkeys in the U.S. and beyond, this day.

Slaughtering of American horses in Canada, the mismanagement of federally protected wild horses and burros by the BLM and even appearances by Florida equine friendly politicians capped the opening day of the conference with additional presentations and appearances scheduled for Sunday the 21st.

Stay tuned for further updates throughout the weekend.

The entire Board of Directors of co-sponsor Wild Horse Freedom Federation in attendance.  Left to right, Marjorie Farabee, Carol Walker, R.T. Fitch, Debbie Coffey, Dawn Reveley and Terry Fitch.

The entire Board of Directors of co-sponsor Wild Horse Freedom Federation in attendance. Left to right, Marjorie Farabee, Carol Walker, R.T. Fitch, Debbie Coffey, Dawn Reveley and Terry Fitch.

4th Annual International Equine Conference Kicks Off in Wellington FL

Update by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Equine Advocates from Around the World Converge on Florida Equestrian Community

IEC LogoAmid the news of Obama’s rogue Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) faltering assault upon Wyoming’s wild horses, equine advocates from across the globe are gathering at the estate of equine philanthropist, Victoria McCullough, to discuss the future welfare and well being of America’s equines both domestic and wild.

Yesterday, reports filtered in that the BLM’s premier wild horse stampede contractors, Cattoor Livestock, failed to wrangle one single horse from the alleged over populated Great Basin area of Wyoming while 3 wild horses died in their short term holding facility. 

Infamous for suing advocates and witnesses of wild horse abuse the Cattoors are given a free pass by the BLM to regulate, intimidate and harass not only wild equines but the American public during their outrageous, federally funded attacks on the United States’ majestic icon of independence and freedom.

BLM Contractor's Copter on Patrol to remove wild horses and burros from their federally protected rightful lands ~ photo by Carol Walker

BLM Contractor’s Copter on Patrol to remove wild horses and burros from their federally protected rightful lands ~ photo by Carol Walker

With a dark and checkered past of legal wranglings for capturing and selling wild horses to slaughter the BLM contractors continue to ensure that the grandchildren of Americans will have no opportunity to witness the beauty and majesty of wild equines living out their lives on public land promised to them by an unanimous act of Congress in 1971.

The International Equine Conference will be addressing said violations and perversions of U.S. law while discussing the predatory business of shipping U.S. horses and donkeys across the open U.S. borders for slaughter and consumption in countries of lesser cultural mores.

Updates to follow.

Wild horse roundup plan sparks controversy

By Paul Joncich, of Las Vegas Channel 8 News

“We have got a phenomenal tourist attraction…”

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

LAS VEGAS — Those who live in Cold Creek know how majestic and friendly southern Nevada’s wild horses can be.

But the majority of the wild horses left here are on the schedule to end up in federal holding pens. They are mostly in two spots Cold Creek, which is about 50 minutes north of Las Vegas off highway 95 and the west flank of the mountain just northeast of Pahrump.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to roundup 80 percent of the horses in the winter. One group of wild horse advocates showed up at Thursday’s BLM advisory meeting in Las Vegas to oppose the idea.

They think the government is missing a big opportunity, if they go forward with the roundup.

Right now, there are between 500 and 600 horses in the Spring Mountains. This winter the BLM plans to only leave 63 to 93 of them there.

“We have got a phenomenal tourist attraction. And if Las Vegas learned anything in 2008, we need to diversify our tourist draw,” President of the Spring Mountain Alliance Arelene Gawne said.

Gawne wants to gather and sterilize most of the horses then release them back.

Advocates want the BLM to use them as a potential tourist attraction, creating trail rides and backpack trips for tourists.

“A half-day trip, to see wild horses and burros behaving naturally,” Gawne said.

Members of the Spring Mountain Alliance said people from as far away as Japan and Europe come to see the horses. They think making it an official eco-tourism draw would bring tourists from places like China as well.

The proposed roundup would leave just one horse for every 10,000 acres.

“I have talked with many of the big tourist companies like Pink Jeeps. They will not invest the tens of thousands it will cost to have tour guides etc. unless they know those horses will remain intact on the range naturally,” Gawne said.

In June of last year, wild horse advocates showed up in droves at Cold Creek to tell the government they want the wild horses to stay.

The Spring Mountain Alliance’s plan would require the BLM to engage in an experimental management program…(CONTINUED)

The roundup would cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. For more information, go to springmountainalliance.org/the-state-of-nevadas-wild-horses

Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup Day 3

On-Site observations by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“It is a short day for the Checkerboard roundup as the helicopters do the final sweeps to make sure they got every last horse in this area…”

14Roundup3 (7 of 61)-Edit

14Roundup3 (8 of 61)-EditHere I am again in the Rock Springs BLM parking lot before dawn waiting to head out to the trap. This is Day 3 of the Checkerboard Roundup in Wyoming. I was told last night they only have a few horses left to capture at this site, and I may or may not see anything given we cannot see the trap or the approach to it at this site.

This is in Great Divide Basin. I am hoping that group of beautiful bachelors that eluded capture yesterday are headed far far north outside the Checkerboard.

14Roundup3 (24 of 61)-EditI have been at the observation site for an hour. I finally heard both helicopters, and one was hovering for a while on the other side of the hill near the trap so I assume some horses were brought in out of my line of site. Now both helicopters are working at a distance looking for horses, needing to get the last few that remain in this area.

Just now two groups of three each with a stallion, mare and foal came through together and behind the hill with the trap. Then a grey stallion was driving a bay mare and a sorrel mare with a black foal lagging way behind. He was running, trying to catch up to his family the last I saw. He looked like he was at least a couple of months old and in good condition, so hopefully he caught up before his family was moved into the trap. Usually if a foal is separated from its family the Cattoors will send a rider to get the foal, but no rider has come out. I did ask about the foal and his family, and just found out that the little black foal was reunited with his family in the trap.

14Roundup3 (45 of 61)-EditIt is a short day for the Checkerboard roundup as the helicopters do the final sweeps to make sure they got every last horse in this area before they break down the trap and move it to another area in Great Divide Basin for tomorrow.

As I drive by Patrick Draw road where I had spent some time with 6 families who were peacefully grazing there three days ago, it looks so empty, with no wild horses anywhere to be found. This is the future of the rest of the Checkerboard lands in Wyoming.

14Roundup3 (48 of 61)-EditAll photos by Carol Walker

Equine Welfare Experts to Converge on Wellington

Florida Governor to Speak at Equine Conference

IEC LogoCHICAGO, (EWA) – Equine welfare advocates from several countries will meet this weekend at the fourth annual International Equine Conference (IEC). Invited guests who are expected to attend include Governor Charlie Crist, and Representatives Ted Deutch and Patrick Murphy. The IEC is organized by the Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and will be hosted by Victoria McCullough at her estate in Wellington, FL. The event brings together a wide spectrum of people dedicated to the welfare of domestic equines and the protection of wild horses and burros.

Speakers will address issues ranging from the plight of cart horses in Israel, to saving a nearly extinct Abaco Island horse. Representatives from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition will give update reports on horse slaughter in Canada and the dangers of the hormone replacement therapy that is derived from pregnant mare urine.

 The event provides both an educational and a coordinating function. The first conference grew out of alarm caused in 2011 when a ban on funding for horse slaughter inspections was dropped from the Agriculture budget, leaving the way open for horse slaughter to return to the US.

The last US horse slaughter plants were closed in 2007 under state laws and kept from moving to other states by the inspections ban. Since 2011, the concerted effort of the welfare advocates, and especially Victoria McCullough herself, has resulted in the restoration of the ban.

“We dodged a bullet in keeping the plants from coming back,” explained EWA’s Vice President Vicki Tobin, “but over a hundred thousand of our horses are still going over the border to slaughter in Canada and Mexico.”

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The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 325 member organizations, the Southern Cherokee Government and over 1,100 individual members worldwide in 22 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids. www.equinewelfarealliance.org

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with federal 501(c)3 status. WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state lands. www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org

 

Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s Debbie Coffey and R.T. Fitch on Wild Horse & Burro Radio, TONIGHT

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_Logo

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17th, 2014

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen Live (Here!)

Call in # 917-388-4520

This will be a short 1 hour show, you can call in with questions towards the end of the programming.

The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime.

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photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Join us Wednesday evening for an update on our wild horses and burro’s.  Presented as an educational outreach by Wild Horse Freedom Federation.
Our guests tonight will be Wild Horse Freedom Federation Board members RT Fitch (Pres.), Carol Walker (Dir. Of Field Documentation) and Marjorie Farabee (Dir. Of Wild Burro Affairs) talking about the BLM roundups of wild horses in Wyoming, the endangered donkeys in Bonaire and the International Equine Conference.

This radio show is co-hosted by Debbie Coffey, Vice-President & Director of Wild Horse Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation.


To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

LISTEN TO ARCHIVED RADIO SHOWS:

11/6/13 – John Holland, President of Equine Welfare Alliance discussing the latest in horse slaughter issues. Click HERE.

11/13/13 – Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (home of TMR Rescue) and founder of Wild Burro Protection League and Carl Mrozak, videographer (Eagle Eye Media). Click HERE.

11/20/13 – Simone Netherlands, founder of respect 4 horses, director & producer of the documentary “America’s Wild Horses.” Click HERE.

11/27/13 – R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, talk about the Salt Wells & Adobe Town roundups. Click HERE.

12/4/13 – Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist, on Board of the Cloud Foundation, author of “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” (http://thewildhorseconspiracy.org/) and Robert Bauer, Wildlife Biologist, debunk the BLM’s “junk” science about wild horses and burros. Click HERE.

12/11/13 – Ginger Kathrens, the Founder and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. Click HERE.

1/15/14 – Victoria McCullough, equestrian and CEO of Chesapeake Petroleum and John Holland, President of Equine Welfare Alliance, on stopping horse slaughter from being reinstated in the U.S. Click HERE.

1/29/14 – R.T. Fitch, John Holland and many others honor the life of wild horse advocate Garnet Pasquale, who dedicated her life to save the wild horses & burros, especially near her home in Nevada, with the Spring Mountain Alliance. Garnet’s dear friend, wild horse advocate and wildlife photographer Arlene Gawne, talks about Garnet, wild horses and the Spring Mountain Alliance. Click HERE.

2/5 - Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and filmmaker James Kleinart (theamericanwildhorse.com). Click HERE.

2/26/14 – Barbara Clark, founder of Dreamcatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary in northern California talks about the sanctuary and natural behavior of wild horses and burros. Click HERE.

4/1/14 - Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on endangered (thought to be extinct) Bonaire (Dutch Antilles) donkeys. Carl Mrozak, videographer (Eagle Eye Media), and advocates Rona Aguilar, and her father, Al Catalfumo. Click HERE.

4/11/14 – Ginger Kathrens, the Founder and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. Click HERE.

5/28/14 – R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, along with Ginger Kathrens, on his trip to the Pryors with Ginger to find Cloud. Click HERE.

7/15/14 – Karen Sussman, President of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB), in South Dakota. Click HERE.

7/23/14 – Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on the dire situation for wild horses in Wyoming. Click HERE.

7/30/14 – Milanne Rehor (Arkwild, Inc.) trying save the last Abaco Spanish Colonial wild mare (named “Nunki”) and her offspring in the Bahamas. Click HERE.

8/6/14 – Palomino Armstrong, founder of CHILLY PEPPER – MIRACLE MUSTANG, that specializes in caring for CRITICALLY ILL, NEO-NATAL, SICK AND/OR INJURED FOALS.  Listen HERE.

8/13/14 – Susan Wagner, President and co-founder of Equine Advocates, on investigations and the miserable lives of PMU mares (continually impregnated and turned into 4-legged drug machines to produce Premarin, PremPro and Premphase).  Click HERE.

8/20/14 – Vicki Tobin, Vice President of Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and Daryl Smoliak, Board member of EWA.  Click HERE.

8/27/14 – Karen McCalpin, the Exec. Dir. of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, Click HERE.