Horse News

Horse Trainer Ken McNabb in Bed with the BLM

Commentary and eye witness report by R.T. Fitch

RFD-TV’s Ken McNabb endorses BLM’s Cruel and Deadly Mismanagement of U.S. Wild Horses

Emmy Award Winner Ginger Kathrens confronted by BLM advocate McNabb and crew - Photo by R.T. Fitch

During the Pryor Mountain Round-up, last September, Emmy award winning cinematographer Ginger Kathrens was held in a designated “protest area”  and required to have “security” escort herself and a small group of professional photographers, writers and authors about the Britton Springs, BLM holding facility while cattleman and purported horse trainer Ken McNabb and his family were granted free and unfettered access to the entire property.  Mr. McNabb’s children had free rein to run and play anywhere they wanted while the unbiased professionals were held under close watch and moved only when they could be escorted by security on the publicly owned BLM  property.  Is this not a contradiction of terms, morals and clear acts of discrimination?  We think so.

Mr. McNabb confronted Ginger Kathrens, volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, on the morning of September 3rd after the attempt to procure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to delay the unwarranted round-up of the Pryor Mountain wild horses had failed.  McNabb sauntered down to the gate, from the BLM facility offices, with a microphone on his lapel and a film crew in tow.  He clearly had rehearsed his attack on Ms. Kathrens and was unrelenting in stressing the “cattlemen’s” point of view.  It was a staged assault and came off as a weak and shallow publicity stunt to all present, including attending major network correspondents (of whom gave him no notice or coverage).

His unwavering support of the BLM’s attack on the wild horses granted he and his family unlimited access to all areas of the facility while educated, forward thinking, tax paying professionals were treated like sub-humans by the BLM’s Operations “Commander” Jim Sparks.

Billings BLM Field Agent, Jim Sparks, Operations Manager of botched Pryor Round-up - Photo by Terry Fitch

Sparks continually belittled and berated the non-biased Humane Observer Elyse Gardner while treating any polite questions from the observing professionals with disdain.  It was not until the very last day that Sparks demonstrated a single once of civility to the volunteer observers but after a week of nose thumbing it proved to be “too little, too late”.

Months after the failed Pryor round-up McNabb continues to publicly support the actions of the BLM.  With dozens of horses now dead at the hands of the BLM, due to the Calico round-up, McNabb seeks to align himself with the agency that is managing our wild horses into extinction.  What’s in it for McNabb?  It makes one wonder why a “horse trainer” endorses an agency that clearly knows nothing about the management of equines and through it’s own misguided actions kills horses both during their round-up operations and in holding facilities.

So more questions arise; why was McNabb allowed free access to the Britton Springs facility, along with his unsupervised children, while Ms. Kathrens and company were confined to a “protest” area and were under the direction and supervision of a security guard at all times?  Does one need to own cattle to be in favor with the BLM?  Could this be considered discrimination and a clear violation of federal law?  Did Jim Sparks and the “shoot from the hip” BLM step over the line????

More questions for you to ask your Congressman, Senator, Director of the BLM, Secretary of the Interior and the President of the United States.

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35 replies »

  1. Anybody know if McNabb did anything with his puppett show footage? …YouTube? Facebook? …DOI/BLM archives? McNabbem’ a paid BLM consultant, employee, stooge?

    Did taaxpayers fund the puppett show?

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    • Several RFD-TV viewers wrote and called in saying that he ran about a 30 minute segment on how the BLM was doing a great job. Virtually a free infomercial for the BLM. They pleaded that we run something, expose him for what he is. Hence, we reran this article, with some updates, from last September.

      His treatment of Ginger was reprehensible and I am forever shamed for not coming to her aide. At the time I did not even know who Ken McNabb was, never heard of him and we have been floating around the horse training circuit for years. But the fact that he and his family were allowed to run free, everywhere, while we were confined, watched, guarded and escorted still rankles me to this day. It is fodder for a lawsuit against the BLM.

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      • I get sick of all the commercials on RFD anyhow. I agree with Pat Parelli, so called “trainers,” or more likely professional predators……that has been my experience with many of them.
        By the way, please don’t insult real “cowboys.” If you research them, you will see that they are true “gentlemen,” not the macho wanna bes strutting around.

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  2. Maybe McNabb is to be given and/or has been given a bunch of wild horses to “maintain” on his private property…just like Jason Meduna was a favorite of the BLM.
    Big $$$$$ from the BLM to “care” for the wild horses. (:

    One parallel between McNabb and Meduna. Sauntering, stud, cowboys~ and “Duh!”

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  3. I don’t know how accurate the movie “Temple Grandin” on HBO is, but if you can watch it. Pay particular attention to the “cowboys” at the feedlots and slaughter houses, especially the “dip of cattle” portion. I thought there was a great deal of evidence that these caveman mindsets are part of what is killing horses…literally.

    There is something worthy of a man (or woman for that matter) with not only machismo, but also compassion, intelligence and humanity. Without the last three (latter), the former is not only self-serving bullying, but destructive AND dangerous.

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  4. R.T. Fitch :Several RFD-TV viewers wrote and called in saying that he ran about a 30 minute segment on how the BLM was doing a great job. Virtually a free infomercial for the BLM. They pleaded that we run something, expose him for what he is. Hence, we reran this article, with some updates, from last September.
    His treatment of Ginger was reprehensible and I am forever shamed for not coming to her aide. At the time I did not even know who Ken McNabb was, never heard of him and we have been floating around the horse training circuit for years. But the fact that he and his family were allowed to run free, everywhere, while we were confined, watched, guarded and escorted still rankles me to this day. It is fodder for a lawsuit against the BLM.

    Well, it certainly appears that access or the lack of access was discriminatory. The best way to bitch about that would be for the folks like Ginger, Craig and others that physically wanted to be there should violently complain to each of there respective Congressional reps….I’d also send complaints to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees as they are dealing with the ROAM Act or even the Justice Department. Got video tape of McNabbem’s diatribe with kiddles running loose in the background?…SEND IT WITH YOUR COMPLAINT FOR REASONABLE, UNFETTERED ACCESS.

    Anybody going to demand of RFD-TV that they air equal time? They are required by law to do so via FCC licensing. You might start with some of the other horsemen like Parelli, Anderson, etc (if they are anti-slaughter) that have shows on RFD-TV….tit for tat.

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  5. This is very disturbing. One at a time if need be, but they will all get what they have coming to them, we just need to focus our attention on them one at a time so we are not overwhelmed with the enormous scale of this whole sick corrupt situation. I so wish my circumstances were different and that I could devote my full time and attention to our horses.

    I have lost a bit of respect for RFD-TV after reading this and you pose a good question D Masters, we do deserve to have equal air time, is that something that may be in the works RT? Is there somewhere that we can start asking questions?

    These people sicken me!!

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  6. Mr. McNabb probably was allowed free rein because he was hired to put on a demo of his training abilities on a couple of sessions with one of the corraled pryor mountain horses. I witnessed the first session, held prior to the adoption the next day, and it really became a joke after a while. He was having it recorded I suspect to make money on the RFD-TV show. But anyway after about three hours he had still not been able to get the horse to accept him and had not got close enough to even touch him with a hand. An hour to an hour and a half into the session he finally used a rope to lasso this animal but still was not able to get the horse to come to him. I have witnessed two other occasions and one right here in my town of Worland where a handler of a mustang from the 15 mile HMA was able to pet a wild horse and even work with a blanket and saddle within an hour of beginning the gentling process of the mustang. (He had the horse walking to him on it’s own within 30 minutes.) So as to Mr. McNabb’s abilities I have to say he is just a showman and not someone I want working with any of my horses. After about 3 1/2 hours I got bored and left and went back to photographing some of the captured horses so I don’t know if McNabb ever got to touch that horse except with his whip or rope he kept throwing at him.
    As a little side note, I was able to rub the noses of a couple of the young yearlings being held in the corrals after leaving the show while McNabb was doing whatever.

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    • Interesting perspective, Jerry. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I had never heard of him. I have had the pleasure of working with Linda and Pat Parelli but McNabb was a name that had never risen to the top.

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      • “It is my belief after having traversed the entire range of the Pryor Mountain herd and having looked at the amount of grasses left, that if the numbers in this herd are not managed, and a hard winter sets in, whether it’s this winter or next winter, there is going to be a large die-off in this herd.” McNabb.

        To my knowlege, Mr. McNabb is not a scientist, range expert or ecologist. Or a psychic.

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      • Savewildhorses:

        “or a psychic”.

        You made me laugh so hard I stopped crying. So much depressing news out there.

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      • Savewildhorses my sentiments exactly, I would have thought that Craig Downer was far more qualified to formulate those opinions seeing as this is his field of expertise. This guy is laughable.

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    • Horses are sensory critters, with those binocular eyes to take in 360 degree vistas, whiskers that can feel a lightening bolt 20 miles away, and a nose that can detect a Predatory Animal and Enemy Excrement.
      Anybody get the name of this l’il horse? ‘Cause I’d REALLY like his autograph.

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    • I’m sure after reading your comments, you’ve never worked one of these wild horses,,some of these horses calm down very quick some don’t ,,i’ve been working these mustangs since 1979 and have seen some that never gave up there wild ways and some just wanted to be gentle right away,I’ve cowboyed all my life and trained and shown horses to the world level. Personally i could care less what you think of me and i’m sure Ken feels the same,,,you folks don’t appear to have a great deal of knowledge of rangelands,wildlife,cattle or horses.You have your mission and to hell with the truth, classic liberals.No one is going to make the wild horse completely go away,,,hell i’m one of they’re biggest supporters.Some of the best cow horses i have are mustangs. Thoses horses have to be gathered or they’ll over populate,over graze and then starve along with all the other wildlife on the range with them.It’s pretty simple.Now allowing them to over populate and starve ,,,How humane is that?? Oh,, just for the record,, i’d much rather have a horse McNabb trained than any Parelli trained,. I know many of the Blm folks and none of them are out to hurt or kill any wild horse.Talk to people that work these horses don’t just take the word of a uninformed animal rights person.

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  7. This was a much needed re-run & updated article R.T. I am suprised at the amount of people who have no clue to Ken McNabb’s real persona yet or are still choosing to come to McNabb’s defense. Just like with Monty Roberts. I can barely type that name without a spasmotic cold shutter.

    I have been a John Lyons fan for a long time. However, I know he was a cattleman first before his skyrocketing career in natural horsemenship. His son Josh is the lead man now. His daughter sings beautiful Christian country and western songs.

    D. Master:

    As far as complaining to Congressional Reps. Have you tried to contact your own? What was the outcome? I have done ALL I can to get feedback from Senator Feingold and his staff since I met with them all last September in DC. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I KNOW there are other major human legislation concerns going on in the Senate. But, I still feel so naive for trusting. I am saying that citizens should not try but we need to be realistic in what the outcome may or may not be. I haven’t heard two words about Senator Mary Landrieu & the ROAM Act since last October. She became heavily involved with educating bull-in-a-china-shop Senator majority leader Harry Reid on national health care reform. Which leads to me to Harry Reid. He hasn’t given ONE thought to the people of his state that he was elected to serve and who write his paycheck. I don’t know the stats, but it sure seems 50% or better are anti-Mustang gathering, anti-equine slaughter and anti-public land desecration.

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    • I have a real problem with the “horse whisper” growth industry. Once these folks attach “clinician” to their titles “the sky’s the limit”. They’re corporations, with all that name implies.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against folks making money, but this has become ridiculous! I’ve know a number of people who’ve attended some noted “clinican’s” seminars. They describe them as impressive at the beginning, but then nothing more than “expensive infomercials.” Those who’ve gotten the most out of their experiences have been able to afford extensive(and even more costly)hands-on clinics.

      I do watch DVDs (mostly Parelli & Karen Scholl) and read articles, but, for the day-to-day, I’m sticking with the trainer we use. She makes a living, but her focus is still on the horses more than her pocketbook.

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      • Just wondering if you’ve heard of Stacy Westfall? She is a great speaker and passionate horsewoman. The way she communicates with horses is inspiring. She does hold clinics but I don’t think she professes to be all knowing and all seeing regarding horses she works with.

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    • I have been a fan of John Lyons for years too. He was the one that introduced me to – whatever you want to call it. John never calls it Natural Horsemanship because he says that nothing we ask our horses to do is “natural” for them. He’s got a point there! Anyway, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him several times and I attended a weekend symposium of his. He is just exactly like he comes across on video – friendly, down to earth and very funny. Besides meeting John, I got to pet Bright Zip!

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  8. Morgan Williams :This was a much needed re-run & updated article R.T. I am suprised at the amount of people who have no clue to Ken McNabb’s real persona yet or are still choosing to come to McNabb’s defense. Just like with Monty Roberts. I can barely type that name without a spasmotic cold shutter.
    I have been a John Lyons fan for a long time. However, I know he was a cattleman first before his skyrocketing career in natural horsemenship. His son Josh is the lead man now. His daughter sings beautiful Christian country and western songs.
    D. Master:
    As far as complaining to Congressional Reps. Have you tried to contact your own? What was the outcome? I have done ALL I can to get feedback from Senator Feingold and his staff since I met with them all last September in DC. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I KNOW there are other major human legislation concerns going on in the Senate. But, I still feel so naive for trusting. I am saying that citizens should not try but we need to be realistic in what the outcome may or may not be. I haven’t heard two words about Senator Mary Landrieu & the ROAM Act since last October. She became heavily involved with educating bull-in-a-china-shop Senator majority leader Harry Reid on national health care reform. Which leads to me to Harry Reid. He hasn’t given ONE thought to the people of his state that he was elected to serve and who write his paycheck. I don’t know the stats, but it sure seems 50% or better are anti-Mustang gathering, anti-equine slaughter and anti-public land desecration.

    I have three problems with my reps. The first being that my spouse’s job would be in jeopardy with vocal and isistant protest (sorry folks, in government payback is more than a bitch…I cannot say more). Secondly, my House rep is stupid, a self-serving party troll and not ag savy. I have contacted the rep in the past and it will do no good for me to push. One can only tamp truth up an arrogant waste for so long.

    The other two are too highly involved in my spouse’s work. I’m telling you, the fact that there is unethical payback explains the demise of Washington.

    The issue can be couched in terms that humans suffer (and potentially) because of the current policies and the animals suffer because of the lack of enforcement of standing regs. The USDA is impetint (sp? w.re: can’t get the weenie up) on any enforcement or change needed issue.

    I will say that if you keep registering the smae complaints, staffers tend to treat you as an issue loon. Fair? Certainly not. I find my ways to complain, but it is a delicate dance for my family.

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    • I did not mean to stir up your dander. I was sincerely asking what kind of results you may of or may not of had from your Senators. I wonder what states who have Senators who care about ROAM Act or S.727.

      Thanks.

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  9. Oh Lord…I apologize for all the spelling errors.

    In the meantime, please keep positive thoughts and/or prayers for our folks in Illinois today.

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  10. Morgan Williams :I did not mean to stir up your dander. I was sincerely asking what kind of results you may of or may not of had from your Senators. I wonder what states who have Senators who care about ROAM Act or S.727.
    Thanks.

    You didn’t per se stir anything up. They (the horse killers) never reply via email, phone or letter save to say…thanks for your letter (if you even get that). The system has gotten bad…just ask the equines. Take a look at some websites that tell you which way the Senators/Reps are going to vote or their past records. But that is no guarantee…they are just posturing; which side of the boat is listing for the weenies in rough seas. They don’t make waves unless it’s about National Security, bashing Obama and well, that’s about it. And even then, they have the tea baggers frothing with no product from either side.

    Go to thomas.gov and begin, then look at committees (with bill #’s) and it will help others understand the problem of why this doesn’t proceed. I don’t take some one having an opinion personally unless some one brings up my mother. ‘)

    You understand…the last part was a joke.

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  11. This is a link to a blog I found especially interesting. Note the first paragraph discribing McNabb’s “special access” and his being “privy to conversations” with the BLM. He touts 30 year’s living in the area. Ginger has had at least 15 years of direct observation and film documentation.

    http://tamalyn44.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/ken-mcnabb/

    Thanks to Jerry Cook for exposing McNabb’s real deal. Just another “clinician” out to make a buck!

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  12. I predict a severe decline of McNabbs limited drawing power after ‘partnering up’ with the BLM. He must be crazy, blind or really hard up? I was never that impressed with him to begin with, and now you couldn’t get me watch him if you bought my whole email list tickets! In my opinion he realated to the yahoos of horsedom to begin with. If one really wants to start from scratch with a good clinican I recommend Craig Cameron.

    I’ve watched many a ‘clinician’ on TV, DVD and have attended or participated in several others. One has to be careful about any clinic they attend and scrutenize that clinicians techniques or signature gimmicks. Anything from using a pole to running a horse in a small pen till he is out of breath to get him to submit and then call it joining up? Finding the true horsemen/women who are genuinely concerned with having you learn something rather than selling you their product can be a challenge.

    I’ve organized some clinics for reiners and people interested in reining in the past. This was before all the trainers and their cousins turned clinican. I would organize weekends for like interested people with a specific trainer. We all chipped in and paid the guy/gal to come for the weekend and teach us…and we rode our horses with him/her and sometimes they rode our horses. Yes there were some folks in the peanut gallery, but that trainer wasn’t PUSHING their signature junk and DVD’s, he/she was actually there to teach us.

    Somewhere along the line,other organizers of big shows and expos got the idea to add those kinds of things without the riders/handlers to get that ‘rock star concert’ happening with big name trainers. Trainers learned clinics are a good marketing and selling tool for themselves so they did them and found they made a whole months pay in one weekend without having to work so hard and went on tour with fancy rigs and got sponsors.

    Some of the better clinicans/trainers I’ve enjoyed and learned from are Brian Newburg, Craig Johnson, Richard Shrake, Craig Cameron, Bob Loomis and Les Vogt who in my opinion who all truely understand the horse.

    My favorites being Craig Johnson comes from a long line of horse trainers who’s tried and true methods stand the test of time, and Les Vogt. I spent many a ‘clinic’ with Les who’s motto is ‘I spent most of my life training horses, now I train people’. I agree with Les, since humans have the bigger brain it’s their responsiblity to learn how to relate to the horse not the other way around. The guy is an eagle eye and can pinpoint your communication errors to the smallest degree just by watching you ride a simple 2 minute horsemanship pattern or the way you handle your horse from the ground. Both are firm believers in patience, understanding and repetition.

    Biggest disappointments…

    Clinton Anderson who was amusing, but shamelessly sold his ‘product’ and signed autographs while spending little time showing packed grandstands how he actually trains his horses. I think for two days running I saw him work with a horse a maxium of two hours! Watch the DVD, or read his articles, you’ll get more out of it.

    Monte Roberts who’s round pen reasoning made me so dizzy I could easily understand why the horse submitted and “joined up”…he was dizzy and just wanted to stop going round and round and round and round and BREATHE. The book was much better than the live experience.

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    • I’ve read the books and watched the vids, finally combining the stuff that made the most sense and listened to my horses. I’ll NEVER be a true cowgirl; my horsies are just friends with opinions of their own, and I’ve come to accept that.
      One of the best books I ever read was more of a spiritual journey than anything. It was by a young man named GaWaNee Pony Boy. I think it was called ‘Horse, Follow Me.’
      I don’t think Pony Boy was so much skilled as gifted; he definitely had The Way. Hell, if I was a horse, I’d followed him just to be around such a human wonder. Pony Boy just ‘oozed’ all the good stuff that makes a human a good horse person.
      I hope God and Mother Nature have special plans for McNabb.

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  13. For thosewho were not at the Pryor gather, Mr. McNabbs children were required to watch the gather from the same place on the hill as everyone else

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    • Didn’t keep them off from the hay, climbing around on the corrals or running aboutwhich then gave Jim Sparks a reason to restrict access, for the guarded public, even further. I have it recorded and would be more than glad to send the sound byte. Point is, it appears that McNabb has worked or is working for the BLM hence the open access, just like Cattoor’s guest. Still is wrong, hands down, to treat the tax paying public like criminals and with such obvious and blatant disdain.

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  14. I’ve watched Ken McNabb over the years and wondered how it was RFD could put such an idiot on their program. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him, he’s nothing but a sanctimonious hypocrite. His horse training is horrendous. Get him off RFD and stop his income.

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    • There are still horsemen and in one case women who are regulars of RFDTV who share Ken McNabb’s views. I for one will never watch their channel again after this episode last year or support one of their sponsors or presenters/trainers/wannabes.

      Like

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