The Force of the Horse

A Few Rotten Apples Do Not a Herd Make

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

The Stench of Deception Repels the Goodness of the Horse

Yesterday we dropped a simple “tongue-in cheek” OpEd on our readers in an effort to bring in a little fresh air and to lighten the load, a bit, for those who work so hard to do the right thing for the horses.  Lord knows we need it with all of the dark injustices that whirl around us and make us truly wonder at the direction our country is headed.  But when I opened up the window and let the fresh air fill my lungs there was the slightest hint of rotten apples that lingered in my nose.  I stepped back for a moment, looked around and verbalized:

“Who farted upwind?”

It didn’t take but just a few hours and the answer to that question begin to find its way into my inbox so I would like to take a moment of your time, if I may, and share a little story.

With any sort of movement or group there are always going to be a few that are unhappy and disgruntled because the spot light does not perpetually shine upon them; so in an effort to satisfy their twisted egos they will commence to tear down and attempt to destroy the very thing that they once worked so hard to build-up and revere.  The wild horse advocacy movement is not exempt from this sort of internal terrorism and what makes it even more disconcerting for us is that most verbal, in text, of the individuals is intimately involved with the BLM, yet considers himself/herself to be the world’s leading authority on this most important  and pressing issue.

Last month, a handful of disgruntled and misguided pseudo-advocates launched a pathetically immature smear campaign against one of our most active and outspoken champions.  It was a move of the very lowest sort and all involved will never again hold an ounce of credibility in the mainstream of equine welfare advocacy.  Why they are not buried under a law suit I do not know (maybe the assailed advocate is too busy doing the right thing rather than wasting time, energy and money on the little ankle-bitters)  Their effort fell flat on its face as it was unilaterally ignored.

As our movement progresses forward everyone gives/does what they can, some write letters, others make calls, a few witness at roundups, even fewer put their life savings at risk while only several people have pretty much set their lives aside and are pursuing this full time until they see it run to the desired conclusion.  Our attacked advocate was one of the later.  When you raise both your hand and your voice for the horses and are persistent in doing the right thing the spotlight will eventually find you, whether you want it or not, it is just a fact of life.  But because the light was not shinning on the twisted few they spewed poison which only succeeded in burning their own lips.

The “Slanderous Six” were effectively ignored by everyone which only heightened their rage; so when a story broke that was high profile and only highlighted one or two people, because they were the only ones there, the egotistical group launched into attack mode once more.  Their intent was obvious, their methods were subversive and the result is that they are even further buried under the mire of their own self-delusions, deceit and dishonesty.  Once again, nobody listened and the silence was deafening.  These few are good company for their buddies at the BLM, they have a lot in common, i.e. total disassociation from the truth and facts.

So never become disheartened and take all that you hear, about others, with a grain of salt as this is not about people, pride or personal publicity but instead about saving the lives of the last remaining wild horses that grace our public lands.  Those who maliciously speak untruths about others become the very image that they project of whom they speak badly of…it’s all about bad Karma and ultimately the evil consumes the carrier and they are forever lost.

Good riddance to bad JuJu and the smell of rotten apples;  the honest folk have a lot of work to do.

37 replies »

  1. I’ve always hated conflict among people, it would be so wonderful if we could all share our information without allowing personalities into the mix. We don’t have to like or even really respect one another, altho that would be nice, we just need to work together for the horses. I work with someone I truly do not like, don’t trust and have no respect for but she’s there and does help to get the job done. That’s what its all about–getting the job done.


  2. In reaching for a larger audience the Bad Ju Ju worked against itself and we see the
    shriveling of brains and hearts as well. Any loss of compassion or understanding is sad. The former tolerance and even acceptance has withered. But beware of more attention raising BS… mar


      • Thanks for posting the link, Mar. WOW! Incredible letter by George Knapp.
        I sent him some information several weeks ago, and he wrote back to say “thanks.” Some news people wouldn’t have, but it was nice that he took a few minutes to respond.
        He’s such a professional — seems like a good guy, too — with his head on straight and his heart in the right place. I always look forward to hearing the news he presents.


      • Nora your not the only one. I’ve written George on a couple of occasions and ALWAYS get a reply within hours. Last time it was maybe an hour and a half. George is truly one of our greatest advocates and super super guy.


      • It is a great little piece to read because it is so applicable to Now. “The Hysteria Corps” was not coined for us… just revived. The ‘Knappster’ has been gracious to all of
        us as he has known the score a long time. His loyalty to this cause has helped tell a story that we are trying to change the ending to. Let it be our choice that wild ones survive wild. George will tell that story one day, too. mar


      • Sheldon EIS

        Carrol asked me to send this to everyone so they see the plans for zeroing out the Sheldon Herd and ask advocates to start writing their disapproval. There are one or two other documents she is trying to locate that indicated USFWSs preferred plan. We will send the other document(s) when we hear from Carrol. I’m not sure if she is planning on writing an article but either way, we’ll provide the information.

        This EIS has 6 different proposed actions – two of which are a 5 and 15 year plan that both call for total removal of horses and burros.

        Sheldon EIS


  3. Very well stated, RT. Thank you for helping to keep us on course and to keep our focus where it should be – on the wild horses and burros.


    • Excellent quote, Charmaine!!! The one I keep sending around is from Marc Beckoff’s tTHE ANIMAL MANIFESTO: Science is catching up with what many lay observers already know from living with animals every day. This growing understanding can help us see and relate to animals as fellow subjective beings rather than as objects. I like what Australian Bradley Trevor Grieve writes in his book Priceless: The Vanishing Beauty of a Fragile Planet:

      “For endangered species we are both their greatest enemy and their only hope. These wonderful creatures will not argue their case. They will not put up a fight. They will not beg for reprieve. They will not say good-bye. They will not cry out. They will just vanish. And after they are gone, there will be silence. And there will be stillness. And there will empty places. And nothing you can say will change this. Nothing you can do will bring them back. With so many lives hanging in the balance, the paths we choose today will decide the fate of the world. So it’s up to us. It’s up to you and me to decide who lives and who dies.”


  4. like i have said many times before all horse rescuers need to work in unison in order to have a formidable stronghold against the neighsayers.there are alot of jealous evil hearted individuals out there that will do anything to hurt another person whom is more successful or well known as a real horse rescuer.there are also alot of phonies that self proclaim to be equine lovers or equine rescuers, and all they want is the limelight shining on them. Take heed in whom you trust because knowmatter what you do and how many horses you rescue someone will kick the steps from underneath you. tis a shame and a painful truth.We all need to work together in order to get anything done for the wild mustangs and burros.I have learned to stay away and do my own thing with trusted legit 501c3 non profit equine rescue groups. i dont get involved or waste my time with wannabees, that will use you and confabulate stories about your rescue group or equine endeavors..All that matters is saving horses, who cares what someone else says or does. The horses need us to be thier equine voice.Focus on saving all horses from slaughter,neglect and abuse. Until all american horses are safe.


  5. I personally don’t care if you’re fat, skinny, purple, rich, poor, ugly, worship the Sun, eat raw squash or sleep in a cardboard box – as long as you are truly helping the horses and are sincere in your efforts, I consider you my equal. There is no time to point fingers and call names. Horses are dying. If you can’t help or don’t want to be involved, then what is in your heart is not sincerity. Your actions are injuring the horses, horses that are dying by the hundreds, and you have become one of “them.” Please take a long, close look at the harm you are doing. If you can’t work together with the rest of us, then please step aside. We have hard work ahead of us and no time to listen to petty complaints. JMHO


    • Right on, Jerry! I have to admit this kind of stuff has ALWAYS been a complete mystery to me. Why people want to stir up infighting when it can only hinder everyone’s work for the horses.

      They make BIG DEALS out of nothing. Why do they even notice the nitpicky stuff in the first place? If their focus was where it should be, they probably wouldn’t have taken a second glance at whatever it was that got their collective tails over the spatter-board.

      I don’t have room in my brain for anything but the horses. I don’t care who’s picture is printed somewhere – why would I? That has nothing to do with horses and horses are the ONLY reason for any of this. How can someone be dedicated to the horses and still even notice these petty little things? Why do they care – it doesn’t help the horses at all. I just don’t think people who play the “politics” game are really dedicated to the horses – they’re too dedicated to themselves.


  6. It is one thing to sit behind a computer and throw stones. It is quite another to actually BE THERE, TRY to observe the round-ups (if one can FIND the gather site), and report. It can not be comfortable to be out so far from the creature comforts that we all have become so accustomed to–hot water for a shower, warm food (or any food?) warm bed. Most of those remote places don’t even have cell phone service. It might be fun for a while when out “roughing it” on a camping trip, but it must get pretty tiresome as a way of life, and THAT is what it is for those who are in the trenches.


  7. I find it ironic and suspicious that some so called, self-appointed wild horse and burro advocates have access to WH&B and cooperation from the wild equine killers, while others, can’t get a phone call returned, real time info or access to roundups, sterilizations and holding or FOIAs replied to in a timely manner. And when non-inner killer circle advocates get video, photos and documentation that shows the massacres and/or abuse…it is dismissed as emotional, unqualified and lunacy or better yet, a flat out lie.

    Pretty much says it all to me.

    I will not feed from the crockpot of pooh-stew set on the table for public consumption by USDA, DOI, States and the likes of USF&WS Stenblien (sp?).

    You all have to go read the idiotic statements/posts by those commenting on the Reno Gazette-Journal.


  8. This time we will win for the horses because we have a herd of talent BLM can’t imagine. We have warriors, writers, statisticians, attorneys, computer experts, teachers, media geniuses, visionaries, millionaires, many unemployed folks living on dwindling savings and conviction, photographers, boots-on-the-ground-don’t-mind-if-I-DO-get-dirty and kids.
    This is our strength; we can’t let it become a weakness.
    BLM is only too happy to ignite “let’s you & him (or her) fight” games. I’m ashamed I know that first hand. Still kicking myself.
    Could be the weakest or most bombastic among us that helps the horses most.
    In the end, that’s all that counts.


    • But Terri what you did for Dancer and Sage can never be discredited. The BLM took away their precious freedom you didn’t. You fell head over heels for Dancer and wanted to ensure she had a friend to go with her. That’s why you adopted Sage too. It has been my great privilege to help you with their board.

      You found a lovely home for them to run in. A home where they will never know a saddle or a human or their back. Where they can have other horsie friends and a few mules to toss into the mix!

      You did the best you could for them. That’s why Dancer kept looking over at me and gave me some of the best pics I couldda asked for. I like to think it was her way of thanking us for getting her out of the hands of the BLM and that hellhole she was in.


    • It always makes my spirit rise when there are humans out there that take time and great personal sacrifice including monetary to do something that has no monetary reward.

      I don’t think any human rounding up, sterilizing or killing wild equines (or domestic for that matter) can say that….they always get their paycheck.

      Way, WAY different than the warriors that sleep in cars/trucks, pay for cell phones (not government or contractor satellite or blackberrys) and don’t have government TDY accounts to pay for fuel, food or shelter…..wat different.


  9. It is a shame some people are NOT for the wild horses! who the heck are the unamerican bozos? It doesn’t matter, may karma cause them to step in dog poo barefoot tonight!

    There is a laundry list now of actions by federal employees and their contractors against Americans who just want their basic rights respected! Deadly actions against wild horses who are supposed to be protected by laws we americans got passed!. Maybe thousands of wild horses have died the past few years and they are being removed from their wild-homes-at a rate that will wipe them off the face of the world! And some actions against Humans that COULD have been deadly. Some of it is pretty scary stuff to me- a regular American and I am angry at our Gov. They need to move now, today to stop these rogues.

    I am not going to pay any attention to those Rotton Apples. What the heck is the matter with People like that? Don’t they think the use of helicoptor and semi-truck as a weapon is a serious problem? Can they not focus on helping the wild horses before its TO LATE? What is the matter with those rotten apples!?


  10. Thank you for sharing this truth.. may we remember our wild horses/burros are suffering, in this moment we do not have time for ego attacks on anyone who is working to save our wild horses.
    For Goddess sake..really who cares who gets the credit, for a brutal war upon our horses final victory…this victory stands as a win for us all.

    Please wild horse beautiful people keep your hearts open and link hands, resources, light this grass root effort on fire…to spread like the wind….


  11. THANK YOU, WILD HORSE PROTECTION ACT! It DOES NOT MATTER who gets credit for what. WHO CARES? There are probably many who would just as soon stay unknown. Let’s just get on with it.


  12. Could it be said better? Bet your butts it can’t be, R.T. speaks the full truth of the matter. Somewhere along the line there seems to be a long list of old time used to be advocates that are more interested in their pals over at the BLM and their lack of influence among them ( beyond what they believe themselves) . We have several REAL time advocates living in pick up trucks. dealing with harassment from BLM officers, threats and every other type of infringement on OUR rights to have a voice in these horses while certain people feel its their fight and if they don’t want to take it to the man then nobody should. Then they start email chains like little 8th grade girls gossiping of who has the new zit. Time to support the people out there really doing something other then lip service.



    • I agree. It is way past time for on-site protests ala MLK, Gandhi and Cesar Chavez. That might finally get national media attention to counterbalance the BLM propaganda machine paid for my our tax dollars.


  13. Mustang Man, R.T. George etc etc etc too many to mention. My heroes!! They put my feelings into words much better than I ever could. All of you sincere people who really only have the best interest of the mustangs at heart. I salute you. Apparently this has been going on for years now but the BLM is still busy gathering horses, spitting out false numbers and facts. Thanks to facebook I have been educated about what is going on. What a pity that the media does not do more to educate us ignoramuses about the plight of the mustangs. Instead they cram Lindsay Lohan down our collective throats. Makes me want to spit fire. I would have become active for the mustangs long ago. Have a ton of catching up to do. Thanks for all you do for the mustangs!!!


  14. I sincerely hope that my comments about watching our rhetoric are not part of the “bad apples” some of you are referring to.

    My concern is that I use R. T.’s blog as a reference for many of the letters and blogs where I have written about what is happening to wild horses. When I started reading some of the comments that a few people made, I became concerned about us as the voices for wild horses being seen as out of control, which clearly, the truly dedicated are not. When I meet someone who seems truly interested in this cause, I refer them to this blog because it is a narrative, an historical record of sorts, of this movement. Moreover, between all the links in the margins, there are links to other blogs that contain all sorts of information. From here, you can get to almost everything else, depending on what your questions are.

    You, the bloggers of this column, have given me all kinds of ideas of different ways I can help from here, and different angles to pursue this from. Some days it seems we’re thigh deep in marsh mud, but the tide is changing.

    As an East Coast advocate, I have been frustrated that there is so little concern in our media, but I am hoping that the big story that broke last week on the Wild Horses of Corolla will open the door to more dialogue. For the first time, I had someone tell me that she and her daughter had watched a program about what was happening to the wild horses and burros on TV.. She gave me a lot of details, so she was very familiar with the story.

    When I posted an initial topic as a thread for a blog, the first response I got was pretty negative, but I just kept coming back with facts. Given all the behavior and practices that we have observed (in my case through your story telling, pictures, and video), when we advocate for our horses, we can expect to be challenged because so much of what is happening is contrary to American law and the expectation United States citizens have on the proper role and conduct of government. Some of this is hard to believe unless you have been following the story, not because anyone is not credible, but because what is happening is the antithesis of what we expect from our government.

    One thing I haven’t seen addressed in this column yet, but I think is critical to get out is in Ginger Katren’s letter to Secretary Salazar and was also reported in an NC horse symposium, and that is the effect that giving wild mares PZP has on the mare and the herd. In brief, in a study done on the Shakleford ponies in North Carolina, it was concluded that the mares who do not get pregnant are more likely to move from stallion band, to stallion band, thus destroying the social structure of the herd. Ginger stated that the introduction of PZP has disrupted the structure of families in Cloud’s herd as well.

    Thanks for all you do.


    • One quick comment, here. Above all, we try to print the truth, here. The truth is either how we read/percieve the news or how it is directly reported to us. From a legal standpoint, we can never get into trouble if we report the truth and being that this website bears my name, which is my brand, I try my very best to keep this all above board and yes, we do have a legal team, ours, that keeps an eye on me.

      This blog was originally put up to help in promoting our book which promotes the message of “pro-horse” and the cessation of horse slaughter, neglect and abuse. The proceeds are also donated to Habitat for Horses. But instead of the blog being a tool to promote another tool with a message it has become the very message carrier, itself. It’s growth has been astounding with readership topping over 4,000 daily visits (I am going to write about this one day) But the blog has not only been my voice, but more importantly it has become YOUR voice. A place where YOU can speak and we can listen. It is also a place were the enemy comes EVERY day. Trust me, I have run into that one in person (another writing assisngment)

      But keep the faith, if we know it is not true we will not print. If we find out that it is not true we will pull it down. (did that only once) And if we find that there is an error we will correct it because we want to ensure that you get the latest, the greatest and the most accurate current information regarding our common passion.

      May the Force of the Horse be with you all.



    • PZP has been discussed much at Cloud blog and at Matt’s Pryor blog. There is information linked and discussed. Many blogs have classic pieces to share on the subject. There are those of us with information that is new to us and will be shared soon, I think. For some reason science lingers at Cloud and here at RT’s there is a larger mixture of info and many views but the science is catching up here.

      There are still many ‘outbreaks’ of upset advocates and passers-by who do let loose with graphic anger. I think for those to express it for the first time, publicly, is part of this experience here. Most of us say less controversially angry words as we become aware of the role the internet plays in our pursuit of helping the wild ones. The energy lost in deep anger, and we have all felt it at one time or another or even many times, is best channeled into our attempt to keep abreast of events and outcomes from previous ones. There is a steady flow of information from so much activity by so many aspects of this campaign. It may seem we are always waiting for good news but we are receiving feed back from many sources and mediums now.

      The science always needs to be brought to the fore. I am wondering when Karen Sussman will release research about the herds she has in her care. She had said this fall. We need this research to educate those we are attempting to inform for the sake of a moratorium for the wild ones survival.

      We have a challenge before us to make our goals for the horses and burros become applicable and used for their benefit where ever they live, wild or captive. We have a challenge to be more united and informed from experience as we continue. This is a deadly serious venture we are forming for the wild ones future. And we see our future is in line with their fate.

      Those who have been on the road this year from Calico to Silver King, you have been pivotal in increasing our awareness of the actions BLM has taken. Those of us at home need to keep finding support for them deep in our pockets. mar


  15. We are all very much aware of the fact that our comments reflect on the integrity and validity of this battle. It is not unreasonable for anguish and outrage to be expressed here, as there is good reason for it. We are also very much aware of the fact that those who would like to see the advocates fail, are not above coming onto blogs and making comments that would be detrimental to the cause. If a comment on this blog looks to be out of control or “over the top”, you can know that it has not come from one of the true advocates.


  16. I appreciate the factual information and the many perspectives that are presented here as well as the opportunity to present my own. I come here for both reasons. I feel like I know most of you—even though there is nearly a continent between us. We all want the same thing which I think R. T. stated pretty well. Were it not for this site, I do not know if I could have gained the understanding that I have through the different perspectives you offer. I am enormously grateful for the access to the videos, photos, and eye witness reports as well as the experiences so many different voices bring.

    Marilyn mentioned some sources I haven’t visited yet. I made my comments about Ginger’s letter because that was the first reference I had seen about the Shakleford wild horses, and it does seem to meet standards of scientific integrity since there were control herds compared to PZP herds in the same location as well as a relatively stable gene pool. I saw a preliminary report on this listed as an agenda item for a horse symposium I considered attending and actually hadn’t thought much about since. There need to be other studies as well which Marilyn and at least some of the rest of you seemed to be aware of. I was not, so when I found this I had an aha moment I wanted to share.

    Thank you for your courage, your stories, your humor, your steadfastness, and the sacrifices you are making. I wish you well as we continue to do what we can from where we are to save our wild horses and take care of all the horses who mean so much to us. Be safe out there.


  17. Hi all, esp. Christie,
    I worked on that Shackleford project for ten very full days. Dr. Jessa Madosky, was a painstaking researcher who used every bit of her youthful athleticism and horse experience (from polo pony groom to rescuing her own doomed horse) to train 3 Earthwatch volunteers. She lived with the Shackleford horses for several long seasons. My brief time on the island was both grueling (packed in all water, tracked horses through dunes, maritime forests, marshland for 8+ hours a day & met my first ticks) and ecstatic. I learned more about wild horse family structure than I’d ever known before, because once we found a herd, we documented every movement of each horse for a full hour. I’d never viewed so many stallion confrontations in quick succession and the choreography of each was almost identical. Men could learn a lot from these macho males. Just sayin.
    It was a blind study, but some mares clearly moved among bands. Those mares had no foals.
    Mares seemed to gravitate toward bands that suited them (disclaimer: I’m an English major, not a biologist) . Some herds drifted along the Atlantic shore, others liked the grassy swales. One stallion ran his family every damn where they went. Another was so busy trying to pick up more mares, the band could be a bit more self-directed and the beta stallion had his share of “romance” in the alpha’s abscence.
    Last item of note: On the island, PZP was administered by an equine specialist with a blow gun, from a distance. Contrast this” insect bite” annoyance to stampede, capture and shattered families, followed by squeeze-chuted torture.

    I told BLM’s Suzy Stokke and Sally Spencer about this during an NPR interview as an alternative for our Nevada mustangs if BLM was allowed to continue sterilizing. Bet you can guess the response. Wouldn’t work for mustangs & too expensive.
    (Bet me a platoon of equine specialists with blow guns is more expensive than the Cattoor family biz). Eye-witness testimony didn’t count; they did NOT want to hear it and Suzy, at least, was familiar with my work with NV mustangs.
    The experience was both intellectually illuminating and magical. Obviously, I’ll never forget it !


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.