Horse News

Wendie Malick to Star in and Produce Wild Horse Annie On Hallmark Channel

Excerpt from

It’s All About Getting the Message Out

Wendie Malick (center) at Twin Peaks BLM Stampede ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Hallmark Movie Channel announces “Wild Horse Annie,” a Hallmark Movie Channel Original Premiere starring Emmy(R) and Golden Globe nominee Wendie Malick (“Hot in Cleveland,” “Just Shoot Me”), is in development with an anticipated premiere date of Summer 2012. Ms. Malick will also serve as Executive Producer of the film which is adapted from a portion of DeAnne Stillman‘s grand epic Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West. Helen Bartlett (“North Country”) is Executive Producer. The screenplay will be written by Jenny Wingfield (“Man in the Moon”). DeAnne Stillman will also produce.

“Wild Horse Annie’ is the triumphant story of Velma Johnston‘s commitment to majestic wild horses; that they be preserved, enjoyed and celebrated by generations of Americans,” said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. “It is an honor to memorialize Ms. Johnston’s humanity in this film,” Vicary concluded.

“Velma Johnston, also known as ‘Wild Horse Annie,’ grabbed hold of me from the moment I read about her in DeAnne Stillman‘s fascinating book,” Ms. Malick said.

“Despite physical and emotional challenges, Johnston committed her life to getting federal protection for our wild horses and burros, saving them from cruel roundups and barbaric slaughter.

“Today there are 40,000 wild horses languishing in government holding facilities, and we are in danger of losing the wild mustangs forever. Helen Bartlett, Jenny Wingfield, DeAnne Stillman and I came together to tell this courageous woman’s story, and hopefully shine a light on the plight of these remarkable creatures before it’s too late,” Malick concluded.

Velma Johnston became a leading animal rights activist in this country. Her dedicated quest to protect America’s wild horses, a campaign she began with the nation’s school children, culminated in the US Congress’ passing of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. The bill became the law of the land, signed by then President Richard M. Nixon on December 15, 1971. Ms Johnston’s legacy lives on.

Hallmark Movie Channel, the second linear channel from Crown Media Holdings, Inc., simulcast in SD (Standard Definition) and HD (High Definition), is a 24-hour cable network dedicated to bringing viewers family-friendly movies with a mix of classic theatrical films, presentations from the acclaimEd HallMark Hall of Fame library, original Hallmark Channel movies and special events. In today’s crowded television landscape, the network is a unique and captivating entertainment experience, providing programming that families can watch together. It is now available in over 40 million homes. Crown Media also operates Hallmark Channel which provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming to a national audience of 87.5 million subscribers.

14 replies »

  1. Sweet. Glad it will be for Hallmark as many more will see this than would have gone to a film…. Wonderful project. Hold it together ladies! mar


  2. Wonderful news, R.T.!!!

    Wish they would follow-up with some current day information, to shed light on what’s going on Now.


  3. Yep – Jill that would be the icing on this cake. Fast forward to some of the rounduos we’ve seen this year.


    • Louie thank you doesn’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this link. Not only do I have another wild horse resource to check out (hoofray on that!) but the book you recommended is FANTASTIC!!!!!

      This book is also available in Kindle format although it is pricey for a Kindle book.

      Along with Alex Brown’s Greatness and Goodness; his book on Barbaro this is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE.

      The things I’m reading are the exact same things that we today have been fighting. Annie would be horrified to see how far back we have come.

      And the same old cow manure we here BLM say today was used in the 50’s as the reason for the horses removal. Even those ridiculous claims about how fast the horses reproduce we’re used.

      Sadly the thing I’ve become most aware of in the past 1 1/2 years is that our government is so corrupt its sickening. Not just the horses but people’s rights about due process are also ignored.

      We are suppose to be a nation of laws. But the atrocities not just against the horses but humans too is in dire needs of having someone yank Washington. Laws are broken daily so badly, in your face that it leaves me speechless.



    “It doesn’t get more American than the mustang, and without Wild Horse Annie, we would not have any. Now, as wild horses are making their last stand, it’s important to honor her legacy and continue the battle. Thanks to this well-researched and timely book, we can.”
    —Deanne Stillman, author of Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West

    “The story of how Velma organized support for the survival of the mustangs, and how she and her supporters pushed legislation through Congress to protect the free-ranging wild horses, is an example of how entrenched special interests can exploit publicly held resources and a testament to how much change a determined individual can foster.”
    Wild Horse Annie—Book trailer


  5. All of Congress and decision makers, BLM headhonchos and staff, Obama, Senators and High Schools across the USA should get a notification of this film. Maybe Senator Dan Burton can help spread the word. All major feedstores or big equine outlets should have a flyer on this posted. People who live near such places can post them. Post the info at riding arenas. Hand it out to youth groups or 4H groups. I hope this movie will reach a huge audience, and we can all do our part in spreading the word about it, so the message does get out.


  6. Just went to the premiere of Saving America’s Horses yesterday. An excellent portrayal of the betrayal of the horse. This film needs to be seen on TV so that the many, many people who are not aware of this are informed. Informed and hopefully very, very angry. Angry enough to join in to do something about this. To add the story of Wild Horse Annie to this would make bring the whole ugly business full circle. We need projects like this, we need the information to go out on the grand scale.


  7. Margaret, when you purchase the book through ISPMB, the proceeds go to help this organization. I saved this when I first found out about ISPMB and Karen Sussman, who represented our Wild Horses and Burros at the recent Slaughter Summit:

    As you know, I have been in the wild horse movement for nearly thirty years now. Our organization has accomplished so much in our past 50 years. Our reputation is impeccable, not only with the BLM but with all the wild horse and burro groups and conservation groups in the U.S. Over the years, we have united more humane and wild horse groups than any other organization.
    ISPMB has a critical need to maintain our Wild Horse Conservation program. In 1999, ISPMB took a great leap creating a new paradigm in preservation and protection of America’s wild horses by creating this conservation program. We are the only organization in the U.S. to manage entire herds of wild horses gaining eleven years of data now.
    Princeton University has agreed to collaborate with ISPMB and will be here in June 2010. Our goal is to validate all of ISPMB’s extraordinary findings. We were fortunate as our first two herds had not been disrupted, rounded up, etc. in decades of time. These two herds are the most natural behavioral healthy herds in the U.S. Our third herd came in late in the year of 2004. It was this herd that created an eye opening experience as to the effect of multiple round ups of horses and the devastating effects on the herd.
    We know that there are only two other herds besides our two healthy herds existing on public lands whose band structures have not been disrupted through gathers. They are the Montgomery Pass horses in CA and the Cerbats in AZ. Both herds have sufficient mountain lion predation that their numbers remain stable.
    I am asking everyone to support us in our efforts so that we can maintain these herds and continue our studies. There are very few behavioral studies in the U.S. We are the only ones that have ongoing studies now for eleven years. I’m sure it is no surprise to you that BLM does not have data or even a solid management program for wild horses and burros in our country.
    Our Conservation program has one of the greatest opportunities to save our wild horses on public lands. Our data after Princeton becomes involved will be undisputable. Here is what we are finding:
    Because of BLM’s lack of knowledge in managing wild horses, they have created a doubling of the fertility rates in 197 herds by their removal methods.
    BLM’s removal methods have destroyed the horses social structures which resulted in a severe lack of modeling to younger horses by the older and wiser horses. This has happened by younger and younger stallions taking over the harem bands. The best analogy is that the Harvard professors are no longer in charge of the harems which have given way to younger stallions who are the equivalent of grade school children.
    We have the answer as to why the fertility rates have doubled in the past 15 years.
    With our ongoing evidence, we believe we will be able to stop helicopter roundups of wild horses and BLM will have to manage wild horses in their best interest.
    We have started another study on our dysfunctional herd that had been nearly eradicated over the past ten years on Sheldon Wildlife Range. Our goal is to find out the best way to manage wild horses who have not had behavior modeling from the older and wiser animals. This is no small feat. However, when we are successful in this area, we will be able to transfer our findings to the public lands herds.
    We also believe that the future of the herds on public land are at great risk for survival over the long term because of the breakdown in their educational system through the destruction of their social harems.
    Finally, we will share our “model management” program with the BLM. Most of the programs that BLM have are from ISPMB.
    We believe our Conservation model has the greatest advantage now to save wild horses on public lands, more so than any other means currently in place from law suits to public protests. We believe that if we can work together, we can truly solve the wild horse dilemma once and for all.
    I hope you will consider helping us as we continue our work with Princeton in these first ever historical behavioral studies, helping us to make sure that our Conservation model continues. Working together can create a momentous change at a time when our wild horses need us the most.

    For the horses,

    Karen A. Sussman
    President, ISPMB
    PO Box 55
    Lantry, SD 57636-0055
    Tel: 605-964-6866
    Cell: 605-430-2088]
    Saving America’s Wild Horses and Burros since 1960


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