Horse News

New Pickens for T. Boone Pickens?

by Debbie Coffey ~Director of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation (from the pages of the PPJ Gazette)

Pickens’ “Eco-Sanctuary” Plan is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

A current Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse “eco-sanctuary” proposal by T. Boone Pickens’ wife, Madeleine Pickens (Saving America’s Mustangs) is for a NON-REPRODUCING herd, so HOW, exactly, is this supposed to save America’s mustangs?

Stallion of Antelope Valley HMA ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

It’s important to take a close look at what the BLM is doing with this plan (and with other eco-sanctuary plans), which also seems to be a new way to package the closing off of public lands to the public.

Where you could once get out of your car and walk on public land, will you now be fenced out of/off of any public lands?  Where you could once drive your car on public roads, will the “eco-tours” on the eco-sanctuary put you on buses or on wagons (like the BLM “tours” of the Indian Lakes Rd. short term holding facility in Fallon, NV)?

Will you now have to pay (either by fee or tax dollars) to see something you could see for free in the past?  Where you could once camp on public lands, will you now have to pay for accommodations at an eco-sanctuary?  Where you could once travel at any time of the day, will you now only be allowed to “visit” during certain hours?

Three Nevada wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) are to be included as part of the “Northeast Nevada” (Saving America’s Mustangs) eco-sanctuary: the Spruce-Pequop HMA, the Goshute HMA and the Antelope Valley HMA.

Saving America’s Mustangs will be using the Spruce Allotment, and grazing horses instead of cattle.  How will the wild horses on the HMA be kept separate from the horses on the eco-sanctuary?  It seems that there will need to be a lot of interior fences on public lands.

Removing protected wild horses

The BLM is removing wild horses from their federally protected wild horse Herd Management Areas while they over designate many other “uses.”  So much so, that it looks likes the wild horse Herd Management Areas are for everything BUT the wild horses.  For example, in a land use map of the Spruce-Pequop HMA, the HMA seems to contain Department of Defense and National Antelope Refuge (NAR) areas and many uses other than the wild horses.

It’s important to note these maps show land “use” designations like E-4 Use Area, C-1 Use Area, D-2 Use Area, etc.  These designations don’t seem to be listed in the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook (

H-1601-1).  So where can we find out what these designations mean?  More importantly, what inventory system is our public lands a part of?

The Saving America’s Mustangs eco-sanctuary will use about 14,000 acres of private land, and 508,000 acres of public land.  The BLM has plans of “restructuring” the three HMA boundaries and “revising management objectives.”

The BLM hasn’t yet given the public any details of how it plans to “restructure” the three HMAs.  A crucial part of this eco-sanctuary plan has been glossed over.

The Wild Free Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971, even with revisions that watered it down, states under “Limitation of Authority,” “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the Secretary to relocate wild free roaming horses or burros to areas of public lands where they do not presently exist.“

Now look at the map of the proposed eco-sanctuary:  There seems to be public lands in this plan that aren’t part of the HMAs.

Has Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, exceeded his authority?

Wild horses, by law, are “to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands,” so how can the BLM possibly claim they’re “maintaining a natural thriving ecological balance” when they zero out HMAs (remove all of the wild horses and burros) or remove so many wild horses and burros that they risk the variability and viability of the herds?

And then there’s the very questionable issue of the BLM actually putting wild horses and burros on private property, knowing that the law states that wild free roaming horses and burros lose their status as wild free roaming horses and burros when they are transferred to private maintenance and are then no longer protected under the Wild Free Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971.

In the Saving America’s Mustang eco-sanctuary proposal, the BLM states “Those areas of the HMA that aren’t part of the eco-sanctuary will be evaluated to determine their ability to sustain a viable horse population with reduced acreage and water resources.”

Let’s cut to the chase.

There will only be about 7% left of the Spruce-Pequop HMA, for example, so the BLM will probably conclude that this newly reduced area of the HMA won’t sustain a viable, healthy herd, and will then use the excuse of not enough land/forage/water to roundup the remaining wild horses.  Will those wild horses then be sent to another eco-sanctuary or to long-term holding in another state?

While I commend Madeleine Pickens for saving hundreds of horses from going to slaughter and nothing in this article is meant to question what seems to be her good and generous intentions, the public needs to play the devil’s advocate with the BLM and consider all aspects of this plan.

Saving America’s Mustangs has 66 water rights in 5 Basins, many on the HMAs.  What if the eco-sanctuary isn’t approved?  Saving America’s Mustangs will still have all those water rights in and near the 3 HMAs.  Will Saving America’s Mustangs then apply for a change of use for all of the water permits?

Of course, the elephant in the room is that T. Boone Pickens (Mesa Water) is on the Advisory Board of Saving America’s Mustangs.  This could make you wonder if he’ll ever give advice about the water rights at any point in time.  Just last year in Texas, Mesa Water was in a legal fight with the Texas Water Development Board over underground water goals.  Also, the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality dismissed Mesa Water’s request for an inquiry and to possibly dissolve local water conservation districts, dismiss their boards or force them to change their goals.

If the eco-sanctuary is approved, what happens in 20-30 years when all of the horses in the non-reproducing herd have died?  Will we even have any wild horses left on public lands in another 20-30 years to put on this eco-sanctuary?  Where will those horses be removed from?  Will the BLM put another non-reproducing herd on this eco-sanctuary?  Where is all of this heading?  The BLM plans more eco-sanctuaries, so the Saving America’s Mustangs plan seems to be setting the stage for more to come.

The BLM had several “open houses” about this eco-sanctuary plan, to offer brochures and show maps to the public, but the BLM has not had a formal public meeting to listen to public comments.  In a formal public meeting, statements are on the record, and there are minutes for the public to read (even if it takes the BLM many months to type up and post them).  It seems as if this eco-sanctuary is already a done deal, and that the BLM is only feigning interest in public comment.

Did any of the maps the BLM showed at the open houses show the two new mining projects that are just 10-15 miles north of the eastern part of the Spruce-Pequop HMA: the West Pequop Exploration Project and the Long Canyon Mine?  These will likely use millions of gallons of water from the aquifer in coming years.

What about the money?  On the Saving America’s Mustangs website, it states: “the foundation still needs money to manage the ranch, the farm, repair the fences, install new irrigation, rebuild homes for the help, and care for the horses.”  It also states “The Foundation provides the government with: (1) abundant long term capacity for horses at about the same cost, $500 per year per horse, as its current long term holding facilities…”

BLM’s non-reproducing herds idea is a plan for extinction.

At the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, it seems that Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief of the Wild Horse & Burro Program, announced that both the Saving America’s Mustangs and the Wyoming eco-sanctuaries would contain non-reproducing herds.  Zachary Reichold (BLM) told a wild horse advocate that the idea for non-reproducing herds originated with himself and Dean Bolstad.  Do these two BLM employees who arbitrarily made this decision have more power than you, the American public?

You can, and should, send your written comments regarding the eco-sanctuary plan, by September 19, 2012, to the project e-mail address: or to the

BLM Elko District Office,

Wells Field Office,

3900 E. Idaho Street,

Elko, NV 89801,

Attn: Wild Horse Eco-Sanctuary, or fax at (775) 753-0385. 

You also pay the salaries of and can send comments to Dean Bolstad at, to Amy Lueders, BLM Nevada State Director at, and to Ken Miller, the BLM Elko District Manager, at  You can read all of the information about the eco-sanctuary here:

This eco-sanctuary plan is not only about the wild horses, it’s about our public lands.  The BLM wild horse eco-sanctuary plan is a “public – private partnership” that seems like it will ultimately close off public lands to the public and one way or another, make you pay for what you once had for free.


The Wild Free Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971:

BLM info for the eco-sanctuary:

BLM Land Use Planning handbook:

Click (HERE) to visit the PPJ Gazette and to Comment

57 replies »

  1. Yeah I didn’t like it much when I first heard she was cowelling to the BLM. I was just hoping that once she got them, then she would let a few non-gelded stallions loose, you know by accident. But I guess that won’t be the case. This is really sickening. It just gets worse for America’s Wild Horses. Where is their HERO???


    • Getting worse is putting it mildly…it’s getting down-right critical for our wild horses and now the use of public land? We’re allowing the “few” to dictate and change the laws to suit their agenda?! Make no mistake about it, our wild horses and burros have many HEROES and we know many of them ….all fighting to do what’s right for the welfare and future of these iconic animals.


  2. Our Government has always intended to wipe out the wild horse and burros living on public land. I have written Obama once a week for three years regarding our public land, roundups, warehousing wild horses, horse slaughter. No reply This month I have received three letters from Obama, all three asking for money. Our elected Represatives only want our vote and donations. After they are in office they do what suits their big donors. Meat bussiness is a 87Billion Dollars bussiness. Pres. Nixon and Pres. Carter where the only Pres.(that I know ) that cared about public opinion . But like good little sheep , we keep voting in the same career politicians.


    • Yes, I’ve been sending comments to the WH. No reply either. Clinton did slow down the roundups, but it got reinstated under Bush and more so under Obama. I really don’t trust Romney to do any better. All the feds are interested in now is mining, drilling and ranching under the guise of American independence from foreign commodities.


  3. This is an excellent analysis, but it leaves me so despondent because there seems to be nothing we can do to prevent the federal government from its criminal violation of federal law, and nothing we can do to preserve our public right to our lands and the lands of our wild horses and burros. Salazar should be tried as a criminal for his violations of federal law.


  4. There was a mention of breeding wild horses at some point on or associated with Mustang Monument. It’s rather odd that Mustang Monument is on the map, yet in less than a week’s time, the wild horses of Sheldon Wildlife Refuge (which is a misnomer) Nevada area will be removed within five years. Yes, not only trophy hunters but USFWS and BLM have made back room deals. Will send my comments but I’m not hopeful.


  5. Debbie another great report. It is important to remember that she will have non reproducing herds. It is great to see horses in short term holding have a chance to run free but at what cost?

    And lowering AML on any of the existing HMA’s was never part of any deal that I heard of. That’s the newest one I heard of. How is this managing horses where they are currently found?

    I do applaud Mustang Monument in that the land seems at least similar to what the horses are use to, maybe naturally trimming hooves by running on rougher terrain than the soft ground in Oklahoma.

    This is just an example. While the Freedom Fund horses aren’t on an eco-sanctuary Ginger has several foals from her 14 horses that TCF adopted in 2009. Her horses run free near the Pryors. These are the horses that were running on the FS lands that are a part of the Pryors.

    It’s important to have a few breeding animals to carry on the gene pool. BLM is now enforcing this geld every stud BEFORE adoption. Apparently there are no exceptions any longer. I use Studley as as the example. Such a shame. He is a great example of a horse that you want to pass on the genetics from.


  6. “Saving America’s Mustangs has 66 water rights in 5 Basins, many on the HMAs”. There’s one of your answers for Ms Pickens and what she is really up to; we all already know what the BLM is up to. So nice they can all pad their pockets and get control of public lands for their own agendas isn’t it? These are our wild horses — not hers, and not theirs.


  7. Actually we don’t have free passage on public lands, we pay for our passage through our taxes and this plan would actually mean we are paying two fold for what is publicly owned 😦 Eradication is their goal and the tax payers paying for it is the slap in our faces and the thumb at their nose.


  8. I would like to know what exactly the government’s plan for the land is. Is it oil? Is it water? Is it national defense? Is it meat consumption? Is it development by foreign investors? What and when will we get the information?! And will we be able to believe it? Until we are told we will not really know what we are up against and the horses will continue to be doomed. Laws are selectively becoming less and less meaningful in this country (just look at Arizona and the illegal aliens problem) unless they serve the legislators needs. The voice of the people is felt by electing politicians into office that represent specific needs. As an example minorities have learned this lesson and are practicing this theory everyday and it is working well for them. They are gaining on representation on all levels (congressmen, mayors, senators, etc.) and changing the landscape of this country everyday. Some of the changes are good and some are not so good depending on who you talk to. Until we have that type of leadership the land and the horses will fade into the old timer’s memories of the old, wild west. Truth is our country will always be up for grabs by the strongest and wealthiest. Our financial resources probably need to be pouring into organizations that have already established themselves as viable champions of wildlife and then work with those organizations to insure our donations go specifically for the horses. One example that works well is the “Save the Redwoods” organization. They ask for and receive donations for purchasing California acreage every time a grove (old growth usually) becomes in danger of being lumbered. It may already be too late for us/horses, and I like to think there is a miracle out there somewhere, but time is running out. I can feel it in my bones. In the meantime, my deep thanks go to Debbie, R.T., et al.


  9. These are salazoos he spoke of years ago. It’s genocide plain & simple, the horses stand in the way of the land/water grab and theft of said land from the American people. Yes they are going to use this water for mining/fracking and make a new Sahara desert. T.Boone said in an interview once, that if he could charge for “air” he would.
    Reid’s son brokered a deal w/ Chinese energy company and sold 9000 acres of our PUBLIC lands in S NV. Reid cleared the way for the deal and it was signed shortly after his return from China. I’m sure horses there have already been removed. No one asked my permission to sell my land to the Chinese and I sure didn’t get a check from the sale, did you? I’m outraged at the blatant corruption, theft, and absence of justice. When the hell are people going to stand up and do something about this organized crime? Too bad the native Americans didn’t win their war with the invaders they knew came to destroy everything.


  10. I have writings of mine from 6, 8, 10, and even 12 years ago trying to rally EVERYONE that likes to recreate on our public land to do something SOON because the master plan by the factions who seek to control OUR public land is to fence it off! Then we will either be cited and/or arrested for tresspassing, or we will have to pay a usage fee to go on OUR public land.
    It has seemed to fall on deaf ears for the past many years, even when speaking with other advocates who have had the rudeness to “pooh pooh” the whole “silly notion” that our public land could possibly be fenced off and we wouldn’t be able to use it for anything unless given permission and paying to use it…..yes, we have obnoxious idiots in our movement that refuse to see beyond the end of their noses. I’ve pointed out time and time again that the ONLY things standing between us and our continued ability to use and recreate on our public land are the wild horses and burros…….with the other animals that are on the public land, the ranchers do this thing every year that they call “sanitizing” in which they go out and systematically kill through shooting, poisoning, burning, etc, every living, breathing animal that is either a predator to their cattle, or that eats the forage that the cattle eat and use the water sources too….the ONLY reason they don’t do that to the wild horses and burros is because it is still against Federal and State laws….otherwise, the ranchers would be out in force shooting every wild horse or burro they saw and/or roping them and hauling them off to the kill sale or directly to the slaughterhouses as they used to do in days of old before the protection act went into affect. And I haven’t even gone into the mining industry here in Nevada with their cyanide lakes that seperate the ore from the gold and have dead birds and other wildlife all around them from drinking poisoned water, so thats why the mining industry wants fences….and yes, these mining operations are allowed to lease public land right smack in the middle of an HMA so that the wild horses leave their HMA to get away from the humans and the activity at the mining operation and then are captured because the HMA they moved into now has too many horses supposedly: ANOTHER RACKET the BLM and the factions have running………
    The reason they are also ramping up the captures is for the same reason they did in the late-’60′s right before the Federal Protection Act of 1971 went into effect; they see the writing on the wall that the “uninformed, naive general public” is becoming a bit more educated regarding what is going on and the factions evil plan may get stopped dead in its tracks, so they are doing as much damage as they can while they still can.
    It’s for this reason that many of us fighting this fight for many years who actually live out surrounded by BLM land are NOT on-board with Madeline Pickens sanctuary for MOST of the wild horses and burros and demand that they be managed primarily in the wild as per Federal LAW. To some of us, Madeline Pickens sanctuary serves the purpose of sparking people’s interest in the issue and plight of the wild horses and burros by having a destination “regular people” who don’t live out in these Open Range areas can go to see them….however, the horses and burros at her sanctuary should be the horses and burros that are “failure to thrive” horses and burros, those who are perhaps getting older and are not doing so well on the range, the horses that might have disabilities that keep them from thriving in the wild, perhaps those horses that will go into a “gentling” program and be offered for adoption after some training, etc. Otherwise, as per FEDERAL LAW, the wild horses and burros are supposed to be primarily managed on the public land, that is the LAW.
    So yes, this is a long term plan by the factions who want the public land and will still expect that we, the tax paying public, will still be forced through subsidies to pay for them to run their PRIVATE, mostly corporate, businesses with our hard earned dollars.
    It is a racket, plain and simple, and it will serve to keep EVERYONE, be it campers, hikers, horse back riders, motorcyclists and 4-wheel riders, etc, EVERYONE will be kept off the public land and cited and/or arrested if we trespass on our own land, or we will be forced to pay a fee to be on OUR land…….understand people that without the protected wild horses and burros on our public land as per Federal law and PROTECTED from being murdered by these factions, and also that because of the wording in the Federal Law that the wild horses MUST be allowed to ROAM and they couldn’t do that if fences were run everywhere as the factions want to do to totally CONTROL our PUBLIC land, this take-over would have been all over many years ago…..the time is NOW to band together with everyone from the public sector who uses the public land to recreate on and/or anyone who is demanding that the factions and the BLM leave OUR wild horses and burros ALONE….if we “band” together like a band of wild horses, we CAN still STOP this take over of OUR public land and PROTECT OUR wild horses and burros from the eradication the greedy factions are attempting to complete with the use of the slaves that we the tax paying public are forced to pay for, and those slaves are called the BLM!


  11. Why should the public support replacing a dynamic Herd Management Area (HMA) with a sanctuary that is really an interactive long-term holding with sterile mustangs? Sterile wild horses do not demonstrate wild horse behavior so there is not much to learn about except for the history of wild horses. We want America’s wild horses to live in freedom on the range. AML is out of date, favors livestock use and is simply too low already–lowering it further goes against the intention of the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. Sanctuaries should not be an excuse to take away wild horses’ freedom and right to land. Create a sanctuary that helps at risk wild horses not one that takes away what little they have today.


  12. When are we all going to realize, I mean, really, truly understand, that all of our comments, petitions, letter-writing, phone calls, e-mails, even court battles, no matter how well intentioned, will NOT get any of the results we are seeking, none, period, zero! Our government no longer works for us, or listens to us, they really just don’t care. It’s all about the money, power, greed, political donations, & votes, and, evil. The only way for us to change things, & to really make an impact, is quite frankly, to take everything back, away from them & their control!! Government “approved”, &/or, run, “eco-sanctuaries” are not real wild horse sancyuaries, they are instead, like equine nursing homes, once you’re there, you’re pretty much just waiting to die. The government WANTS all the wild equines gone, other wildlife as well. They can defeat us, IF we “let” them, by removing & killing our precious wild spirit, OUR wild horses & burros. Are we going to let them, that’s the question?


  13. Debbie, as always, your research is impeccable and your questions are valid. I too, commend Madeleine for trying to save our wrongfully captured Wild Horses from slaughter. I have also wondered about the capture Wild Burros. What happens to them? They are being wiped out of their Legal Herd Managements Areas as we speak.

    For me, these paragraphs mirror my thoughts and concerns. You didn’t question Madeleine’s intentions or integrity…she isn’t on trial. You questioned the plan and its merits, as we all should. There’s too much at stake and we’re at the 11th hour:

    “While I commend Madeleine Pickens for saving hundreds of horses from going to slaughter and nothing in this article is meant to question what seems to be her good and generous intentions, the public needs to play the devil’s advocate with the BLM and consider all aspects of this plan.

    There will only be about 7% left of the Spruce-Pequop HMA, for example, so the BLM will probably conclude that this newly reduced area of the HMA won’t sustain a viable, healthy herd, and will then use the excuse of not enough land/forage/water to roundup the remaining wild horses. Will those wild horses then be sent to another eco-sanctuary or to long-term holding in another state?

    If the eco-sanctuary is approved, what happens in 20-30 years when all of the horses in the non-reproducing herd have died?  Will we even have any wild horses left on public lands in another 20-30 years to put on this eco-sanctuary? Where will those horses be removed from? Will the BLM put another non-reproducing herd on this eco-sanctuary?  Where is all of this heading?”


  14. This is ugly. This is another fraudulent and deceptive BLM plan whereby they are using Saving America’s Mustangs eco-sanctuary as a model to set the stage for additional eco-sanctuaries in which to place non-producing wild horse herds. If they go through with this stragedy it will destroy the wild horse herds. The BLM is pushing towards that goal and this is another vehicle to clear public lands of horse and burro herds. There might have been altruistic plans at the outset in creating sanctuaries however, dealing with the BLM in the implementation is a no-winner.


  15. MAdeleine never wanted to be any thing more than a contractor for BLM. She has tried to become the exception to the rule and do things for the public. That is why BLM is not acting with any speed. They do not want to encourage our attachment to the wild ones as their lands become the mines and allotments they prefer. Eco-Sanctuary has nothing to do with Ecology or with nature. It is simply a designation for ‘outdoor recreating’ or even less than that; just some land set aside and it happens to mean with horses for now. And would we have access to our wild ones? I doubt it.

    We have the opportunity to build a strong institution of our own just for our wild ones and so become the link and the bridge to a future where there will be wild horses still running free. In building a strong organization dedicated to the welfare of the wild ones on their ranges we would have a better stand to make and bring to the powers that be and to make change. Out of all the
    splinters and divisions out there what becomes of all of the horses and where they stand in the future is of concern to everyone. Bottom line.


  16. We do need to build a strong institution for the wild ones with power to confront and lobby against the opposition to the existance of wild horses. The BLM has a vested interest on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc (NCBA) Just look at their statements on the wild ones and compare what BLM is doing…..

    What part of the Horse and Burro Program does NCBA support and oppose?
    NCBA Opposes:

    •Reducing the amount of gathers in 2011/2012.
    •Expanding Horse Management Area’s (HMA), which goes against current statute and is detrimental to multiple-use management of public lands.
    •Unlike livestock, horse numbers and grazing patterns are not managed closely, and herds are not removed seasonally, eventually leading to range degradation. If we simply expand HMAs, rather than manage herd sizes, where does it stop?
    •Converting livestock permits for use by wild horses and burros.

    NCBA Supports:

    •Managing population growth through the aggressive and increased use of fertility control; the active management of sex ratios on the range; and the introduction of non-reproducing herds.
    •NCBA encourages cooperative agreements between BLM and private entities to establish preserves on private land only.
    •Including a measure to relax adoption criteria to provide for full title transfer to place more animals in private care.

    note: preserves on private land only


  17. We have to compromise. Fences are already on public lands thanks to the cattlemen, which is the direct reason why wild horses are in trouble to begin with. If cattlemen weren’t fencing off open lands and whining to the BLM about grazing problems, wild horses wouldn’t be targeted. Mrs. Pickens is just doing the best she can.
    I agree that the lack of ability to reproduce is a problem. It should only be a short term measure. Steps should be taken to preserve frozen specimens so that the herd may be rejuvenated at a later date. Christ, there should be a moratorium on horse breeding for the whole country, wild and domestic.


    • Beck, WHY do we have to compromise? Where will BLM put “rejuvenated” wild horses at a later date? With these eco-sanctuaries, BLM will most likely take the land in the remaining HMAs for other uses after they remove the remaining wild horses. More importantly, how would these sperm bank rejuvenated horses learn to survive in the wild without older wild horses teaching them? Eco-sanctuaries will probably have same sex herds, just like the Long Term Holding pastures, and these are NOT family bands, and certainly don’t behave like WILD horses. We don’t have to compromise. We’ve already compromised ENOUGH.


  18. We need to demand 2% of America for our Wild Horses and Burros. That’s not too much to ask considering that we used to have a million,. and we are now down to the last 25,000. Since we used to have one million, and they have all been shot, poisened, captured and killed throughout the years up until 1971, by both our government and by ranchers, it stands to reason that ALL wild horses and burros we currently have left, were obviously there in 1971!

    If they do not have an HMA or Territory, it is simply because the BLM and Forest Service failed to assign them one in the census of 1972, which is a failure of compliance with the law. There ARE NO Feral horses. They didnt come out of nowhere, they are the survivors of the century long genocide.

    The 26 million acres of public lands where our wild horses and burros are still allowed to live constitute 4% of all public lands. Therefore if they would get 50% forage allocation on their own HMA’s, that constitutes 2% of America. Thats all we are asking for, every other interest can have the other 98%, it is NOT too much to ask!

    Debbie is so right that we always need to keep an eye on the plans of the BLM, and it is a very real possibility that with the BLM and FS reckless removals we will only have sanctuaries left and none left in the wild.

    But as far as Madeleines plan, I dont think that Madeleine ever intended it as the whole solution to the problem, She is on the same page as we all are about preserving the last of our wild horses and burros in the wild. She is trying to offer some of the wild horses in short term holding facilities a better life, as close as possible to the lives they lost. It will be a nice reprieve for them. I do hope that she fights that the remaining herds on those HMA’s included in her sanctuary will be left allone where they currently are.

    It is my hope and belief that Madeleine will educate her visitors as to the fact that we need to preserve the last of our remaining wild horses and burros in the wild so that we DO NOT end up with only sanctuaries to see them.
    She tries really hard, and as far as I know, she is the only horse advocate in America who isn’t going broke yet! : )

    Everybody, dont forget to register for the second International Equine Conference! Vegas here we come!


    • savewildhorses, this is a BLM scoping process where people bring up issues and questions to get answers to their questions. It seems unrealistic to expect everyone to agree, in any group of people, over any issue. That is why we have freedom of speech.


    • It’s disheartening to me when some advocates accept money and gifts from interests they should be objectively writing about. And when people are too cowardly to write using their own (real) name. From what I’ve seen in the past few years, the advocates are increasingly working together. Debbie


    • i completely concur. madeleine is one of the good guys and the only one i know of with the wherewithal to get things done. she is spreading the word about the plight of our wild ones and i would hope she’ll advocate for protecting the wild ones in the hma’s near her. i can’t wait to visit mustang monument and learn more from her directly, i hope!


  19. Maddy’s plan offers one thing and one thing only, the guarantee that these horses will not be deemed “sale authority” horses and then shipped off to slaughter, that’s it, period.

    With all due respect, I wouldn’t visit the phoney “Eco-sanctuary” ever, never, not in a million years because I can see plenty of gelded horses grazing by just looking out our own back windows. The death herds will teach nothing about wild horses because they are not living as wild horses. Non-reproducing herds will not teach our children about the lives of wild horses as they have no life, they are not living in family bands and there is virtually nothing to see.

    The entire point of observing wild horses is to witness how they interact as a FAMILY and how they do so FREELY. The Pickens’ plan is nothing more than watching a bunch of sexually segregated horses dancing around on land that should/could be used for free roaming family bands.

    Again, no insult intended but it is our goal at WHFF to put places like the Pickens ranch out of business. We believe that the horses should be left on their rightful land to live and love freely without the interference of a corrupt government agency gone amok.

    There should be no need for these phoney “Eco-sanctuarys” instead there should be REAL “Eco-sanctuarys” established where the people of the world can come and witness the horses running free, in intact family bands, on their rightful land. I have just seen how well this works but we had to travel half way around the world to witness it, as in Mongolia. Wild horses running free…that’s what it is all about. Maddy’s plan is dealing with the ass end of the horse while we are all into it’s mouth, leading the way to freedom.

    Maddy’s plan is no monument nor is it helping to solve the problem of running our herds into extinction.


    • RT, I agree with you…the only horses that should be on an ‘eco-santuary” are those ‘ripped’ off the range, like the horses yanked out of the Virgina highlands last week. Those horses are slaughter bound thanks to the dept of AG who does not have to follow the same guidelines, rules and regs that BLM does. Those horses need to go somewhere other than SLAUGHTER… I recommended to the Gov that they be sent to the prison program or placed on a santuary, but he has not responded…or how about placing those horses in zero’d out HMA! Funny how this doesn’t work in reverse isn’t it?

      I am wondering why BILLIONAIRES are hiding their money in a 501K like this wild horse santuary and STILL asking for donations? AND WHY should the government have to pay them $500 per horse per year when it is supposed to be a 501 santuary and NOT a LTH facility. I don’t see that Return to Freedom, Whispering Winds, or any of the other horse santuaries get that perk…..SHAME on these BILLIONAIRES for using horses as a tool to gain more wealth at the horses expense!


    • i think you’re being quite harsh on her. she is helping, by rescuing those horses from the paitute indians…there are 560 lives she saved! they run free…i don’t know if they’re gelded or not. she says she’s going forward, with or without the blm. she’s educating the public about the plight of the wild mustang and is all against the cruel roundups. the problem i have is the non-reproducing element but i checked and she said that’s not her goal so i’ll have to do further work to clarify. at the very least, if she can successfully work with these bastards and free some of the horses from short-term holding and let them run free, that’s wonderful!! the blm knows it’s at or near capacity and i’d much rather see these majestic beauties running free than in prison forever or at risk or going to slaughter. it’s a start, and that’s the key. the blm is so juxtaposed in its goals vis a vis the wild horses from ours, that a compromise they’re willing to work with is huge in my opinion. where have we gotten so far by being stubborn? of course i want them free and for the roundups to stop but we have to be realistic. i hope it’s just the beginning of a better future for our wild equines. her sanctuary is opening this spring and i want to go to see it for myself and ask them about the reproduction issue. i hope i get to meet her too. she and t. boone are divorcing and i hope he won’t turn on us. they claim it’s amicable and i pray it is with his connections to the water groups.


  20. How does anyone with the resources to preserve wild equines actually get the chance to get intact individual animals from a specific HMA in the first place? Aren’t they always sterilized by the time they get to adoption? Talk about closing the barn door after the horses are out.

    Ms Pickens would do better to spend her wealth on lawsuits and keep her personal efforts private…without the resource and tax preferences she is truly seeking.


  21. This is an OpEd and not a New York Times piece. Ms. Pickens only responds when and where she wants to and not on demand, nor is her input required, here.

    I am still awaiting a reply if she would like Terry and I to hand deliver the tens of thousands of letters she promised to take to D.C. and never did…so far no word.


    • I recently posted a question that addresses this point about stampeded wild equines: Aren’t all males gelded? If so, no one can adopt a wild equine intact for preservation purposes.

      Even when the killers round up and release, they don’t place tracking devices….and I know why.

      Do they brand released wild equines? Of course, that assume they register the brand numbers.


  22. Capturing and handling these Wild Equines is comparable to handling a wild bird or a wild deer. Even a human touch is foreign and frightening to them. The trauma that they are forced to endure during and after roundups is unconscionable….taking the Foals from the Mares. Castrating the Stallions…even the OLD Stallions. Anything other than ON THE RANGE management flies against the core of the Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act.
    “It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death.” This is the law of the United States
    They HAVE land..Legally designated Wild Herd Management Areas. 22 Plus Million acres of that land has been taken from them.
    That land must be returned to them and to the American taxpayers.


    • Louie…the outrage has continued, the wild ones and all wildlife safety, for that matter is long overdue.

      This becomes a documented case (in the litigation sense) of malicious intent. Why we and the judicial system can’t figure this out for litigation, paralyzes me.


  23. savewildhorses, this is what Cindy McDonald posted on her blog awhile back:
    *Over the years, the herds and their lands have been stolen from us. Your generosity is legitimizing their theft and bailing BLM out from accountability.

    *There are serious, serious questions that must be addressed nationally about the Wild Horse & Burro Program. Your proposal will allow long-standing management issues to continue to be postponed, ignored and buried that may very well decimate the long-term viability of America’s free-roaming herds if they are allowed to continue unchallenged.

    *In this deal, you want to gain control of over 1 million acres of lands you may allow the public on. In other words, you become the “middle man” for what once use to be ours anyway. Have you considered how this may not help the American people or our children who were suppose to have the right to experience them wild and free too?
    *You plan to sterilize every single wild horse that comes through your gates. What will you do with your million acres when these non-reproducing herds grow old and die and cannot be replenished…
    *As time passes and the “Pickens Trust Fund” passes to other hands, will their new custodians choose to save them too or will the temptation to lease it back out to ranchers, oil, gas, mining or selling it to developers be their primary concern?
    *Have you considered investing in public lands instead of moving our resources to your sole control? With the money you are willing to shell out for this project, have you looked into how many wells, water developments, grazing leases in already publicly established Herd Management Areas this could buy and be returned back to the American people instead?

    *Do you know how many successful lawsuits could be filed against the BLM if there were only money available for good lawyers, money the average citizen does not have – but you do.

    savewildhorses, there are many opinions out there. And they all can’t be yours. while I respect what Madeleine has done, I will also ask questions. This isn’t JUST about this one eco-sanctuary plan, but about BLM’s plans on other HMAs.


    • I don’t put her out to dry…I disagree with the “majority” of her effort.

      We must stop fighting among ourselves and spend the monies and anger on beating the Feds, states and killers. Ms Pickens should spend more money on litigation and if she wants to preserve sterile herds…good for her, but not on the taxpayers dime.


  24. savewildhorses, if you go on Madeleine’s website, you’ll see she has over 2 MILLION SUPPORTERS, so it is hardly “piling on” against Madeleine Pickens to raise questions about the eco-sanctuary plans. This article is not hanging Madeleine “out to dry.” And to accuse me of “never once thinking about horses in holding” is untrue…I’ve written many articles about both short and long term holding. It seems, for one thing, that you fail to see that the remaining wild horses on the HMAs will be removed by the BLM, and these HMAs will be gone forever. Debbie


  25. Advocates cannot be blamed for asking valid questions. They have seen their hopes dashed too many times. Good people can and do disagree…often. This plan should be looked at, studied and evaluated by everyone. Questions should be asked. This article from Elko Dailey Free Press was posted by a reader on another blog.

    Elko Dailey Free Press
    Nature Notes Juggling horses for the Eco-Sanctuary

    It would take me 10 columns to cover all the details in the proposal so this column looks at one aspect of the plan: the movement of horses. What follows is one of three proposals, but my guess is this version is being seriously looked at.

    But that still leaves some wild horses surrounding the Eco-Sanctuary. One alternative being looked at is for these three HMAs — Spruce/Pequop, Goshute, and Antelope Valley — to have their designation changed from HMA to Herd Area. HMAs contain wild horses but Herd Areas usually do not. THESE WILD HORSES MIGHT BE GATHERED BY BLM AND REMOVED.

    THE THREE HMAs WOULD CEASE TO EXIST. The BLM’s Elko District Office now manages eight HMAs. After all is said and done, this would be reduced to five HMAs, plus the Eco-Sanctuary. THE SPRUCE MOUNTAIN AREA WOULD NO LONGER CONTAIN ANY WILD HORSES, unless you regard those geldings as wild horses.


  26. I think Mrs.Pickens is trying to do the right thing for the horses in short term or long term holding. But these horses have already been either gelded or treated with PZP already. If the whole idea is to give them a chance to live out their lives in something like freedom – thats not a bad thing. But the big question is how do we keep the remainder of the horses that are still free from being removed from their homes & families? How can we give them a place where NOONE can chase & round them up & haul them away? Fencing off the eco-sanctuary is going to break up the herds that live there – causing all kinds of hassles between the horses – the ranchers who (apparently) OWN the allotments and the BLM. And we all know when push comes to shove – which one comes out on the short end of the stick.
    I really wish I had an answer – but sounds like none of us does.
    You know, we all want the horses to survive & to be free.
    If theres so much disagreement between the people who care – what more can the BLM & pro slaughter people ask for??? It just makes their case for them.


  27. having dealt with MPs representatives-so called advocates- in finding a home for some of the adobe legacy herd of mares and stallions I got out of canon preserve..their lives and genetics..I have a ,point of view and opinion not based on a website or article.. if the promise I was made to keep the stallions intact with their mares..broken- upon their arrival is any indication of things to come..I wouldn’t be so quick to defend her intentions.


  28. Would you all like to compare what Karen Sussman has done to preserve the wild horses..on her own as a private citizen. with donations.not taxpayer funded.. to what MP has proposed? or Dayton Hyde to name 2..I would much rather give my tax dollars to them


  29. I have posted here many times, but now it appears that if someone doesn’t agree 100% with everything you say, and concur with all your opinions, you block their post and it doesn’t appear.
    No, I didn’t bash Pickens, if that is what you wanted. I am grateful for anybody who has provided acres of beautiful land for our horses instead of the horses being in pens or being auctioned to fiends who starve them to death. I don’t want to bash the only person who has provided a safe place for the horses where they can play, run and live free. So, based on that, I guess my post was unworthy


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