Horse News

NM Livestock Board Director Says No Placitas Wild Horse Roundup

Source: By as published on the

“We can’t trespass on private property to impound…”

Photo of Placitas Horses courtesy of

New Mexico State Livestock Board Executive Director Ray Baca says the Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District has no authority to order his agency to round up the free roaming horses in Placitas.

Baca says the Livestock Board will assist in any way it legally can, but the horses are the problem of Sandoval County and property owners in Placitas.

“If they are trespassing on private property each owner has the right to impound those animals. They’re the custodian of their own property, we’re not. We can’t trespass on private property to impound,” Baca said.

Placitas residents estimate there are around 100 free roaming horses in the area. Many have raised concerns about the damage they are causing on public and private land and the dangers posed by horses wandering on the roads.

The Placitas-based nonprofit Wild Horse Observers Association has offered to remove about 40 horses it says are in danger on the roads. Association President Patience O’Dowd did not respond to requests for comment on the Coronado order.

Baca said by law impounded animals can be presented to the Livestock Board which has the authority to determine who owns them. If no owner is found the Livestock Board has the authority to sell them.

Coronado is an independent political subdivisions of the state, tasked with protecting the environment. Its district covers Placitas and surrounding areas. Its board issued the order on Monday saying the horses were damaging Placitas land and water sources and should be immediately removed.

Placitas resident Gary Miles, who will join the Coronado board next month, wrote to the Attorney General claiming the board violated the state Open Meetings Act by not properly giving notice about the order or taking public comment on the issue, among other things.

Coronado’s board member Jon Couch said in an email that the Placitas horse problems were on the agenda for June 4 public where the board discussed a draft of the order and unanimously voted to issue it to “to stop rampant soil erosion and overgrazing.”

Board members based their decision on a state law which says “estray” livestock, those found trespassing on land or running loose on public roads, are “subject to impoundment by an agent of the New Mexico Livestock Board,” according to an email from a Coronado staffer.

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28 replies »

      • Called the BLM office located at the Royal Gorge this evening…spoke to Cindy asked how the Mustangs were doing with this fire nearby, she assured me they are not close,,
        “Cindy” said they are on the other side of the Royal Gorge many miles away from danger at present.
        “It’s smoky by otherwise they are fine”……great news!

        I also inquired about getting an application to adopt a saddle trained Mustang…been thinking about it for awhile…………..


    • I don;t have a phone at home right now so please get in touch with BLM and find out what is being done to save our wild horses at Canon City facility!!!!! There is no mention of them in this article!

      COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 900 prisoners at a state prison southwest of Colorado Springs early Wednesday, one of four blazes along Colorado’s Front Range that destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to flee.

      Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adrienne Jacobson said prisoners from the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility were taken to other prisons overnight. The evacuation was ordered because of the danger from heavy smoke, she said. The fire has not reached the prison.

      “This was done as a precaution because it takes a lot of time to move the prisoners,” Jacobson said.

      The medium- and low-risk prisoners were evacuated by bus, including 24 from an infirmary who were taken to a Denver facility, some in wheelchairs.

      That fire was burning on about 6 square miles near Royal Gorge Bridge Park. It has destroyed three structures near Canon City, but the soaring suspension bridge spanning the canyon across the Arkansas River is believed to have been spared.

      The Black Forest Fire in a heavily wooded residential area northeast of Colorado Springs burned 40 to 60 houses after it broke out Tuesday and prompted evacuations of about 2,300 homes, affecting about 6,400 people, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

      Six helicopters and an air tanker were on the scene, Maketa said. C-130 cargo planes were expected to be prepared to help fight the fire Wednesday, the office of Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said.

      The area is not far from last summer’s devastating Waldo Canyon Fire that destroyed 346 homes and killed two.

      “It’s very, very reminiscent of what we experienced in Waldo Canyon,” Maketa said.

      However, there were no immediate reports of injuries.

      All of the fires moved quickly Tuesday, driven by record temperatures and strong winds. The conditions were making it difficult to build containment lines around the flames, and sparks jumped across them.

      “Weather is not working with us right now, but our guys are giving it a heck of a shot,” Maketa said.

      A third wildfire in southern Colorado erupted Tuesday in rural Huerfano County. The Klikus Fire had burned an estimated 45 to 50 acres west of La Veta, prompting evacuation orders for about 200 residences.

      The causes of those fires weren’t immediately confirmed.

      A fourth wildfire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park quickly grew to an estimated 300 to 400 acres Tuesday. No structures were threatened. Naturally started fires are usually allowed to burn in the park, but fire managers are working to suppress it because of drought conditions and reduced resources, park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said.

      In the Colorado Springs area, George Gonzales, 74, and his wife stayed in their motorhome in the parking lot of a Red Cross shelter set up for evacuees from the Black Forest Fire. He said the two were eating lunch in town when his daughter got an alert on her phone about the fire and called them.

      An officer let them go home to retrieve their dogs, their motorhome and truck, and his heart medicine, George Gonzales said.

      “Sure, we’re worried, but we’re hoping for the best,” he said.

      The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized federal funds to defray costs of fighting the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires.

      “There is nobody backing away and saying we’re not going to attack this with everything that we’ve got,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said late Tuesday.


      Associated Press writer Steven K. Paulson in Denver contributed to this repo


      • I heard on the news that CO fire and government officials can’t find enough state and national resources (equipment, men, etc) to fight the fires. Very bad situation….I see footage and see barns, corrals next to the homes burning and fear for the animals.


      • Mar this is getting a little close to my home and horses….too close…roughly 40 miles from the Black Forest Fire……. I stepped outside my front porch late afternoon yesterday to see the massive plume of smoke which appeared to be much closer due to the size of smoke, that made me panic not knowing what was going on……The largest amount of fire smoke I’ve ever seen. I never did see the smoke from the Waldo Fire from my porch so far southwest of here.

        I am north and slightly west of this fire…the winds are making it shift from north to south.. I have
        my antenna up as well as others around here. Truck and horse trailer are loaded for an Emergency…..

        I am so sad for everyone who has lost their homes to the fire!……It’s so dry here once again…

        I wanted to go help rescue horses at the Animal Sanctuary last night in the Black Forest area but was tied up….I’ve heard all the animals are out of there and safe….Phew!….

        On the news a young woman rode her house out of the fire area who didn’t have a trailer. She rode a good distance to get her horse out of harm’s way………..what a nice story!…………….


  1. Whoa!! …..Livestock board does have some back bone….but I am concerned about the dynamics of the Wild Mustangs being on someone’s property and what they can enforce?


    • BLM/USFS does exactly the reverse….they capture wild equines ON PRIVATELY OWNED/LEASED LANDS to keep advocates away from the round up process.


      • ONLY if they are on the OWNED Property.. (NOT LEASED from the BLM!) a Lease is NOT “Ownership” !!! HUGE waste of Taxpayers Money $70 Million+ not to leave out the BRUTALITY FORCED upon our Wild Creatures!


      • Sarah Johns:

        That’s not how the past round up system and location has been explained to me, specifically to exclude journalists and advocates from viewing and reporting on round ups.

        The lease system versus OWN is highly complicated and yet, lease holders are allowed to use those leases for loans and property valuation for asset, sale and use determination within the constriction of BLM/USFS policy.

        In addition, the private ownership issue was not clearly defined in this situation.

        Still waiting for some one that knows this situation to define area, agency and persons in actual control of this land.


  2. So, 100 equines are DESTROYING FORAGE AND WATER. Really? If it is destroyed, wouldn’t the equines be dead or move on? Who says (what legitimate and qualified source) the range is being destroyed?

    How large is this area?

    How many domestic livestock are foraging and watering on that same area?

    I could go on, but you get my drift.


    • New Mexico is currently in the second year of the most severe drought on record. There is little to no grass for the horses to eat, which probably why they are visible, showing up on roads and gardens looking for food instead of staying away from people as is more usual. It is a difficult situation, and all the wild grazing animals are suffering. A functional ecosystem would have large predators to eat starving animals in such circumstances. As it is, less hysterical accusations and more pragmatic action could actually help the situation.


      • Seems wildlife, to include wild equines have been managing drought for centuries quite well on their own. It’s the humans that invariably screw up Mother Nature.


    • I wonder if the New Mexico governor knows about this. If she does and she knows what this water board is up to, the horses have a chance.


  3. Its amazing, people will climb on the horse slaughter train to complain about any horse right now. Glad the livestock board says no, but the other side wont give up pushing for removal. Basically I am sure its just a smooth move to say look we NEED Santos. I just had a creepy thought-Santa brings ponies for Christmas and Santos wants to take them away! God, it’s just like the devil.


  4. Just maybe some of the rich could move out and let the horses alone in that town. They are after all God creatures and are free roaming. Some people want to run these small towns in N.M. just like they do in Cochiti Lake of which I just moved out of and never to return there.


  5. I wonder how much of this watershed is being destroyed by off-roaders, and if the agency has cracked down on them, I live in Farmington, NM, right next to the Navajo Reservation. Off-roading is a major contributor to ruining our lands … private, public, and reservation trust. It should be given importance equal to other destructive “Multiple Uses”, and quantified in every EA.


  6. deja vu. “damaging Placitas land and water sources “….sounds suspiciously like cattle. What about eco-tourism? did it ever cross their minds these horses could generate a lot of revenue for this community?


  7. Off Subject, but just want to remind everyone that today is the last day to call the Appropriations Committee members to support the Moran amendment to Stop Horse Slaughter Inspections. They are getting lots of calls. If you know that congressperson has an anti-horse slaughter law in their state, it is a good idea to remind them and to thank them if they have sponsored HR1094.

    The list was posted on the “Chemically Tainted…” post a couple of days ago and the Capitol number is 202 224-3121.

    Good Luck to us and to the Horses!


    Don’t Allow a Horse Slaughterhouse at Wounded Knee

    Sign Petition!

    Target: US Department of the Interior

    Acres on Pine Ridge Reservation next to Wounded Knee are now up for sale. What’s worse is this sacred massacre site could become home to a horse slaughterhouse.

    Exploiting the site’s historic significance, the current owner has given Lakota tribes an ultimatum – either fork out an exorbitant $4 million or the land will open to outside investors, one of which includes a horse slaughterhouse.

    Lakota tribes were seeking asylum at Pine Ridge in 1890 when the US Seventh Calvary slaughtered over 150 men, women and children camped at Wounded Knee. Years later survivor descendants and others mounted a protest at Pine Ridge which left three dead.

    Not only are these sites sacred to the tribes, but the horse is revered by them as well.
    Housing a horse slaughterhouse here should be unthinkable, and some tribe members say compulsory purchase under “eminent domain” should be an option.


  9. If the horses can be removed from private property, they can be held on private property as well. That would required finding people willing to participate and providing them with funds for the things they’d need to do it – fencing (plus labor), feed, water troughs, salt and/or mineral blocks, etc. – until a safe place for them to go can be found. Wild horse lovers contributed a lot of money in a short time to save the Virginia Range horses, and they aren’t on an HMA either. Maybe someone should set up a PayPal to help those in Placitas.


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