Equine Rescue

Accord reached on the Alto wild horse herd

By Dianne Stallings as published in the Ruidoso News

State officials and herd advocates clear the air and move forward

Rock Star, whose sale to slaughter mobilized the community. (Courtesy)

Rock Star, whose sale to slaughter mobilized the community. (Courtesy)

The unnecessary death of an Alto wild horse gelding brought them together Wednesday for a meeting at the Ruidoso Racetrack Turf Club, New Mexico. Two hours later, herd advocates and representatives of the New Mexico Livestock Board shook hands and walked away with what both sides hope is a new system of cooperation and understanding that will lead to ensuring the safety of the horse herd.

One improvement already initiated as a result of the Alto incident is the ability to sign up for an email notification by the board when stray livestock is acquired by the state agency.

Speaking to Livestock Board Executive Director Ray Baca, District 20 Supervisor Troy Patterson and Brand Inspector Don Hatfield, herd advocate Tom Blaney said, “I think everyone will agree with me that our objective isn’t for conflict or to create more havoc. We want everything to flow through your mandates, but there are some questions about procedures, what do we need to do differently. The objective is for the horses to be adopted out, not just shipped off to the closest auction.”

Baca said that outcome also is one of the agency’s main objectives. “We don’t want these horses going to slaughter,” he said. “If we can get the horses to a good home, to a good place, our intention never is to send horses to slaughter. Our responsibility is for the well-being of the horses.”

“If we gather the animal up on private property, because it is hurt or something is going on, or you guys gather them up, how do we proceed from there, once we have an animal contained,” Blaney asked.

Baca explained a horse must be held for at least five days to give an owner a chance to claim the animal. But after that period, closed bids are accepted and a horse goes to the highest bidder. Before a horse is adopted, it is microchipped to establish ownership and given vaccinations.

Lynda Blaney said the adoption system soon will be tested locally as she and her husband are beginning the process next week with Hatfield for a mare from the herd who injured her leg. They’ve named her Misty.

Baca said if the horses have access to highways and can be a public hazard, a person can contain the horses and call an inspector. Once the inspector is called, he handles the process, including the notification.

“All these horses (in the Alto herd) are deemed running at large and a nuisance, so everyone has a right to pen them on their land, but they have to follow the statutes and notify the inspector,” Baca said…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at the Ruidoso News

10 replies »

  1. wow , whar an outcome . really happy to hear this one has a major break through now lets keep working on the b.l.m. and the f/s , sheldon needs something like this to happen there . so happy


  2. Why is the objective for them to be adopted out? Why isn’t there somewhere in this big country where they can remain wild? It goes against the “Wild and Free Roaming” Horses and Burros Act, and takes advantage of what people don’t know. Everyone think an animal should ‘go to a good home’, right?

    People will not stop until every inch of this country is developed for human use. No, people do not have the ‘right’ to pen up wild creatures who wander onto ‘their’ property simply because they deem them a nuisance. At the end of this article it says there are groups who find the wild horses an asset because people love them. I wish we would quit catering to ranching and energy interests.


      • Yes, that’s what I mean – making it look nice for the public by saying ‘they are going to good homes’ but really they are being uprooted from their homes and either sold off to slaughter or to captivity, when they are not used to domestication. I think we should discourage people getting too close and hand feeding too – it’s basically selfish. It reminds me of a fish migration where a woman with a very young child in a stroller yanked one of the fish out of the water and wanted to show it to the baby and take a selfie, with the fish struggling and gasping for air! The kid at that age ain’t gonna have any understanding of it.

        Admire from a distance, and respect wildlife!


  3. Question ?????? Exactly where are they Micro Chipping ???????? This is a great idea but placement of the Chip is ever so important !!!!! micro chips in horses are known to move all over the Horses body causing new problems …………………………………..


  4. It seems too much of the time its the people who are feeding the horses – hummingbird feeders – Really?? Sorry but if they want to keep them wild – hand-feeding them is not the way. If people want to see the wild horses – they certainly should NOT be able to walk up to them & encourage children to get close! They are treating these horses as if they are domestic! Give the horses a place where they can get food & water & NOT interact with people. Its just so sad that people are responsible for what’s happening – not horses! I’m really glad the livestock board & the horse advocates have found a way to sit down & talk – I hope it works out to the horses advantage.


  5. Linda, it sounds as though the best thing that can be done is to keep a spotlight on this, as has been done. As long as those Horses are tracked by vigilant observers and this is kept in the Public eye, they are safer.
    It’s good to give public officials and decision makers the benefit of the doubt..and we do. We want to believe that they want to do the right thing.
    We also know (as they do) that It’s NOT politically advantageous to be PUBLICALLY connected with Horse Slaughter


    • There will be no accountability/tracking unless the horses go to our licensed rescues and are adopted out under contract. “Right of First Refusal” by the rescues was the policy before Baca took over. He realized he could turn a profit from estrays, so that’s what he’s been doing.


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