Feds Ignore Public Sentiment : Issue Plan to Capture Fort Polk Wild Horses and Send to Slaughter (if no one adopts them)

The U.S. Army just peed in their Post Toasties

While Louisiana was drowning on Monday the U.S. Army made its final decision/statement regarding wild horses that live on land in a National Forest that Fort Polk has taken over to use for training.

The horses will be captured, 10 to 30 at a time, and offered to animal rescue groups. (yippee) If groups don’t take them, the horses will be offered to the public (Kill Buyers). If no one takes them, they will be sent to stockyards for sale (straight across the boarder to slaughter).

Compassion and Common Sense no longer exists in our Federal Government, here’s the bad news:

Descendants-of-Cav-Horses-at-JRTCThe Joint Readiness Training Center commanding general has made a final decision on the Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the disposition of trespass horses at Fort Polk.

Using the National Environmental Policy Act process, Fort Polk developed and analyzed a variety of alternatives, including those recommended in public comments, to eliminate the danger to American military personnel caused by the trespass horses.

“Based on my review of the analysis and public comments, I have determined that the selection of any of the proposed courses of action would have no significant impact on the environment and the preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required. Thus, I have made a final decision to implement Course of Action 7,” said Brig. Gen. Gary M. Brito, JRTC and Fort Polk commanding general. “I believe this is the correct course of action that will allow Fort Polk to remain the Army’s Premier Training Facility. Our efforts will mitigate safety hazards to our Soldiers and will reduce negative impacts to training.”

Fort Polk officials estimate that approximately 700 to 750 trespass horses occupy U.S. Army training lands on Fort Polk and the Peason Ridge Military Training Area creating a potential safety hazard and disrupting training.

Under COA 7 the Army will catch and corral groups of horses, about 10-30 at a time, and offer them to animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society for inclusion in their adoption program. If animal welfare groups do not take the horses, the Army will offer them to any citizen that will take them, and if that fails the horses will be transported to a livestock auction for sale.

The timeframe for eliminating each group of 10-30 horses will be about 30 days. Concurrently, Fort Polk will actively search for a landowner to take the horses en masse and will also attempt to find another government agency to remove and accept responsibility for the horses.

“The alternative that was selected offers the best opportunity to find a new home for every horse and protects American Soldiers from a catastrophic incident while training at Fort Polk,” said Brito. “This plan gives all interested parties the opportunity to be involved in helping the Army solve the problems it faces.

“For this program to work, we need your help. We look forward to working with interested parties to help these horses find permanent homes while making Fort Polk a safer place for our Soldiers to train,” said Brito.

The next step in the process is to begin developing lists of animal welfare groups and citizens interested in taking the horses. Interested parties can find the full details of the process on page 31 of the environmental assessment at http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/trespass_horses.html.

“Animal welfare groups and local citizens can sign up to be added to one of the two lists Fort Polk is developing by sending an e-mail to usarmy.polk.imcom.mbx.pao-public-response@mail.mil. Animal welfare groups should send appropriate documentation so that Fort Polk officials can verify their status as 501(c)(3) groups. Everyone signing up for the program should include good contact information including email address and telephone numbers and the quantity of horses they are interested in taking.”

34 comments on “Feds Ignore Public Sentiment : Issue Plan to Capture Fort Polk Wild Horses and Send to Slaughter (if no one adopts them)

  1. I guess it’s better than the blm and forestry service pull. They are giving the horses 30 days so they won’t have to be a big rush for money buy them. I wish they could just relocate them.

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  2. «Fort Polk officials estimate that approximately 700 to 750 trespass horses occupy U.S. Army training lands on Fort Polk and the Peason Ridge Military Training Area creating a potential safety hazard and disrupting training.»

    Wow! I’m sure the risk of being bitten or chased away by a wild horse is actually the greatest hazard they will ever face during their service time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daniel, I noted this too. First it was “danger” then “potential danger” then protection from a “catastrophic” event. For soldiers who we can expect are being trained to avoid IUDs on roadways, it would seem any risks presented by random horse appearances would be beneficial to their training. Horses, after all, are only armed with teeth and hooves, and in almost every situation will run away if startled.

      Worse, it is pretty clear they know nobody is likely to take in 750 horses within 30 days, so this is undeniably a death sentence.

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      • Indeed, particularly when they lost nearly all wars since WWII.

        Maybe the army was concerned the horses would regroup to their rear and launch and ass-whooping counter-attack:

        Sorry guys, but I just cannot help myself but keep trolling the army on this one. Ft. Polk commander really deserves all the criticism he can get.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Catastrophic? ?? The word catastrophic reminds me of when the Government executed the Tribes and when they boxcarred US Calvary Mounts to slaughter. In other words they inflate the situation. That unfortunately makes me question their decisions in times of dealing with actual “catastrophic events” are they exaggerating then too?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did you ever watch “King of the Hill”. The eposide where the snake got loose and the city passed new taxes to get rid of the snake. Standard Government response.

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  5. The fact that some temporary person is even allowed to make this kind of decision that would be permanent is outrageous. These horses have managed to live here in harmony side by side the military for over 70 years, and now war monger Patton has decided they need to go? I am sick about this.

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  6. The Army has always had an agenda to get ride of their unwanted horses remember the movie In Pursuit of Honor losely based on that scenario.

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  7. “An Open Letter of Abject Concern and Outrage”
    Source: Fort Polk Horses of Kisatchie on Facebook

    “As one of the Peason Ridge Heritage Family members I am very saddened by the decision made by the United States Army and General Timothy McGuire to do away with all the magnificent wild heritage horses that have roamed Peasn Ridge and the area of Camp/Ft. Polk for generations. One of the characteristics on why the settlers and homesteaders actually settled on Peason Ridge was due to the large open highlands and grasslands where large herds of cattle, horses, goats, sheep, and other livestock could be raised. On Peason Ridge these settlers brought something with them from England. They set aside 16 full sections of land for just livestock grazing. This was a reflection on how the large landowners had set aside lands for their livestock to graze on in England and servants an serfs could not have any use of these lands. Peason Ridge began to be settled in 1818 and from the days of the Native Americans to the first settlers and on until the lands were taken by imminent domain in 1941, there have been horses on this landscape and they have become a part of this landscape and a part of the aspect of nature. During the many years England Air Force Base was in operation, Peason Ridge was used as the bomb and gunnery ranges for the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing (Flying Tigers). Members of my family worked for the US Air Force and they conducted all the scoring operations on every flight of aircraft that came onto this range. And in all those many years, even during the days of Vietnam Training where there were continuous training missions by aircraft of every type, day and nite, and even flown by South Vietnamese and other allied nations pilots, THERE IS NO RECORD OF ANY MISSON BEING COMPROMISED BY THE HORSES OR ANY LIVESTOCK.

    I differ in what Fort Polk is declaring as they are “unsafe and cause training incidents and accidents”. These horses have not caused training accidents but people sure have !

    The United States Army has declared these historic horses “trespass horses”. No they are not trespassing, they are on the lands of my ancestors and the ancestors of these horses. I want help set your record straight because much of the information being released by the U.S. Army is incorrect and very prejudicial toward both the Heritage Families and these Heritage Horses. These horse on Ft. Polk and Peason Ridge are not livestock and are subject to the state’s animal cruelty laws. There are both state and federal laws that the United States Army is attempting to circumvent in destroying the horse herds. And as part of the federal government, the United States Army has to comply with both federal and state laws. A description of LIVESTOCK is animals that have been used or raised on a farm or ranch. These vast majority of these horses were born wild on Peason Ridge and Ft. Polk and have never been domesticated in any form or fashion. This definition of livestock is used in both federal and state laws pertaining to all types of animals which includes horses. An even deeper definition of livestock is as follows(state/federal laws):”Livestock” means any animal bred, kept, maintained, raised, or used for show, profit, or for the purpose of selling or otherwise producing crops, animals, or plant or animal products for market. This definition includes cattle, buffalo, bison, oxen, and other bovine; horses, mules, donkeys, and other equine; sheep; goats; swine; domestic rabbits; fish, turtles, and other animals identified with aquaculture that are located in artificial reservoirs or enclosures that are both on privately owned property and constructed so as to prevent, at all times, the ingress and egress of fish life from public waters; imported exotic deer and antelope, elk, farm-raised white-tailed deer, farm-raised ratites, and other farm-raised exotic animals; chickens, turkeys, and other poultry; and animals placed under the jurisdiction of the commissioner of agriculture and forestry and any hybrid, mixture, or mutation of any such animal. These horses are not legal livestock and cannot be sold for slaughter or destruction since they were not raised as livestock on a farm. They have NEVER been properly managed by the United States Army in the 75 years Ft. Polk has had control of these lands. There also is information that is incorrect given out by the United States Army concerning the health of the horses on Peason Ridge and Ft. Polk.
    More than a decade ago several people were involved in the testing of the horses when former La. Commissioner of Agriculture, Bob Odom, claimed that the Ft. Polk and Peason Ridge horses were carriers of the EIA infection. Tests were conducted during that time and NO HORSE WAS FOUND TO TEST POSITIVE. The army contends that they have an “unsupported claim that a horse from Ft. Polk tested initially positive for EIA antibodies”. This could have been a false positive (any horse that tests positive is routinely re-tested). Or, it could have been an EIA positive horse that was abandoned at Ft. Polk. In the Environmental Assessment the army does say no subsequent test-positive situations have been found. The environmental conditions at Ft. Polk and Peason Ridge are not conducive to the transmission of EIA Virus – which requires vector infestation and many transmitting bites. The EIA infection has significantly declined in the past several years and very few horses now contract EIA infections any more.

    Throughout the early days of the settlers, the Neutral Strip, the Civil War, World War I, the logging heydays, and until World War II and the Louisiana Maneuvers there have been horses on these lands. Durring the mill run of the Peavy Wilson Lumber Company in Peason this company had a very large herd of horses, mules, and oxen that were used in the many various logging and lumbering operations in the area from 1917 till the mill closed and moved in 1935. During the years of 1917 to 1935 Peavy Wilson Lumber Company owned over 45,000 acres of land, much of what is now Peason Ridge Military Reservation. Even though logging was more mechanized, there was an extremely large group of horses, mules, and oxen owned by the company and kept in a large corral area, now on present day Peason Ridge. These animals were used to help skid and haul the massive logs to the mill at Peason. In 1935 the mill run ended and the company moved to Florida, but the older horses, mules, and stock was turned loose on the cutover lands. The 2 last known log mules died in 1978 but there are ancestors to these animals still residing on Peason Ridge. In 1941 the United States Army conducted the largest field maneuvers ever held in its history in Louisiana. 2 full cavalry divisions, the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Divisions, were throughout this area, and a remount section to supply replacement mounts was situated on present day Peason Ridge. Any mounts that were injured, sick, or lame after being checked by US Army Veterinarians were turned loose , and some were even sold to local farmers. These horses and mules also became intermixed with the horses and stock left by Peavy Wilson Lumber Company. By August 1942 the 29 Heritage Families of Peason Ridge, along with at least 35 sharecropper families were removed. Often given just a few days to move by US Marshalls, they were forced to leave with only a few possessions. And sadly, they were not paid for their farms for 1 year. And during this exodus only a small amount of the large herds of livestock were moved. As many cattle were moved as could be accomplished, but horses and mules were abandoned. Thus more horses and mules joined the large herd on Peason Ridge and they continue to live at this location to this very day. They have lived as part of this landscape all these many years. As I grew up we were allowed to run our cattle on Peason Ridge and the horses intermingled with our cattle. Most people have never got to be out on the range and actually see cattle and horses grazing so peacefully together. Mr. A.J. Hodge, founder of the beautiful Hodges Gardens in our area, when he purchased the land for this site known as “the Garden in the Forest” would tell any and everyone that horses and cattle helped to make the forest’s much more productive as they grazed and helped keep down underbrush. And prescribed burning does not do it alone. Some animals and the landscape do work together.

    As a descendant of the Peason Ridge Heritage Families our heritage and culture has almost been completely lost due to the takeover of the old home places. But there is one thing left of our culture, heritage, and history. This is the wild horses that have resided here for these many many decades. Besides being part of our local history and heritage, these animals are part of the history, heritage, and culture of Louisiana, of the history, heritage, and culture of this southern region of America, but also a part of the magnificent history, heritage, and culture of America itself. When the United States Army at Ft. Polk first declared in August 2015 that the horses were to be removed many people have wanted to assist the army with this matter. One thing of vital importance that has never been considered by the Army is HERD MANAGEMENT. With proper herd management these horse herds can survive at their locations and can continue to be part of the landscape. Instead of the removal and destruction of these wonderful animals, let us work together on this issue. There are many many people, myself included, who would volunteer to work diligently with the army to assist in management practices that would benefit the United States Army and Ft. Polk, the local communities, and most of all, the Heritage Families. Ft. Polk has repeatedly told us that they were the “stewards of our old home places” and continuously say that the Red Dirt of West Central Louisiana has been carried all over the world by the soldiers who train here. That red dirt was once our ancestors farm lands and it holds a special place in our hearts. After all these many years, and of giving up their homes and their way of life, as a Heritage Family Member all we have left remaining of our culture, heritage, and history is these wonderful horses. I ask the command structure of the United States Army to carefully consider the options of managing the horses and let us local folks, and not so local folks, along with Heritage Family members assist in being a part of saving these horses for generations to come to see and enjoy.
    Throughout my life almost every situation that I have encountered involved teamwork and with teamwork you are a winner every time. Let’s work together as a team….and we all will be a winner including the horses ! Save the horses !
    I remain,”

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  8. The Army denied the FOIA request citing an “exemption from disclosure” clause.

    PEGASUS EQUINE GUARDIAN ASSOCIATION
    . https://pegasusequine.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/aldf-and-tulane-fort-polk-horses/

    Tulane Environmental Law Clinic submitted a request for information to U.S. Army regarding the proposed elimination of horses on December 14th, 2015 in reference to the First comment period ending September 6th, 2015 . After a few follow up letters the Army responded on July 6th, 2016.

    TELC FOIA Request 2015 12 14
    https://pegasusequine.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/telc-foia-request-2015-12-14.pdf

    Army Response to TELC 2016 07 06
    https://pegasusequine.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/army-response-to-telc-2016-07-06.pdf

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  9. This comment says it all. Does it sound familiar?

    “I remember we had this same debate a few years ago. Fort Polk acting like the government acts explained their position and decided the horses need to go. We all met at the Bayou Theater whereas the DPW and a few other suits began to explain how they arrived at their conclusion. After an hour of looking at charts, graphs, excel spread sheets and other useless information, they could waste time with, they concluded the horses were destroying the grasslands and rivers and streams. They disclosed that they had conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment. They said the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)supported their claim. When they opened the forum up for questions some old dude in the back said, Your EIS says that a 3-4 hundred pound horse is destroying the grasslands but it did not mention that a 50 ton tank that cuts ruts 2-3 feet deep is not harming anything. I say you are full of …. until now.
    LEAVE THEM DAMN HORSES ALONE. THEY ARE NOT HURTING ANYTHING OR ANYONE…”
    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/leesville-la/TH2KEUEE6578B653O

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  10. A legendary breed of wild horse returns to Russia
    November 9, 2015 Svetlana Arkhangelskaya, special to RBTH

    There are only about 2,000 Przewalski horses left in the world, but in October six endangered members of this species arrived in Russia. Scientists hope to restore them in the wild, and they are also betting that the horses will contribute to the restoration of the steppe ecosystem.
    https://rbth.com/science_and_tech/2015/11/09/a-legendary-breed-of-wild-horse-returns-to-rusia_538635

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  11. Update:
    Ronnie Larson: Branded horse and Marine Rider to D.C. has entered into an agreement with Ft. Polk to make sure these horses will be saved by approved rescue groups only.
    You can find more information on his website.
    I had spoke him earlier today this is not second hand information.

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  12. This is a HUGE COVER UP. THEY ARE LYING n GETTING AWAY W/MURDERING TORTURING STARVING STEALING THESE BEAUTIFUL INNOCENT ANIMALS. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE N IS ILLEGAL 4A REASON. THAT MEANS U 2 BLM N GOV. PEOPLE R AGAINST THIS 4A REASON LISTEN 2U.S.DAMN IT

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  13. “The timeframe for eliminating each group of 10-30 horses will be about 30 days. Concurrently, Fort Polk will actively search for a landowner to take the horses en masse and will also attempt to find another government agency to remove and accept responsibility for the horses.”

    Ok. I assumed this was10-30 every 30 days until they were all gone but also if they can get a land owner to take them all..bla bla bla… I thought it was more like the Chincoteague ponies when they are rounded up and some sold to buyers. But oh Lord, that damned Bastrop would have a field day with 750 slaughter horses… This sounds more and more like the BLM and their bullshit.

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  14. So…what happens in the even that Ft. Polk is closed down…permanently?
    It could happen
    Yet another cherished Heritage Herd will have been destroyed…GONE

    Fort Polk to lose 388 troops; Abraham outraged
    July 8, 2015
    http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/news/local/2015/07/08/fort-polk-lose-troops-abraham-outraged/29877957/

    Fort Polk will lose 388 troops as part of the U.S. Army’s plan to cut 40,000 soldiers from its ranks over the next two years, 5th District U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham confirmed Wednesday.

    The central Louisiana base is one of 14 with brigades that are losing troops, some as high as 3,000. The official list of cuts will be released Thursday.

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  15. wow the government is trying to get rid of all the horses in the u.s.a.this is a sad day .we will loose all the history of this country..HORSES AND MULES BUILT THIS COUNTRY FROM THE GROUND UP in every state..what is wrong with them staying where they are..they have not been a problem for many years and all of the sudden they are..i agree it sounds alot like the BLM….this has got to stop..they are a part of the eco system and we need them too i agree with everything that LOUIE C said..enough is enough….leave all the animals alone….,people and the earth need them all to survive..if not we the people want be here much longer either..

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    • Beautiful. BTW, I used to have one of those four wheelers. Tough as hell.

      So sad that the US government doesn’t seem to be concerned about its own wild horses while the rest of the world tries to protect them.

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  16. Wow, this is disturbing. This is on par with the history of euthanizing veteran dogs returning from service; or even the near extinction of the bald eagle. Our nation’s Calvary lead the charge in battles from the year 1775 right up until 1942 in the surge against Japanese forces near the village of Morong, Philippines. No animal has sacrificed more in combat for our soldiers than horses, and now they’re to be sent to slaughter for convenience. It is indeed true, this country’s treatment of its service members is deplorable. But from its own branch of the military? Shame on you U.S. Army for this disgraceful decision.

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  17. Proposal to Protect Louisiana’s Heritage Horses

    In response to a 2016 Environmental Assessment regarding the Army’s proposed elimination of our Louisiana Heritage Horses a copy of a proposal submitted by
    Pegasus Equine Guardian Association to the US Army at Fort Polk Army Base on June 16th, 2016.
    JRTC and Fort Polk, Public Affairs Office
    Attention: Public Response
    7033 Magnolia Drive Bldg. 4919
    Fort Polk, LA 71459

    To whom it may concern:

    Members of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) would like the opportunity to address and assist in the issues surrounding the presence of free-roaming horses in the Fort Polk/Peason Ridge areas and including, but not limited to, Kisatchie National Forest. PEGA is a Louisiana based group, for that reason we can actively participate with Fort Polk in doing what is in best interests for the entire Fort Polk community. We have gained the backing and support of an internationally recognized organization, Animal Legal Defense Fund, ALDF.

    Our recommendations in this proposal are focused on mitigating any negative impacts that may be precipitated by the horses’ presence while retaining the positive values that the horses can bring to the area.

    Objective:

    This group would respectfully request that you work with us to form a board consisting of representation from Fort Polk, the Peason community, local / state law enforcement, Kisatchie National Forest Services, PEGA, and other equine advocacy groups, as well as equine veterinarians from accredited veterinarian schools to manage the free-roaming horses. We believe members appointed from each of these groups would provide fair representation for the military, the community, Kisatchie Forest, and providing a much needed Voice for the horses. Management decisions about the horses would be evaluated and decided by the members of this board and ALDF other national based organization

    Proposed responsibilities of the board:

    Address road and other safety concerns for military and civilian persons, as well as safety concerns for the horses.

    Ensure treatment of horses in humane and ethical ways that would exclude mass roundups, or individual roundups which will result in injury and death to the horses and possible kill buyer destinations for those horses that are captured.
    Establish ways to control and preserve the horse herds long-term in their homelands of FortPolk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie National Forest, allowing them to peacefully co-exist with Fort Polk military and civilians of the local areas such as Peason, and the rural communities near Kisatchie National Forests’ 604,000 acres and Fort Polk. Military lands now approach 100,000 acres. Surely remote areas can be provided that will allow the horses to remain free, yet not endanger the valuable military training exercises that the soldiers participate in. We seek to find those ways together.

    Determine what organizations are best suited to assist in any and all future Environmental Assessments and long term management of the horses and work with those organizations.

    Work closely with a veterinary school such as LSU Vet School or Texas A&M to develop a NON-Permanent birth control program suitable for the horses that will prevent the herds from increasing in number.

    Explore, develop, and implement fund raising programs and that will benefit the management of the horses. Seeking sponsorship from suitable donors.
    PEGA would like to form and maintain a cooperative working relationship with the US Army at Fort Polk, the Kisatchie Forest Service, and local authorities and citizens to create and implement the appropriate protocols by which to manage the area for the benefit of the community, recreation, the environment, free-roaming horses and future generations.

    We believe we can provide a win/win solution for all parties involved; including the horses as a protected natural resource.

    Our approach will be from a conservation point of view. We believe this is the best way to support a positive image and reputation of the Fort Polk base, Kisatchie National Forest, the outlying areas, and the State of Louisiana as a whole.

    We believe that our plan, if accepted and implemented, will bring about a positive impact to not only Fort Polk Base, but USFS at Kisatchie and surrounding parishes as a whole. In doing this, Fort Polk would set a precedent of protecting its soldiers and their training exercises while paying tribute to a longstanding herd of wild horses, perhaps descended from military cavalry horses and homesteaders of the area who lost their homes, horses, and other livestock when they were seized by the military to support the World War II effort on behalf of our country.

    Choosing to protect both the soldiers and the horses can become a tremendous positive image builder for the military — and especially Fort Polk — nationwide. Imagine, for a moment, the good will that can be brought about (and publicized by the media) of a military base that trains soldiers for protecting our country and also has compassion for horses whose ancestors and heritage families have already given so much to our country.

    This area of Louisiana is especially rich in national heritage and is known for its love of freedom, love of country and love of kin. Louisiana and this central Louisiana area are hugely patriotic and supportive of the military. We are also proud of our history and our heritage. These horses are an important part of the history, culture, and heritage of this area.

    Please join us in developing a plan to improve and protect the quality of life for all concerned: the brave soldiers who serve our country, the civilians who live in the area, and the free horses that also have made their home on these vast acres for the past 75 years.

    Horses have been shown to have profound effects on people, often life changing as seen from the Wounded Warriors Equestrian programs already established at other bases.

    Consider, for example, an article published in 2012 on http://www.army.mil.
    JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (June 12, 2012) — Approximately 175 post traumatic stress disorders have been treated by a unique form of therapy, called the Wounded Warriors suffering from physical wounds, traumatic brain injuries, and Therapeutic Riding Program. The Therapeutic Riding Program, or TRP, uses soldiers and horses from the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), to provide equine assisted therapy for Wounded Warriors and military veterans. Those soldiers enrolled in this program groom, conduct ground work, and/or ride horses.

    “When we started this program in 2006 on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, we did many studies on the effects of this treatment. The facts don’t lie, this is a great program,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Pence, co-founder of Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program.

    “The physical, emotional and therapeutic benefits for these Wounded Warriors are great as they continue in the process of their rehabilitation.”

    “If I had the power to take all the 300,000 or however many soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury and put them in formation in an arena and snap your fingers to heal them all I would, but you can’t do that. It is a process and sometimes a long one, but as long as we are helping one Soldier, then it is all worth it,” said Pence. “For me, it is a pleasure to watch the character and courage of these young men and women in this program. It is really remarkable.”

    Our group believes a possible move in this direction could generate positive outcomes for soldiers: past, present, & future as well as the community, bringing positive attention and investment in the Folk Polk base. This can be accomplished by partnering with PATH International; The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) which promotes safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs.

    In conjunction with Wounded Warriors Equestrian Program, this program is the place where Veterans and Service Members come to train, learn to train, and be with horses of all disciplines. All money raised supports Therapeutic Riding Facilities and Horse Rescue Farms across the United States. Come be a part of something great in working with Professional Military members and Professional Horsemen giving back to their communities through their love of horses.

    Our multi-pronged approach to horse management would be to assess and determine which horses are suitable for becoming a therapy horses. These horses could be part of an outreach program partnering with the previously mentioned, well respected, successful entities. This approach would all make it possible to allow adoption of horses, burros, etc. from the herd, if the management group agrees.

    This would be a function of this management group to determine if certain animals are adoptable, and to work carefully to ensure that people meet certain adoption criteria (such as vet. references), experienced horse owners, even therapy groups such as Old River Horse Farm in Natchitoches. We would be in favor of adoption as a way of managing the herd and keeping total size of herd down. We cannot allow them to keep multiplying on to infinity. Adoption is one management tool to control herd size.

    While we realize that this would address only a portion of the issues surrounding the free-roaming horses, the true wild horses can add value to USFS at Kisatchie & Fort Polk Army Base. The value added by maintaining the wild horse herd(s) would positively impact all parties involved. By protecting, preserving and managing the Fort Polk’s Historic Horse Herd, please consider the following value and benefits:

    -Recreational Value
    -Aesthetic value
    -Ecological value
    -Financial value
    -Tourism value
    -Emotional/Psychological/Physical health value
    -Historical and cultural value
    -Educational value
    -Scientific value
    -Genetic value
    -Evolutionary value/uniqueness of the Herd
    -Value of their lives

    The board would work closely with Fort Polk to obtain resources needed for additional boundary implementation and boundary repair to restrict the horses from dangerous areas that would interfere with military training with the input, cooperation and guidance of US Army, USFS, and local authorities.

    This would also allow us to address the concerns of the hunters by assessing and tracking the natural movement and location of the free-roaming horses, providing relative and timely communication with USFS Kisatchie, local law enforcement and Fort Polk officials. There are great strides in technology, such as GPS tracking systems that may assist us with this aspect.

    We will also gladly work with all relevant parties to address and solve the ongoing horse-dumping issue, which has only exacerbated the population issues. Without addressing the horse dumping issues, we know the problem will only continue.
    We implore you to finally accomplish what so many before have struggled to do; devise and execute an ethical and humane solution to the equine presence in Kisatchie / Fort Polk / Peason Ridge that allows the military, the civilians of the area, along with the free-roaming horses to peacefully and safely co-exist.

    No other animal in history has served our country as horses have. Horses helped write our nation’s history. Please protect the free-roaming horses of Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie. Please do not let this be another example of the destruction of what America and patriotism mean to us. We respectfully request that you join us in an initiative to preserve our heritage, protect our free roaming horses, protect our soldiers, and the patriotic members of the areas where the horses roam. This situation deserves professional assessment by multiple organizations and serious consideration for safe sanctuary.

    As shown by the public support we gained with upwards of 5,444 social media followers as well as the online petition to Congress that has generated over 6,000 letters and e-mails to Congress highlighting the public opinion on the matter. This number is steadily growing.

    We hope you will hear the message of all these people who want the horses to be saved and protected on their homelands — not eliminated or eradicated or removed. Primary partnering organizations are Louisiana and regional area based groups, for that reason we can actively participate with Fort Polk in doing what is in best interests for the entire Fort Polk community.

    In closing we would like to echo Col. Charles Hancock Reed, 2nd Cavalry Group (Mech.), Commander, 1945 explaining his decision to save the Lipizzaner horses in “Operation Cowboy”

    “We were so tired of death and destruction; we wanted to do something beautiful.”
    Please echo his sentiment and give us the opportunity to do something beautiful together.

    (Excerpt From: Menyhert, Renita. “Ernie Pyle Was My Hero.” Xlibris, 2012-09-07.)

    Sincerely,
    Pegasus Equine Guardian Association

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