Horse News

Everything We Know About the Horse Ryan Zinke Rode to Work Yesterday

by Sarah Emerson as published on Motherboard

“Secretary Zinke was proud to accept an invitation by the US Park Police to stand shoulder to shoulder with their officers on his first day at Interior..”

Hats off to Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, for making a dramatic entrance on his first day of work. The new agency head rode in on horseback—Stetson, jeans, boots, and all—from the National Mall to the Interior’s headquarters, just east of the White House.

The secretary was escorted by nine officers from the the National Park Service’s law enforcement arm.

All things considered, it could have been worse! (Looking at you, Betsy DeVos.) But that’s not what we want to talk about today. While Zinke’s ability to protect 500 million acres of American lands is still up for debate, one federal employee is already excelling at his job: his name is Tonto, and he’s a horse.

That’s according to Heather Swift, a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior, who revealed the identity of Zinke’s handsome steed.

“Secretary Zinke was proud to accept an invitation by the US Park Police to stand shoulder to shoulder with their officers on his first day at Interior—the eve of the Department’s anniversary,” Swift told me.

After seeing photos of Tonto, I wanted to know everything about this enigmatic equine. How did he get this job? Where does he live? Is he worried that Zinke’s dedication to public lands will be rendered useless by President Trump’s desire to exploit them?

For starters, Tonto is a 17-year-old bay roan gelding. He stands nearly six feet tall, which is a pretty average height for an Irish sport horse. This breed is celebrated for its agility and speed, but is also known for having a good temperament; an important quality for a civil servant!

Sergeant Anna Rose of the United States Park Police (USPP) told me that Tonto was donated to the unit in 2014. He lives at their central stables on the National Mall, which according to the Trust for the National Mall, are in desperate need of an upgrade. I hope Tonto’s living conditions are at least comfortable…(CONTINUED)

8 replies »

  1. Hey,perhaps this is an excellent opportunity for someone to GIFT a (well trained) captured WILD Horse to Mr Zinke, freezebrand well visible!? It would have to be a gelded wild Stallion, of course – portraying the macho leader of the band and herd. So one who comes to him with his whole life story from IN the wild herd which was his first home would be great. Maybe, maybe THAT would keep the idea of Zinke’s responsibility to all of OUR wild horses very FRESH in his mind?! For as we all know, “to actually meet and know a former (or current) Wild One, is to Forever be in love with all of these magnificent beings. ”.


  2. From The Denver Post

    Will the real Ryan Zinke please stand up? (excerpts)

    During his one term in Congress, Zinke’s voting record often failed to match his rhetoric on our parks and public lands. Now that he’s poised to oversee millions of acres of national public lands on behalf of all Americans, the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee should insist Zinke give them straight answers on his agenda at Interior.

    Zinke, an avid sportsman, often says he’s opposed to giving away national public lands to state governments or private parties. But on the very first day of the 115th Congress, he voted to change House rules, ordering the Congressional Budget Office to declare any disposal of public lands as revenue neutral. This accounting gimmick greases the skids for future bills that give away public lands, by ensuring sponsors don’t have to account for lost revenue from oil, gas, coal and timber that belongs to all Americans.

    Equally worrisome, during the last session, Zinke supported bills that would give states management authority over millions of acres of public land, creating a fast track to clear cuts, mining and drilling without proper environmental oversight to protect communities. For hunters, fishermen and hikers, the end result of this policy maneuver would be the same as a wholesale giveaway to states: less access, as extraction takes priority over recreation and conservation.


  3. ABC 7 NEWS

    Congressman Zinke from Montana is the president’s nominee to head the Interior Department, overseeing the BLM and the wild horse program. As a state lawmaker in 2009, Zinke promoted a bill to kill horses for food.

    He testified in Montana 2009, “It’s a slaughter house for horses that are either abandoned or old or broke from the livestock point of view.”

    The I-Team asked if Zinke would now favor slaughtering wild horses held in government corrals. His office said Zinke would not comment during his transition to interior secretary.


  4. He also just rescinded the protection for national wildlife refuges that would have required hunters and fishermen to use NON-lead shot and fishing equipment. This was a gift to the NRA and sportsmen who oppose the regulation of lead in the environment. Lead poisoning is a ancient plague, and raptors, waterfowl, and all sorts of critters are poisoned by ingesting it. Wildlife rehabilitators struggle to de-toxify the few birds and animals that are found suffering. This move is so cruel and unscientific.


  5. Thanks for this post and for all who detailed Zinke’s past positions on horse slaughter and what he’s starting to do about public lands. We’re facing a war on wildlife, on federal lands, on the planet that sustains us. Unless we can find new ways to band together and forget petty differences, we’re all sunk. In this sense, the wild horses and burros will be the “canaries in the mine.”


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