What “wild horse problem” in New Mexico? There are only 168 wild horses in the entire state.

The writer of the article below claims “There’s a wild horse problem in New Mexico…” however, this person apparently didn’t bother to look up any data to back up her claims, since even according to the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse population estimates, there are only 168 wild horses in the entire state of New Mexico.   (Although, to be fair, the program data is not on the BLM’s main Wild Horse & Burro Program website page, you really have to search for it to find it.  Understandably, the BLM doesn’t want the public to find out that there are so few wild horses & burros on so many acres of public lands.)

One of the many, many concerns about the information in this article is the delivery of microchips into wild horses for RFID technology.  This would be in violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971, which states that “All management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level…”  –  Debbie

Source: New Mexico State University News Center

Company develops innovative wild horse feeding stations with help from NMSU’s Arrowhead Center


Roch Hart is a third-generation New Mexican with a deep, genuine appreciation for the land and its expansive mountains, desert and scrub, and the petroglyphs that adorn far reaches of the private, 20,000-acre ranch he manages. Hart recognizes that preservation is the key to maintaining New Mexico’s land heritage.

As a retired police officer, former plant manager, tour guide operator and photographer, Hart maintains that he became a rancher almost by accident. It is through this position that he’s used entrepreneurial thinking to to identify a problem at his workplace, in this case a 20,000 acre ranch, and develop a solution for a costly situation.

There’s a wild horse problem in New Mexico, as well as all of the arid west, and the general public is in the dark about the issue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management spends an astonishing $80 million dollars per year on the capture and care of overpopulated wild horses, also known as feral horses. Hart worries that the public won’t react until the more inhumane options of mass roundups and euthanasia become visible and routine.

His company, Wildlife Protection Management, developed an innovative, scalable and humane option. It is a feeding station for wild horses that is equipped with the capability for remote injection of contraceptives. This patent-pending method is conducted with remote delivery. After the horse has placed itself in the proper position, an operator nearly 300 miles away is able to dispatch the injection via video surveillance and controls.

Hart is a graduate of Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s AgSprint program, a five-month accelerator for innovation in agriculture, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and New Mexico Gas Company.

Wild horses are merely startled, not hurt, and return almost immediately to graze at the feed station. In addition to the contraceptive, and in anticipation of Radio-Frequency Identification technology, the system has the capability to deliver a microchip so that horses can be monitored for health and behavior. The system has been proven to fire at least two darts at once, which could include a combination of contraceptive, RFID chip and/or vaccination.


5 comments on “What “wild horse problem” in New Mexico? There are only 168 wild horses in the entire state.

  1. “At the stockgrowers meeting, White River and Douglas Creek Conservation District Executive Director Callie Hendrickson and White River past board president Gary Moyer said that the districts, which have been very active in trying to see proper wild horse management implemented by BLM, considered participating with this new group, but determined that its approach was too one-sided in favor of “saving” wild horses rather than advocating proper management”.
    What else would we expect Ms.Hendrickson to say – considering where she stands on the wild horse “issue”!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a promising approach WHERE PROVEN NEEDED, but some questions come to mind quickly.

    First, are the operators trained to identify specific animals and only dart these (from the camera angle it is impossible to be certain of gender, for one thing), and how are they selected and trained?

    If these are remotely triggered, who picks up the fallen darts, and when, or do they just remain in the ecosystem and hormone-carrying trash? What happens if other wildlife ingest them, for example, or someone’s kid picks one up on the public lands?

    And a related question, who and how determines which animal’s genes are needed to keep a herd viable? Even the combined total New Mexico population is hardly sufficient to ensure viability if they were just one single herd.


    • Doesn’t sound like any of these questions have been asked – or answered, does it? 168 wild horses in the whole state of NM? Proving its needed has never been a very high priority – even in the states where there are a larger number of horses (or especially in those states!)


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s