THE HEART OF WILD EQUINE

Guest OpEd by Robert C. Bauer – Biologist

“It is always a pleasure to have Robert Bauer contribute, from his heart, to Straight from the Horse’s Heart.  Terry and I first met Robert in the Pryor Mountains during the much publicized roundup of Cloud and his herd on Labor Day weekend, 2009.  It was a sad and emotional time for all of us, particularly Robert.  I remember Terry holding him in her arms while he wept upon the overlooking bluff as the helicopter rudely chased Cloud’s family into the awaiting pens.  An image forever burned upon my heart.

Many thanks to Robert and his insightful view of our much beleaguered, last remaining wild equine.” ~ R.T.


Robert C. Bauer

Humans have always been responsible in a stewardship of the creatures of this planet, but not out of motives of greed and monetary gain, arrogance, and self-righteousness, nor out of vengeance, anger or prejudice.

Rather it was always intended to be out of compassion and kindness, and a respect for other lives and what they are, realizing also that there is a connection and as it were a solidarity that can be experienced if this stewardship is understood in that manner, indeed, a respect for life. To experience them in the wild, on their turf so to speak, is something that cannot be expressed in words, although we try.

This has been my experience and that of many others, in the case of wolves, marine mammals, and so many other creatures, and yes with the wild horses and burros. You see what they are, and how full of life they are, in what they are, and the niche they are filling.

In the case of wild equine, it is enough to say that they are wild, and in this state, they must be allowed to exist, as is the case with all wild creatures. Wild does not mean having artificial alterations placed upon them, nor being an object of experimentation. It means having the man-made restrictions removed from their lives, so that they can be what they were intended to be. This includes fencing that would restrict free movement in and out of areas, migratory routes and paths to water sites, winter and summer grazing areas. It includes those restrictions that would hinder free movement in and out of areas, that would allow genetic viability to be maintained. It includes sex ratio alterations, man-made population alterations and any mechanism that would tamper with natural reproduction, all based upon wrong motives and hearts, and dare I say, finite or static thinking. So many of us have seen the beauty of what wild equine are in the wild. They are indeed free roaming, as the 1971 act has designated. We have seen the vitality, the playfulness, the energy, and the love, not to mention courage and the will to watch over each other. We have understood in them an amazing intelligence, as is found in real living creatures. They are not feeling-less cyborgs. They experience sadness and joy, they remember the family bonds, and closeness of their little ones. They shed tears in having their hearts broken.

Yes, many of us have seen this last one also. In the wild they are alive, yet when placed in a holding facility with barred restrictions, they have been forced to cease being what they were intended to be, that is free roaming, and in that state of free roaming fulfilling everything they were intended to be. Much more when one looks into their eyes after the roundups, while they stand in a state of shock in holding facilities, after losing everything that they are, they are no longer alive inside. They do feel, and they do remember!!

After the Calico Mt Complex roundup in 2009 and 2010, this, I could see in those at Broken Arrow, in Fallon, Nevada. Those that had been rescued, and temporarily in a safe place, could still be seen staring out into the mountains from where they came, like Calico Ruby, from Black Rock East, who was thought perhaps to be Freedom’s lead mare.

Although at these rescues and sanctuaries, they are safe, still, their place is in the wild. What is happening now with wild horses and wild burros, is a throwback to the years when the native American tribes were stripped of their lives and lands, and much more who, and what they were.

It is a throwback to the days of slavery, or the days when Nazi Germany, attempted to strip the Jew of everything they were and are.

Yes, in reference, to the wild horses, it’s as though we are living in the days of the German Gestapo, while these wild equine, are under the touch of the Wild Horse and Burro Program of the Bureau of Land Management. And this is called progress?!

Wild equine fulfill an amazing, and rejuvenating role in nature if allowed to be what they are, unmanaged and untouched.

Many don’t like that terminology,” unmanaged and untouched” but it is how it must be if they are to fulfill what they are. When we experience them, as all wild creatures, in the wild, unmanaged and untouched, we are reminded of why we have believed in the freedom from tyranny, in these United States.

Isn’t that what wild equine desire also, and what they express in their wild lives? There has been such a spiritual blackness that has arisen up against wild horses and burros, yet It has also extended to all equine in many areas including horse slaughter.

For the mustangs, if we give them that breathing room they need, to be what they are, protected yes, but restrictions removed, and yes, unmanaged and untouched, I dare say we will see an amazing rejuvenation in ourselves, and transformation, remembering that freedom from tyranny, any kind if tyranny, is what life is about.

6 comments

  1. By destroying our wild horses’ freedom and spirit perhaps our own will be destroyed as well. We must save them.
    Beautifully written, Robert. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have lived in nevada my entire life,I have always enjoyed seeing our wild horses in the wild 3 years ago I got involved with some of the local groups after seeing a couple round ups with choppers I’m so saddened by this practice of the BLM and all the others involved in this hatred toward our wild horses…I AM SPEECHLESS AND PISSED

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for speaking the truth Bob Bauer; and for speaking it so eloquently.

    I also have sat quietly in the presence of our wild equine … breathing the same air and hearing the same sounds and smelling the same earth … just being alive together with them. Magical moments.

    I have also seen captured wild equine in BLM holding facilities and it is exactly the opposite. They often appear to be in shock, and why would they not? The light has gone out of their eyes … they are the “standing dead” ghosts of what once was truly alive. Tears and heart-break for them and for me.

    We must make the American people understand this.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Such a profound observation from Robert. It brought me to tears…for the innocent ones! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your heartfelt thoughts! Many tears!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you Robert. So beautiful and sad. It seems to me we are living in a time of selfishness. Man wants what he wants and to hell with everything else. We are becoming machines with no heart, caring or soul. I wish we lovers of the wild and beautiful could make the rest of the world see through our eyes. As one who helps rescue I see so much pain every day. My hope is the ones in charge will start seeing through their hearts instead of their wallets. Please God, let it happen! .

    Liked by 2 people

  6. THANK YOU Bob Bauer
    It could not have been stated any better
    These incredible animals are so loved by so many
    To harm them is to harm those that love them.
    Americans shouldn’t do that to one another

    WILD HORSES AND THE STRESS OF CAPTIVITY” BY Dr. Bruce Nock (excerpts)

    JUST MY OPINION
    I’m 63 years old. There was a time when I was very proud of my generation.
    During the years of the Viet Nam war, we took a stand … spoke out against the war,
    civil injustices and so on. We protested, marched and preached peace, love and
    kindness. We condemned apathy.
    It’s now thirty five plus years later. Perhaps we can step forward again and leave
    our mark on history. We started out passionate about making things right, why not
    make some noise on the way out too. What our government is doing to the wild horses
    of the western US and the way it is being done is an atrocity. It is an injustice against
    nature. Even the horses left behind or turned back out suffer from the social disorder
    gathers cause.

    We have had people from 15 different countries come to our Liberated
    Horsemanship clinics here in Warrenton, MO. We also traveled to Italy and British
    Columbia for clinics in 2009. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people from
    other countries ask something like, “What’s wrong with people who allow an icon of
    their country to be unnecessarily brutalized and exterminated by their government?”
    It’s an embarrassment and I don’t have a good answer. Apathy and self-indulgence?
    Maybe. But I believe it is more likely just too few people are aware of what is being
    done and its short and long-term consequences … for the horses themselves and for our
    country. Mahatma Ghandi once said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats
    its weakest members.” For me, and many others that includes animals.

    Dr. Nock has been a scientist for 40+ years. He is a tenured faculty member of multiple departments at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a subject of biographical record in both Marquis’ Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare.
    Dr. Nock has published numerous articles of original research in leading scientific journals on diverse topics including learning theory, wild horse behavior and stress physiology. Currently his research is funded by the United States National Institute of Health and focuses on transgenerational and epigenetic effects of morphine.
    Dr. Nock has a deep practical and academic knowledge of animal behavior and related topics. He has a Master of Science degree from a psychobiology program at Bucknell University that focused almost entirely on animal behavior and related subjects. He earned a PhD from the world renown Institute of Animal Behavior, Rutgers University, and continued with four years of post-doctoral studies that focused on behavioral neuroendocrinology. The best part is, he can communicate what he knows in straightforward, understandable terms.

    http://www.liberatedhorsemanship.com/Bruces_Books_files/Wild%20Horse%20Stress_1.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

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