Feel Good Sunday: Benny the Therapy Donkey visits UT Law School

as published on The Statesman.com

“Leave it to the women of Wild Horse Freedom Federation to lead the way and shout volumes for the voiceless wild horses and burros.  Be it Debbie Coffey and her massive research and legal eagle stuff, Carol Walker out in the field documenting the beauty that is our wild equines, Terry Fitch behind the scenes keeping the books straight and donors informed to this week with our Director of Legal Affairs Dawn Reveley (also a law professor at the University of Texas) and our Director of Wild Burro Affairs, Marjorie Farabee…making news and ensuring that people, in this case law students, are getting the message.  Thanks to all of you for who you are and for what you do.  I am so privileged to call you my friends.” ~ R.T.

Click on Image to view video

We Bought the Ponies Some Time, So Whats Next?

OpEd by Susan Wagner, President of Equine Advocates

“It’s not over until it is OVER!”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Now that the new spending bill has passed with the language we needed to temporarily protect America’s wild and domestic equines, where do we go from here?

Thanks to the friends horses have on The Hill, especially our champion, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico who led the charge to protect them, as well as the passion and persistence of so many of you who took the time to call and send faxes to your lawmakers, the status quo, at least for now, has been maintained.

a. Horse meat inspectors will remain defunded so that horse slaughterhouses cannot open and operate in this country.

b. Wild horses and burros will not lose the minimal amount of protection they still have so that the ones being held captive in BLM holding facilities will not be executed and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will not be able to authorize their sale “without limitation,” which means slaughter.

That was all good.

However, in order to move forward, we need:

1. A Federal Ban on Horse Slaughter with Strong Language for Enforcement and Stiff Penalties.

– It is doubtful that a stand-alone animal bill will ever pass this Congress. In fact, the closest this country ever came to passing a federal bill banning horse slaughter was in 2006 with the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act which passed in the House but was blocked in the Senate. The good that did result from that bill even though it did not become law, was the addition of language defunding horse meat inspectors to our federal spending bills as a way to prevent horse slaughterhouses from reopening here. That language does not prevent live equines from being shipped over our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter, but at least the numbers of horse going over are down to an estimated 100,000 annually. That’s still way too many, but if slaughter plants were to reopen here, those numbers would balloon to 250,000-350,000 a year because indiscriminate and over-breeding would explode, just as was the case in the 1980’s and 1990’s when horse slaughterhouses still operated here. The last one closed its doors in 2007 and at least the defund language has kept horse slaughter from returning to U.S. soil. When President Obama was still in office, several attempts were made to attach language banning horse slaughter to other federal bills, but none got to the floor for a vote. We hope that powerful lawmakers who care will try that again. Otherwise we will be right back to where we were all over again fighting to add language to defund horse meat inspectors to the next federal spending bill and have to repeat this process all over again and hope it doesn’t go the other way.

2. A Complete Change in the Current Policy for Wild Horses and Burros With a Return to the Provisions Passed in the “Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burrs Act of 1971.”

– Wild horse and burro issues are at a standstill and there is no hope for any real progress unless we have an interior Secretary who is interested in working to protect and preserve them. Clearly, Ryan Zinke is not. In fact, he is driving them to extinction, as has been the case with several of his predecessors. What we need is an end to the round-ups, an end to deliberately destroying the viability of the herds by stockpiling more and more captured animals in BLM holding facilities. The ones still in captivity need to be returned to the range. Right now, unless we have allies on our side who control money – meaning that they have the attention of lawmakers because they are powerful and part of business and industry equal to those on the other side in ranching, (the Cattlemen) and fossil fuels, hunting interests, etc., we will get nowhere. What we do have is 80% of the American People who are in favor of protecting and preserving these animals, but the different proposed plans by which to achieve that goal never seem gain any traction, especially when “welfare ranchers” believe they are entitled to use, ruin and deplete the range lands for their own greed and profit. These are not small family ranchers. No, these are the big, factory industrialized businesses that deal with millions of head of cattle and do not care if our wild horses and burros are destroyed, along with other native species.

…So where do we go from here? Think about it.
There’s a lot of work to be done.

Urgent! America’s Wild Horse and Burros Need You to Take Action NOW!

“Our good friends and partners at Equine Advocates beat us to the punch on this news blast so we are re-blogging it here asking you to be the voice of the voiceless.  Let’s dig in and get this done…it may be our last chance!!!” ~ R.T.

The Lives of Wild & Domestic Equines Are Hanging in the Balance as Congress is Scheduled to Vote Friday, March 23rd!
Horse Slaughter Could Return to U.S. Soil
The Government Wants to Kill the 50,000 Healthy Wild Horses & Burros Being Held Captive in BLM Holding Facilities and Tens of Thousands More on the Range!

By making just three important phone calls, you can help save our horses!


This is the “Humane” process in Mexico

Last year, majorities in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees voted on totally opposite sides with respect to vital issues affecting America’s wild and domestic equines:
  • The House Committee voted to fund USDA horse meat inspectors which would permit horse slaughterhouses to operate  in the U.S. and to allow our wild horses and burros to be stripped of all of their protections and be killed or sold without limitation – which means slaughter!
  • The Senate Committee voted to keep the language defunding USDA horse meat inspectors in the new federal budget so that no horse slaughterhouses can be built and operate in the U.S. Its members also voted to restore protections for our wild horses and burros so that they are not killed or sold for slaughter.
Because the two committees voted on opposite sides, the matters involving both of these issues are now before Congressional Conference Committees where lawmakers on both sides are fighting it out.
NOW is the time to call your three U.S. lawmakers to make sure horse slaughter does not return to U.S. soil and also so that our wild horses and burros are preserved and protected…And NOT “managed” into extinction!
FIRST – Remember, everyone has just one Member of Congress in the House of Representatives and two U.S. Senators – that’s only three phone calls you need to make. It’s easy and if you don’t know who your lawmakers are, just follow these instructions: Click here and type in your address and your zip code…and the names of your three lawmakers will appear along with their contact information.
SECOND – There are two things you need to tell each of your three lawmakers:

1. Please keep USDA Horse Meat Inspectors defunded so that NO horse slaughterhouses can open and operate in the United States.
2. Please call for the protection and preservation for ALL of America’s wild horses and burros so that NONE are killed or sold “without limitation” which means slaughter!
Please make these three calls right away. If you have already made them, please do so again!  Also, please ask your friends and relatives to make these calls as well. If you are not able to reach one or more of your lawmakers at one office, then please try one of their other offices.

Time is of the essence!
Thank you for taking action!
Susan Wagner, President
Equine Advocates
We at Wild Horse Freedom Federation LIKEWISE endorse this action and thank Equine Advocates for their love, care and concern for the future safety and welfare of American Equines.
R.T. Fitch, President

Feel Good Sunday: Great Dane Befriends Rescued Wild Horses

“I hope that this video makes the start of your Sunday a happy and hopeful event. 

We are so very blessed to share this great Space Ship Earth with such loving and caring fellow passengers.  All of their lives are so special and unique. 

It is truly a Feel Good Sunday.” ~ R.T.

‘It’s just boiled donkey skin’: Chinese health officials rubbish ‘inhumane’ product

by as published on Horse & Hound

A popular product made from the skins of donkeys has been deemed “not worth buying” by Chinese health officials.

Demand for ejiao, derived from donkey hides, has led to the slaughter of millions of donkeys in recent years.

However, China’s national health and family planning commission recently told consumers the remedy was ,“not worth buying” and despite its many health claims is “just boiled donkey skin.”

On Sunday (18 February), the commission posted on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that ejiao, is “..not a good source of protein” and that its health claims were at best overstated.

The news was welcomed by international welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

The Donkey Sanctuary has been campaigning for a halt to the global trade in donkey skins, which utilises around four million donkey skins every year.

It is estimated that as many as 2.2 million skins are imported to China from Africa, South America and parts of Asia every year. Over the past two years, an escalating demand for skins to make the product has also resulted in poaching and theft of donkeys from individuals and communities that depend on them, with national donkey populations being halved in some countries.

“Many social media users in China shared the commission’s original posts […] but within a few hours the Weibo feeds for all of the commission’s tweets had gone offline and remains offline now,” said a spokesman for The Donkey Sanctuary.

Alex Mayers is the head of programmes at the charity and has been working at ground-level with partners around the globe to expose the donkey skin trade to protect donkeys and the communities that rely on them.

“A huge number of medical claims are made for ejiao, and despite its high price, it’s an extremely sought-after and popular product,” he said.

“This advice from the commission has resulted in a lot of discussion on social media in China, both about the claims and benefits of the product and also about it having seemingly been deleted.

“Whether there are any benefits from taking ejiao or not, our primary concern remains that the trade in skins is both inhumane and unsustainable. However if a product is not worth buying then it can’t be worth the price of destroying someone’s livelihood, and the trade is responsible for that every single time a donkey is stolen and slaughtered which itself is every single day.”

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/chinas-national-health-and-family-planning-commission-ejiao-donkey-skin-not-worth-buying-the-donkey-sanctuary-644825#Iofpq33vlqJXVeF1.99

Feel Good Sunday Part II: Horse born with no ears defies the odds to happy life at rescue center

By Lauren Fruen as published on StoryTrender

“Many thanks to our good friend Jerry Finch of Habit for Horses for turning us onto this delightful story.  Job well done, guys.” ~ R.T.

“A horse born with no ears is loving life at Habitat for Horses

Pia, five, was born missing her right lobe completely and with a stump on the left side of her head.

Studies have shown that horses use their ears to communicate and talk to their equine friends.

They are understood to use the subtle movements to talk and they are so important that if its ears are covered up another horse struggles to know what it is thinking.

But Pia – who could have struggled to be part of the herd – is living a happy life among other horses at rescue center Habitat for Horses.

She was rescued along with 11 other horses and vets believe she was born without her ears.

photo courtesy of HfH

Spokesman for Habitat for Horses, Amber Barnes, said: “She is completely missing her ear on the right side and only has a deformed nub on the left.

“She does seem to have some hearing out of the left deformed nub. It looks as though her ears are pinned back.

“Horses use their ears a lot to communicate with one another and we humans usually watch horse ears to better understand what they are communicating.

“Not having ears can be pretty problematic for a horse. Without them, interactions can be more difficult.

“The vets aren’t positive about the origin of Pia’s condition. We believe it may be a congenital defect, meaning she was born with it.

“Looking at a horses ear position and tail position can tell you if they are listening, relaxed, nervous, scared.

“Often, if a horse’s ears are pinned back they aren’t too happy so if you were to look at Pia, you might think she is pretty unhappy as it looks as though her ears are pinned back.

“However, Pia does an impressive job holding her own among the other horses. We don’t have to keep her separate.

“Some horses that live in particularly cold climates may suffer frostbite and lose parts of their ears. A newly born foal could lose their ears mostly to frost bite.

“However, the vet believes Pia’s condition is congenital and she was born with only the deformed nub of an ear and no ear on the other side.

“Pia doesn’t seem too concerned about her condition and she has lived with a group of horses for years without many issues.

“She can really hold her own in the herd and I think other horses who live with her read the rest of her body language and determine her tone effectively.

“A new horse may have some trouble but would likely learn pretty quickly to understand her.”

More than 130,000 signatures to ban cruel horse evisceration fiesta in Yucatan

from Humane Society International/Mexico

Mexico City—More than 130,000 people are joining with Humane Society International Mexico in calling for a ban of Torneo del Lazo, a horse evisceration spectacle in Yucatan, Mexico.

Torneo del Lazo is a bloody and archaic spectacle that takes place throughout the year in various Yucatán municipalities. In it, horses are chased, severely injured and often killed by bulls. When the bulls attack, they usually wound the horses by gutting them. Horses experience a long and painful death in front of crowds that frequently include children as spectators.

Join us in calling for this cruelty to end.

Humane Society International launched a petition campaign to garner public opposition to the event and has been pressing for an amendment to the Yucatan Animal Protection Law to explicitly ban this horrible practice. The group delivered the 130,000 signatures in favor of banning Torneo del Lazo to the Congress President and to the Chair of the of the Environment Committee of Yucatan Congress.

Anton Aguilar, HSI Mexico director said: “95 percent of Mexicans oppose animal cruelty and believe people who harm animals should be penalized. It is particularly troubling that children are exposed to the mayhem and suffering involved. As a major touristic destination, Yucatán should not allow animal cruelty to damage the State’s image and harm the tourism industry. We urge Yucatan Congress to take a compassionate stance against this cruel tradition and reform the Yucatán Animal Protection Bill to explicitly outlaw Torneo del Lazo.” Take action now to help.


Tiniest Horse With Dwarfism Doesn’t Care That He’s A Little Different

By as published on The Dodo

He was so small when he was rescued that he had to ride on someone’s lap on the drive home.

“Years ago, my wife Terry, Leslie Anne Webb and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Munchie when he first came to live with Rebecca Williams of Habitat for Horses…he is quite a guy.!” ~ R.T.

Mini horse with dwarfism staring at larger horses through a fence
Woman kissing mini horse on the nose
Two miniature horses eating grass and flowers
Children petting miniature horse
Mini horse playing with ball
Closeup photo of mini horse
Woman feeding two mini-horses in pasture
Miniature horse touching noses with another horse
Miniature horse with hair braided
Woman in wheelchair petting miniature horse
Miniature horse saying hello to larger horses

‘From Wild to World Champion’: A New Song About Cobra the Mustang

Story by as published on Horse Nation

A country song telling the true story of how a three-strikes mustang became a dressage champion, with a music video starring the actual horse and trainer themselves? YES PLEASE!

“Although we would prefer to have seen Cobra live out his life, naturally, on his rightful range it warms ones heart to see someone take a chance, step forward and save this ‘3 Strikes’ pony from further abuse and possible slaughter.  A true love story and a definite tissue alert is warranted.  Thanks to all who made this tribute to a magical rescue possible.  May God bless.” ~ R.T.

As someone who is attempting to bring a mustang up the levels in dressage, one of my biggest inspirations is Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her mustang Cobra. After being returned to the BLM three times, he was deemed unadoptable: a three-strikes horse. In 2010 Marsha selected Cobra as her Extreme Mustang Makeover horse after seeing a 15-second video of his lovely, uphill movement.

Cobra turned out to be a dressage natural, winning Adequan/USDF All-Breed Award Reserve Champion title for First Level in his first year of competition. He has gone on to achieve great things as a dressage horse, most notably 2015 all-breed champion for Prix St. George. 2015 was also the year he discovered western dressage and earned western dressage champion for level 1 freestyle and level 1 test 1.

Cobra’s story inspired country artist Peter Prince to write a song telling the tale of how this unlikely horse went from wild to world champion. If this song and the accompanying music video doesn’t give you the feels, you’re a monster.

Go Cobra! Go riding!

Congratulations to Fleet of Angels, & founder Elaine Nash, on receiving the ASPCA Equine Welfare Award!

Congratulations to our friend, Elaine Nash, and to the entire Fleet of ANGELS!  Elaine has been our guest on Wild Horse & Burro Radio to talk about the work being done by Fleet of Angels.  Elaine was most recently involved with helping with the evacuation of horses from the massive fires in Southern California.  Our thanks to Elaine, and to ALL of the angels in the Fleet of Angels, for your very important work.

Source: Newsline

Elaine Nash: photo: facebook


Equine protection organization Fleet of Angels honored for saving 907 starving and neglected horses from one location

– the largest rescue of horses in history –

and in the same year FOA ‘angels’ evacuated hundreds of horses from the paths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Elaine Nash and Fleet of Angels (FOA), the equine protection organization she launched, have been honored with the first ever Equine Welfare Award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Late last year, Nash was asked by the State of South Dakota to create and run a massive national campaign to gather, sort and find homes for hundreds of privately owned horses they’d seized after being determined by South Dakota state vets to be starving and neglected.  The State planned to auction off hundreds more from the same seizure, but Nash was determined to save all 907 horses, so she reached out to other equine welfare organizations to help with the massive rescue.  When the Courts gave full custody of all the horses to Fleet of Angels, Nash and team adopted out hundreds more of the horses out directly from the facility on which they were impounded by authorities, in spite of the work having to be done on an emergency basis during weeks of horrific blizzards and sub-zero conditions. Still hundreds more were transported to Colorado to an adoption hub they established in Fort Collins, CO.

“We had to get those horses to a milder climate”, said Nash.  “With 40 mph winds, temperatures dipping to -40 chill factor, and snow blowing sideways for days at a time, our crew could barely even see the horses to work with them.  It was brutal.  I was indoors on a computer making arrangements, knowing that the ground crew was about to freeze.  And the horses were really suffering in the cold without shelter of any kind.  Dozens had died before we got there to help, and some were so starved and cold that they didn’t make it.”

“Fleet of Angels doesn’t usually take actual custody of the horses we help, since most of the time our members are providing transportation for horses that someone else has rescued.  This case was very different in that we found ourselves with almost 1000 horses to feed, care for, and find homes for- and we didn’t even have a horse facility to take them to when this first happened,” Nash explains. “It was a huge responsibility for us to take on.  It was incredibly tough work for the crew, unbelievably expensive to cover all the costs, and extremely stressful on us all.  It took the help of hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations to make this mission successful.  People pitched in to donate money and feed, adopt horses, and help us feed and care for the horses.  We all jumped in and did what had to be done to save all these horses.  Fleet of Angels’ mantra is ‘Teamwork works!’ for a reason.”

The project became known as The Hallelujah Horses because the horses involved were all saved from probable slaughter.  Nash, who usually directs and coordinated Fleet of Angels mission from her home office in Colorado, had to be near the horses in South Dakota to oversee the operation and work with adopters, and then relocated to CO when the remain several hundred were taken there, but stayed near the horses. In all, she found herself away from home, staying in country hotels, for 290 days.  With Nash rounding up qualified adopters, and adoption manager Barbara Rasmussen carefully reviewing each adoption applications, most of the horses were adopted out to good homes in just 12 months, setting a second record of becoming the largest and most successful adoption effort of horses in history.  By December, there were only a few horses left that still needed permanent homes.

“We are so appreciative to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for honoring us with the ASPCA Equine Welfare Award, and also for their support throughout this operation,” Nash says. “This is the first equine welfare award that the ASPCA has presented, and those of us at Fleet of Angels are very proud to accept it on behalf of all the rescuers who work so hard to save at-risk horses.”

FOA members were instrumental in evacuating and finding stabling and other services for thousands of horses before and after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma this year, and they are also currently working to help evacuate and care for at-risk horses in the areas fighting the California wildfires.  FOA is also being praised for developing and releasing an online, searchable Horse Helpers Directory in each disaster-prone region of the country,  making it fast and easy for horse owners facing a natural disaster to connect with rescuers and service providers to protect equines that are at risk of being injured or killed during storms, fires, or floods.


Nash founded Fleet of Angels after realizing that more at-risk horses could be saved if there were free or inexpensive transportation for them from where they were, to their forever home. She set up Fleet of Angels as a place where owners of horse trailers could register and be ready to assist those who might need a horse transported from one area to another, or for people who can offer a safe spot for an overnight stop for horses traveling long distances.  That work has evolved into Fleet of Angels becoming one of the largest boots-on-the-ground, or wheels on the road, equine protections organizations in the country.

FOA is the only organization with a national network designed to quickly evacuate equines from the paths of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, floods and tornadoes. They can also arrange for stabling and other services until the animals are able to return home.

“I’m so proud of our members and supporters,” Nash says.  “I am the person who runs the organization and coordinates the rescues by phone and internet, but there is no way we could do what we do without a huge amount of help from people all over the United States and Canada.  If you are counting actual staff (we have none), we are a very small organization, but we’re huge in heart and determination, and we have a whole army of people willing to help when called upon to transport at-risk equines from danger to safety.”

Fleet of Angels welcomes others who wish to get involved in the organization, including corporations willing to donate monetary funds to help feed, house and get the horses from place to place. Farmers, ranchers and individual who are interested in rescue efforts of equines are also a valued part of the organization.


Elaine Nash grew up on a farm-ranch operation in New Mexico where horses were a major part of her life. She first trained so-called ‘problem horses’ for neighbors while in high school, then worked her way through college while operating her own training stable, and was the first freshman ever crowned Rodeo Queen while in college.  After a 20-year career in Nashville, where she promoted numerous singers and songwriters in the entertainment industry, Nash made the decision to take her son and daughter back to the west so they would be able to live the western lifestyle, and own and ride horses as a part of their growing-up experience in Santa Fe, NM.

Nash later moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and had a facility where she used natural horsemanship to work with her own horses and those of her clients. During this period of time, Nash became active in the world of equine protection. In 2006 she had an accident that caused her to be unable to ride, but she continues to work to help at-risk horses, and considers her work “Paying it forward because of what horses have meant to me throughout my life.”

Nash now lives in Evans, Colorado, where she continues to build the network for Fleet of Angels and oversees its various rescue operations.  She also works to educate people about the crises facing American horses through public speaking engagements, writing articles, and networking on social media.

For more information on Fleet of Angels, go to its website at www.fleetofangels.org.

Fleet of Angeles Horse Helpers Directory website:  https://www.horsehelpersdirectory.com/

The Hallelujah Horses Facebook page: The Hallelujah Horses (907 horses seized from ISPMB).

Donations to The Hallelujah Horses webpage:  www.thehallelujahhorses.com

Article on Fleet of Angels:

Hallelujah Geldings that are looking for homes! Photo: Facebook/ Elaine Nash