An Equine Thanksgiving in January

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

An Open Letter to the Advocacy

Thank you from our herd to yours!!

Thank you from our herd to yours!!

During the course of the week we constantly comb the internet for not only the very latest equine related news but also for something good, uplifting and encouraging to be able to share with you on our “Feel Good Sundays”.

I, for one, believe that we need at least one day of rest, one day to step back and a brief moment of peace away from the clatter and noise of the fight.  We need that day to recharge, regroup and reaffirm and there is no better day than Sunday to do that.

So today, I really did not have to look too far for good news, it pretty much fell into our laps and we can freely feel good, this day…and it’s pretty simple;

American horses will not be cruelly slaughtered for human consumption on American soil this year…done deal, full stop.  Rejoice.

All of the efforts of the sick, twisted and perverted throw-backs have been for naught.  They have lost, just as they always have and always will because they are the dank, dark minority and the brightness of the light will always over-wash them; they are in every sense of the word, LOSERS.

I will not darken the day by giving my opinion and abject analysis of those who live only to murder, maim and torture but be assured that they are a very unhappy lot, this day, as they have spent years with their mouths wide open only to find that orifice currently filled with their own boots.

But although we celebrate this great victory, the trucks still cross the border to our south and north with American horses both domestic and wild destined to lose their precious lives for no good reason other than to pad someone’s wallet.

Our work is not done, we have much to do…but today, make a toast.  A toast to each and every person who made a call, sent a fax, signed a petition, held a sign, attended a rally or simply told their neighbor about the plight of the American equine, to all of those people…I salute.

Each and every one of you are a bright light, a positive influence and a power to be reckoned with…I salute.

My hat is off, my bald spot is exposed and I raise my glass to each and every one of you…I salute.

Thank you, from the horses, for being you…I salute.

You are the best.

SALUTE and Keep the Faith.

CowboyHatsOff

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We All Do What We Can, When We Can for the Horses

Commentary by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“You ALL are Making a Difference!”

Terry and R.T. FitchIt’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and a mixed barrel of emotions for me as I am bubbling with information to share and news to spread but I cannot, not now, not yet and I actually don’t trust myself at the keyboard and will probably have to run what I write past a few folks before publishing but “stuff is happening.”

We have worked and gotten a lot accomplished, this past week, but it is going to have to keep and simmer a bit if it is going to produce the results that we really want it to accomplish.  (Never strategize in public as all who visit here are not friends of the horses)

Also, I am regrettably taking a lot of heat for not sitting in front of the keyboard and minding this, normally, gentle beast of a blog 24/7…but there are several important reasons why that does not happen:

1.)  As I type, we are in the field working for the horses in an effort to make a difference on a calculated, structured global scale.

2.)  I do have a paying job that actually pulls me away for weeks at a time yet we still manage to keep our readers abreast of breaking news. (Thanks Deb)

3.)  We, Terry and I, have a private life that includes our horses and barnyard critters who I love so very much and cherish the limited time I spend with them.

So today, I am not taking the day off nor are several other crazy advocates but instead we are working for the horses and for you who give whatever time you can for the cause as each voice is so very important and critical.

Please remember, it’s not about the people but instead about the horses as we revel in the honor of being graced to speak on their behalf while they cannot.  It is sincerely a blessing that we should embrace and draw sustainable strength from.

Time to hit the road; ya’all enjoy the day and check back in with us tomorrow morning, we are just “flat getting it” on behalf of the horses.

Keep the faith

We Can Do Better

Guest OpEd by Lisa LeBlanc

“BLM Field Report, Wild Horse and Burro Area CA96123

September – October, 2013

WH & B Quadrant ‘North/ East’, Units A – F1

Field Agents: J. Hunter, B. Fischer

Observed:

Horses: 32 (-9)

Burros: 18 (+6)

Range:

Typical for late summer/early fall, most forage is dry, but seed heads are abundant. Exceptions are in valleys & creek beds in H&B Units B, C, & D; several days of mild precipitation in early September produced some late season green growth. Two springs – Dark Spring in Unit C and Big Spring in Unit E – are running moderately slow; water is shallow but clear. Banks are showing slightly heavier tracking than previous report (July-August, 2013).

Ford Reservoir is also higher than normal for this time of year due to rains in early September. We observed 24 horses, 9 burros and other wildlife congregate together several days in a row for morning water ‘rituals’ before departing in different directions for grazing.  

Noted changes in herds:

  • Bachelor band which frequents Unit B has a new leader. From photo gallery: 18 year old Palomino Paint stallion. Emigrated from West/North Quadrant.

  • Two burro herds are missing 2 foals each. Six new adult burros were observed. Five were traveling as a herd. One jack has joined bachelor band in Unit E. Compared and confirmed i.d.’s in photo gallery; all are from Quadrant East/South.

  • Three horse herds are also missing foals – at least four since July-August report. Also missing – 4 adults and 1 yearling*.

  • Various harems have changed members; have uploaded data and photos. A bit unusual for this time of year.

  • Observed gray stallion (HM) and sorrel mare (H) still have no foal. Both appear healthy and of breeding age, and have been paired exclusively since at least 2009. (Would be interesting to discover why. J.F.)

*Found remains of 4, possibly 5, adult horses skeletonized or in various stages of decomposition. Most notable: 30 year old buckskin mare, a favorite of agents for many years. (Many of the horses in all quadrants are her descendants.) Found in tree cover near a livestock trough in Unit B, there appeared to be no trauma (body is in good condition comparable to age, though desiccated and partially mummified) and little evidence of animal scavenging.  Other remains indicative of cougar predation, heavily scavenged or scattered. Remains were discovered in relatively close proximity to each other in Units E and F1 near Apex, over an area of about three miles, in moderate juniper cover.

Noted injuries and infirmities:

  • 24 year old bald face Bay stallion with large healing skin avulsion on left shoulder (does not appear fight-related). Will scar significantly, but at this juncture, is dry and free of infection.

  • Yearling Pinto filly with pronounced lameness of front left canon. Wound is fresh and moderately severe; blood flow visible, but filly is able to keep pace with herd. (Will perform follow-up on wildlife data cams.)

  • 15 year old Blue Roan mare, Henneke score of 3. Noted blood & pus discharge on mouth and chest, indicative of a ruptured oral abscess. Mare was foraging on green grass, chewing cautiously. Other herd members were healthy, so it’s unlikely a contagion. (Will follow up on wildlife data cams.) 

  • 18 year old Bay hinny, designated ‘Bea’ and 22 year old jenny (dam): both displaying massive wounds and cuts in various stages of healing. (No signs of other herd members.) Jenny was down and in distress; her wounds do not appear survivable. Observed in tree cover in close proximity to Big Spring.  

Data Maintenance:

Of 24 wildlife data cams, 2 were non-operational and have been replaced. One, in Unit C near Apex, is gone. It appears to have been deliberately removed sometime after July-August field study. (replaced.)

Conclusion:

Majority of herds are in good physical health, with body scores of 4 among the older horses and burros to 5 or 6 for Alphas and younger animals. Population is small but stable, owing to attrition meeting foaling rate.  Overall, quadrant range is rated ‘good’; there is plenty of forage in Section North/East to prepare for fall and winter. Uplands showing good green; some herds have begun emigrating to take advantage of extra forage before late-season precipitation and winter snowfall.

Schedule for removal not recommended at this time.”

Said no Wild Horse and Burro Field Study Report, EVER.

If wild horses and burros are to be managed efficiently, based on science and equitable policy, shouldn’t it follow that every effort should be made to monitor wild horses and burros? Instead of assessing only the environments in which they live while ignoring the animals themselves, rendering ‘estimates’ of populations or  aerial census without accompanying visual documentation virtually useless.

No one who supports free-roaming wild horses and burros has faith in the assessments written to remove them. And no one who approves expenditures for the Wild Horse and Burro Program budget should, either. In the imaginary scenario above, a Herd Management Area, divided into four sections, each section divided into units; two agents assigned to observe a specific section, 10 days out of every 60. A photographic data base and reference program. Wildlife cameras to gather additional data. All combined to create a direct insight into those animals within the sections, and the HMA as a whole.

More than four decades after passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act, little has changed in how these animals are managed. Except the agency, which in theory should be protecting wild equines, is now creatively imposing the responsibility for some of these animals onto agencies under no such obligation. While it might be considered a ‘reform’, it’s hardly an improvement. But it probably looks good on official paperwork.

For the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, a challenge: Rather than continue with the failed methods and policies in interpreting the Act, begin again. Put wild horses and burros at the forefront of the Program, in field research and population monitoring. Require that at least as much of the Budget allocated to gather and remove – 10% – is also aimed at diligent monitoring of herds on the range, year round.

For the House Appropriations Committee:  Take a moment; give serious consideration as to why this Program’s budget continues to climb, despite more than four decades of promises of ‘reformation’, the removal of over 200,000 wild horses and burros and four independent reports commissioned to the National Academy of Sciences – which illustrate nothing more than the Program’s self-perpetuation of In-holding costs, contractor obligations and an ever-dwindling wild population that remains, absurdly, ‘in excess’.

The Program has the funding and tools at hand to do better for free-roaming wild horses and burros, and those in captivity. The question is – why doesn’t it.  

(Author’s Note: The ‘field study report’ is based in small part on my own observations,  and in larger part on accounts by fellow researchers who actually do this work of their own accord. And occasionally – at great personal cost.)

UNADILLA: A SHORT REFLECTION

Source: by Andy of soyoumadeittocollege blog

“A friend forwarded to me the address for the blog of this young man, a man who is forever changed by going to a horse slaughter auction.  Stop by Andy’s blog and spend some time reading the articles that precede this reflection, it will make your eyes leak and your heart break.  We are all brothers and sisters in the equine spirit.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

“I felt feelings that I will never un-feel…”
Slaughter Aisle after auction

Slaughter Aisle after auction

Two weeks seem as if it is a short amount of time when you compare it to our relatively long lives. For myself, however, it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

Two weeks ago, I understood very little about how a horse auction was run. It wasn’t that I was ignorant, but rather that I just did not want to even have to imagine what a horse auction was like. So going into it, I had no expectations; I was a blank slate ready to be covered with feelings and emotions based off an experience that I had no prior expertise in. I did not even have previously seen photos to prepare myself for what I would be seeing.

But now I am no longer a blank slate.

At the auction I saw things that I will never be able to un-see. I felt feelings that I will never un-feel. I had emotions run through me that I did not even have words to express. I tried to convey my experience using the best words that I could, but sometimes words are just not enough. I took pictures, yet those pictures still do not adequately portray what it is like to actually be there. Pictures may paint a thousand words, but actual experience of an event writes a novel.

Despite having to be a part of something that was truly heartbreaking, I can confidently say that I do not regret going to the Unadilla horse auction. If nothing else, it acted as an event that will now forever MOLD the rest of my life. Witnessing a horse auction created an infinite amount of desire in me to do what I can to raise awareness about a cause that I personally saw the darkness of. At the same time,however, I also got to feel the joy that comes with saving another living creatures life. It is this mixture of emotions that I felt within myself that I hope to use as fuel for motivating myself to continue writing about this topic.

Right now as I sit here, I understand that the horses that I saw sold to slaughter are no longer mortal, living things. They are no longer bodies filled with light and the peppiness of life. They will never again be someones pet. Eyes once radiating with light, enthusiasm and hopefulness have now grown dim. They will, however, live on in my memory. I will never forget the look of that one chestnut mare awaiting death in the stable after the auction. I was the last friendly touch she would ever feel.

With a heart full of remembrance and a mind in constant recollection of my first auction, I will continue to promote the stories of those who go to these rescues. The people who consistently see what most are too afraid to see. The people who change the lives of horses, one auction at a time. Those who give hope to horses who do not understand that their hope was slowly RUNNING out. They are the people who, by saving one horses lives, have the possibility of bringing a once abandoned horse to the home of someone who will love them unconditionally. In saving one life, you have the capacity to enhance others.

These are the people who are true heroes. Changing the world for one horse at a time. People who give their time so that horses can have more time.

Click (HERE) to visit Andy’s blog and to comment

9/11: We Will NEVER Forget

Commentary by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Etched into our beleaguered memory is the exact moment in time and the location of the space we were occupying when first we heard that innocent American women, children and men were under attack and dying on the very soil that we once considered to be so safe, the United States of America.  On that horrible and tragic day a band of religious crazed zealots changed the way that every single American viewed their family, their country and the world.  We sought peace and solace, that day, and we found it in the pasture amongst our horses where they patiently held still while we clung to their necks and cried in despair.  We changed that day, we all did and because of that equine tie my eyes cannot help but leak each and every time I view the Clydesdales in that one singular commercial produced by Budweiser “Respect”.  It’s not about the beer, it’s not about commercializing an American tragedy, but instead it is about the horses.  Let’s be kind to each other and our equine companions, this day, as we remember those who perished 12 long years ago…a moment of silence…Keep the Faith” ~ R.T.

Information and verification of this commercial can be found at Snopes.com

BLM Reneges on Wild Horse Roundup Promise

Source: Washington Times Letter to Editor

BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM Antelope attack in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Thank you for your recent article stating that the wild-horse roundup in northern Nevada had been canceled (“Wild horse roundup in Nevada is canceled amid outrage, fears over ‘stealth’ slaughter,” Web, Aug. 8). Tragically, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management went back on its word and rounded up hundreds of wild horses Aug. 9, 10 and 11, in its usual terrifying-to-the-horses way — by helicopter.

The hundreds of horses rounded up are now in open corrals on the McDermid Indian Reservation, without shade or water. This betrayal by the Bureau of Land Management must be investigated. The agency continues to round up the most beautiful wild horses in North America to sell them to slaughter, thereby driving to extinction a priceless genetic line of our American heritage.

TOMASITA MEDAL

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Washington Times

Miniature Horses, Big Benefits for Therapy Patients

“Feel Good Sunday” by Tanya Spencer of RTV6.com

Mobility-wise, horses are a great motivator…”

CARMEL, Ind. – A mobile program called Memory Lane is taking horses out of the stables and into communities across central Indiana.

Agape Therapeutic Riding offers a unique form of therapy for people of all ages through unique horse-facilitated experiences.

The miniature horses hit the road when they are not helping with therapy programs at their 13-acre Cicero farm.

The Memory Lane program spent the day in Carmel at Kindred Transitional Care on Tuesday.

“Mobility-wise, horses are a great motivator. So even if they’re not confident because they have fallen in the past or have an injury, when they’re paired with a horse that provides motivation for them to step outside their comfort zone and to try some activities and exercise they might not do normally,” said Trisha Egleson with Agape Therapeutic Riding.

The horses help to stimulate memories for some, boost moods and grooming the animals can increase patients’ range of motion.

“One of the things for me has been building my upper arm strength. There are a lot of different benefits. And some of it is just watching the horses and being around them. So I think it’s one of those truly win-win situations. The animals like it and we get a lot of benefit out of it,” said patient Carolyn Wheeler.

The horses also do academic enrichment and character development programs at schools and various centers across central Indiana.

“You get these huge smiles and the kids are just amazed by what the horses can do. And you see bonding,” Egleson said.

For some patients, the best benefit is the tranquility.

“It’s taking my mind off of a bunch of stuff, that’s for sure,” said patient Roslyen Noble.

Click (HERE) to Comment at RTV6
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“Horse experts call for end of federal mustang roundups”

Dan Vergano, USA TODAY          1:18 p.m. EDT June 5, 2013

“The last roundup? Federal wildlife officials need to rely on contraceptive measure to manage wild horses instead of removal, which only spurs a mustang population boom, an expert panel says.

(Photo: BLM)

Federal managers are taking the wrong approach on wild horse populations and should focus more on contraception rather than rounding up and removing the herds from public lands. If the existing approach isn’t changed, Western wild horses could triple their numbers in six years, an expert panel warns, and more than 100,000 horses could ravage public lands.

Under a 1971 law
, the federal Bureau of Land Management must balance wild horse and burro population numbers against other uses of public lands, such as recreation and grazing. The agency estimates that means about 26,500 horses and burros should be on Western public lands, a number the agency has attempted to achieve through the roundup and removal of excess horses, about 8,000 a year, which are put up for rarely achieved adoption.” …to read more of this story, click here

Video: Wild Horses: On the Trail to Freedom!

2013 American Equine Summit: Ginger Kathrens

We will be featuring key presentations, everyday during this upcoming week.  The information contained within each is invaluable in fighting the horse-eaters and their propaganda.  Direct YouTube link for Ginger’s presentation is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jYcGc71c5s

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2013 American Equine Summit: Stephanie Graham

We will be featuring key presentations, everyday during this upcoming week.  The information contained within each is invaluable in fighting the horse-eaters and their propaganda.  Direct YouTube link for Stephanie’s presentation is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8qWmUQEGhQ