Saturday, October 24, 2009

Iceman Update 10/24/09

Eric and Iceman did some exploring this morning, just took it easy and didn't work too hard. Iceman did discover our "City Center" for the first time though. City Center is what we have nicknamed our big wash area with the shelter. Iceman basically followed Eric right up on it, didn't spook at the different sounds and feel of the cement and rubber mats, and even managed to be loosely tied to the rail. Iceman is really looking great, filling out nicely, seems to be very healthy, and learning to trust.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daria and Iceman 10/22/09

Eric spent some time with Iceman this morning, but then handed off the lead to Daria. Daria and Iceman did great today, lots of bonding. She decided to lead him around the property for a bit, give him lots of love, then try to bring him thru the "Mare Motel." He was hesitant at first since the structure was full of new sights and sounds, and dark.....but after some coaxing, he finally made a few steps and before he knew it he was out on the other side. It was a big step for Iceman, and this success was the result of trust. Great job!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Iceman's Farrier Day

Iceman had his hooves trimmed for the first time today. Eric gave him some sedation and he dozed off...

He woke up when the Farrier arrived but, eventually, the sedation kicked in and he stood still. All four of his hooves were able to be trimmed. Good Job, Iceman!

CBS News / The Stampede to Oblivion‏

Special report by Peabody award winner George Knapp -- A hard-hitting and eye-opening investigation into the wild horse issue and BLM's management practices. This is a must see! Please circulate far and wide.
Watch the 5-part series (Video Gallery, upper left on the page)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Secretary Salazar's New Wild Horse Plan‏

On Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a plan to revamp the federal Wild Horse and Burro Program and establish government-run preserves in the Midwest and East. While we agree that the Program is in dire need of an overhaul and we applaud the government's commitment to avoid the mass-killing of horses in its care, the plan outlined by Secretary Salazar raises several concerns.

The underlying premise used by Mr. Salazar to justify his new initiative is itself flawed. His statements perpetuate BLM's spurious claims of overpopulation and range degradation: Mr. Salazar assures us that wild horses, who were deemed to be "fast disappearing from the American scene" when the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed, "have returned to rapid growth," with a population estimated at 33,000 head, from a supposed 25,000 in 1971. In fact, BLM's first census, conducted in 1974, found 42,000 horses. In a later study, the National Academy of Sciences found BLM's population estimate to have been "undoubtedly low to an unknown, but perhaps substantial, degree."

How can a 25% net population loss amount to "rapid growth"? How can a species that constitutes only half a percent of large grazing animals on public lands be scapegoated time and time again for range degradation? As a rancher himself, surely Mr. Salazar is aware of the millions of head of private cattle that graze the same public range as America's few thousand wild horses.

Based on this dubious overpopulation claim, Mr. Salazar wants to continue removing wild horses from their rightful Western range: Over 30 million dollars will be spent in fiscal year 2010 to capture over 12,000 wild horses and burros!

Removing thousands upon thousands of horses from their legally allocated range to move them into government-run facilities is not in keeping with the intent of the '71 Act, which aimed at preserving the horses "where presently found." This was reaffirmed last August by the US District Court for the District of Columbia in its decision to prevent the capture of Colorado's West Douglas herd. The Court stated in part: "Congress did not authorize BLM to manage the wild horses by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off the public lands." The Court deemed removal for long-term care to be contrary to Congress's intent to protect the horses from capture "as components of the public lands."

On a more positive note, we applaud Mr. Salazar's acknowledgement of the horses' value as an ecotourism resource. But wild horses should be viewed in their natural Western environment and expressing their natural social behavior. Captive, gelded, non-reproducing herds hardly convey the majesty of these icons of the West.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and we are withholding further comment until the specifics of Mr. Salazar's plan are fleshed out: how will the new "preserves" differ for BLM's current long-term holding facilities, also located in the Midwest? Will the preserves be established for the benefit of the 32,000 horses currently held by BLM, or will they constitute an outlet for further roundups? Will the remaining Western herds be managed in the wild at genetically viable levels?

While we applaud the government's efforts toward a more humane approach, Secretary Salazar's new initiative is another step toward the privatization of America's iconic wild herds and away from the survival of the American wild horse in its natural state as an integral part of the Western landscape. More than ever, a moratorium on roundups is in order until actual numbers of wild horses and burros on public lands have been independently assessed, and legally-mandated range studies have been conducted. The ROAM Act needs to be passed so that the horses can reclaim the more than 19 million acres they have lost since being granted federal protection.

On behalf of America's wild horses, thank you for your support,

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Iceman Update 10/6/09

A great day at the ranch today, perfect weather. Eric and Iceman spent some time in the Round Pen together today. Iceman was fully tacked, and as you can see, he took to the bit very nicely. After a few minutes, he didn't even seem to notice it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Discovering Shiloh

Despite all the crazy wind the Las Vegas area has been getting over the last two days, it was actually fairly comfortable at the ranch today. Eric and Iceman decided to take an early morning walk after some time in the playground area and it proved to be a great day for them both. At Shiloh, we have two "Iron Horses" that are on each side of the gate to the main section of the ranch. All the newcomer horses seem to be very nervous and uneasy when they are seeing them for the first time, and it usually takes a few times to try and pass before the horse is comfortable with walking by. Well, today Iceman decided he was just going to walk right by them and not even give a second glance. Piece of cake. They walked over to the front entrance gate, by the Isolation area, down to the old "Boarders" section, and spent some time in the grass but Iceman didnt feel like tasting any. Iceman seemed to be enjoying himself as he explored areas of the ranch he has not laid eyes on before. On the way back to his stall, Eric decided to try and get Iceman to walk through the barn, but that will have to wait for another day. Iceman had all fours planted and wasn't going in that dark building with all those sights and sounds....not just yet anyway. :)