Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meet Augustus

Now that you have been educated on the continuing saga of the American Mustang, I would like to take a moment and introduce you to Augustus Clayton. Augustus was born around August '06 in the Stone Cabin HMA (NV618), which is located 28 miles east of Tonopah, Nevada, in Nye County. The area consists of 404,381 acres and encompasses an area 48 miles long and 23
miles wide at its widest point. The Stone Cabin HMA is known for a special herd of grey horses called the "Stone Cabin Greys", which is precisely what Gus is. He was captured in February '07 in the Saulsbury HMA (NV620) during the Stone Cabin Complex Gather'07. A gather is the term the BLM likes to use for "round-up". Once captured, he was taken to Palomino Valley Center (PVC), which is the National Wild Horse and Burro Center, located about 20 miles north of Sparks, Nevada. PVC is the Bureau of Land Management’s largest wild horse and burro adoption and preparation center, with a capacity to hold about 2,000 wild horses and burros and usually prep between 3,000 and 4,000 head per year. While at PVC, Gus was gelded, trimmed, wormed, and given his freezemark. The BLM uses freeze marking to identify captured wild horses and burros. Freeze marking is a permanent, unalterable and painless way to identify each horse as an individual. It is applied on the left side of the neck and utilizes the International Alpha Angle System which uses a series of angles and alpha-symbols that cannot be altered. The mark contains the Registering Organization (U.S. Government), year of birth, and registration number.

After Gus was fully prepared, he was scheduled to head down to Las Vegas, Nevada for a BLM Adoption at Horseman's Park on June 22nd -June 23rd, 2007. This particular adoption was on the larger scale, with over 60 horses and burros, and luckily all animals present were adopted out to new homes. It was at this adoption that I became the proud owner of young, grey gelding Mustang who we should all know by now is named Augustus. When I got him, he was approximately 10 months of age and completely wild. I was so excited but so nervous at the same time. I had been gentling two mares for a few months before the adoption, getting them ready for the event, and at the same time I was mentally preparing myself for the possibility of actually placing a bid. The following day, I met two of the Las Vegas Wild Horse and Burro Specialists and signed all the necessary paperwork. A few BLM wranglers were present and assisted me with haltering Gus and loaded him through the chutes and into the trailer. At that moment, I knew my life had changed and so had his. I had just rescued Augustus. He would no longer be a statistic at a government holding facility and he would not have to worry about being unsuccessfully adopted 3 times, becoming eligible for sale and potentially slaughter. I would be starting from ground zero, creating one of the most awesome bonds imaginable, hoping that the end result would be a well rounded, dependable horse. I also hoped to open the eyes of others, breaking the myths of Mustangs being untrainable and good for nothing, and in turn raising awareness for the wild horses and burros out there, maybe even saving a few more along the way. So with that being said, with the help of a BLM Specialist, Gus was trailered to his new home at the Shiloh Horse Rescue and Sanctuary in Sandy Valley, California....and so began our journey

Photo of Augustus while at PVC

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