Monday, July 28, 2008

The Amazing Augustus

It seems like it has been a while since my last post. I have been crazy busy this week, more so than usual. All is good down here in Southern Nevada though. Yesterday I managed to get back out to Goodsprings to check on my local herd. I usually see the same band of horses each time I head out, but this time was different. I caught up to a new band, a much larger one with about 10 to 11 horses. There were also 4 burros tagging along for the journey. Beautiful animals. Being out there with the wild ones is so incredibly peaceful, but thats a whole other blog. :) As for Augustus, all is well. Surprisingly, his fly mask has been on all week. I think with the rise in temperature and the flies that follow, he has become quite appreciative of the once annoying and bothersome fly mask. Besides our usual walks and explorations, we had some good fun with our playground. Spent some time playing on ramps and with barrels. I set up a small jump to see what Gus would think of it, and he loved it. It seems that as long as I do it first, then he is down for a new challenge. When he cleared the pole and came down on the other side, he was so excited, tossing his head and ready for more. I am still thinking about doing the NWHA Adoption and Show in October. I think it could be alot of fun, and Gus might actually enjoy it, but things are not completely set in stone that the event will even get off the ground at this time. Also, if you are in the Las Vegas area and will be making it out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area this fall, keep a look out for Gus and I. The NWHA sets up shop one Saturday out of the month at the Visitor's Center, answering any questions and addressing concerns folks may have about current issues. We usually have a wild one or two on display in the round pen. Kids really enjoy being able to pet and see a wild horse or burro, and I feel it helps promote adoptions and boosts fundraising. So, I think Gus and I will be making a few field trips out there. I will keep everyone posted in case you want to stop by and say hello.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Freezemark 06599537

A few weeks back, Dr. Little came out from Desert Pines Equine to Shiloh for his monthly visit. He comes out to work on the rescue horses and provide the care for any necessary procedures they may need, such as being gelded, floating the teeth, etc. I had him take a brief moment to look Augustus over and sign my BLM title release. I picked the release up the following day and immediately sent it off in the mail. Well, I checked my mailbox yesterday and I had a big envelope from the National Wild Horse and Burro Center. I had a big smile on my face as I opened the envelope and there it was...Augustus is finally a titled Mustang. :) I double checked the info on the title, making sure the Freezemark and markings match my adoption paperwork, and all was good. I now have complete ownership of Augustus, and call all the shots. I couldn't be happier. Other than that, we had a crazy sandstorm followed by some rain that lasted a few hours. Before it hit, it was actually pretty eerie. You could see the dark, thunderous clouds approaching and leading the way was a brown, smog like cloud full of dust and sand. Right before we were hit, all the burros and mules started braying, warning everyone to grab the nearest panel or tie rail and hold on! Augustus and I were way on the other side of the ranch when it hit, hanging out with Amber, Bill and their newly adopted Mustang, Oolong. The storm was too crazy to try and make the trek back to the pasture, so I put Gus in a nearby stall so he could have some shelter. I decided to run to my truck to wait it out. Once it calmed a little, I grabbed Gus and we slowly made it back to his pasture. He was greeted with a nicker from his friend Borrego who must have been worried about him during the storm. For the next two hours, I stayed with Gus under his big shelter and we just listened to the rain and wind until the storm completely passed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Awesome Weekend

Augustus and I had a really great weekend at Shiloh. There were alot of thunderstorms rolling around the valley, making a beautiful setting as the rain and clouds fell over the mountains. It's amazing what a little rise in the humidity will do to that desert heat! So, I am so proud of Gus. He is doing so extremely well in his pasture and seems like he is enjoying life. We spent so much of the weekend together, just hanging out and enjoying each others company, but also managed to take on some new training excersises as well. As the months roll along, I keep entertaining the idea of us doing the October 2008 NWHA Show and Adoption here in Las Vegas. I will definitely keep everyone posted on that as time draws near. As usual, we spent a great deal of our weekend way back in the Mesquite trees, enjoying nice walks and exploring, stopping from time to time to just lay in the soft sand.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mustangs for Adoption

Hello all -
We currently have six Mustangs available for adoption through the National Wild Horse Association. They are in various stages of gentling by NWHA members and are ready and waiting for a new loving home. Horses are available for adoption on a first come, first serve basis. Click here to view photos and read a bit about their backgrounds. Also, I was just passed along some info about a BLM Internet Adoption that is happening right now, and will be going on for another 10 days. Click here for more info and for pictures of the horses.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Congress responds to BLM's plan

I would like to take a quick moment and say thank you to Representatives Nick Rahall (WV) and Raul Grijalva (AZ) for taking a stand on behalf of our wild horses. Click here to read their letter to the BLM. In the letter, Congress addresses the many questions and concerns we have all had, demanding answers before further actions can take place within the program. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has made sure that their voices were heard, keeping the health, well being, and conservation of our horses and burros in mind.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Euthanizing wild horses in the West

As we all should know, there has plenty of controversy over how our wild horses and burros have been managed by the BLM over the years. Ever since the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed, issues concerning budgets, ranchers, droughts, forage, etc have existed. The time has now become more critical than ever. The BLM is granted a budget each year to "manage" the animals on both the open range and in holding facilities. There are currently 33,000 wild horses on the range, mostly in Nevada. Range managers say an acceptable level would be 27,300. Meanwhile 30,000 horses reside in long or short-term holding facilities, depending upon their age and adoption potential. Last year, the BLM spent $22 million of its $39-million budget on holding facilities. Next year's costs for maintaining horses at holding facilities are projected to account for $26 million of the agency's total $37 million budget. The BLM has long had the legal option to euthanize for management purposes but has been reluctant to exercise it. Instead, it relied on adoptions to reduce herds. In 2007 4,700 wild horses were adopted into private homes, a slide from the 5,700 adopted in 2005. Critics say the reason for the "logjam" is that the BLM spends most of its budget on roundups but very little on adoptions. No matter what your view on the wild horse issues are, your tax dollars are being spent. From 2003 through 2006, BLM Nevada only spent around $2 million a year on roundups, just under half of its entire budget. During the same time, it spent a mere $122,000 a year on adoptions. Is it any wonder the pens are filled up? I live in Nevada, where most of the herds reside, and its amazing how many people do not know wild horses and burros still exist, much less know that they can adopt one and give it a second chance. There are tons of articles about how the horses are "gathered" due to drought and forage, but there are also tons of articles about how the cattle ranchers are concerned that the horses are taking away from their forage. Whether the BLM stepped up the roundups due to ongoing drought, dwindling forage, and water or if the actions are taken to placate the ranchers, there seems to be no solid protection for the horses and now the BLM is considering euthanizing these animals. There have plenty of mistakes over the years, but I personally feel this would be a disaster. Somewhere down the line, someone has to get this budget straightened out and in check, focusing more money to the adoptions and the adoption process. Alternative methods such as fertily control and contraceptives have to be considered to keep the AML under control on the range so that more and more "gathers" do not take place and add to our problem. No matter what your views are on wild horses, please help spread the word about the BLM Adoptions for the wild horses and burros. You can find a link to the Wild Horse and Burro Adoptions on my page. The process is simple and the current regulations and requirements are easy to meet and maintain. Any internet search engine will provide you with the latest news and opinions over the last few weeks regarding this issue. Please take the time to consider America's horses, they are in desperate need of our help. I have included below the most recent statement by the BLM regarding the euthanization of the animals from their website if you are interested.

The Bureau of Land Management is facing a number of difficult challenges in the National Wild Horse and Burro Program. Our goal in the West is to manage healthy, free-roaming herds on healthy rangelands; however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

Wild horses and burros in the West have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from Western public rangelands each year to ensure that herd sizes are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them. As of June 2008, there are more than 30,000 wild horses and burros that are fed and cared for at short-term and long-term holding facilities. It is essential to keep the BLM’s wild horse and burro program in balance. Right now, the cost of keeping these animals in holding facilities is spiraling out of control and preventing the agency from successfully managing other parts of the program. For example, this fiscal year, holding costs will exceed $26 million, more than three-fourths of the BLM’s congressional appropriation of about $37 million for this program.

In addition, rising energy prices have increased costs. In one year alone, energy costs for transportation and feed have increased almost $4 million. It is clear the agency cannot continue current removal and holding practices under existing and projected budgets. Neither can the BLM allow horses to multiply unchecked on the range without causing an environmental disaster. That's why the BLM is exploring options to exercise its legal authority to (1) sell older and certain other unadopted animals “without limitation” to any willing buyers and (2) euthanize those wild horses and burros for which no adoption demand exists. We know this is not a popular option, but we are at a critical point where we must consider using the legal authorities allowed us.

The BLM welcomes your input as we work to improve the program and the welfare of the West’s wild horses and burros within our budget. To leave feedback on this program, please click here or call 1-800-710-7597.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mission 007 Brings Focus to Yearling Mustangs

Okay folks, I am a little late with this information for anyone who may have been interested in being a trainer, but I wanted to at least spread the word...

The Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) has a new mission: to place for adoption more than 200 yearling Mustangs while at the same time providing educational funding to youth, as well as cash prizes to adults in the program.

Mission 007, aptly named for the foaling year of the Mustangs, is the yearling edition of the phenomenonally successful Extreme Mustang Makeover first held in September 2007. The 2008 competition, to be held September 18-20 in Fort Worth, Texas, will feature 200 of America's iconic Mustangs and their trainers competing for a purse of $50,000, with an additional $20,000 made available for the yearling edition. There will also be a yearling division held in conjunction with the Western States Wild Horse and Burro expo in Reno, Nev., August 15-17, with a purse of $5,000.

"Our standing room only crowds in 2007 included hundreds of young people who were totally in awe of what these trainers were doing with these Mustangs," said MHF Executive Director Patti Colbert. "With this new program, youth will be able to receive a yearling Mustang that they will gentle to a halter. During the Extreme Mustang Makeover, they will compete for an educational funding purse of $10,000. We'll also have a $5,000 amateur handler division and a $5,000 professional handler division."

Mustangs will be available for release from Reno, Nev., May 16 and 17, Elgin, Texas, May 23-24. Handlers will have until August 15 to gentle their Mustangs for the Reno competition and September 18 for the Fort Worth competition.. Applications and complete competition rules are available at or by calling 512-355-3225. The deadline for applications is April 30.

During competition, handlers receiving scoring based on the body condition of their American Mustangs, as well as their ability to handle the horse "in hand" through a series of maneuvers which include picking up the horse's feet, maneuvering it through obstacles and loading it into a trailer. Three skilled horsemen will judge the competition.

Handlers will also receive $500 in reimbursements as well as 20 percent of any adoption fee over $125. Yearling Mustangs will be available for adoption to the public following each competition.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF), in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), created the Mustang Challenge event to highlight the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition. The purpose of the Mustang competition series is to showcase the beauty, versatility, and trainability of these rugged horses that roam freely on public lands throughout the West, where they are protected by the BLM under Federal law. One hundred percent of the horses placed for adoption at the 2007 Extreme Mustang Makeover were adopted.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Relaxin' Day at Shiloh

Augustus and I had a nice relaxing Sunday to finish out the week. The sand felt great today to Gus, and after numerous rolls, we decided to hang out a bit in the sand and just enjoy it. We also did alot of exploring, and Wishes was lucky enough to join us. We went walking all through the back 40 acres of the ranch, all through the Mesquite trees, and up to the fenceline of the neighboring Kingston Ranch. We were planning to head out through the main gates, into Sandy Valley, but Wishes was still a bit tender from her trim yesterday, so we decided to save that for a later time.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Great Start to July

So far, the introduction to July has been great. Augustus is adapting to his pasture nicely. Borrego is of course attached to Gus' hip, confirming that the pasture move was a good choice. Today Augustus was trimmed by his new Farrier, Osbaldo. Osbaldo works at the A-G Sod Farm here in Sandy Valley, and he did a wonderful job. Not only was his work nice, but his temperment was wonderful. Very calm, collected, and patient. Wishes was also trimmed by Osbaldo, and she handled it very nicely. If you are in the area, and want a real professional to handle your horses hooves, let me know and I will pass on Osbaldo's information. Wishes was turned out briefly in Gus' pasture today, to say hello and have some fun, and boy did she kick up some dust! I think Augustus is really starting to feel at home. :)