Blog

“WILD BEAUTY” DOCUMENTARY HAS WORLD PREMIERE

“WILD BEAUTY” DOCUMENTARY HAS WORLD PREMIERE

GOVERNOR JARED POLIS, FIRST GENTLEMAN MARLON RIES, AND A RAPT AUDIENCE RESPOND WITH A STANDING OVATION AND EXPRESSIONS OF CONCERN FOR AMERICAS WILD HORSES

A still from Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West

BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADOWild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West, the long-awaited documentary project by filmmaker Ashley Avis, opened to its world premiere at the Breckenridge Film Festival on September 18 for a large audience that included Colorado Governor Jared Polis and his husband, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, and their family. At the conclusion of the film, the audience, many of whom were visibly moved, gave the film and its makers a sustained standing ovation.

Wild Beauty features stunning cinematography of wild horses living on vast stretches of federal lands in several western states, including Colorado. The film shows herds living peacefully on their habitat and engaging in the behaviors that make them so popular with the American people. Mares caring for their newborn foals and stallions dueling for supremacy are set against stunning landscapes, evoking the strong emotional bond we feel for horses and the love we feel for our wild places.

But the film also includes footage of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) helicopter roundup operations that documents the terror and violence experienced by the animals as they are stampeded into traps to be removed from our public lands, primarily to benefit wealthy ranchers and livestock companies.

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West cast and crew at the Wild Beauty panel at Breck Film Fest

While some of the scenes are painful to watch, Avis believes it is important to understand what is happening to the wild horses in the Western United States.

“We wanted to show a distinct juxtaposition between the sweeping beauty of wild horses, their families, and the lands they live on; along with the shocking brutality and cruelty that has befallen them,” says Avis. “The film is very immersive.  Audiences get to experience the peace and quietude of nature, the profound interiority of being amongst the wild; and then they are hopefully jolted right out of their seats when that peace is shattered by low flying helicopters, rattling livestock trucks, and utterly outrageous behavior by The Bureau of Land Management.”

Avis and her crew also went undercover at a Texas livestock auction where horses, burros, and even zebras are sold to the highest bidder, with many ending up in the slaughter pipeline to be shipped to Mexico, where they are slaughtered, and their meat is sold to foreign companies.

From left; Edward Winters, Ashley Avis, and Scott Beckstead during the Wild Beauty Premiere

“The auction was one of the most disturbing scenarios that we filmed, knowing the heartbreaking fate that so many of the wild horses and burros were headed toward,” says Avis.  “We hoped that by showing the grim reality of what is occurring in our own country, that we can urge Congress to finally pass a federal law to shut down the horror of the slaughter pipeline and give horses and burros the protection they rightfully deserve.”

Best known for directing Disney’s 2020 feature film, Black Beauty – a modern retelling of Anna Sewell’s classic resting on the story’s titular character being captured in a U.S. government roundup – Avis said when she began learning the truth about what is happening to America’s wild herds, she couldn’t stop with that project. She launched The Wild Beauty Foundation in 2020 to use her platform in entertainment to try to help, and also connect with children.

Following the film in Breckenridge, a panel of experts that included Avis, her production crew, experts appearing in the film, and First Gentleman Marlon Reis, spoke to the audience about the message of the movie and more details on the need to reform the federal government’s wild horse and public lands policies.

From left; Richard Avis, Scott Beckstead, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Ashley Avis, and Kimerlee Curyl at the Breck Film Fest

“I’m all in on this issue,” proclaimed Reis, who remarked on the contrast between the beauty of the horses and the brutality of the helicopter roundups. He told the audience he believed that art has a way of fostering conversations in a way that normal policy debates cannot. Both he and Governor Polis actively worked to convince the BLM from stop the roundup of the Sand Wash Basin horses last year and the Piceance Basin horses over the summer.

The BLM conducted those operations despite those efforts and widespread public opposition, but Reis said he believes Colorado can lead the way by fostering a new working relationship between state and federal partners that reflects Colorado’s core humane values and sets a new path for the wild equine herds.

Wild Beauty screening at Breck Film Festival

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West was next shown at The Boston Film Festival, and will be screening at DOC LA, Newport Beach Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, and Fort Lauderdale Film Festival later this year. More information can be found on the Wild Beauty website.

Avis and her crew are in talks with a number of streaming platforms to begin broad public distribution of the film.

Learn more at www.wildbeautyfoundation.org

Watch the WILD BEAUTY Official Trailer

This Week in Wild Beauty: September 24th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: September 24th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the nineteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of September 24th, 2022

From left to right; Kimerlee Curyl, Richard Avis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Kai Krause, Erik Molvar, Edward Winters, Ashley Avis, and Scott Beckstead during the Wild Beauty Panel at Breck Film Festival

Highlights from the Breck Film Festival

Last weekend, The Wild Beauty Foundation celebrated the World Premiere of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West at the Breck Film Festival. We were extremely excited to show the world what we have been passionately crafting for the past four years… showing you both the spectacular beauty, as well as the shocking truth of America’s wild horses. 

Ashley Avis and Ed Winters at the Breck Film Fest

Edward Winters and Ashley Avis introducing Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West 

We at WBF are incredibly proud to have touched so many hearts during the premiere and were honored to receive a standing ovation from the audience as the credits rolled. This is only the start of an impactful journey for Wild Beauty, and we cannot wait for the rest of the world to see both the beauty and tribulations that we captured in the American West.

Edward Winters, Ashley Avis, and Scott Beckstead during the Wild Beauty Panel

WBF would like to give an enormous thank you to Governor Polis and First Gentleman Reis for attending our world premiere!

Governor Jared Polis and Ashley Avis at the Wild Beauty Premiere

Governor Jared Polis and Ashley Avis at the Wild Beauty Premiere

First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Ashley Avis, and Scott Beckstead at the Wild Beauty Premiere

First Gentleman Marlon Reis, Scott Beckstead, and Ashley Avis at the Wild Beauty Premiere

After the screening, Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West cast and crew held a Q and A panel for those in attendance. We at WBF were proud to have First Gentleman Marlon Reis speak during the panel and offer his support for protecting our wild world and standing with wild horses; both in the state of Colorado, and the country as a whole. We are so grateful to Polis and Reis for joining us last weekend as special guests and hope that their support brings lasting change to the state of Colorado’s wild horse management. 

You can find full details about Reis’ participation in the Wild Beauty premiere in the Summit Daily article, here.

This weekend, we will be hosting our East coast premiere of Wild Beauty at the Boston Film Festival! We look forward to showing the northeast U.S. the elegance and freedom that our wild horses deserve. 

Keep an eye on our blog this week for a full recap on Wild Beauty’s debut!

Watch the Official Teaser Video here!

Please support WBF’s efforts to get Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West to as many viewers as possible. We hope to screen our documentary in as many cities as we can to share the beauty of wild horses with everyone!

Donate

We thank you, wild horses thank you.

 

Ashley Avis at Upper Blue Elementary

Colorado Elementary School Writes Letters to Lawmakers on Behalf of Wild Horses

WBF founders and filmmakers behind Wild Beauty; Mustang Spirit of the West, Ashley Avis and Edward Winters visited Upper Blue Elementary in Breckenridge, Colorado to teach children about our nation’s wild horses. 

After the premiere of Wild Beauty at Breck Film Festival, Ashley and Ed were invited to the Breckenridge elementary school by a local advocate, to guide students in a letter writing campaign on behalf of wild horses. Students chose a lawmaker to write directly to, asking them to stand with our wild horses and stop helicopter roundups.

Letters from Upper Blue Elementary

We at WBF were extremely proud that 80 students used their voice to stand with the voiceless equines of our country and their own state. We hope that lawmakers see the impact that wild horses have on our school age children and the importance of keeping wild horses free so that the upcoming generations can experience their beauty and strength.

You can read more about WBF’s recent visit to Upper Blue Elementary in the Summit Daily article, here!

 

Updates on the SAFE and PAST Acts

If you have been involved in the fight to protect horses, you know that the fight to end horse slaughter and put an end to the slaughter pipeline has long been the “holy grail” of equine advocacy. That’s why it pains us to report that the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act, which enjoyed broad, bipartisan support from a majority of US House members, has been killed due primarily to opposition from two veterinary groups, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).

These groups betray their allegiance to the most abusive elements in the equine industry, rather than the horses themselves or the 80 percent of Americans who strongly oppose the slaughter of American horses for human consumption in foreign countries. We urge all of you, especially those who own horses, to reach out to your veterinarians and veterinary medicine contacts to call or email the AVMA and AAEP to register their support for an end to horse slaughter and to urge these groups to start standing for horses, not the kill buyers who prey on our beloved equine companions.

On a more positive note, Congress has moved the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to finally bring an end to the horrendous practice of “soring” of Tennessee Walking Horses, where trainers and exhibitors intentionally cause intense pain to the front feet and legs of show horses to produce an exaggerated show ring gait known as the “Big Lick.”

Although a federal law passed decades ago is supposed to stop soring, the law has been plagued by an entrenched show horse industry that places blue ribbons above their concern for the horses. The PAST Act will stop counting on those who engage in soring to police themselves, and instead impose serious penalties on anyone who continues this abusive practice.

Please call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121 and urge them to support the PAST Act to put an end to the abusive practice of horse soring.

 

Running Mustang Wild Beauty

A Still from Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West

Scott Beckstead Educates on the Protection of Wild Horses

 

 Wild Beauty Foundation team member Scott Beckstead voiced his opinions to the press this week on why wild horses deserve to remain free on western rangeland. Beckstead brings to bear his background as one who was raised with horses and livestock, and his special expertise in animal and wildlife law in arguing that our American wild horses are being used as scapegoats for public land damage caused by private livestock overgrazing and that it is cattle and sheep, not wild horses, that the American people want removed from our public lands.

“It’s time to reject the BLM’s false narrative that wild horses harm public lands and embrace an approach that truly protects them. Wild horses and burros belong right where they are.” Beckstead says.

We are extremely appreciative of Scott for sharing his knowledge of wild horses with local publications; educating readers who may not know about the struggles that these animals face. You can read the full article published on Writers on the Range, here.

 

Sandy Sharkey Two Rearing Mustangs

Photo Credit: Sandy Sharkey

This Week’s Calls To Action

Celebrate National Public Lands Day by Standing with Wild Horses
Saturday, September 24th is National Public Lands day, and to celebrate we want you to share a favorite memory that you’ve experienced on public lands!
Whether it was photographing a band of wild horses, camping under the stars, or experiencing a magical connection with nature, we want to hear how you enjoy public lands.
Wild horses call these public lands home, and without advocacy for the beauty and preservation of these lands, they are at risk of loosing it to livestock ranchers, oil miners, and large cooperations that aim to exploit our lands for profit.
Stand with our greater wild world by sharing your appreciation for public lands and join our #IStandWithWildHorses campaign!

 

Beth Behrs #istandwithwildhorses

WBF’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest’s Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader: Beth Behrs

 

Returning as an Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader for our Second Annual Short Story Contest is actor Beth Behrs!

Best known for her roles as The Neighborhood’s, Gemma Johnson and Caroline on 2 Broke Girls, Beth has graced TV screens across the country since her breakout role in 2011. She currently hosts her own podcast, Harmonics, where she discusses creativity, healing, and wellness.

In addition to her work on popular sitcoms, Beth spends her time with her rescue horse, Belle. Since adopting Belle, Beth has become a passionate activist for equine welfare and protection. She has lended her voice to several equine organizations including WBF, and we are very appreciative to have her participate in our Short Story Contest for a second year.

Continue writing your stories!

The deadline to enter is October 31st, 2022 so be sure to get your stories in soon so they can be considered by our wonderful panel of judges. To learn more about the short story contest or submit your story, visit our website!

 

Chad Hanson Wild Band

Photo Credit: Chad Hanson

Updates on the Cedar Mountain and Calico Complex Roundups

Two significant roundups are ongoing in Utah and Nevada. As roundup season begins to die down, we mourn the loss of freedom that so many of our wild ones are facing.

*Update: According to updates to the BLM Gather and Fertility Control Schedule, 300 wild horses are set to be released; 150 mares treated with fertility control and 150 stallions. Though, there have not been updates to the official Cedar Mountain Gather page with exact numbers.*

The Cedar Mountain wild horses of Utah continue to be driven by low flying helicopters as the BLM attempts to suppress the HMA to a population of as few as 190 horses. The BLM has already captured 377 of the 700 wild horses they plan to roundup. So far, the BLM reported that there has been one euthanization of a 20+ year old stallion due to blindness. The beautiful horses within this HMA can be found in almost every color and pattern, making it a popular location for photographers and tourists. With the HMA being reduced to extremely low numbers, the genetics of the herd are at risk of becoming unsustainable, and the future of the herd’s unique horses are in danger. 

In the Nevada Calico Complex, wild horses enter the second week of the BLM’s helicopter descent. As of September 22nd, the BLM reports that 639 wild horses have already been rounded up. This is only a little more than half of the approximate 1,000 wild horses the BLM plans to remove. At this time, 17 horses have already lost their lives for reasons such as blindness or preexisting injuries that they would have continued to prosper with if living free on the range. There are several wild horse advocacy groups on the ground in this HMA, capturing first hand accounts on the treatment of wild horses during the roundup efforts. Captured horses are set to be sent to Indian Lakes Off Range holding facility, which has come under fire in past years for mass deaths of wild horses in their care.

We at WBF call for a halt in helicopter roundups, an inhumane management method that causes immense stress and injury risk to wild horses that the BLM claims to protect. By implementing safe and effective management solutions backed by scientific research, we can aim to preserve the beauty of our wild horses for generations to come.

 

Photo Credit: Sandy Sharkey

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

Sandy Sharkey’s intimate photo of a Utah mare and foal pair spotlights the deep family bonds that wild horses create, further proving horses and humans are more alike than they seem.

 

Wild Beaty Wild Sunset

A Still from Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West

A Quote to Graze On

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, 

about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains 

that he had never seen came into his dreams.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

 

As we venture into the cooling autumn air, take in the wildness around you and use its artistry as inspiration for your next creative journey.

 

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: September 17th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: September 17th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the eighteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of September 17th, 2022

Wild Beauty Debut

Happening Now: Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West World Premiere

We are extremely excited to be in Breckenridge, Colorado at the World Premiere of our documentary, Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West! Our film is premiering officially at Breck Film Festival on Sunday, September 18th at 2:30 pm at the Riverwalk Center.

Join us afterward for a panel featuring filmmakers Ashley Avis and Edward Winters as well as cast members Kimerlee Curyl and Erik Molvar. The panel will be moderated by cast member and program director, Scott Beckstead. Additionally, children (and adults!) are encouraged to write a letter for our letter-writing campaign showing your support for wild horses.

There are so many exciting surprises in store for this weekend, and we can’t wait to share them with you as we bring Wild Beauty to the world stage for the very first time!

Wild Beauty’s next stops on the festival circuit are Boston Film Festival on September 23rd, followed by Newport Beach Film festival and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festivals in October and November. Be sure to follow our social media and the documentary film page to see if our documentary will be screening in a city near you! We would love for you to experience this incredibly special film on the silver screen!

Watch the Official Teaser Video here!

 

Wild Horse Sunset Silhouette Sandy Sharkey

Roundup Begins in the Cedar Mountain HMA

In a last-minute decision by the BLM, the Cedar Mountain HMA was scheduled for a major roundup of approximately 700 wild horses. Cedar Mountain wild horses can be found in a variety of colors with dominance on black and bays. There are also several flashy pintos within this herd that are a favorite for photographers and wild horse watchers alike.

The roundup is set to begin this Saturday, September 17th, and be conducted by helicopter drive methods. According to the BLM’s roundup page, the HMA’s population will be reduced to the “low- to mid-Appropriate Management Level.” This means that there will be as few as 190 wild horses left on these lands after this week’s roundup.

Utah’s Cedar Mountain HMA contains more than 211,000 acres with a little more than 197,000 acres being BLM-managed land. This is more than enough land for a modest 390 wild horses, at most, to roam free.

Unusually, the BLM will not be allowing public viewing on the first two days of the roundup. We at WBF believe this is problematic and the BLM should not be authorized to deny visitation on public lands. Without public witnesses, the BLM cannot be held accountable for any failures to policy or inhumane treatment of the public’s wild horses.

In addition to administering Population Growth Suppression vaccines and IUDs, some horses will be equipped with GPS tracking devices via collars or tags. This is something that has not been seen often in BLM management and little is known as to why they are implementing this technology on the range.

 

Wild Horse Portrait Black and White by Kimerlee Curyl

Photo Credit: Kimerlee Curyl

Reward Increases for Information in Wild Horse Shooting Investigation

 Late last year, five wild horses were found fatally shot in Eastern Nevada. The BLM is looking for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for these awful actions. The horses were found within 600 yards of each other within a few miles of U.S. Highway 50.

Now, the American Wild Horse Campaign has matched the BLM’s initial reward of $5,000 for information, with the total reward becoming $10,000. We hope that the individual(s) responsible for these terrible actions are found and no additional horses will become victims of their crimes.

 

A still from Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West

This Week’s Calls To Action

Show Your Support by Joining the “I Stand with Wild Horses” Campaign

The Wild Beauty Foundation’s “I Stand with Wild Horses” campaign aims to unite wild horse advocates to be a voice for our greater wild world. By joining this creative campaign, you can share your support for wild horses with your friends who might not know they are fighting for freedom in our country. 

Step 1.

Write the words “I Stand With Wild Horses” on a piece of paper, or on another creative surface like cardboard, asphalt, or glass.

Step 2.

Take a photo with the words, and your face, in the shot!

Step 3.

Post your photo to social media with the hashtags below!

That’s it!

#IStandWithWildHorses #WildBeautySpirit #WildHorseTeamwork

We can’t wait to see your creative activism and thank you for standing with our wild horses.

 

WBF’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest’s Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader: Graham Wardle 

 

Joining us this year for our Second Annual Short Story Contest as an Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader is actor, Graham Wardle!

Raised in West Minster, British Columbia, Wardle began his acting journey at the age of 6. Landing his first acting role at 12, he continued to appear in TV shows such as The Outer Limits, Life as we Know it, and Supernatural throughout his career. Wardle graduated from the Motion Picture and Production Program at Capilano University in Vancouver in 2007. The same year, he booked a leading role as Ty Borden on CBC’s family drama, Heartland, where he has played the equine-loving character for 14 years. Now, Wardle produces his own podcast, “Time Has Come”.

We are delighted to have Graham read one of our winners’ amazing short stories this year and thank him for lending his voice to the wild horse cause!

Keep writing your stories!

The deadline to enter is October 31st, 2022 so be sure to get your stories in soon so they can be considered by our wonderful panel of judges. To learn more about the short story contest or submit your story, visit our website!

 

Treasures from the Journey Selection

Check Out The Wild Beauty Boutique!

Take home a memento from the Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West documentary journey with this selection from our “Treasures from the Journey” collection. 

“Handcrafted by a local artist on our journey, this piece of wall art seamlessly captures the color, power, and spirit of the wild. Three rust-textured metal horses gallop in the foreground, with the silhouettes of their brothers, sisters, and family running behind them in the distance. A wonderful addition to any room, it’s almost as if this piece was captured from a moment directly from the wild planes where the horses roam free.” (Wild Horse Wall Art Runner)

All proceeds benefit The Wild Beauty Foundation and our work on behalf of wild horses and our upcoming educational programs for children.

To take home this piece and many more all while supporting WBF, check out The Wild Beauty Boutique!

The Wild Beauty Boutique Selection

 

Horses in a Mountain Landscape by Chad Hanson

Photo Credit: Chad Hanson

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

This beautiful photo of three generations of Red Desert wild horses was captured by Chad Hanson.

Can you spot the tiny foal hiding in the sagebrush?

 

Photo Credit: Jim Brown

A Quote to Graze On

“It is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong,

something the best people have always done”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

 

Though our wild horses do not have a voice as we do, we can stand beside them and use our own to preserve their beauty for generations to follow.

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: September 10th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: September 10th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the seventeenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of September 10th, 2022

Next Weekend: Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West World Premiere

Watch the Official Teaser Video here!

Mark your calendars; next Sunday, September 18th, the world premiere of our documentary Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West kicks off at the Breckenridge Film Festival in Colorado!

Join us at 2:30 PM in the Eclipse Theatre to be one of the first to view our film on the big screen. Be swept into an immersive experience of beauty and wildness as we follow the story of America’s wild horses; you won’t want to miss it. 

You can purchase tickets to the event now on BreckFilm.org. We can’t wait to see you there!

Wild Beauty’s next stops on the festival circuit are Boston Film Festival on September 23rd, followed by Newport Beach Film festival and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festivals in October and November. Be sure to follow our social media and the documentary film page to see if our documentary will be screening in a city near you!

 

BLM Targets Iconic and Beloved South Steens Horses with Mass Removal

The Bureau of Land Management will begin the helicopter roundup of one of the nation’s most colorful and robust herds, the South Steens horses of eastern Oregon. Famous for their splashy colors and outstanding physical conformation, the South Steens horses are a favorite of advocates, tourists, and photographers around the world.

According to the BLM, the operation, which begins on September 10, will remove approximately 500 horses, returning approximately 50 to the range, including up to 25 mares treated with Zonastat-H fertility control. This will leave approximately 780 horses on the range.  The agency claims the operation is necessary to prevent “undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands,” yet there is no mention of the impacts of livestock grazing on the HMA. The management plan for the South Steens horses was written back in 2015 and has not been updated to allow for changes in herd and range conditions, and it specifically excludes the removal of livestock as an HMA management option.

We appreciate Save Our Wild Horses for sharing the below graphics with us. These detailed fact sheets can tell you more about what is happening in the South Steens HMA.

South Steens Fact SHeet by Save our Wild Horses part 1

South Steens Fact Sheet by Save our Wild Horses Part 2

 

 

Noble One by Tori Gagne

Photo Credit: Tori Gagne

Three Re-Appointments to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Announced

 This week, the BLM announced three reappointments to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. This comes just less than a month before the advisory board is set to hold a meeting presenting recommendations on how to manage our nation’s wild horses and burros. These members will serve another three-year term on the board and work alongside the BLM to develop management techniques for the animals. 

The first member reappointed to her second term is Ms. Celeste Carlisle. Carlisle’s position on the board is in the category of Wild Horse and Burro Advocacy.  According to the BLM’s press release, Carlisle has “more than 10 years of field biology and equine management experience, and currently serves as the Biologist and Science Program Manager for the wild horse sanctuary and advocacy organization Return to Freedom.” In addition to this, Carlisle has a B.S. in equine animal science from Oregon State University and a B.A. in biology from the University of California. 

While we at WBF are encouraged to see the wild horse and burro advocacy position filled by a group with a focus on wild horse advocacy, we hope the BLM will eventually appoint a representative from a wild horse advocacy group that didn’t play a part in the creation of the “Path Forward,” the policy document that supports the agency’s current campaign of mass removals and incarceration. WBF feels that the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board needs to include advocates who support the humane management of wild equines on the range that doesn’t include removing them to accommodate commercial livestock. We encourage advocates with expertise in wild horses and public lands, and who are committed to on-range solutions, to continue seeking appointments to the Advisory Board.

The second reappointment, also serving his second term, is Dr. Thomas Lenz. The press release states that Dr. Lenz has worked for over 40 years as an equine practitioner and is a leading expert in the field of equine sciences. He is also the founding chair of the Unwanted Horse Coalition. Lenz will be serving in the category of equine medicine. We are concerned with Dr. Lenz’s many years of supporting the slaughter of horses and his continued opposition to the SAFE Act, which would protect American equines from being sold for slaughter in foreign meat plants for human consumption abroad. 

The final reappointment is Dr. Barry Perryman, a member also serving his second term in the category of public interest. The BLM release describes Perryman as “an accomplished writer and passionate advocate for responsible management of public lands. He teaches Rangeland Ecology and Management at the University of Nevada-Reno where he serves as the Department Chair for Agriculture, Veterinary and Rangeland Sciences, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources. Perryman has earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Rangeland Ecology and Management from the University of Wyoming, and a B.S. in Agronomy from Abilene Christian University.” Dr. Perryman is a vocal proponent of the mindset that labels wild horses and burros as “feral” and “invasive,” and for mass roundups to accommodate cattle and sheep.

 

Two Black and White Ponies by Sandy Sharkey

Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

This Week’s Calls To Action

Submit Your Public Comments to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board
The BLM will open public comments in person and virtually via Zoom during next month’s meeting of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. The live comment schedule is as follows:

 Tuesday, October 4, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. PT

Wednesday, October 5, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT

Thursday, October 6, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT

In-person and virtual commenters must register with the BLM at least three days in advance of the meeting.

Additionally, written comments should be emailed to the Advisory Board three days prior to the meeting at:

whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov

Comments emailed three days prior to the meeting will be considered during the meeting.

Find more information on how you can submit your comment here.

 

Alisha Newton

WBF’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest’s Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader: Alisha Newton

 

WBF is proud to announce that actor, Alisha Newton, will be joining us for the first time as a Celebrity Reader for our Second Annual Short Story Contest!

Alisha Newton is best known for her role as Georgie on CBC’s hit equine drama, Heartland. Newton appeared in film and television in her youth before booking a lead in the well-established series at the age of 10. Since then, she has starred in “The Tree that Saved Christmas”, “When Calls the Heart”, and “The Hollow”, among several more upcoming projects. 

Alisha grew up around horses, and her time on the film set only amplified her horse girl bug. She has become an avid equestrian since joining Heartland and currently competes in show jumping events in Canada and the United States during her time off. She trains throughout the year with her two horses, Aflame and Diva, who she has formed amazing bonds with.

We are so happy to have Newton read one of the brilliantly written stories by our winners this year!

Keep writing your stories!

The deadline to enter is October 31st, 2022 so be sure to get your stories in by then so they can be considered by our wonderful panel of judges. To learn more about the short story contest or submit your story, visit our website!

 

Bachelor Stallions by Chad Hanson

Photo Credit: Chad Hanson

BLM Begins Roundup Efforts of the Calico Complex

In Humboldt County, Nevada another large-scale helicopter roundup is set to begin this weekend. The Calico Complex, made up of the Black Rock Range, Calico Mountains, Granite Range McGee Mountain, and Warm Springs Canyon Herd Management Areas, accounts for over 580,000 acres of public land allocated for wild horses. 

According to the BLM’s “Appropriate Management Levels” the total number of horses in the complex should be no more than 952. With four HMAs included in this complex, that leaves each one with an extremely low population number of approximately 230 wild horses. Due to these low, and scientifically unproven AMLs, the BLM plans to round up a whopping 1,076 wild horses and release only 40 mares back into the wild after fertility control treatment. 

While reciting the same, repeated script to justify each roundup the BLM announced that they will begin the helicopter drive on or about Saturday, September 10th, 2022. 

This is yet another failure of our government officials to grant wild horses the protection they deserve. We support transparency for the management processes that the BLM implements and urge the community to stand with wild horses and condemn the use of low-flying helicopters in wild horse and burro management.

You can read more about the upcoming roundup here.

 

Green Mountain Mustangs by Carol Walker

Photo Credit: Carol Walker

BLM to Round Up Wild Horses from Oregon Private Property

This week, the Bureau of Land Management announced plans to conduct a bait and trap gathering of wild horses off private property adjacent to the Pokegama HMA. 

According to the press release, a private landowner requested their removal after they had ventured off of public HMA land. At this time, there is no estimate to how many horses are set to be removed. The BLM claims that the Appropriate Management Level for the HMA is 30-50 horses, despite an already low population of 230 horses currently living on the land.

The Pokegama herd are forest-dwelling horses with distinct and unique physical adaptations that make them unlike any other herd in the country. In the past, Pokegama horses removed by the government were highly sought-after by mustang enthusiasts in Germany. The danger of ongoing removals is that the Pokegama herd will be so severely reduced in number that their genetic viability will be jeopardized.

While they do not plan to use helicopter methods to round up these horses, any complete removal of wild horses from these lands could be potentially damaging to the population of the herd in the neighboring HMA. If possible, we believe these animals should be relocated back into the HMA to prevent overcrowding in holding facilities and give the horses another chance at freedom.

You can read more about this roundup on the BLM’s website.

 

The Wild Beauty Boutique

Introducing the Wild Beauty Boutique

The Wild Beauty Foundation is delighted to announce the launch of our very own online shop, the Wild Beauty Boutique! All proceeds benefit The Wild Beauty Foundation, and our work on behalf of wild horses and our upcoming educational programs for children.

Browse our new selection of wild horse-themed apparel, home goods, and accessories while protecting, preserving, and supporting wild horses in the process.

Shop the Wild Beauty Boutique

I Stand With Wild Horses V Neck

Show your support of our foundation by proudly wearing our official WBF shirts. You’ll be able to represent WBF every day of the week!

Out Searching for Wild Horses Camping Mug

Ready to go out onto the range?  Pour a cup of coffee in our “Out Search for Wild Horses” camping mug and experience the beauty of our wild world for yourself! The Wild Beauty Boutique also has a variety of exciting home goods and accessories. From doormats, cutting boards, phone cases and more.

Gone Riding Sign

Take home a little piece of our WILD BEAUTY: Mustang Spirit of the West documentary by shopping our “Treasures from the Journey” collection. These unique, one-of-a-kind pieces were collected from small roadside shops and antique stores as we traveled around the country during filming. 

By shopping at the Wild Beauty Boutique, you are helping to save a wild horse from a life in a holding facility, help a wild mustang to stay wild, and push an overall campaign to end the helicopter roundups once and for all. We at WBF thank you for your continued strength in standing with wild horses.

Keep an eye out for special discounts and offers included in upcoming newsletters!

Photo Credit: Kimerlee Curyl

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

This stunning image of a Wyoming wild horse by Kimerlee Curyl empowers us to rise against injustice and stand by our equine friends to create significant change.

 

henrydallalphotography/PA Wire/Shutterstock

A Quote to Graze On

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat;

instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

Queen Elizabeth II

 

Wise words from Queen Elizabeth II as we at WBF mourn the loss of a passionate horse lover and advocate for equine welfare.

 

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: September 3rd, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: September 3rd, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the sixteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of September 3rd, 2022

The Eye of Old Man

The eye of Old Man, an Onaqui wild horse from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West – Official Teaser

The Wild Beauty Foundation is proud to announce that the teaser for the upcoming documentary by filmmaker and WBF founder, Ashley Avis, has officially debuted!

After four years in the making, WILD BEAUTY will have its world premiere on the festival circuit this fall.

Get swept up into the world of the wild ones.  Through this cinematically stunning, immersive experience, viewers are led through the experience of being out on the range, and quite literally amongst a herd of galloping horses.  Our innovative footage of mustangs— eliciting their joys, families, hardships and plight— will take your breath away.  

Through WILD BEAUTY, we are hoping to raise a new, unprecedented awareness for the wild horses of today. Bringing these animals to the world stage will allow their voices to be heard, and encourage changes to be made in maintaining their protection.

We cannot wait to show you a glimpse of the breathtaking story of wildness that we have been inspired to tell.

To watch the full official teaser, click here!

Join us for the World Premiere of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West at Breckenridge Film Festival on September 18th, 2022 and  Boston Film Festival on September 23rd.

More festival dates are to be announced soon, so keep your eyes on our WBF social media pages to see if our documentary is screening at a festival near you!

 

A Wild Horse Silhouette in a Fiery Sunset by Jim Brown

Scott Beckstead Educates on the BLM’s Inhumane Roundup Plan

We announced in last week’s newsletter that Scott Beckstead, a lifelong horseman, equine expert, and animal advocate had joined the WBF team as Program Director for some very exciting future projects. 

Beckstead has been outspoken about the inhumane practices that the BLM implements during wild horse roundups in the past. Recently, he published an article in the Colorado Sun about the violence these horses are subjected to during government helicopter roundups in an effort to educate Colorado locals to stand with their state’s wild beauties.

“Sadly, as has become brutally clear with each roundup, the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program is little more than window dressing meant to convince the taxpayers that our wild equines are treated with kindness and respect,” Beckstead says.

We at WBF thank Scott for educating the public on the plight of the wild ones and advocating for change within the management system. 

You can read the full article from the Colorado Sun here.

 

Saved Soul by Kimerlee Curyl

Photo Credit: Kimerlee Curyl

Triple B Complex Mares Treated with Fertility Control to be Released

After the Triple B roundup outside of Ely, Nevada concluded last week, 50 mares were taken to a holding facility to be treated with equine contraceptive, GonaCon. According to a press release by the BLM, these mares will be treated with the vaccine this week and remain in holding until their second dose approximately 30 days later. 

The BLM estimates that these mares will be released back into the Triple B Complex around October 20, 2022. They encourage the public to view the release.

While it is comforting to know that these mares will be able to reclaim their freedom on the lands of the Triple B Complex, their bonded families were likely broken apart during the extensive helicopter roundups of last month. Now, these mares will heartbreakingly search for their lost family members and face the challenges of bringing social structure to the broken herds.

In addition to this, the contraceptive of choice by the BLM is GonaCon. Studies have shown that this hormone blocking GnRH impacts natural wild horse social behavioral structures and data has been found that proves GonaCon breaks down ovaries, leaving mares chemically sterilized after only 2 injections.

We at WBF believe that natural predation is the most effective population management solution. This is why we cannot eradicate predatory species in our country, for any shift in the food web can lead to an imbalance. Until this is achieved, this is why we feel that the BLM should only implement fertility control that is scientifically proven to be reversible.

 

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West Film Festival Graphic

This Week’s Calls To Action

Share the Wild Beauty Teaser

We at WBF aim to spread as much awareness as we can about the wild horse cause. By sharing the Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West teaser with your friends on social media, we can reach new audiences and inspire them to stand with wild horses too.  You can share this teaser directly from our WBF social media pages, or by forwarding this newsletter to your equine-loving friends. We thank you for advocating on behalf of the beauty of these magnificent animals.

#istandwithwild horses #wildbeautyspirit #wildhorseteamwork 

***

Submit a Public Comment to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting

 The BLM released a statement this week announcing an upcoming meeting of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. The board will meet October 4-6 at the Bureau of Land Management’s National Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona to discuss management responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Although many view the Advisory Board as a livestock industry mouthpiece (only one of the nine Board positions is allocated to horse advocates), we believe it is nevertheless important for advocates to comment and share their thoughts with the Board on improving the BLM’s wild horse and burro program.

During the meeting of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, the BLM will open public comments in person and virtually via Zoom. The comment schedule is as follows:

 Tuesday, October 4, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. PT

Wednesday, October 5, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT

Thursday, October 6, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT

In-person and virtual commenters must register with the BLM at least three days in advance of the meeting.

Written comments should be emailed to the Advisory Board at:

whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov 

Comments emailed three days prior to the meeting will be considered during the meeting.

Find more information on how you can submit your comment here.

Iain Glen as John Manly in Black Beauty for Disney+

WBF’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest’s Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader: Iain Glen

WBF is proud to announce that actor, Iain Glen, will be joining us again as a Celebrity Reader for our Second Annual Short Story Contest!

Leaving the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1985, having won the prestigious Bancroft Gold Medal, Iain immediately rose to prominence with his acclaimed performance as a charismatic gang leader in The Fear for Euston Films. Followed by his multi-award-winning tour de force as imprisoned Scottish poet Larry Winters in Silent Scream he was set for a rich and varied career. Few actors have managed to maintain a balance between stage and screen and achieved such success in both.

Iain has been described as “The greatest Scottish theater actor of his generation.” His many award-winning performances include Henry V and The Crucible at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Blue Room in the West End and on Broadway, and more recently Uncle Vanya.

Iain stars as the horse whisperer, John Manly, in Black Beauty for Disney+.

Some of his many acting credits include Game of Thrones, Resident Evil, Downton Abbey, and Jack Taylor.

We are so happy to have Glen read another brilliantly written story by one of our winners again this year!

Start writing your stories now!

The deadline to enter is October 31st, 2022 so be sure to get your stories in by then so they can be considered by our wonderful panel of judges. To learn more about the short story contest or submit your story, visit our website!

 

Wild Bay Stallion by Chad Hanson

Photo Credit: Chad Hanson

Chad Hanson Asks Wyoming to Evaluate the BLM’s Wild Horse Management

Author, professor, and photographer, Chad Hanson wrote to the WyoFile this week, advocating on behalf of wild horses to denounce the systematic removal of wild horses. Hanson is co-founder of the Wyoming Mustang Institute which works to maintain a stable population of wild horses on public lands. 

“Here we are in the third decade of the 21st century, and the federal agency charged with protecting wild horses is still working to eliminate them from their habitat. We still find our public lands perennially damaged by livestock and the effects of overgrazing. In some ways, very little has changed since the 1970s” says Hanson.

Chad’s full article can be found here. We thank him for prompting the officials of Wyoming to look into BLM’s management within their state and for educating locals on how they can stand with these beautiful creatures.

 

"In a Land of Awe" Book Cover

Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

“In a Land of Awe” Review

Additionally, Chad Hanson has recently published an inspiring book titled “In a Land of Awe: Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses” which is set to be released on September 13th, 2022.

WBF had the pleasure of reading Hanson’s book before the official release and we encourage everyone who is passionate about the wild horse fight to pick up their own copy.

“Hanson’s elegantly crafted tales of his own discovery of wild horses will strike the hearts of those who have been lucky to experience the force of a wild horse as well as those who dream to do so. With a background in Sociology, Hanson dives deep into the purpose of wild horses, both in their ecosystem and the realm of human imagination. We cannot bear to lose these magnificent symbols of wildness. 

There is something for everyone in this book; lessons learned from the ways of wild horses, stunning imagery of hoofbeats pounding the arid landscape, and a journey through the life of a symbol of America’s freedom.

Hanson’s delicate, yet informative approach to the plight of our nation’s mustangs will never be forgotten. His words resonate with you long after you set down the book. Hanson proves that we can learn much about ourselves and how to break the cycle of inhumanity by simply watching the ways of a wild horse.”

– The Wild Beauty Foundation

***

“Free-roaming bands of mustangs remind us that this country of ours is still wild, and thus, we are at least a little wild too.  A band of wild horses on a stretch of our grasslands act like a stained-glass window, bending and giving color to the light of creation’. ~ Chad Hanson, ‘In a Land of Awe:  Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses’.

Why does the sight of wild horses resonate so deeply into our souls?  What is it about these free spirits that give us pause to reflect on our own lives, and re-ignite the free spirit that exists in all of us?  In his beautifully written book ‘In a Land of Awe’, sociologist Chad Hanson details his life-changing encounter with wild horses and delves into the importance of their purpose not only on the landscape, but as rugged symbols of what we stand to lose if we abandon our connection to wild spaces.   

I loved this book.  Running across desert flats and mountain ridges, wild horses belong to no one and to everyone.  Despite mankind’s efforts, they fit no category.   Hanson bridges the complicated history of the wild horses’ rightful place on public lands, and the commercial industries that want them eradicated. 

 In his search for wild horses, Hanson found his sense of awe.  His book not only examines our feelings towards wild animals, it examines the way we feel about ourselves when we are immersed in their world.  ‘In a Land of Awe’ is a compelling, important read that will not only reinforce our need to protect America’s last wild mustangs, it will remind us that in doing so, we will restore our faith in decency, compassion, humanity, and the intrinsic value of wild spaces and wild animals for future generations.”

-Sandy Sharkey

Chad Hanson’s “In a Land of Awe: Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses” officially releases Sept 13th, but you can pre-order now on Amazon.

 

Adobe Town Mustangs by Carol Walker

Photograph by Carol Walker

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

Carol Walker’s gorgeous image from the Adobe Town HMA represents the wildness and freedom of our wild horses perfectly.

 

Wild Horses Under a Golden Sunset from the Wild Beauty Documentary

Wild horses under a molten sunset from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

A Quote to Graze On

“I stand with the greater wild world,

with the inhabitants of our Earth that have basked in the growth of a thousand sunsets.”

-WBF Youth Advocate, Josselyn Wolf

This moving excerpt from a poem by our lovely Youth Advocate, Josselyn Wolf, gracefully portrays the beauty of our wild horses.

We thank Josselyn for being a powerhouse in the wild horse fight and for using her eloquent voice to stand with them.

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: August 27th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: August 27th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the fifteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of August 27th, 2022

A Group of Salt Wells Creek Wild Horses Look at the Camera

Photograph by Carol Walker

Bible Springs Roundup Draws to a Close

The Blawn Wash and Bible Springs roundup concluded on August 20th after a two-week helicopter drive. According to an official report, the BLM was cut short of their targeted removal number of 410 wild horses, instead rounding up 305 animals. WBF is encouraged to hear that more than 100 wild horses, who were destined to be stripped of their freedom, were able to avoid the helicopters for now. Thankfully, no horses were injured during this roundup and there was only one euthanasia due to supposed blindness.

The removed horses have been shipped to the Axtell Off-Range Holding Facility in Utah where they will remain in crowded, unsanitary pens until, WBF hopes, they are adopted by reliable buyers. Unfortunately, not all wild horses who are rounded up are lucky enough to be given a safe and caring home. Many end up in neglectful hands or are cruelly abandoned at kill pens; destined for the slaughter pipeline. Some horses in holding may never see outside of the facility grounds.

According to first-hand accounts of wild horse advocates on the scene, the foaling season was not yet over in this HMA and there were several newborn foals and heavily pregnant mares involved in this roundup. We at WBF believe that these types of roundups should not occur during foaling season or when there are very young foals on the ground. The high temperatures of the summer months paired with exhaustion from being run for miles across the range can cause extreme injuries, potentially leading to fatality.

Fortunately, the contractors responsible for this roundup seemed to follow most animal welfare policies according to witnesses, resulting in a safer roundup for all involved. However, this is not usually the case for most helicopter roundups that HMAs across the country face. We at WBF hope that helicopter use will become an antiquated operation and that developments of new, humane management practices will take their place.

The Silhouettes of Wild Horses Running Over a Ridge

Updates on the Triple B Roundup

In the Triple B HMA outside of Ely, Nevada, one of the largest and deadliest roundups so far this year wraps up. While the helicopter roundup, removal, and shipping is now over after passing the 40-day mark, the BLM will begin implementing fertility control to 50 mares who will be released back into the wild.

There are currently an estimated 3,475 wild horses living free in this HMA. The BLM claims that the Appropriate Management Level for this herd is 482-821, meaning that their removal goal is nearly 2,000 wild horses. This incredible population of horses will now be subject to overcrowded holding facilities while the remaining horses on the range will struggle to keep up with population stability on over 1,230,000 acres of land.

Not only is this extravagant number of captured horses likely to suffer unhealthy conditions in holding, but the mares released will also be treated with a potentially irreversible contraceptive. Studies show that GonaCon, the fertility control vaccine the BLM has announced they will be using in this HMA, is reported in some instances to cause ovaries to shrivel in mares and potential sterilization.

According to an official BLM report, 1,897 horses have been rounded up in this HMA as of August 25th. Only 25 stallions have been released, with the remaining 1,849 horses being shipped to Indian Lakes Off-Range Holding Facility and Sutherland Holding Facility. Unfortunately, 23 horses have lost their lives due to this unnecessarily dangerous roundup.

We at WBF urge the BLM to ground their helicopters and reconsider their wild horse and burro management practices. We will not stop until no wild horse has to fear the descending whirl of helicopter blades as they flee away from their lifelong home.

 

Short Story Contest Graphic

WBF’s Short Story Contest on EquiMed

We would like to thank EQUIMED for sharing our 2nd Annual Short Story Competition in their online publication this week!

WBF is delighted to be able to reach more equine-loving children and teens through the horse health and wellness based news source.

You can read the full press release here!

 

Wild Horses Stand Atop a Hill

Photo Credit: Chad Hanson

This Week’s Call To Action

Submit a Public Comment on the Roberts Mountain Complex Environmental Assessment

This week, the BLM announced the Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Roberts Mountain, Fish Creek, and Whistler Mountain HMAs located in Eureka County, Nevada.

Outlined in this 10-year assessment was a plan to maintain an AML of 110-184 wild horses by the methods of roundup, removal, and fertility control.

We want to present the BLM with informed alternatives to helicopter roundups and urge them to use only safe, reversible fertility control methods. The management of each HMA individually is essential in advocating for wild horses as a whole.

The review will be available for public comment until September 20th, 2022.

Comments may be submitted using three different methods:

Through the BLM’s ePlanning web page

via email to

BLM_NV_RobertsComplexWildHorseGatherEA@blm.gov

or in writing by mailing your comment letter to

Bureau of Land Management,

Attention: Jon Sherve, Field Manager,

50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820.

 

A Grey Wild Horse Canters Through the Green Mountain HMA

Photograph by Carol Walker

Roundup of Utah’s Frisco HMA to Begin This Week

Beginning Monday, August 29th, the BLM will round up approximately 100 wild horses from the Frisco HMA in southwestern Utah. The helicopter gather is scheduled to last five days over the course of next week.

The current population of this herd is 137 wild horses, an already extremely low number for a wild horse herd. According to the BLM, the Appropriate Management Level is a shocking 30-60 animals on nearly 50,000 acres of public land. This is completely genetically unsustainable for a wild horse herd and will potentially lead to the complete eradication of the wild horses in this herd management area.

We at WBF believe the Bureau of Land Management’s AMLs are not scientifically proven and favor the commercial livestock grazers that benefit from public land usage. These low AMLs will only damage the wild horse population, and in turn, cost taxpayers thousands of dollars while being imprisoned in holding facilities.

 

Mackenzie Foy with a horse

Mackenzie Foy & Whisper of the Wild; PC: Kimerlee Curyl

WBF’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest’s Equine-Loving Celebrity Reader: Mackenzie Foy

Joining our wonderful troop of equine-loving celebrity judges for the second year is actress and WBF ambassador, Mackenzie Foy!

One of Hollywood’s most exciting young actresses, Mackenzie stars as Jo in the Disney+ feature film “Black Beauty ”, written, directed, and edited by WBF founder and filmmaker, Ashley Avis. Her time filming “Black Beauty ” sparked a passion for horses. She gained a deep admiration for the animals and learned about the challenges they face. During the creation of Black Beauty, Mackenzie adopted her first horse named Don who she has created a wonderful connection with over the years.

This summer Mackenzie welcomed the newest horse into her life, WBF rescue “Whisper of the Wild”. Upon hearing Whisper’s touching rescue story, Mackenzie felt an instant connection. You can read Whisper’s full story here! She adopted Whisper in June and has been working alongside her during rehabilitation after her stressful experiences in the kill pen.

Some of Mackenzie’s other notable film roles include Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”, the animated film “The Little Prince”, and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” where she garnered worldwide recognition as Renesmee.

We are so proud to have Mackenzie as a Legacy Ambassador for The Wild Beauty Foundation and thank her for lending her voice to our Short Story Contest again this year!

Start writing your stories now!

The deadline to enter is October 31st, 2022 so be sure to get your stories in by then so they can be considered by our wonderful panel of judges. To learn more about the short story contest or submit your story, visit our website!

 

Scott Beckstead

Welcome Scott Beckstead to the WBF Team

The Wild Beauty Foundation is pleased to welcome Scott Beckstead to the WBF team as Program Director, overseeing WBF’s Wild Horse Week Educational Program.

Beckstead has always been passionate about animal welfare, leading animal protection to play a significant role in his professional career. He gained experience in Animal Law while owning his own law firm from 1994-2008 and now teaches the subject at the University of Oregon College of Law and Willamette University College of Law.

Beckstead has assumed positions with the Humane Society, and more recently Animal Wellness Action and Center for A Humane Economy, where he serves as their director of campaigns.

“A top priority for me is and always will be saving horses both wild and domestic from cruelty, abuse, and slaughter,” Beckstead affirms.

We are glad to have Scott on our team, and look forward to his contributions as we bring Wild Horse Week to schools around the country this spring!

Wyoming Mustangs in a Waterhole

Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

Five wild horses wade in a waterhole, beautifully captured by Sandy Sharkey on her recent trip to Wyoming.

This is the life every wild horse deserves.

 

A Quote to Graze On

Choose only one master – nature”

– Rembrandt

Listen to nature all around you and you will feel its influence in your soul.

Let the wild world be your guide.

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: August 20th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: August 20th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the fourteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of August 20th, 2022

Sunset Silhouettes of Wild Horses by Jim Brown

Photograph by Jim Brown

Proposed Nevada Holding Facility Faces Lawsuit

After what advocates say was a rushed process, the Bureau of Land Management was served with a lawsuit by Friends of Animals (FOA) to halt the construction of what would be the largest wild horse holding facility in the country. Located on private land near Winnemucca, Nevada, the facility would accommodate 4,000 wild horses and burros in barren feedlot conditions. Filed on August 16th, 2022 in the Reno, Nevada U.S District Court, this lawsuit claims that the BLM “rushed through the approval process without considering the impacts of the facility on wild horses and burros or the local community.”

Facilities like the one being planned in Winnemucca have been condemned by horse advocates for the awful welfare conditions of the animals in holding. Many of these facilities do not have shade, or shelter from the elements and keep large numbers of animals confined in unhygienic conditions – the perfect environment for the kind of disease outbreak that occurred last spring in Cañon City, Colorado, where nearly 150 horses lost their lives to equine influenza. Despite these deplorable housing conditions, the BLM still has nearly 60,000 horses stockpiled in government and private holding facilities; and the number will only continue to swell as the agency clears thousands of horses and burros from their rangeland home to accommodate commercial livestock grazing and mineral/energy development. Soon we fear that there will be more wild horses incarcerated in holding facilities than living free in the wild.

We must take a stand to prevent these statistics from becoming a reality.

The FOA complaint alleges, “The BLM wrongly concluded a full-blown, year-long environmental impact review wasn’t necessary for JS Livestock Inc.’s holding pens on 100 acres of private land near Winnemucca”. Advocates believe this process was rushed in order to appease the livestock ranchers by speeding up the construction of the holding facility so more mass helicopter roundups and removals can take place.

The proposed facility would be capable of holding more than double the capacity of the largest operating facility at this time, Palomino Valley, near Reno. Currently, this off-range “management” plan costs taxpayers $50 million dollars annually. We at the Wild Beauty Foundation will continue to press the case that our wild equines should be restored to their rightful place on the range, that livestock, not wild equines, should be removed in the event of overgrazing, and that the animals should be humanely managed on the range. Helicopter roundups are plainly cruel and strongly opposed by most Americans. Wild horses and burros belong on our public lands, not languishing in misery in barren feedlots at taxpayer expense.

Chief and Mares Headshots

Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

The Twin Peaks Roundup is Over

On August 15th, 2022 the BLM concluded the Twin Peaks wild horse and burro roundup along the California/Nevada border. The Twin Peaks HMA encompasses over 758,000 acres, yet the BLM claims that the “Appropriate Management Level” is a mere 448-758 wild horses and 72-116 wild burros. The roundup lasted over three weeks, and from it, the BLM rounded up 2,450 horses and 339 burros. Over 20 horses were killed by the BLM in the course of the operation.

According to the BLM’s press release for this roundup, the agency had planned to remove 1,868 wild horses and treat an additional 110 mares with fertility control and release them back into the wild. Unfortunately, the number of removed and shipped horses was much greater after the roundup concluded. The BLM reported that 2,415 horses were sent to off-range holding and only 27 horses were released. There were also no reports of any mares being treated with fertility control. In an update issued Wednesday, the BLM claims to have only captured 2,111 wild horses, though they have yet to update their official roundup website to reflect that.

We at WBF are discouraged to see helicopter roundups of this magnitude continue across our western states and the loss of life that is the inevitable consequence. In the past year alone, hundreds of wild horses and burros have been killed or lost their lives in the course of the helicopter roundups. Nearly half of these horses died from preventable, sudden injuries experienced while being chased by low-flying helicopters, while others were euthanized by the BLM despite being perfectly capable of surviving in the wild with conditions such as being older or being blind in one eye. 

Perhaps most heartbreaking was the death of a four-month-old foal who collapsed in the holding pen. The BLM reports that the filly “died shortly after collapsing on arrival at the capture pen. Veterinarian performed a necropsy and determined the foal had severe pneumonia, with only 20 percent of lung capacity.” Considering how young this foal was, WBF suspects the foal collapsed from being run to exhaustion and likely being trampled within the holding pen. Deaths and injuries are the reality of roundups, yet despite the death toll and what public observers document and publish the BLM continues to tell the American people that helicopters are a humane way to roundup and remove wild horses. Forcing the BLM to tell the truth and stop misrepresenting itself to the American people is a critical part of our fight to fundamentally transform how our federal government treats these federally protected animals.

According to the BLM’s website, the Twin Peaks HMA has nine livestock grazing allotments. In other words, despite designating the HMA as wild horse habitat pursuant to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM continues to prioritize livestock companies and their profits which are heavily subsidized by the American taxpayer, over the wild horses and wildlife. If we do not hold the BLM accountable for the misuse of this land, our protected species are likely to suffer. It will likely take action by Congress to impose accountability and transparency and pass fundamental reforms that reflect the will and values of the American people on the subject of wild horses and burros and the best use of our public lands.

 

Short Story Contest Graphic

WBF’s Second Annual Short Story Contest: Meet our Judges!

Last week we kicked off our second annual Short Story Competition for kids and teens and we cannot wait to read your submissions!

In this week’s newsletter, we would like to introduce you to our panel of judges!

ASHLEY AVIS

Ashley Avis is the Writer & Director of Disney’s Black Beauty and the upcoming documentary Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West as well as the Founder & President of WBF. 

Ashley’s great hope is to illuminate important issues horses are going through today through the platform of her film projects while reaching a younger demographic through positive messaging and education.

RICK REKEDAL

Rick Rekedal was the Former Chief Creative of the Global Franchise Group at Dreamworks Animation (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, How to Train Your Dragon).

 Rick is passionate about storytelling and the creative process behind it and looks forward to reading your stories!

TERRI FARLEY

Terri Farley is the Best-selling author of Seven Tears into the Sea, The Phantom Stallion series for young readers about the contemporary and historic West, and several nonfiction articles for magazines.

The Phantom Stallion series has been adored by horse-loving children since its debut in 2002 and introduced many kids to the story of America’s wild horses.

JAMIE JENNINGS

Jamie Jennings is a Certified Monty Roberts Instructor and host of the podcast Horses in the Morning.

She is a longtime equestrian who finds joy in training horses and people to be the best that they can be.

GINI BARRETT

Gini Barrett is a Consultant for Animal Planet and Discovery Communications. She is an expert in public policy analysis, government affairs, and public relations.

Her lifelong love of animals has led her to become an advocate for animal welfare and lend her hand to numerous organizations working to support the humane treatment of animals.

EDWARD WINTERS

Edward Winters is the Executive Producer of Disney’s Black Beauty and Lead Producer of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West. He is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of WBF and President of Winterstone Pictures.

Passionate about casting light on underrepresented issues, Edward is proud to use his entertainment platform and background to further the mission of The Wild Beauty Foundation.

RICHARD AVIS

Richard Avis is a Los Angeles based producer who has worked on shows such as MasterChef (Fox), Temptation Island (USA), Making It (NBC), and many other TV/Film projects.

He has always had an affinity and love for wildlife and animals leading him to be an active WBF member and Producer of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West.

ELIZABETH MCCALL

Elizabeth is an author, journalist, and publicist working for companies such as The Los Angeles Times, Horse Illustrated, Cowboys & Indians, and more.

Her book The Tao of Horses: Exploring How Horses Guide Us on Our Spiritual Path shows how horses transform the way we see the world, interact with our environment, and handle challenges.

WBF is thrilled to have another year of amazing and inspirational judges! We thank each judge for their participation in this competition.

Start thinking about your stories now!

The deadline to enter is October 31st, 2022 so be sure to get your stories in by then so they can be considered by our wonderful panel of judges. To learn more about the short story contest or submit your story, visit our website!

 

#istandwithwildhorses

WBF Youth Ambassador, Josselyn W., presents her sign for the 2021 #istandwithwildhorses campaign.

This Week’s Call To Action

Participate in the 2022 #IStandWithWildHorses Campaign

We at WBF strive to bring wild horses to the public eye through film, writing, and community-driven events. Most importantly, we want to show those who may not know wild horses exist their beauty and urge them to support their fight to keep their freedom. This starts with standing with them yourself and sharing your support on your own social media accounts! Last year, we kicked off our 2021 #IStandWithWildHorses photo campaign, and this year we are bringing it back just in time for the world premiere of WILD BEAUTY in September! 

Promoting this campaign is easy, simply make a sign using any creative method of your choice that says:

I Stand with Wild Horses

And snap a photo proudly holding the banner and post it to your social media accounts!

Make sure to tag The Wild Beauty Foundation and use the hashtags 

#istandwithwildhorses  #wildhorseteamwork #wildbeautyspirit

To see examples and learn full details, visit our website.

 

A Horse Stars into the Camera by Kimerlee Curyl

Photograph by Kimerlee Curyl

BLM Announces Two New Roundups

This week, the BLM announced two new proposed roundups, one of which is planned within the coming month. In a press release, the BLM introduced plans for yet another helicopter roundup, this time in the South Steens HMA in Oregon. The South Steens horses are known and beloved for their striking colors and robust health, having adapted perfectly to their rugged habitat on the high desert of eastern Oregon. This HMA just saw a roundup of approximately 200 horses in 2020. Now, the BLM is claiming the population has surpassed their AML of 159-304 horses on 130,000 acres and they will be removing another estimated 450 horses. We at WBF feel that this number is genetically unsustainable and could lead to a decline in overall genetic health and diversity.

While the roundup is still being considered, the BLM issued a decision to move forward with population control in the Cedar Mountain HMA in Utah. Like almost all other roundups, the BLM recites their false narrative that “the decision underscores the need for the continued protection of rangeland conditions and the health of wild horse herds.” WBF believes this is patently false, and their removal is not based on science, but on the wishes of the livestock companies who graze their cattle and sheep on the HMA. Similarly to the South Steens HMA, this herd has also been accorded an extremely low AML of 190-390 horses. Recall that in 2013, the Academy of Science issued a report on the BLM’s wild horse and burro program that specifically called out the agency for its methodology in setting AMLs, saying the AML numbers are not based on science and the process was lacking transparency.

We must put an end to these unnecessary roundups by the BLM before our wild horse population creeps any closer to extinction. Join us in standing with wild horses and protecting their beauty for the generations to follow us.

 

Grace Reins Logo

Connecting Mind, Body, and Spirit with a Wild Horse

An Interview with Erin Cain of Grace Reins

WBF recently sat down with lifelong horse lover, Erin Cain – the founder of the equine-assisted therapy nonprofit, Grace Reins– for a conversation about protecting our wild horses and the therapeutic benefits of connecting with an equine partner. Cain joined us over Zoom from her beautiful ranch in Telluride, Colorado where she partners her clients with one of her eight horses and walks them through connecting their mind, body, and spirit with the horse. Her clients range from all ages– from children who are battling trauma, to veterans seeking to reconnect– and they all seem to experience an inexplicable catharsis from working with these noble animals.

Cain’s passion for wild horses is evident; in fact, seven out of her eight horses are mustangs rescued from the wild. The majority of Cain’s horses used to roam freely throughout the countless grassy acres of HMAs in Utah and Nevada, until one fateful day they would have their freedom stripped away by Bureau of Land Management roundups. After being terrified, traumatized, and imprisoned by the BLM, Cain became their saving grace. Now, these wonderful animals have a family once more, and a renewed purpose in life through Grace Reins.

Cain notes that she is extremely proud to be able to provide these horses with the safety and comfort that they deserve after experiencing the agonizing events of a helicopter roundup. To the clients of Grace Reins and beyond, these rescued horses are living proof that even after something so terrible– trust can be rebuilt, wounds can be healed, and even trauma can be mended.

Bridget in the Wild

Bridget as a foal in the wild (2015)

One particular horse rescued by Cain goes by the name of Bridget, and she has quite an unlikely story. Bridget was once a mare of the legendary Onaqui herd, with a family band, a stallion, and likely a few foals of her own. Yet, the BLM roundups were looming just over the horizon. Bridget would run as fast as her legs could carry her, but eventually she– like many others– was caught. Soon, Bridget would find herself in the hot, shadeless penitentiary known as the Delta Wild Horse & Burro Facility in Utah.

Being closed to the public, all one can observe from outside the featureless chain link fence of this facility are the sorrowful whinnies and neighs of the captured horses.

But Cain and her husband had made Bridget a vow long before the roundup had taken her, back when they would see her in the wild.

“We made a promise to Bridget,” Cain told us, “that if she was ever rounded up, we would find her.”And luckily, Cain and her husband were able to make true to their word. But Bridget had one more surprise in store– turns out, she was pregnant!

Bridget had her colt, who Cain fittingly named Saint, after settling in at Grace Reins, and Cain reports that he has been a joy to her ranch ever since.

Bridget and her Newborn Colt

Bridget and her newborn colt, Saint, at Grace Reins 

When asked her thoughts on the treatment of wild horses, Cain replied, “We need to maintain the population of wild horses that roam free in our country, and we need to stop traumatizing at the very least. These horses should be left where they are. If there is some proven reason for them to be removed from where they are, which thus far we have not seen nor heard, there would have to be humane relocation and a foolproof adoption process put in place”

Cain advocates for more regulated adoptions; a process she has gone through many times to adopt the horses she finds partnerships in at Grace Reins. It is reported that the programs that are supposed to check up on adopted horses and make sure they are being cared for properly are not implemented efficiently by the BLM. The lack of inspection, we at WBF urge, can lead to neglected horses and in worse cases animals being sent to slaughter. Thankfully, Cain’s horses have nothing to worry about, but it begs the question– what about the horses who aren’t as lucky?

However they arrived at Grace Reins, the mustangs find a new purpose in the therapeutic work they do. “Horses live in the moment,” Cain says, explaining that this is why they are the perfect addition to therapeutic programs. She explains that even though they focus on the moment in front of them, what her wild horses have been through is evident. While they haven’t forgotten their past, they have found a way to live with their present. Children especially, she recounts, often hear the stories about the wild horses and connect to their experiences, seeing that if the horse can move forward, perhaps they can too.

“There is such a beautiful portal into children that the mustangs story helps to soften. A story of resilience and success in healing” says Cain.

Grace Reins not only works with young children through grief, behavioral, and confidence-building therapy but also partners with the Wounded Warrior Project and provides military service members and veterans a safe space to ground themselves by the connection they share with a horse. She talks about how veterans and mustangs seem to “just get each other.” Truly, they are both often presented as a symbol of freedom but are all too often discarded by the government agencies that are supposedly there to protect them. Grace Reins provides them with the opportunity to be needed, wanted, and appreciated. “Groups of veterans and a feeling of value, and are shown that they are needed here for both the people and horses,” says Cain.

Erin Cain 1

Erin Cain and Liberty

Unlike other equine-assisted therapy programs, Grace Reins primarily uses groundwork to focus on the connection with an equine partner. Cain works one on one in a round pen or outdoor arena with most of her clients, creating an intimate, safe environment for both the client and the horse. By eliminating the riding aspect of horses, the pressure is taken away from both the horse and the human. This way, Cain says, the horse becomes the teacher.

Cain hopes that after completing a session at Grace Reins, her clients “Take a little piece of this reset and continue forward with that in mind.”

Cain’s main priority now is working to build the infrastructure of their organization so they can help more people and horses alike.

We are incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about Grace Reins from Erin Cain and are especially thankful for her support of, and commitment to our wild horses.

If you are interested in learning more about Grace Reins or know someone who would be interested in their services, check out their website here and forward to a friend!

Picasso the Sand Wash Basin Stallion

Photograph by Carol Walker

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

A wild image of the well-known Sand Wash Basin stallion, Picasso, frolicking through the brush was captured by Carol Walker.

 

A Quote to Graze On

If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse…

But surely you will see the wildness!

Pablo Picasso

Comparable to the beauty of the range; you might not be able to see a horse, but you can feel the wildness. Harness this wildness in your own creativity, and in turn, you can use it to stand with our wild horses.

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: August 13th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: August 13th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the thirteenth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of August 13th, 2022

Mackenzie Foy and Ghost greeting

Mackenzie Foy and Ghost during “A Day with a Horse” Event for St. Jude

WBF’s Second Annual Short Story Competition Now Accepting Submissions

Do you want to raise your voice to help horses while being creative at the same time?  Elementary students (ages 5-10), Middle-grade students (ages 10-14), and High School students (ages 14-18) are invited to submit a short story for WBF’s second annual Short Story competition!

The 2022 theme will be “Connection & Wild Horses”

Winning stories will be read aloud by equine-loving celebrities on our WBF social media, with one Grand Prize Winner and Four Finalists in each category receiving amazing prizes!

Start thinking about your stories now!

Entries Open: August 13th, 2022

Submissions Close: October 31st, 2022

Winners Announced: Late November!

Check out the details for this year’s competition here!

 

A Still of the Delta Holding Facility from Wild Beauty

A still of the Delta Holding Facility from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

Utah Off-Range Holding Facility Evaluations Released

This week, The Salt Lake Tribune released an article highlighting the recent evaluations to come out of holding facilities in their state. In late June, Utah’s three primary off-range holding facilities were inspected per the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program. The Delta, Axtell, and Sutherland holding facilities were noncompliant with biosecurity standards, with all three facilities scoring between 85 and 88 (out of a possible 100 percent compliance).

Axtell holding facility received an overall animal welfare score of 88% on their evaluation, with the key concern being horses left without vaccination boosters for up to 18 months.

Similarly at Sutherland, horses were left unvaccinated for rabies, tetanus, equine flu, and other contagious diseases. Another concern at this facility was healthy horses sharing pens with sick horses. Per the BLM guidelines, sick horses must be quarantined from the rest of the healthy population, leaving Sutherland holding facility with a score of 87.

The only BLM-owned and operated facility, Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility, received the lowest overall animal welfare score of 85%. Delta was also non-compliant on biosecurity standards concerning testing and vaccination, as well as housed sick and healthy horses in pens together. In addition to the health concerns, Delta was cited for having unsafe fence panels and gates, putting horses at risk of serious injury, and the transfer of horses between facilities without proper documentation. 

The high scores the BLM gave itself in spite of serious biosecurity deficiencies, failure to vaccinate, and dangerous conditions in the facilities is problematic and reminds us of the agency’s self-assessment score of 83 when it evaluated the holding facility at Cañon City, Colorado, where nearly 150 wild horses died from an outbreak of influenza. A more honest and transparent means of auditing these facilities would be for independent veterinarians and equine welfare experts to be allowed to inspect them and issue a report detailing their findings. We will continue to encourage the BLM to be open to greater honesty and transparency, and to welcoming outside experts to participate in the assessment process.

With these new reviews now under in the public eye, we can only hope that this encourages the BLM to take action in improving their facilities for the safety of the wild horses they are managing. We thank Anastasia Hufham for writing this article and standing with wild horses.

 

Two Horses Stand Side by Side by Chad Hanson

Photograph by Chad Hanson

BLM Announces Potential Herd Management Partnerships with Private and Public Groups

 This week, the BLM issued a press release announcing opportunities for local and state governments, tribes, federal agencies, and non-profit organizations to support the management of our country’s wild horses and burros. The Bureau of Land Management introduced new grants available to interested partners that would assist in protecting wild horses and burros on public lands. 

The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Division Chief explained that these groups would help improve habitat quality, find homes for wild horses in holding, and/or apply birth control on the range. While we at WBF do not condone the inhumane actions of the BLM and their contractors during this year’s roundup season, it is encouraging to know that if the BLM honors this program, there is potential for more direct involvement by groups who aim to safely protect and stand with our wild horses and their rightful place on our public lands.

If executed appropriately, this plan could promote education and partnership between wild horse activists, the government officials that manage our wild horses, and the general public. We at WBF have seen the BLM’s failure to act on similar proposals in the past, and urge the public to hold them accountable for following through with these newly announced partnerships. 

We hope that the BLM carries out these plans effectively and allows honorable wild horse organizations and knowledgeable groups to be involved in the management of the country’s wild horse population. We will bring you updates when partnerships are announced and the BLM’s plan is implemented. Until then, you can read the announcement here and learn how to submit an application to join the cause.

 

This Week’s Call To Action

#WildHorseTeamwork

Share a Photo with the Hashtag #WildHorseTeamwork

This is where you come in.

At WBF, we believe that we are stronger together. Wild horses need our collective voices, which is why we would like to encourage everyone to participate in #wildhorseteamwork

Join us! Share this banner on your social media pages if you believe in it, too!

#istandwithwildhorses

Galloping Wild Horses by Carol Walker

Photograph by Carol Walker

Photographer Carol Walker Urges BLM to Better Protect Colorado’s Wild Horses

In a recent article in the Denver Post, wildlife photographer and friend of WBF, Carol Walker, voiced her opinions on the record roundups of Colorado’s wild horse herds. She told the Denver Post first-hand accounts of how she has witnessed the BLM mistreat wild horses within the state, voicing “While Colorado BLM agents continually assure us of their commitment to ‘humane handling and treatment of wild horses and burros’, the spectacle of these chaotic exercises in ‘management’ and documented results tell another story”

Carol is the author of the upcoming book, “Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert” in which she follows the Red Desert wild horse herd for several years, documenting their life in the wild until the helicopter descends and takes them away from their life of freedom. In this book, Carol continues to fight for the animals she spent so much time with; attending adoption events, tracking down family members, and making sure that the herd finds peace in a safe sanctuary.

We thank Carol for using her voice to stand with the rest of the state’s wild horses to keep another inhumane helicopter roundup from happening again. You can read her full article from this week’s issue of The Denver Post here!

 

Wild Beauty Screenshot

A still of the title card of the upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

It’s Official! Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West to Debut at Breckenridge Film Festival

If you did not attend our Facebook Live with the lovely Kimerlee Curyl, you might have missed our very exciting announcement about our upcoming documentary, Wild Beauty! Kimerlee joined us live to discuss positivity, creativity and finding your own agency within the wild horse world, all important topics that we cannot forget as we stand with wild horses. You can watch the full recording of the Facebook Live here!

We are excited to announce that the world premiere of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West will be September 18th at the Breckenridge Film Festival in Colorado! 

With just a little over a month before the film’s world premiere, we cannot wait to be able to bring wild horses to the world stage! The premiere will be followed by Wild Beauty’s debut at the Boston Film Festival on September 24th where we hope to spread even more awareness about the beauty of our wild horses!

We at WBF thank everyone who was involved in bringing this documentary to life and look forward to sharing more about the film as it makes its film festival debut this fall! For those who wish to see the film, we encourage you to purchase tickets to the events and come and find us as we bring the beauty of wild horses to the screen!

Breckenridge Film Festival & Boston Film Festival

 

Two Wild Horses Against the Mountains by Jim Brown

Photograph by Jim Brown

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

Photographer Jim Brown captures a breathtaking scene as two wild horses run playfully across the open range.

 

A Herd of Wild Horses on the Mountainside by Tori Gagne

Photograph by Tori Gagne


A Quote to Graze On

“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for”

-Ernest Hemingway

There is no beauty quite like our wild world. We must continue to protect its natural artistry during our time so it can be inherited by the generations to follow.

 

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: August 6th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: August 6th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the twelfth edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of August 6th, 2022

A Wild Horse Looks into the Camera in a Still from our upcoming "Wild Beauty" Documentary

A still from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

Updates Regarding the Triple B and Blue Wing Roundups


This week, the BLM is in the process of two extensive roundups in Nevada, in the Triple B and Blue Wing HMAs. The Triple B HMA is close to our hearts at WBF as it was the location we first witnessed a roundup live, and were able to capture the shocking sight for our upcoming documentary, Wild Beauty. This tragic roundup occurred no more than three years ago, and yet so soon the HMA is facing another brutal defeat.

The Triple B roundup began on July 15th, and since then approximately 747 wild horses have been stripped from their home. This already heartbreaking number is only a portion of the BLM’s planned 1,800 horses to be removed. As of August 6th, 16 horses have already unnecessarily lost their lives. Many of these horses were euthanized for “deformities” that they would have previously lived long lives in the wild, such as sway backs and club feet.

WBF supports that these narratives constructed by the BLM to excuse their roundup efforts is false, and allows them to prioritize special interests such as livestock grazing on the public land instead.

As for the Blue Wing Complex roundup, the BLM estimated that there were approximately 1,695 wild horses and 1,327 wild burros living on over 2,283,000 acres split up between five HMAs and four Herd Areas. The BLM plans to remove approximately 200 wild horses and 800 wild burros from this expansive area of public land. WBF supports that over 2,000,000 acres is more than enough land for the current population to thrive and there is no scientific evidence as to why this amount of wild horses and burros should be removed from this area. 

As of August 5th, 693 wild burros were rounded up from the Blue Wing Complex. Six wild burros died during this roundup. Along with wild horses, we must lend our voice to wild burros as well. These beautiful animals face similar roundups by the BLM and unfortunately do not get as much public attention as our wild horses do. With your help, we can stand up for wild horses and burros and fight to keep them free.

 

Mackenzie Foy and Whisper of the Wild photographed by Kimerlee Curyl

Mackenzie Foy and Whisper of the Wild photographed by Kimerlee Curyl

Coming Soon: WBF 2022 Short Story Writing Competition

WBF is excited to announce that our Second Annual Short Story Writing Competition for children and teens is about to launch! This year, the official theme is “Connection and Wild Horses”. We will be revealing the full list of amazing actors participating very soon, so keep an eye out on our social media platforms for the announcement!

Kicking off our participating actors is Black Beauty’s, Mackenzie Foy! This will be Mackenzie’s second year participating in this competition and we are so proud to have her as a WBF Ambassador.

Full details will be posted later this week and we will begin taking entries shortly after the official announcement.  This year will also include a new age category per your feedback and requests.  We will be including Elementary age children between 5-10, in addition to Middle Grade ages of 10-14, and High School at 14-18.

We at WBF thank all the children and teens lending their creativity to help save wild horses.

 

A Wild Mustang Rears Above Another in a Photograph Taken by Carol Walker

Photograph by Carol Walker


Wheatland Off-Range Corral Continues to Spark Controversy Concerning Wild Horse Safety


An off-range holding facility located in Wheatland, Wyoming has recently come under fire for its lack of public statements regarding a strangles outbreak at their facility. Back in April, we covered a story on this private facility as they were working to contain a strangles outbreak. This highly contagious bacterial infection is similar to strep throat in humans and causes horses to have trouble eating and breathing.

Prior to the BLM releasing a statement on the outbreak, the adoption event at their facility was canceled due to “staffing shortages”. When this narrative was repeated in April, advocates and potential adopters sparked concern. This then led the BLM to publicly announce the outbreak at the facility.

Now, the most recent adoption event that was scheduled for last Friday, August 5th, has also been canceled. We at WBF urge the BLM to look out for the safety and health of the wild horses that were unnecessarily taken from their homes in the wild. These horses would not have been exposed to this infection if not for being kept in a holding facility for over seven months.

Photographer and advocate Carol Walker sent an email to the Wyoming Wild Horse and Burro State Lead asking for further detail into this unexplained cancelation of the August adoption event. It was revealed that the horses at the facility continue to exhibit signs of the infection three months later and the facility plans to remain closed to the public. Unfortunately, it was stated in a recent update to the holding facility’s page that roughly half of the horses at the facility have shown signs of strangles and 15 horses have died from the illness. 

This is yet another harsh reality of roundups in our country. The fight is not over, and we will continue to stand with wild horses.

 

Two Wild Horses Look in Each Other's Eyes in a Photograph by Jim Brown

Photograph by Jim Brown

 

This Week’s Call To Action

Urge Your Members of Congress to Stand with Wild Horses

Two pieces of legislation that aim to protect both wild and domestic horses within our country are making their way through Congress. The Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act and the SAFE Act are both historic bills that support protection for wild horses. If passed, The Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act would ban the use of helicopters in wild horse and burro management. On the other hand, the SAFE act would prevent any horse wild or domestic from being legally transported to slaughter across national borders. 

This is where you come in; we need the support of your local Members of Congress to get these bills passed. The more legislators that know about the impact of wild horses in our community, the more likely these bills are to pass. We at WBF urge you to send a letter or call your local representatives and ask them to “Stand with Wild Horses”.

You can find contact information for your local representatives here.

Facebook Live Ad for a Chat with Kimerlee Curyl

Rescheduled: Join Us Monday, August 8th for a Live Facebook Chat with Kimerlee Curyl

This Monday, August 8th, Kimerlee Curyl will be joining us for a rescheduled Facebook Live Chat. Although last week’s chat was cut short due to technical difficulties, we are looking forward to talking with her again!

Facebook Live times will be announced soon so keep an eye out on our social media to learn more about how you can join the discussion.

Along with this rescheduling comes a silver lining; you have more time to enter Kimerlee’s giveaway of her gorgeous print, “Snowy”! From now until August 7th at midnight PST, check out our WBF social media pages as well as Kimerlee Curyl’s Instagram to enter!

Read the story behind this image below.

______

“Snowy” by Kimerlee Curyl

July 2021. Snowy was captured during the tragic round up that stripped the Onaqui of 60+% of the horses here.

She had been chased by helicopter into a trap site to be removed from her homeland forever. Once trapped, the mares and stallions are separated, families are fractured and torn apart, forever.

Snowy was not settling well.

She wanted no part of this chaotic operation, as no wild horse ever does. And, as any strong female knows, often times we need to take matters into our own hooves. And that is what this beautiful, resilient, strong creature did. From a stand still this stunning mare jumped and cleared a six foot panel and took her freedom back.

Capturing this soft, quiet moment with her last October one very cold, yet snowy morning was a special gift I could not have dreamed up, its one I’ll never forget and will forever be etched on my heart. 

May her will and desire to be free – inspire you.

A photo of Alamo in the wild by Kisa Kavass Designs

Erin & Alamo’s “Mustang Diary”

A photo of Alamo in the wild by Kisa Kavass sent to us by his adopter, Erin.

This week we are thrilled to debut a new segment of the WBF website entitled, “Mustang Diaries”! Kicking off this new blog is a story about Erin and her new adoptive mustang, Alamo, who were kind enough to share their story with us. After a much-anticipated wait, you can read their full story on the “Mustang Diaries” blog, here!

 

Two Wild Horse Canter Alongside Each Other in a Photograph by Chad Hanson

Photograph by Chad Hanson

BLM Releases Statement on Upcoming New Mexico Roundup

This week, the BLM released an assessment on a planned roundup of the Border Atravesado HMA. At the moment, there are 230 wild horses in this herd management area, a genetically sustainable number. However, after the proposed roundup occurs there will be less than 50 wild horses living free on this land.

WBF notes that this number is extremely low and does not provide the herd with a genetically sustainable population size.

Fortunately, no helicopters will be used to round up the approximate 190 horses. Instead, a water bait trap method will be implemented which in comparison to the helicopter drive is much more humane. This is a step closer to grounding all helicopter roundups but unfortunately, no roundup is a good roundup.

Raise Awards 2022 Finalists Graphic

The Wild Beauty Foundation Nominated for a 2022 Raise Award

We at WBF are deeply proud to learn that we have been nominated for “Best Storyteller of the Year” in the 2022 Raise Awards! Sponsored by OneCause, the Raise Fundraising Conference is an annual event, this year being held in Chicago as well as virtually. 

Learn more about RAISE or get tickets to attend virtually or in person, here!

Thank you to our amazing volunteers and those who have helped us along the way. We are incredibly thankful to have been nominated for an award and are so excited to continue our work on behalf of horses, children, and our wild world.

A Photograph of a Wild Horse's Reflection Taken by Kimerlee Curyl

Photograph by Kimerlee Curyl

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

Kimerlee Curyl’s stunning photo of a wild horse’s reflection through the water inspires us to pause and reflect on our own journey.

 

Two Wild Horses Fight Against a Fiery Sunset by Sandy Sharkey

Photograph by Sandy Sharkey


A Quote to Graze On

“Horses can’t speak but you can speak for them.

To help them you just have to reflect and become aware, giving unconditional love.

No matter where you are in the world, if you love them you just have to say it out loud

I AM WITH THE WILD HORSES”

– WBF Advocate, Mimi

We recently had an incredible poem sent in by Mimi, a wonderful WBF advocate, in support of wild horses. We at WBF thank you for lending your voice and creativity on behalf of our wild world. You can read the full poem here.

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg

This Week in Wild Beauty: July 30th, 2022

THIS WEEK IN WILD BEAUTY: July 30th, 2022

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the eleventh edition of our weekly newsletter!

Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of July 30th, 2022

Sandy Sharkey's Photograph of Two Wild Horses Having a Duel

Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

Judge Denies Protection for Apache-Sitgreaves Wild Horses

Despite recent requests from wild horse advocacy groups, a federal judge in Arizona has ruled that the horses whom were rounded up by the U.S. Forest Service should not be returned to freedom; and that the horses are “unregulated livestock”, “feral”, and an “imminent threat” to other species.

This especially troubling ruling further promotes what WBF maintains is a false narrative.

It is widely known that horses have roamed free within this national forest for decades. During the hearing, the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros presented a newspaper clipping proving that wild horses were mentioned to have been living within the forest since at least 1918; more than 50 years before the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed. Ultimately, the judge sided with the U.S. Forest Service and denied protection for these wild horses.

This is a tragic outcome for the Alpine, as wild horses and their families continue to be wiped out across the Western United States.

 

The Sand Wash Basin herd under a molten sunset from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

The Sand Wash Basin herd under a molten sunset from our upcoming WILD BEAUTY documentary

Piceance-East Douglas Roundup Becomes Largest in Colorado History

794 wild horses have been lost to our public lands in just two short weeks. 

Last summer, the West Douglas roundup became the largest in state history after more than 450 horses were captured. Then, the Sand Wash Basin roundup in September took the top spot as more than 630 wild horses were rounded up. This month, another horribly historic number tops the record book after 794 wild horses were rounded up in the Piceance East Douglas HMA.

If we do not stand up and create change now, these numbers will only grow.

One year ago, we visited this beautiful state to film wild horses and their families for our upcoming documentary, WILD BEAUTY which will debut this fall on the festival circuit.  The image above is from one particularly spectacular day at Sand Wash Basin, where hundreds of wild horses appeared before us during a molten sunset; galloping to water with their families.  A true instance of wild beauty.

Today, wild horses are still under attack across the Western United States by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency tasked to protect them – which instead is wiping them out, and flagrantly violating the law enacted in 1971 to preserve them. 

Shortly after we filmed this spectacular scene, we returned to Colorado for the horrific roundup of these same horses.  We watched in terror as the helicopter descended.  We stood by unable to do anything but film as they were stampeded, questioning the BLM about the changing litany of “reasons” they justified this “emergency roundup.”  These moments are in our film, which will debut to the world very soon.

Now, the helicopters descend again upon the Piceance-East Douglas wild horses and their families in Colorado.  Driving pregnant mares and newborn foals at a gallop for miles in the blazing July summer heat. 

There is nothing “humane” about a helicopter flying at eye level at a decibel level we cannot even safely subject humans to, forcing these intelligent and emotional creatures into traps or driving them through fences.  There is nothing humane about horses breaking their legs or necks trying to escape, or protect their families.  How is this level of animal cruelty happening in 2022?

Enough is enough.  The world will see what is happening very soon through our film – and in the meantime we are deeply grateful to the individuals and organizations who on the ground these past weeks documenting the terror at Piceance-East Douglas.

If you wish to see some photographs of what is occurring, check out Scott Wilson’s Facebook here: www.facebook.com/Wilsonaxpe

The Cloud Foundation Logo

New Footage Released by The Cloud Foundation Shows Harsh Reality of Piceance-East Douglas Roundup

 

This week, The Cloud Foundation released exclusive footage showing the BLM violating their Animal Welfare Policy. 

You can watch The Cloud Foundation’s full footage here.

A camera placed within the HMA shows pregnant mares and newborn foals being run to exhaustion by extremely low flying helicopters. We at WBF cannot believe how young some of the smallest horses in the roundup are. Not only this, but the rising temperatures in the triple digits during the roundup is a direct violation of the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program policies.  There is absolutely no excuse to this inhumane treatment and we cannot let this practice continue in our country.

We applaud TCF for releasing this footage publicly to spread the truth about the BLM’s wild horse management. 

A Distant Image of a Single Wild Horse on the Horizon

Photograph by Tori Gagne

This Week’s Call To Action

Urge Colorado Officials to Stop Inhumane Helicopter Roundups

This is where you come in. Now that you have seen TCF’s video evidence of the BLM running heavily pregnant mares and young foals in temperatures reaching up to 102 degrees, contact the officials below and hold them accountable for their actions.

*** Please call if you feel comfortable.  Calls are more effective than emails. ***

Colorado State BLM Director, Doug Vilsack:
(303) 293-3700

Colorado BLM White River Field Office Manager, Bill Mills:
(970) 878-3800

Colorado BLM Director of Communications, Steve Hall:
(303) 239-3933

You can also contact the governor’s office and urge him to contact the State BLM Director in regards to this roundup.

The Office of Colorado Governor Polis
(303) 866-2471

 

Graphic for a Facebook Live Chat with Kimerlee Curyl

Join Us Monday, August 1st for a Live Facebook Chat with Kimerlee Curyl

This Monday, August 1st at 9am PT / 12pm ET WBF invites you to a Live Facebook Chat with our friend, Kimerlee Curyl to discuss art, creativity, and positivity within the wild horse space.

Visit WBF Facebook to tune in for this special conversation.

Kimerlee is a fine art photographer and wild horse advocate, and we continue to be inspired by her passion for saving our wild world. In addition to this live chat, Kimerlee is hosting an exclusive giveaway on Instagram of her beautiful 8×12 print, “Snowy”. You can find more information about how to enter the giveaway here!

Read the story behind this image below.

______

“Snowy” by Kimerlee Curyl

July 2021. Snowy was captured during the tragic round up that stripped the Onaqui of 60+% of the horses here.

She had been chased by helicopter into a trap site to be removed from her homeland forever. Once trapped, the mares and stallions are separated, families are fractured and torn apart, forever.

Snowy was not settling well.

She wanted no part of this chaotic operation, as no wild horse ever does. And, as any strong female knows, often times we need to take matters into our own hooves. And that is what this beautiful, resilient, strong creature did. From a stand still this stunning mare jumped and cleared a six foot panel and took her freedom back.

Capturing this soft, quiet moment with her last October one very cold, yet snowy morning was a special gift I could not have dreamed up, its one I’ll never forget and will forever be etched on my heart. 

May her will and desire to be free – inspire you.

______

This Week: Erin & Alamo’s “Mustang Diary”

A closeup of Alamo's eye and brand sent to us by his adopter, Erin.

A photo of Alamo sent to us by his adopter, Erin.

In a previous newsletter, we mentioned a new addition to the WBF website, “Mustang Diaries”! A collection of stories sent in by adopters of wild horses. We teased our debut story a few weeks ago and are excited to get it kicked off this coming week.

Erin and her mustang Alamo have quite the rescue story and we are excited to give you a preview in this week’s newsletter.

_____

WBF Mustang Diaries:  “Erin & Alamo”

“Hello, I’m Erin Phillips, a life-long animal lover and owner!  My love for wild horses began with the “Cloud, Wild Stallion of the Rockies” documentaries I watched with my family when I was five years old.  I remember the thrill of watching wild horses race across their range in freedom, then the sadness when the whole herd faced a government roundup (being removed from the wild).  Wild horse bands (families) were separated from each other, and stallions would desperately fight to return to their mares and foals.

Several years after I first learned about wild horses, I began researching more and was amazed to read about the challenges they face, on and off the range.  Learning about thousands of mustangs and burros either sitting in a holding pen for their entire lives or facing a horrific end in slaughter houses across the border inspired me to start a wild horse and burro rescue/sanctuary, Mustang Mission.  It is my goal to rescue, train, and rehome mustangs and burros that have not been fortunate to be adopted by a kind, loving home.  That is why I’m here today.

Late last year, after the terrible roundup of the famed Onaqui Herd, I decided to rescue one of the older geldings that would be likely to end up in a bad situation after adoption/purchase.  After careful consideration – I knew that it was risky to rescue an older gelding as a first mustang – I chose an 11-year-old bay (#7903) with minimal white with the help of Jen Rogers (Red Bird’s Trust).  He was Sales Eligible (he could be sold without limitations) which put him in great danger.  The main decision-making factor for me was when Jen Rogers told me, “From knowing them from the field, I would lean toward #7903 if it were my choice – he’s a cool horse and level headed.”  After hearing that, I definitely wasn’t backing down!”

_____

Be sure to keep an eye out on The Wild Beauty Foundation website later this week to read the full story of this incredible rescue.

"Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert" by Carol Walker Cover Art


A Q&A With Author and Photographer Carol Walker

In addition to our recent live Facebook chat with our friend and avid wild horse advocate, Carol Walker, we have asked her a few questions regarding her journey with wild horses and the creation of her upcoming book “Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert”. If you were unable to join our live chat or are interested in learning more about Carol’s support of wild horses, continue reading!

You first met Blue Zeus in late 2018, after visiting the Red Desert Complex for for several years. What made you initially fall in love with this herd management area and the horses that call it home?

 There are 5 Herd Management Areas in the Complex, plus 1 Herd Area, and the terrain is so varied, ranging from two mountains, Crooks and Green to the rock formations and alkali lakes of Stewart Creek and then the rolling hills of the other HMAs. And the horses are the most beautiful that I have found anywhere. I am a color junkie and the amount of flashy pintos of all different colors and the roans and the Appaloosas are really stunning. P,us the horses themselves – they are not that used to humans, which means they do not tune me out but they also do not usually run. There is a dance, and if I am lucky they will allow me near.

What type of mannerisms did Blue Zeus and his family band demonstrate, and what changes have occurred in them since experiencing a roundup and being brought to the sanctuary? Does Blue Zeus still demonstrate stallion-like behaviors despite being a gelding now?

 Blue Zeus was clearly in charge of his family and would push them to stay together and to go where he wanted them, but not in an aggressive, dictatorial way but in a calm assertive way – I see this in many older stallions. I did not notice a difference in behavior when the family was initially reunited and I have not been able to see them since then.

What is your favorite thing to capture when you’re observing and photographing wild horses? Is there a certain time of day/year or part of the horses’ routines that you find the most interesting to photograph?

My favorite time of day to spend with the horses is dawn. This is the coolest time and the horses are the most active. I really enjoy photographing them running to the water and then at the waterhole because there they will often interact with other wild horse families, the bachelors running around causing trouble, the stallions posturing and showing off – it is a wonderful scene when a bunch of horses are at the waterhole together. I also enjoy sitting with them when they are having a mid morning nap, and then when everyone wakes up before they start grazing the stallions will court the mares, the babies get up and nurse, it is wonderful.

What made you particularly interested in wild horses in the first place as a photographer, and spurred you to join the cause to protect them?

 When I first visited the Adobe Town horses in 2004 I immediately fell in love with them and kept going back and getting to know various families. And when I found out that in 2005 the BLM would be rounding up and removing most of them, I decided to do a book to show how beautiful they are, how uniquely suited they are to their home on our public lands, and what happens at a roundup, and what people could do to help. That was my first book Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses, published in 2008. I felt that if I truly loved these horses I would not just take pretty pictures of them but that I would become an advocate for them, and fight to keep them wild and free.

What is hardest about wild horse advocacy?

The hardest thing is that when I first got involved I thought we would have protected the horses and have been done in a few years. 18 years later the horses are in more jeopardy than ever before. I work on my own and I have to take time out so I don’t get burned out. So keeping the faith, keeping going in the face of such complete disregard from the BLM is tough.

Was there a specific moment that made you say “I need to turn the story of Blue Zeus into a book”? What do you hope to tell the world about Blue Zeus and the many wild horses that are facing cruel treatment by the government?

Yes it was when I heard that the roundup was scheduled – in August, 2020. I knew that Blue Zeus would be captured and removed with no hope of being returned to his home because he was living in the Herd Area that has been zoned for no horses, Arapaho Creek, despite the fact that it is smack in the middle of the 5 Herd Management Areas in the Complex. I felt that his story needed to be told and that he could represent the horses whose lives are changed forever when being removed from their homes. And I had no idea when I decided to do the book that I would run into the disaster that was Cañon City corrals and how very difficult it would be to reunite family members after being buried by the BLM’s broken system.

You describe the moment in your book, but kindly reiterate what it felt like to say goodbye to Blue Zeus and his family on the range before the helicopters descended.

 It was very emotional for me. I had been observing the roundup for a few days already and I would go out into areas where the helicopters had not been yet to see if I could find horses. I knew Arapahoe Creek was next. There was never any guarantee that I would find Blue Zeus that day so I was overjoyed to see him. His family was grazing and did not pay much attention to me, but he watched me and waited for me as I walked to him. I watched him and I talked to him, telling him there was a wonderful place waiting for him, and that I would do everything I could to help him and his family be together again. I was crying and hoping that he would understand. It was really hard to leave – I watched him walk to his family, and they moved away, grazing.

You had quite a hard time locating each horse once they were in holding, do you think that the BLM makes this process purposefully difficult to deter activists and adopters from locating the horses that they have kept up with?

 I had never had such a hard time locating horses before. Kathi Fine had been very helpful at Rock Springs when I was helping reunite another family in 2014 and in 2010 the now retired head of Cañon City Fran Aklee had been very helpful helping me find particular horses and my own adopted mustang Mica. But the BLM started putting out this notice in 2018: “The corrals receiving the horses from the gathers will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses.” I think it is just too much trouble for them to help locate horses so they just don’t. And given that they could not even feed the horses at Cañon City properly it is clearly way down their list of priorities to help people find horses – and some of the BLM at some of these facilities really hate sanctuaries.

Discuss your experiences with the BLM surrounding the saga with Blue Zeus.

Steve Leonard, head of Cañon City was particularly unhelpful. I had a number of conversations with him and it was a real fight to get the public access to any of the horses. I wrote Nada Wolf Culver, Deputy Director of BLM several times, the DC office confirmed that some of the horses I was looking for were there, but with a list of horses and trying to match tag numbers to descriptions is really hard – I knew we had to get in to see the mares in person in order to identify them.

How did you select Skydog Santuary and Clare Staples to be the ones to rescue Blue Zeus and his family? Discuss this partnership and undertaking.

 I had been watching Clare’s posts and hearing really good things about her sanctuary. I met her in 2016 at a holding facility tour of Axtell, UT. I knew she liked Blue Zeus, and she mentioned that she was going to try to reunite some families. When I emailed her about Blue Zeus and his family and the roundup she immediately offered to take them. I shared ID photos with her, and started working on getting information. We worked together sharing information back and forth, and both of us went to the adoption where Blue Zeus was offered, and then a month later went into Cañon City and I identified the mares for her.

Considering the current news and investigation around the Cañon City holding facility, do you believe the condition that Blue Zeus and his family were in after being held there was a result of unhealthy and unethical conditions as well?

 Yes absolutely. I was shocked at the conditions I found there in August 2021 and had already been horrified by how thin all the stallions being offered at the July event were. When in the facility there were so many thin mares and yearlings. Very little food on top of the mud. I had never seen this happen at this facility before. Where was the hay? Why weren’t the really thin horses separated out so they did not have to fight for food? These horses came off the range as body score 5s yet here they were, starving.

From what you have observed or experienced, how young has the BLM gelded colts versus allowing them to be adopted by major sanctuaries and gelded afterward? Is this humane in your opinion?

Steve Leonard refused to let either Skydog or Return to Freedom take colts without being gelded despite the fact that they were 3 months old or younger. One colt that initially thought was Clare’s died horribly tearing himself open on a fence trying to get to his mother. Turns out he was one of the foals going to Return to Freedom. No way on earth should 3 month old foals be gelded – it would have been so easy for the sanctuaries to do it when they were a year old and have BLM come inspect – as they have done in the past. My Adobe Town mustang Mica was 7 months old when I adopted him from Cañon City in 2011 they gave me a “gelding certificate” for $25 to help pay for my own vet gelding him, which I did when he was 1 year old. This casual cruelty is absolutely unacceptable.

In one sentence, describe the first time you saw Blue Zeus.

 I spotted a gorgeous, proud blue roan looking over at his family – and I had to get to him to see him – he was so beautiful.

In one sentence, describe the moment you knew he had been rounded up. 

My friend Angelique called me and told me and my heart fell and I felt like I had been struck.

In one sentence, describe experiencing Blue Zeus and his family being reunited and re-discovering their freedom again at Skydog Sanctuary in Oregon.

It was a joyful and sad occasion – Blue Zeus knew his family, ran to them, and they knew him, but I mourned for their time apart as I was glad they were together.

What made you decide to personally adopt Helios and how is that journey going?

 I fell in love with Helios the minute I saw him, a gorgeous little foal that his mother Hera was trying to wake up. I had not initially planned to adopt any horses personally, but as I thought about him, I decided to adopt him because I did not want him to end up staying at Cañon City and my older mustang Cremosso had lost his brother Claro two years ago to a severe colic and he had not been the same since then, he has been a sad boy, and he has always loved youngsters. I thought all of us could use a little hope, a sweet little colt.

Is there anything you learned personally through following Blue Zeus that could educate others on wild horses?

The biggest thing I learned was to listen to wild horses. I could tell if they were going to rest, and how far away was comfortable for them. I watched them go to find water, and graze, and watched them play and groom each other. The longer I spend with wild horses the more I can tell their moods and behavior. And the day they were reunited and everyone left the pasture except me and Blue Zeus walked up to me, I felt all the thanks I could ever need.

What do you believe is the biggest concern facing wild horses today, and what can we do to help them? 

The biggest concern is the competition for our public lands against the livestock grazing industry and our Secretary of the Interior not being willing to listen to anyone’s pleas to help our wild horses. Right now lawsuits are our most powerful tool to fight the BLM and stop them from using cruel, horrific and dangerous methods of birth control and from zeroing out entire herds.

Is there a particular HMA you’ve been visiting recently? How do the horses there differ from those in the Red Desert complex?

 I have been visiting the Red Desert Complex but also Salt Wells Creek recently. The most extraordinary thing about the Salt Wells Creek horses are the curlies! They have curly, hypoallergenic coats, curly manes and forelock and for the extreme curlies, very little tail. They are very laid back in personality generally and some of the stallions like Bubba, a favorite black curly, look like the horses the knights used to ride and the ground thunders as they run by! They tend to be black, brown or sorrel but there is a dappled grey curly and a cremello!

You’ve mentioned you’re big on color, what color/pattern have you been most excited to see on a wild horse?

 Just two weeks ago I found the most extraordinary color on a wild horse – a roan pintaloosa stallion – pinto, roan and Appaloosa, in White Mountain. He is an amazing horse.

You’ve written a pretty large collection of books now as well as provided photographs to tell their stories, what have you learned through the process of bringing these books to life?

 I love sharing stories with people about the wild horses and showing them how beautiful our wild horses are. When people give my books as a gift to others, I feel honored that they think it will strike a chord with their friend or family member. People love horses and I think seeing photos of them in the wild brings that experience of freedom to them, and helps people see how precious our wild horses are.

What is a tip you’d give others who are wanting to follow wild horses and keep track of their families and journeys?

 Get out there now while we still have wild horses. If you can find a herd or herds you can visit again over time – it is so rewarding to get to know individual horses and their families.

Just for fun, if Blue Zeus was a person, who would he remind you of?

Robert Redford.

Where can you purchase “Blue Zeus: Legend of the Red Desert”?

 On my website http://www.WildHoofbeats.com

Thank you Carol!

_________

Blue Zeus & Skydog Sanctuary

Blue Zeus and his family are now living at Skydog Sanctuary in Oregon, where you can make a donation to help other wild horses who need rescue or care.

A Blue-Eyed Pinto and Cremello Wild Horse Share a Nuzzle in a Photo by Chad Hanson

Photograph by Chad Hanson

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

This photo of a couple beautiful wild horses, titled “The Language of Touch” was captured by Chad Hanson. These two horses demonstrate the close bond that horses share in the wild.

 

A Wild Mustang Shakes its Mane Out in a Photo by Kimerlee Curyl

Photograph by Kimerlee Curyl


A Quote to Graze On

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, / the world offers itself to your imagination, / calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — / over and over announcing your place / in the family of things.”
-Mary Oliver

Our wild world ignites our imagination each time we step foot into it. We cannot let our wild horses become a figment of imagination.

Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team

#istandwithwildhorses #wildbeautyspirit

Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org

Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to hello@wildbeautyfoundation.org!

Join Us On Our Journey.  We’d love to stand beside you.

WBF Facebook
www.facebook.com/wildbeautyfoundation
WBF Instagram
www.instagram.com/wildbeautyspirit
WBF Twitter
www.twitter.com/wildbeautyorg