This Month in Wild Beauty: March into April 2023

THIS MONTH IN WILD BEAUTY: March into April 2023

The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the thirty third edition of our newsletter!

Read the newest horse and burro focused headlines for March into April 2023.

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West will be released May 12th, 2023!

It’s official.  After five years in the making, our documentary will be coming out into the world on May 12th, 2023.  The film will be widely available on many platforms including Apple, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and more.  It is time to raise our voices like never before.

In the months of April & May leading up to the release, please post the trailer, poster, or an official still from the movie to social media (as many times as you’d like) with the hashtag #istandwithwildhorses.  Tag your lawmakers, and major press outlets.

We are hoping to create an absolute wave of awareness in April and May, ahead of our screening for Congress in Washington D.C.

Read more from leading entertainment publication Variety about the release.

You can help support the grassroots efforts of our passionate team by making a donation.


We will have a pre-order link for WILD BEAUTY shortly that we will post to social media, so watch for that next week!  Thank you to everyone who has followed this journey over the years.  We appreciate every single one of you, and for your #wildhorseteamwork



Photograph by Meg Frederick

Two Iconic Onaqui Stallions Found Shot

This month a herd so dear to our hearts suffered heartbreak as two stallions were found senselessly shot in the Onaqui Mountain HMA of Utah. We were devastated to learn that the iconic Onaqui stallions, Jasper and his buddy Arshan, were intentionally killed at close range by malicious humans. The fact that senseless violence like this is happening against our federally protected wild horses in numerous states is profoundly disturbing. A third horse, a young red chestnut stallion who traveled with Jasper and Arshan, is missing and has yet to be found.

Jasper, a striking bay pinto with bi-colored eyes, was a favorite of those who followed the herd and often caught the eye of photographers on the range. Arshan, a beautiful bay stallion, was Jasper’s close companion and traveled alongside him through the expansive terrain of the Utah desert. We find consolation in knowing that these horses lived their whole lives wild and free and will remain in the hearts of those who follow the Onaqui herd and tirelessly champion for their protection.

If anyone has any information or leads, please contact the Onaqui Catalogue at 800-722-3998. The current reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the deaths stands at $37,500.


Photograph by Mary Hone

Nevada Wild Horse Bill Considers Wild Horse as a Symbol of Nevada

A new bill proposed to the Nevada legislature, S.B. 90, aims to designate the wild mustang as the Nevada state equine. Schoolchildren from Washoe County visited the State Capitol on March 7th to bring drawings of wild horses to lawmakers to encourage them to support the bill and the beauty of the state’s wild horse populations. According to estimates by the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada is home to approximately 41,800 wild horses accounting for nearly two thirds of the total number of wild equines living free on public lands.

Twelve states currently have a designated state equine, but out of the ten western states where wild horses reside, none have claimed the mustang as their own state symbol. This bill could change that, and would encourage residents of the state and visitors from around the world to appreciate the beauty and wildness that these living symbols of freedom represent. Congresswoman Dina Titus has voiced her support for this bill and continues to advocate for better, more humane management of the state’s wild horses in Congress. There is pushback, however, from groups such as the Northern Nevada Safari Club, a trophy hunting organization who claims without support that wild horses “negatively affect all wildlife.” We urge all Nevadans to contact their state legislators and urge them to vote YES on S.B. 90.


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Wild Beauty Recognized by Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus at Las Vegas Premiere

As Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West continues its run on the festival circuit before its official release this May, we could not be more proud of the impact that the film has had on audiences across America thus far.

While attending Wild Beauty’s Las Vegas premiere, we were surprised with an award of Special Congressional Commendation acknowledging our work for our nation’s wild horses. We are extraordinarily grateful to be recognized by Congresswoman Dina Titus, who is a passionate advocate for wild horses herself.

On top of that recognition, the Clark County Commissioner declared March 15th, 2023 to be “Wild Beauty” Day in Las Vegas. The proclamation voices appreciation for wild horses and the public lands they live on and encourages residents of the county to show their support for wild horses by attending the screening and contacting local lawmakers. Having the largest wild horse population of any other state, Nevada is an important battleground in the fight to keep wild horses free on our public lands. We are grateful to see Clark County and the people of Las Vegas standing with the wild horses of their beautiful state and calling for others to do the same.

 We are deeply honored, and wildly proud to bring wild horses to the world stage; and it’s just the beginning! It’s time to rise up together, and bring the swell of our voices to Congress.  Thank you to everyone who has collaborated with us for the greater good, and as always, for standing with wild horses.

Can you help us?
We are currently fundraising to bring WILD BEAUTY to Washington D.C. to screen for members of Congress.  We need to raise funds for a theater, along with other expenses to get the wild horse issue directly in front of lawmakers.

Please help us, and donate toward WBF if you can.

Do you, or your company, want to sponsor our Washington D.C. premiere this spring?

Reach out directly to [email protected]



Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

April 22nd-25th : Save Our Wild Horses D.C. Conference

Passionate wild horse advocates and equine lovers unite for the second annual Save Our WIld Horses Conference and Rally in Washington, D.C! From April 22nd to the 25th, attendees will meet to discuss topics such as rangeland health, roundups, wild horse photography, and how to become a better advocate. Guest speakers include Erik Molvar, Marty Irby, Scott Beckstead, and many more influential advocates for the wild horse cause. We encourage those wishing to know more and stand up for our wild world to attend the conference and show your support for keeping wild horses on our public lands for generations to come.

In celebration of Earth Day, there will be a rally held on the National Mall on Saturday, April 22nd. This rally is free to attend and will be providing a wealth of information to those that may not know about the plight of our western wild horses. On Monday, April 24th there will be a special screening of Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West for conference attendees. Wednesday, April 26th will be Lobby Day, when conference attendees will meet with their members of Congress to urge them to support wild horses and burros on our public lands and more humane management by the federal government.

To learn more about attending the Save Our Wild Horses D.C. Conference, click here.


Photograph by Erin Phillips

Environmental Assessment Released on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses

Late last month, the Billings BLM office released a new Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Pryor Mountain HMA. Located in southeast Montana and northern Wyoming, the Pryor wild horses have been adored by advocates and horse lovers alike after being made famous by Ginger Kathrens’ nature documentaries following band stallion, Cloud, and his family over several years. Kathrens’ nonprofit, The Cloud Foundation, has worked to both preserve this herd and advocate for the protection of wild horses across the country.

The BLM looks to alter current management practices and potentially implement a staged gather and removal of horses within this herd. As indicated in the most recent environmental assessment, the last set of genetic diversity monitoring samples from the herd was collected in 2013. While the analysis indicated that the herd was slightly above the average for feral horse herds at that time, researchers suggested that the herd could drop below average by 2023 if the trends progressed. Now that we are in 2023, we do not see the BLM conducting updated genetic diversity research before giving the go ahead to  implement removal measures. Instead, the environmental assessment states that new samples will be collected during bait and trap gathers that will also aim to remove horses deemed “excessive.”

 Another deeply troubling aspect of the BLM’s EA is its reference to the “meta-population” of wild horses, a reference to the entire wild horse population as the standard for maintaining genetic diversity. This could signal that the BLM will no longer assess the genetic impact of removing horses from a specific herd or HMA (Herd Management Area) population, but rather on the entire population across all the western states where they live. This is especially concerning for the Pryor Mountain horses, who have been protected and their genetics preserved even before the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. We fear this is part of a larger strategy by the BLM to drive numbers of the herds so low that they eventually become extinct. We know that is a goal desired by the livestock industry, and given the BLM’s close relationship with that industry, many leading wild horse advocates are sounding the alarm for the future of our wild herds.

We desperately need to stand by the horses of the Pryor Mountains. In terms of diversity and genetic sustainability of the herd, it is irresponsible to conduct a removal in a herd already maintaining a small population. The BLM’s proposed action will repudiate decades of hard work to responsibly manage this iconic herd in a manner that is humane and allows them to remain on their homeland range. We encourage you to submit a comment to the BLM’s ePlanning site with detailed evidence supporting that roundups come to a halt until genetic diversity testing is complete.


This Month’s Call to Action

Stand with the Pryor Wild Horses

As wild horse advocates, we must stand up for the continued freedom and livelihoods of our cherished wild ones. To champion for change from the BLM, we urge you to submit a public comment to the BLM’s ePlanning page. This comment will be sent directly to the Billings BLM office for review. The deadline for comments is Friday, April 28. To learn more about how you can lend your voice to the Pryor Wild Horses, visit our Call to Action Page.

We thank you, the Pryor Mountain wild horses thank you.


BLM’s Litchfield Holding Corrals in Northeast California Faces Strangles Outbreak

According to a press release by the BLM on March 16th, the Litchfield corrals located in Susanville, California will be closed for approximately 30 days due to an outbreak of strangles. This highly contagious bacterial infection affects the upper respiratory tract, causing nasal discharge, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Horses are able to recover from the disease after it   runs its course in two to four weeks, however, severe cases can be deadly, especially for the very young, the elderly, or otherwise compromised animals.. In overcrowded and unsanitary conditions like holding facilities and long-term corrals, horses are more susceptible to illnesses like strangles.

In the past year, we have seen an increase in wild horse holding facility closures due to contagious illnesses. We at WBF maintain that as the Bureau of Land Management rounds up more of our beloved wild horses, the conditions in these already overcrowded facilities will worsen and put more horses at risk of illness and death.

Another facility that faced backlash last year for their handling of a strangles outbreak was the Wheatland Off-Range Holding Facility in Wyoming where 67 horses died as a result of the highly contagious illness. Nearly a year after this deadly outbreak, Wheatland holding facility is inviting the public to tour their facility. According to a BLM press release, the privately owned facility will be open to free, public tours on April 14th, 2023 at 1:00pm. We are encouraged to see that this facility has since handled last year’s severe outbreak, and hope that Litchfield’s facility will overcome their’s in a more cautious manner. At the same time Wheatland was experienced the strangles outbreak, nearly 150 horses died from an outbreak of equine influenza at the BLM’s holding facility at Canon City, Colorado.



A Still  from upcoming documentary, Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West

Listen to the Winning Stories from WBF’s 2nd Annual Short Story Contest

We are delighted to announce that the winning stories from our 2nd Annual Short Story Contest, read aloud by our equine loving celebrity partners, have begun to be released for all to enjoy! We at WBF are incredibly proud of the high school and middle grade students who used their creative voices to stand with wild horses. Each winning story will be read aloud by an equine-loving celebrity, and will be posted to our social media to spread awareness and bring light to the beauty of our wild world. The voices of the next generation of equine advocates and brilliant storytellers have touched our judges hearts and we know that their words will bring change to the future of our wild ones.

We are thrilled to officially announce the winner of WBF’s 2022-2023 Short Story Competition, in the High School Category.  “The Light of the Sky“ written by Jaden C. is the first story to be read aloud by Mackenzie Foy, star of Disney’s ‘Black Beauty’ and WBF Ambassador. We thank her for lending her talents to narrate this wonderful story that wonderfully depicts this year’s theme of “Connection and Wild Horses”.  Additionally, you can read the text version of her story on our Facebook page. Congratulations Jaden!


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Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West Upcoming Locations and Dates

Wild Beauty will officially be released to the world in May 2023! We encourage those who have not yet seen the documentary to purchase tickets to an upcoming showing while you can; There is nothing better than seeing the beauty of wild horses on the big screen!

This month, those in Portland, Oregon will have the opportunity to catch a screening of Wild Beauty at Portland EcoFilm Fest on the 15th. The following week, Florida residents can find Wild Beauty at the Palm Beach International Film Festival from the 21st through the 28th and at Sunscreen Film Festival from the 27th through the 30th.

Graciously hosted by Humane Action Pittsburgh, Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West will also be screened one night only on Wednesday, April 12 at Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville, PA. Doors open at 6:00 p.m, so be sure to arrive early to secure your seat to this special screening!

Read more:

Get tickets:

Screening dates and locations will continue to be announced as details are released, so be sure to check our website often for updates. We thank you for showing your continued support for our documentary, and are so proud to bring Wild Beauty to everyone very soon!

Watch for dates near you!

Celebrate Spring with The Wild Beauty Boutique

As you get ready to venture out onto our beautiful public lands in the coming months, join us in sharing your love of wild horses with all around you! All proceeds from The Wild Beauty Boutique benefit The Wild Beauty Foundation!

You can find a wide range of products to show your support for wild horses. From T-shirts to drinkware there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy! Each purchase from The Wild Beauty Boutique directly helps WBF support and save wild horses around the country through film, creativity, rescue, and advocacy. We thank you for showing your support for our nonprofit and our wild ones across the country.



Photo Credit: Erin Phillips

Glimpse of Wild Beauty

Spring has sprung in the Pryor Mountain HMA! Erin Phillips captured a lovely photo of Encore among the blooming flowers on a past trip to visit these beloved wild ones.


Photograph by Sandy Sharkey

A Quote to Graze On

“My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt”

Anna Sewell


As we celebrate Anna Sewell’s birthday, we at WBF thank her for giving a voice to the horses of her time, so that we could follow her legacy – and give a voice to the horses of ours.


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 [email protected]

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 [email protected]!

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