A Local Success Story

 

Rodger & Margaret Smith with Rocky in Reno

The fun-loving and multi-talented duo of Margaret and Roger Smith of Craig, Colorado, began adopting wild horses through the BLM’s Adopt a Wild Horse or Burro Program over twenty years ago. Roger became fascinated with wild horses after seeing a picture of Wyoming’s legendary wild stallion Desert Dust while employed in Wyoming as a government trapper. 

Thus began a love for the animals that developed during Roger’s government career that spanned nearly 40 years. Wild horses that have become part of the Smith family include Sand Wash Sue, a flashy brown and white paint from the Sand Wash Herd Management Area (HMA) in Colorado; Breeze, a glorious paint palomino from Sand Wash HMA; Rocky, a buff and white paint mare from the Green Mountain HMA in Wyoming; Ratchet, a stout buckskin who exhibits perfect buckskin coat coloration, also from the Sand Wash HMA; Latigo, a perfect palomino from the Sand Wash HMA; Silverado, a grulla from the Sand Wash HMA; and, Doby, a lined-back red dun from the Adobe Town HMA in Wyoming.

Doby and Ratchet in the pasture at home

Erin & Breeze in a trail classBreeze is arguably the most decorated and famous wild horse in the Smith family. Breeze was adopted by Roger in 1995. After working with Breeze for several years, Roger decided to give the gelding to his granddaughter Erin Marincic. Erin lives in Pinedale, Wyoming, and together with her mother Becky, and her grandparents, Margaret and Roger, has traveled to wild horse shows throughout the west, including Reno, Salt Lake City, Rock Springs, Jackson Hole and Craig. 
 

Giving Breeze to his granddaughter meant Roger had more time to work on his next project which he began in October of 1998; three foals adopted all together from the Sandwash HMA. These three horses, Ratchet, Latigo and Silverado joined the family as scrappy little foals and with time and care, turned into beautifully trained, award winning horses. In 2000, the group took Silverado and Breeze to the Utah Wild Horse and Burro show in Salt Lake City. The final ribbon count was three 6th places, one 5th place, one 3rd place and one 2nd place . The group again traveled to Salt Lake in 2001, this time with Latigo and Breeze. Margaret placed 1st in showmanship and went on to the Grand Champion round where she won Reserve with Breeze. Erin and Latigo placed 3rd in the costume class. The costume class seems to be an area where this group has a lot of fun and always excels; all of their practice certainly pays off!

Working with Silverado on the longe line
  
Silverado & Latigo at Reno in 2002
2002 found the group again loading Ratchet, Silverado and Latigo to participate in wild horse and burro shows in Salt Lake City and Reno. Erin rode Breeze in seven classes and Roger rode him in one. They did really well, with a total of 8 ribbons. Margaret has also had her own successes with Rocky in a halter class and a color class in Reno in 2000.
 
In September of 2002, Erin was asked by the National Wild Horse and Burro program office if they would represent the program in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during an adoption there. Erin was on the local TV and radio and was interviewed by the newspaper and even National Geographic. Erin also gave a round pen demonstration with Breeze. 2003 kept the group a little closer to home with the Craig wild horse and burro show which was dedicated to the Smith family. Roger and Erin both participated and once again did very well. The costume class was again a big success.

Rodger & Becky in costume with Breeze & Silverado

 
Breeze & Erin - a winning combination!The crowning moment in these many years of showing their wild horses was in 2004, when Erin and Breeze were named the winners of the Tri-State Wild Horse Series. All of these travels have been painstaking documented by Erin in two detailed and beautiful scrapbooks. In 2005, Roger was ready for another wild horse foal and adopted Doby.
 
After receiving title to their horses, Margaret and Roger eventually found other homes for their horses. Margaret suffered a health setback a few years ago and the upkeep of so many horses became difficult. All of their wild horses have gone to loving homes with family and friends and Margaret and Roger still keep tabs on them. Ratchet is still in their pasture in Craig, CO being pampered, spoiled and loved. Roger is still interested in the wild horses of Sandwash and frequently visits the HMA. He also likes to visit the corrals when the HMA is gathered to look over the new arrivals. 
Ratchet & Roger at a show with their winnings
 
Rodger and Doby
The Sand Wash HMA is scheduled for a gather in 2008. I fully expect to see Roger at the corrals looking for his next project! As these pictures show, scruffy little wild horse colts and fillys can turn into beautiful horses with the proper care. I hope that the Smith’s success stories inspires other horse lovers to consider adopting a wild horse.

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