Spring 2010 Edition
National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter
United States Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Table of Contents
Hey guys! What's this white stuff coming out of the sky? Can't you make it stop?
I'm a little one and it's mussing my hair!
Ranahan, A Boy Named Sioux, and Oneida
Capri, Fargo, Granite, Duncan, and Otter
A Pair of Mustangs and a Humble Couple
By Glenn Gable
Adopter, Glenn Gable (left) and "Black Bart". "Bart" is riding with one of his good friends, Diego.
I adopted Black Bart in April 2007 as a 7-year-old. He came from the Rock Creek herd management area (HMA) in Nevada. My good friend, Willis Lamm, president of Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) in Stagecoach, NV, had Bart in a workshop in October 2006 for a week. LRTC is a wild horse mentors group.
Because Bart was not adopted at the workshop, he went back to one of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) short-term holding facilities. I saw Bart's photos on LRTC's website and knew instantly that Bart was the Mustang I had been searching for to adopt.
Although I live in Illinois, thanks to Willis Lamm and LRTC's help, I was able to adopt Bart.
Willis picked Bart up for me and kept him for 4 1/2 months in ground training at the LRTC facility. In July 2007, I drove out to Stagecoach from Illinois and worked with Bart for the very first time. I took him through LRTC's confidence course. Bart acted like he had done it 100 times,although he had never been introduced to the course and was not even green broke to ride.
Black Bart and his trainer.
I own a fully trained quarter horse, but I've never worked with a wild horse. Bart was only halter gentled when I brought him back to Illinois in September 2007. I hired a trainer that lives down the road from me to help saddle train Bart. Three weeks after the start of his saddle training I was able to get on and ride him. He still had another two months of finishing work with the trainer to become fully gentled to ride.
As with all Mustangs, it took Bart a little while to trust humans. Wild horses don't see very many of us on the public rangelands. Once he learned to trust me, he became the most affectionate horse I have ever seen or had. He will come when called in the pasture to get saddled up and is a very trustworthy mount on trail rides. Mustangs are also very healthy and easy keepers.
Glenn Gable and Bart.
If you are an experienced rider and have the patience to do the proper ground work, a Mustang will be your true-blue trusted lifetime friend.
I believe an older Mustang's survival skills make them a much better trail horse than the average domestic horse. That's why the U.S. Border Patrol is now riding Mustangs instead of quarter horses.
Adopting a wild horse from the BLM is like adopting a dog from a shelter. It gives you a much better feeling than buying a dog or a horse from a breeder. You are helping save an animal. I don't tell people that I own a wild horse; instead I say that I own a horse that was once wild.
"Ranahan, A Boy Named Sioux, and Oneida"
By Andrej Kokal
The BLM works in concert with the Mustang Heritage Foundation (Foundation) to train Mustangs and make them available to the public for adoption. Trainers apply to the Foundation for the privilege of training a Mustang. Trainers accepted into the Mustang Makeover events have approximately 90 days to train their wild horse. Trainers and their Mustangs compete and are judged in conditioning, groundwork, and a "Horse Course". The horse course represents maneuvers and obstacles found in trail and recreational riding situations.
Horse Tenders, LLC trainers, Kris and Nik Kokal, from Greenfield, NH were selected twice to participate in the Extreme Mustang Makeover held in Fort Worth, TX. Kris and Nik picked up their assigned Mustangs on June 13 at the BLM's short-term holding facility in Ewing, IL. On June 26, thirteen days later, the Kokal's rode their Mustangs in front of a select audience.
The following are pictures of what Kris and Nik achieved during their 90 days of training a Mustang. The Kokal's competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover held in Fort Worth, TX in September 2009 with a Boy Named Sioux, Ranahan, and Oneida.
Nik Kokal on Ranahan at the New Hampshire Calvary Goodwin Memorial ride held on July 25. Sixty-five horses and riders
participated in the event.
Kris and a Boy Named Sioux "(Sioux)" taking a break after leading the riders
and horses at the
Goodwin Memorial ride.
Kris Kokal sharing the joy of his assigned Mustang Makeover horse, Sioux, with another rider at the Goodwin Memorial ride.
Everybody wanted to see the Mustangs. Here's another participant of the ride that wanted the experience of a touch
and feel of a Mustang.
Kokal and Sioux being
led back to pasture.
The Kokal's participated in the 2008 and 2009 Extreme Mustang Makeover events held in Fort Worth, TX. As demonstrated in their presentation and competition, the Kokal's did a supurb job training their mustangs. For more information on Mustang Makeover events across the country, please visit the BLM's adoption schedule . For more information on how to apply to train and participate in one of these extraordinary events please visit the Foundation's website.
By Wendy Jordan
In October 1997, we arrived at the Elm Creek facility in Nebraska for a lottery adoption early in the morning. My nerves were high and the anticipation of what could come was putting
Look at my great stance. I am just too much, even for myself.
the entire family on edge. Our family spent a considerable amount of time at the pens watching the Mustangs. We tried to determine which one would be a good companion for our older horse and a good fit for our family. There were three, all weanlings, that caught our eye.
After the numbers were drawn, we were fairly far down on the list, we had concerns about getting one of our three choices. We were very fortunate that only one other weanling was adopted ahead of us. She was on our list but we were thrilled with our choice. He was a little guy, fuzzy, anxious, and badly in need of a grooming. He won our hearts over immediately.
We took Dakota home and within a week we were able to brush him, lead him, and pick up all four feet. After just a short time, he would stand tied. He bonded with us very quickly. Watching him grow was a delight. He picked up the habits of Toby, our older horse, and became a gentle and kind gelding.
His ground work began immediately and when it came time to ride him he was ready to go.
Watch out, here I come; just playing and having fun!
There was no buck, kick, or other resistance to a rider. Dakota enjoyed being ridden. He loved to go on rides in the pasture with his buddy, Toby. Unfortunately we lost Toby when Dakota was 6. The time he spent mourning his lost companion was very difficult.
Dakota has grown to be quite a character. He loves to see us come in the driveway and "cries" until we come over to see him. Once he has been touched, he goes back about his business. He just likes to be recognized. The personality that he has always had provides us with humor, love, and a great deal of entertainment. We have two other mares right now that we rescued, and while I love them both, they cannot surpass his personality.
Aren't you gonna' come say Hi!
The long rides we have on the roads and around the pastures have become a delight for both of us. He seems to enjoy our time together as much as I do. He is spirited, enjoying a long gallop across the pasture, yet gentle. When my nieces and nephews ride him, Dakota takes very good care of them. Dakota seems to understand the experience or lack of it in his riders.
Dakota's health has been fantastic. The vet comes out each year for annual shots and check-ups. He has not required any other visits. Our quarter horse mares seem to get injured or sick much more often.
His hooves are also incredible. They are solid and with regular care there has been no issues at all. The history I have with other horses has been that they sometimes need additional care outside the normal maintenance. With Dakota, he only needs his trimmings. I understand from our farrier that good hooves are common in Mustangs.
I've heard people talk about wild horses over the years and how they are difficult or just not worth it. Most of them have never tried a Mustang. For whatever reason, they just assume the worst. My personal experience is there isn’t a healthier, more willing to learn, great stamina, sensitive, and intelligent breed out there.
Dakota is part of our family and will live out all his days at our farm. He has stolen our hearts and created a longing to adopt more of these magnificent Mustangs in the years to follow.
"Fargo, Capri, Duncan, and Otter"
By Kate Beardsley . . . .
"We are what we repeatedly do;
and driven to excellence."
Talk about satisfaction!
Being involved with the wild horses that live in the Ochoco Mountains, east of Prineville, Oregon, I’ve become somewhat familiar with the territory where these amazing symbols of the old west and our heritage lives. There are about 70 Mustangs that comprise this local herd. It's a beautiful area that could be called "Horse Heaven".
I am a member of the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition. We are a non-profit organization that assists the BLM and the Forest Service with the wild horses. One of the members of our group designed a plan to help the BLM and the Forest Service remove some of the old tangled up barbed wire. We got our volunteer agreements form signed and sent them back right away for approval.
"Fargo" getting set-up for his
first pack trip.
"Capri" ready to go.
Pack string just about ready .
Onward and upward.
Here we go!
I've packed Mustangs for a long time and they are good. Our group has packed gear, food for fire fighters, tools, rafts, parachutes, gravel, dirt, toilet paper, water, and live fish. But barbed wire? We knew our Mustangs were up to the challenge, but we all had to ensure our packs were safely loaded.
On a Sunday morning in October, we met on the edge of town and headed out to the site. We found a great location near where some hunters were packing up their camp. Linda had her trusty and beautiful Mustang mare, Capri. Gayle brought her Mustang gelding, Fargo. I brought my two Mustangs; Duncan, and Otter. They all came from the exact herd management area where we were.
A short ride past the gate got us near the area. Linda has been honing her skills with a GPS unit. She led us perfectly to the site. There it was; barbed wire sticking up in tangles in all directions. Our wild horses stood patiently in the comforting sunshine while we got them prepared. I’m sure someone installed that fence with great care a very long time ago. It was completely fallen from disuse much of it completely under a layer of pine needles, grass, and soil.
We packed the wire onto our Mustangs. Gayle, in her infinite wisdom and creativity, created a frame-like pack that could be positioned over any saddle to strap our prickly loads to.
We loaded Fargo first. He’d never packed before, so, it was imperative to make his first experience a comfortable one. Gayle methodically went through the process of desensitizing Fargo to the sound of the tightly rolled wire on his pack frame. Before we knew it Fargo was loaded and happy and Gayle kept repeating the process. We loaded my two mustangs next. I don’t know how we did it, but, we ended up with the exact amount of wire to be packed on our four horses.
We used my two mustangs to lead the pack string and their loads. Looking back was a beautiful sight – four plain bay mustangs with four matching loads walking single file down the slopes weaving through the trees until we were down on the road. Wherever I take my pack string I always feel pride. This time, looking back at the line of matching mustangs, packing out hazardous material like four great big porcupines, was almost beyond description. There they were, America’s Legacy, quietly doing their part to make the world a safer place for wild horses and wildlife. I relaxed once we got going and simply couldn't stop looking at our beautiful Mustang kids.
Our arrival at our trailers with our dangerous load was properly received. A wild Mustang stallion and mare came running out of the nearby trees nickering to our wild horses. Our four Mustangs that had been captured from the local area all nickered back. The wild horses stayed grazing nearby; perhaps quietly communicating their approval and gratitude for the work we had done.
By Melanie McIntosh
I adopted Hidalga (Hillie) at the end of March 2009. She is my first Mustang
and is a 4 year old mare.
Melanie McIntosh and "Hillie".
I absolutely adore her. It was really a magic moment when she decided in April to approach me. Hillie sniffed me up and down and allowed me to touch her.
Hillie "posing" for the camera.
I have been reading and researching books on Indian horse training. I purchased my first round pen for Hillie. We work in it every day for about 15 minutes and both of us have learned a lot.
It was a little intimidating at first but I realized she is a very smart horse and is very personable. I can sit down anywhere in the pasture and she will come over and say Hi.
Hillie is incredibly strong; stronger than my Belgian draft horse. I want to ride her bareback first and then the saddle comes out. I am ready and I think she is, too.
"A Pair of Mustangs and A Humble Couple"
By Janet Jankura
National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Member
This Winter, I learned that two Mustangs gathered from the Pryor Mountain herd management area in Montana found a new home in Ohio and a new family; the generous folks that adopted and are training them. They adopted a yearling colt, "Image", and yearling filly "Ember". Image and Ember are both descendants of the mustang stallion Cloud. The couple that wished the animals were still free-roaming on a desecrated herd management area took them in and gave them a great environment.
It took a partnership for the Mustangs to feel at home. Through BLM’s adoption program, Deb and Terry Little acquired the
Image in the foreground, Janet Jankura with her daughter, and Ember in the background.
young equines. They transported Image and Ember to their farm with dozens of grassy acres, a stream, and trees/bushes for shelter. Deb describes "the horses are 'free-roaming' meaning that they are not kept in stalls. The barn stalls are open all of the time. It is their choice if they come into the barn or not. They rarely choose to come in.
When I first contacted Deb to ask if we could see the Mustangs, she was cautious. Understandably, she was protective of thier adoptees and her family’s privacy. I brought my family out to meet them. My children were thrilled to interact with Image and Ember. The horses were grazing in the pasture and curious about the visitors. They chomped on brownish green grass, hay and drank from the clear running water. Watching them roam free on their vast property resembles being in the wild, except without the danger of starvation, dehydration, or both!
The couple are taking great care of the Mustangs. Both are seasoned equine managers that previously gentled their wild horse mare and two domestic horses. Deb is a professional photographer who keeps a blog on Image and Ember http://deblittle.wordpress.com/. Deb and Terry refer to the glory of God being reflected in the horses and how their lives have been blessed. It is encouraging to meet such humble authentic people who truly care for America's icons. They are not doing it for publicity or money. The Little’s volunteered to be part of the wild horse solution. They are a fine example of people who are constructive and collaborative. We need more folks like them to get involved in preserving our country’s living legends.
Please submit your articles to the Editor of the Newsletter, Janet Neal, at Janet_Neal@blm.gov . All stories should be e-mailed. If your photos are not in an e-mailable format, please ensure names are adequately identified when viewing the picture from left to right. Pictures are vital to enhance your article. Your photos will be returned. If you prefer not to identify peoples' names in the photo, please ensure this information is clearly identified.
US Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 12000
Reno, NV 89520-0006
Please include your phone number for any additional information that may be needed. Please ensure all pictures are labeled with the name(s) of the mustang/burro. All identifying names should appear in the proper order when viewing the picture (left to right).
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