Winter 2009 Edition
Fiscal Year (FY) 2010
National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter
United States Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Geez Dad, I know you're old,
but let's get going.
By the way, could you PLEASE do something with my bangs!
Don Clauson and
Table of Contents
Ricky and Lucy
Mustang Sally and Babe
Niko, Shiloh, Starr
If you would like to submit articles for the National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter,
please e-mail articles and photos to Janet_Neal@blm.gov
or mail to Janet Neal, Bureau of Land Management, P.O. Box 12000, Reno, NV 89520-0006,
or phone (775) 861-6614. E-mails with stories and pictures are preferable.
All stories must be about freezemarked mustangs and/or wild burros. Please ensure pictures are sent at the same time the story is (or immediately thereafter) and include the name of each animal and person(s) in the photo.
I would also appreciate it if all stories submitted are about Mustangs and Burros that have not passed away.
If the photo is copyrighted or requires that credit be given, please indicate so at the time of submission.
Ricky and Lucy – a Success Story in Progress
By Mrs. Spurlock
My husband Stephen and I live in the middle of his great-grandparents' old farm. We have plenty of pasture and barn space for horses and we thought it would be fun to get one. I grew up with horses and ponies but my horse and pony both died of old age several years ago. So, I was horseless.
During the winter, we started discussing what sort of horse to get. We are supporters of animal rescue efforts. Stephen had read a news article that BLM adoptions had dropped due to the downturn in the economy. Ever since I was young, I thought it would be a great adventure to adopt a mustang. So, we looked into the BLM adoption program. We talked to a man from our area that had adopted a six-year old mustang stallion years ago, had gentled him, and currently uses him as a lesson horse for children. I submitted an application for the March internet adoption. We were approved for two horses, and since horses are so social, we decided we would adopt two.
"Ricky" adopted by Mrs. Spurlock.
There were many mustangs to choose from on the March internet adoption and all were well-built; good conformation. We decided that since we were first-time adopters, we might do better with younger horses. Stephen was a little worried about adopting a totally wild mustang. We saw a program on RFD-TV about mustangs being gentled and trained by prison inmates at the Gunnison, Utah prison facility, so that's what we looked for.
Stephen liked a sorrel yearling. He had a kind eye. I liked a two-year old bay gelding with a kind eye, too. I was the high bidder on both and made arrangements to pick them up at the BLM's Ewing, Illinois facility.
Shortly thereafter, they were loaded into the trailer. I expected the horses to be jittery about the trailer and the trip. But, they didn’t even spook at the sounds made by the big trucks at the various truck stops.
"Lucy" adopted by Mrs. Spurlock.
We got them home and opened the trailer door. They calmly stepped out of the trailer and into their new corral. They explored everything in a very curious manner; investigating the corral, the grass in the corral, the barn and the roll of hay. We named our yearling Lucy; what else would you name a filly with curly reddish-blond mane and tail. We named the gelding Ricky.
Unfortunately, they arrived at the beginning of a May. We got almost 10" of rain. Their corral got pretty muddy fast. They hid out in the barn through most of May and construction of our pasture fence was delayed. When it wasn’t too rainy, we led them outside their corral to munch on grass. On a couple of occasions, we let them graze in our fenced-in yard.
Even though they were surely bored being cooped up in the corral and barn, they remained good humored and did not get "hot", anxious, or fidgety. They did get pretty excited when we got out the lead ropes. That meant a trip outside for fresh grass!
After grooming, I found out Lucy had some sabino markings, including white socks, and some roan colors.
I can't say enough kind things about the gentling program at the Gunnison, Utah prison. Ricky and Lucy were gentle and we have been able to halter them, lead them, and groom them since they have been here. They seem to have been handled quite a bit and in a kind way. They love attention and being groomed everywhere. Most horses don't like their ears to be touched, but, both Ricky and Lucy love it!
Since Ricky is only a yearling, I won't start him under saddle until next year. He has accepted a bridle and a saddle willingly and is beginning ground driving. Lucy is very athletic and learns whatever you try to teach her nearly immediately. The first time I unbridled Ricky, Lucy walked over to me as I held the bridle and took the bit in her mouth. Both are intelligent and observant. It took them very little time to figure out that they got grain in the morning, and when it was not rainy, they posted themselves near the corral gate. Now in the mornings we find Lucy watching the house for us. She also looks in the living room windows to see where we are, too. Ricky posts himself near the garage door to watch for us leave the garage with their grain buckets. When we start heading toward the barn with the grain, they head that way, too. They are both more than willing to please than most other horses I have worked with. They are definitely individuals that learn in different ways and respond differently to different things. It has been interesting getting to know them; building trust in one another.They both have a sense of humor and enjoy playing. Part of their pasture adjoins our yard and they both like getting our dogs to chase them down the other side of the fence. Ricky stops, turns suddenly and runs the other way, as the dogs shoot past him.
These two wonderful Mustangs are the friendliest, people-oriented horses I have encountered. If we are outside, they have to see what we are doing; whether it is cleaning their barn or working in the garden. They are great with children and are not startled by their sudden movements. They are the calmest, most level-headed horses I have been around. If they are startled, they don’t bolt away from things. They take a step or two back and then look at the object. They do not shy at cars, trucks or four-wheelers that pass by. They are willing to try anything I ask of them. They learned to turn and back up on command, how to walk over and past a tarp, poles on the ground, and other obstacles.
I would recommend adopting a mustang to anyone who is interested in horses and I have recommended it to everyone who asks about Ricky and Lucy. If adopting a wild one seems too daunting, I suggest adopting one that has been gentled or trained. The inmates that trained Ricky and Lucy gave them a great foundation. I am grateful that the BLM gave us an opportunity to adopt them and I would not hesitate to adopt other mustangs from the BLM in the future.
"Mustang Sally" and "Babe"
By Don Clauson
This is no amazing story about championships or wonder horses; just a couple of mustangs that became part of our lives. I really think that this is one of those things that seldom happens. I've had a lot of dogs in my life, but only one "great" one. If I were a lot younger and had time to have
Don Clauson and "Mustang Sally" trail riding in Mandan, ND.
I don't think that I would be lucky enough to come across another one like Sally. Babe is the black gelding out of Nevada and Sally is the buckskin (really a dun) from southwest Wyoming. After I got Sally, I slowly quit riding Babe and with no one else around to ride him I decided to sell him a couple of years ago. But, he got the mustang thing started.
Don Clauson and "Babe".
My youngest daughter, Sonja, had begged for a horse for quite a while. But, I kept telling her that they were just too expensive. Her three older sisters also took their turn in the begging part. They all got the same answer. We just couldn't afford it. Sonja didn't give up. In 1995, she came to me with a brochure from the Horse Expo at the state fairgrounds in St. Paul, MN. She pointed out that a Mustang was only $125 and there were a lot to pick from at that price.
After the usual discussions that parents have over hamsters, cats, puppies, and everything in between; how much work it would be, the responsibility, etc., Sonja got her wish. By the way, her older sisters started calling her "Princess" because she finally won and wore me out.
On April 29, 1995 we came home with what I thought was the ugliest looking yearling in the bunch. But the girls were happy and quit hounding me. We named him "the Babe" because he was so small.
By the fall of 1997, after lots of work, mostly by me, we had a green broke horse and for the first time in over thirty-five years, I was riding. For a year everything was great. Then, the Princess graduated High School and went off to college. That left me with a horse. It all worked out fine for a while. I
rode. When Sonja came home from college she rode, but we couldn't ride together. I joined the local saddle club - even won a couple of ribbons gaming. Things were going well. But, the trouble was, I wanted someone to ride with. That meant another horse. Then I had this weird idea that maybe, with the proper horse, my wife might ride with me on the trail.
Sally dressed up
in her prom outfit.
Sonja and I visited the Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyoming looking for a really gentle mare. Two thoughts were going through my head; maybe my wife would ride and maybe I would try breeding them; both ideas were erroneous. Mike Buchanan, from the Riverson corrals, pointed out three very good candidates and on July 29, 2001, I laid out about three times what I had planned on. I named her Sally. Is there any other possible name for a mustang mare than Sally
Sonja went off to live her own life and my wife wanted nothing to do with the horses no matter how I tried. However, Sally and I turned out to be a match made in Heaven. I decided not to give up riding time to breed her. No one else has ever ridden her, even the Grandkids only get to sit on her in the yard.
Sally and I have tried lots of things; chased cattle, gone through some country that even scared me and won a few ribbons in the "Senior Plus" category at a competition. We learned to trust each other and at 66 and Sally at 13, we can still ride some younger folks into the ground, just not barrels.
What's really neat is that I know the best is yet to come.
Thanks to the BLM and Mike Buchanan in Riverton for helping me pick out my "wild, wild" horse.
By Polly McClendon
Peanut was 4 years old when I adopted him. Peanut just seemed to fit. We had a quarter horse and a thoroughbred
and he seemed so small next to them. In retrospect, we should have named him Maverick or Pest. Both of those names better suite his style. I bought him in 1999 from a stable at Pilot Mountain, NC. She had him for approximately one year and told me she bought him at an auction yard. I know it was not a BLM adoption as he was already trained.
He is a Kiger mustang. When he was 4 years old, he had zebra legs, a dark mane, and a dorsal stripe down his back. He is now 14 years old and stands 13 hands. He is a little overweight right now, but very sturdy.
He has been a delight from day one. I have never been around any horse as smart and mischievous.
If it is possible to get out of a stall, he will find it. We had him boarded for awhile at a facility that had plastic fencing. After a couple of months, he figured out he could hook his leg over a railing, pop it out and be out of the pasture. He was put right back in another pasture and within 15 minutes, he popped out another railing and was free.
He simply wants to know what everything is about. He is such a curious mustang. I am now riding him with just a hackamore instead of a bit. He loves jumping, running, and leading on a trail ride. He is such a wonderful horse. I would take a mustang in a heartbeat over any domestic horse.
Niko, Shiloh, Starr
Adopter Bobbie Roach
© by James T. Smith
"It just began as a fun thing to do", says Bobbi Roach. Now six years later she owns three BLM mustangs and a non-profit Horse Rescue operation.
"Niko" adopted by Bobbi Roach.
Article and picture © Jim Smith.
It all began six years ago when a neighbor mentioned there was going to be a BLM adoption in Buckeye, AZ, a nearby community. So, Bobbie and another neighbor went to see what a BLM adoption was like. It didn't take long before Bobbie had fallen in love with her first mustang and adopted him. Not having a trailer or any way of transporting her new purchase, it was run home and return to bring her prize home.
Her first horse, Niko, is a blackie bay gelding. She says Niko is extremely gentle and anyone can ride him, including kids. Bobbi had him trained after she adopted him by Monika Snyder a professional trainer in Whittmann, AZ. The training process lasted six months.
Her second horse, Shiloh is a strawberry roan pinto. She bought Shiloh from a private party that was being transferred out of state and could not take this horse with them. Bobbie purchased this gelding in April of 2007 as a ready-to-ride horse. Bobbi enjoys taking him out in the Arizona desert on trail rides. Recently she loaded Shiloh into her trailer and attended the BLM adoption in Tucson. She road him around to show potential adopters attending the adoption site what is possible to do with a wild mustang.
Finally, her third mustang, Starr, was a "rescue" horse. Bobbi just adopted her out last month to a good and caring equestrian home.
"Starr" with Bobbi Roach. Article and photo © Jim Smith.
Bobbie purchased Starr at the BLM Yuma adoption. A private party brought this horse to the BLM adoption for someone to adopt. The horse had been trained to ride and was a perfect horse for a good home.
"Shilo" adopted by
Photo and article © Jim Smith
Bobbi and her neighbor, Tina Lockwood, formed a non-profit horse rescue operation, Hope4Horses, located in Whittmann, AZ. They attend BLM adoptions within Arizona, bringing a trailer to transport adopted horses for folks that don't have or didn't bring a trailer. At the last adoption in Tucson they made four trips moving horses for adopters. They also have a small side business selling halters and lead ropes for attendees at the adoption.
By Healther Hamel
The Little Mustang that Could!
Kobi was also featured in an earlier edition of the National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter.
Kobi continues to amaze me every single day with how smart he is and how quickly he learns.
"Kobi" and adopter,
"Kobi" adopted by Heather Hamel. The championship qualifying rider is
Aubrey McCal. She is a junior rider that adores him
as much as I do.
Kobi started showing introductory dressage last fall and this spring had scores of 69 points in Intro B and 64.8 in Training Level 1. This qualifies him for the Championships in November 2009!
We are already training for higher-level classes by working on our lateral work as well as flying lead changes. He's worked so hard that we might skip the rest of the Training Level classes! Now, this isn’t to say that we haven’t had our challenges together; we most definitely have. Some days it is really hard to believe that Kobi was once wild.
He's such an amazing "domesticated" Mustang! It will be interesting to see just how far Kobi and I can go with hard work and perseverance on both of our parts.
And . . . by the way, Kobi looks incredibly stunning in the winning color of blue!
"Zane" adopted by
By Candy Brisendine
We adopted "Zane" in 2003. He was gathered from the Divide Basin, WY herd management area. The internet adoption is great. That is how we adopted this great mustang! We picked him up in Tennessee.
Our daughter started riding him this year. In May, they rode in the Railroad Days Parade with her 4-H group. In July, Zane and my daughter competed in their first horse show. They placed 3rd in trail and 6th in western pleasure. The also received 4th place in bareback equitation.
In 2010, they plan on participating in more shows and adding competitive english classes. Zane is now learning to jump and is great. My daughter is also training Zane with small crossbars.
♦ Note from Editor - Submissions may be edited to reduce the length or correct minor issues.
After edits, if you would like the final "draft" article sent back for your personal review, please indicate this.
Sally Spencer, BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Marketing Director
Janet Neal, BLM Editor, Designer, and Graphic Artist
If your article is not in this edition of the National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter, please keep checking back.
Your story may also be in the "Success Stories" section of this web site.
Thank you all for sending in stories about your great Mustangs!