Wild Horse Education

Wild Horses 2016, A Year in Review (part 1, lost friends)

At Wild Horse Education (WHE) a “year in review” is created every year since we began our work to protect and preserve wild horses and burros. In years past we have created simple “music videos” that attach to some written timelines, some of them can be viewed at this link https://wildhorseeducation.org/video-2/

The first video compilation we did was called “Is It Bad Enough For You?” That video has been viewed nearly 4 million times just on YouTube. The phrase was repeated by Ninth Circuit Appellate court Judges as our 4.5 year legal fight to gain access to the handling of wild horses and burros was heard, and victorious.

Leigh addressing students on a college campus in 2015

Leigh addressing students on a college campus

This year we are creating an Ebook and webinar to better address the escalating challenges. The webinar, that will begin with the year in review, will morph into a series for “The Pragmatic Advocate” over the course of 2017. The intention is to offer the closest to a classroom setting we can manage in a broad scale, to assist those that want to learn and engage as an educated advocacy may be the only thing that can begin to address the convoluted myriad of issues facing our wild horses and the land itself.

Yet as we sit and prepare our review for 2016 we not only remember the wild ones and the fight to protect them, we remember a loss suffered to advocacy itself. Two people that became important to the wild ones and our founder Laura Leigh, Barbara Clarke of DreamCatcher sanctuary and Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, passed on within the last twelve months.

At the end of 2015, one year ago this week, Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick of the Science and Conservation Center suddenly left this world. Jay’s death was both a professional and personal loss. Devoted to humane management of multiple species worldwide for over three decades, conversation with Jay was instrumental in the fragile support system of those attempting those objectives, not only wild horses but multiple species. Jay became a sounding board and cheerleader as WHE moved multiple projects forward. His knowledge of the physical, political and drama filled landscape was refreshing in it’s honesty. Jay was mentor, colleague and friend. READ MORE: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/09/05/the-science-and-conservation-center/

One of the last of the Sheldon

One of the last of the Sheldon “war horses” to be removed from the range. The Sheldon herd is now no more than a page in American history. But he is a living testament to history, now at Dream Catcher.

Barbara Clarke, a founder of Dream Catcher, left us last month. Barb was a former Department of Defense employee, intelligent and stubborn, that gave sanctuary to many wonderful wild ones. Barb often provided the landing zone for wild horses taken in by organizations that did the public “glory save” and had no place to put the horses. She stayed mostly “in the shadows” trying to avoid all the advocate politics, focusing on the horses in her care.

“Barb and I did not always agree,” said WHE founder Leigh, “but we were both capable of intelligent, honest, discussion and keeping an open  mind. This led to a level of respect not often experienced in advocacy. I will miss her deeply.”

Dream Catcher goes on without Barb. Some of the horses at the sanctuary include the old Sheldon boys, a few of the last of the Sheldon herd. click here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/09/28/sheldon-revisiting-an-american-tragedy-part-1/

“Barb was already sick when I went to visit the Sheldon boys last year. We sat with the boys and talked about, what else, the wild horse program. Barb had so many frustrations with the system and the lack of science and was growing impatient. I explained to her what I was doing and why. She became a silent supporter of my work.

As she was dying we did one last article together after the Advisory Board made it’s recommendation to kill horses, the lazy way out of a problem created over decades. It was an honor to me that she respected me so much.

When I found out this amazing person was in a hospital, alone, I went and spent a day with her before heading to Owyhee for the roundup. I felt like a priest as she poured out her hopes, fears and thoughts. She had been afraid to tell the public of her illness. The piranha tank of advocacy had her feeling as if her bones would be picked before she was dead. I understood as I too was afraid to disclose my breast cancer in 2013, but had no choice when I had to delay a court hearing and disclose the reason in public documents.

My fight has had a different ending than Barb’s. As Owyhee switched from Elko to Winnemucca, she passed away.

I will miss her dearly.”

As we move into the review of all that has happened to our public land and wild horses over the course of 2016, we take a moment and remember those who have given their lives to the preservation and protection of our wild things and wild places.


Main web page for WHE http://WildHorseEducation.org


Categories: Wild Horse Education