Note from our founder: LLeigh
Over the last month Wild Horse Education has been working on many projects including field work, reports to government officials, negotiation, protests and litigation.
But we have also found time to show the world of wild horses to some special guests. We met with a professor from a prestigious university writing a book. A research biologist and a visitor from overseas working on a special project. We have had a media team working on a long form story on public lands on a rapid fire tour of the heart of wild horse country.
We are so grateful for the many eyes wanting a deeper look at wild horses and public lands.
One of the things we enjoy most is taking young minds out into the wild, wild places. Discovering their public lands, their wild horses and introducing them to the complexities often missing from what they see in the news or on social media.
We try to accommodate visitors but the schedule we run on can change on a dime and often does. This visit simply fell into place.
This month we hosted a group of young people from Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham NY.
Many people that follow our wild horses know the bond between the adopted mustang Amado and his trainer (and friend) Summer Brennan. Summer arrived with Stace Contompasis and Macy Williams and we set out to show them their public lands and wild horses that live hundreds of miles from a traffic light. (If you do not know Amado and Summer’s story check out the video HERE)
They got to see what their public lands look like, sounds like, feels like.
These are our wild horses on our public lands. It is not just the horses that are at risk, but the land they live on. Landscapes like this one are being destroyed for their natural resources and wildlife pay the price. This year, in the area where this photo was taken, three mountain lions were killed by Wildlife Services (which is basically a wildlife killing agency that destroys hundreds of thousands of animals every year), and a huge wild horse roundup took place. What is happening here is so wrong and not enough is being done to stop it. ~ Summer Brennan
The entire picture of public lands, where we still have truly wild places, is truly an experience that needs to be protected for future generations. The issues that encroach on these places include multiple layers; recreation, livestock and mining.
Many people see me as a horse crazed girl, so to most people my trip to Nevada meant nothing (not a surprise). My trip to Nevada has been one of the most educational experiences of my life. The term “wild horse” encompasses the entire atmosphere of the West; the sage grouse, mountains/valleys, pronghorn antelope, elk and horses. Fighting to keep OUR wild horses wild isn’t just about the horses it is about OUR land. The land OUR horses are living on is public! WE OWN THIS LAND! Our government is allowing mining companies (aka Non-American Companies) to lease these lands and depleting the land of resources. These mines destroy the natural water sources by leaking toxic byproducts into the water tables. This damage caused, is not reversible and is directly destroying the land. This is only one example of the many destructive consequences of mining. It is not just livestock, there are many threats to wild places. ~ Macy Williams
Of course we saw amazing wild, wild horses. We saw pronghorn, birds of prey, coyotes, sage grouse and a badger even graced us with a brief visit.
Advocacy for wild horses is often portrayed in media from a roundup, into an adoption or training program and a brief regurgitation of tag lines about “broken programs” or a range that somehow can support massive mining, large livestock production, hunting and ATV races, but can not support wild horses. Walking in that space you can see with your own eyes the conflicts that can happen; the public relations firms from the facts.
Listening to the passion of new voices is brings a smile. At one point, after a about a thousand miles of driving, Stace began to contemplate the “American giraffe that has a shorter neck due to not having to reach leaves in trees” as he referenced the wild horses narrating his journey on the “American Serengeti.”
Before Laura Leigh took us on a tour of the public lands in Nevada I knew very little about what our federal government has been doing to the landscape and wildlife. We travelled through beautiful mountains and valleys which is the natural habitat of animals including coyotes, mountain lions and horses. Their lives are constantly being threatened. To think that their way of life along with the land itself being destroyed is unjustifiable. There are better ways to keep the horse population under control and we need to protect the environment that is home to these wonderful creatures. ~ Stace Contompasis
It sounds like we have three powerful young voices in the making for our public lands and wild horses. Wild horses are a part of the highly political and complex mechanisms of public lands; there is no end to advocacy. The next generation must become a wave of “educated advocates” that know this fight is a long game, not a fast fix.
I know they will be back. Summer and I are making some plans….
to be continued.
Help us build a strong frontline to fight for them and their habitat.
You can check out the “Giving Tuesday” page HERE.
Categories: Wild Horse Education