Wild Horse Education

“Staff Picks” from WHE, 2018

HolidayBanner2As the year draws to a close reflection can bring insight, inspiration, sorrow and joy.

Your top picks of 2018 began our “year in review.” 

“Staff picks” is a phrase many are familiar with. Here two  WHE volunteers share some of their strongest memories as the year 2018 draws to a close. A memory from Marie and Beth, a sort of “staff picks” feature for the end of 2018.

Marie Milliman

Top 2018 pick? Now that’s a “down the memory road challenge” in a year of the most defining moments in my life year. It has been a year I have had so many experiences that have left profound impacts.

I called Laura and asked, how could I pick a top memory out of an entire year of countless memories. She clarified it by advising your strongest memory, so here goes………

The year 2018 can not conclude without sharing my strongest memory that involved simply, “two women in a truck.” So many of these experiences are had while driving and driving . Long highway drives, rough and bumpy dirt roads; driving, driving, driving…

The family Day 1

The family, Triple B

While on our way to the trap site at the Triple B roundup. This somber morning was the day that they were going to “gather” the beloved family that we had come to know throughout the week, my “virgin” experience of feeling a connection with a wild horse band, on the range, prior to the roundup. Before this day I documented wild horse roundups not having spent time with the horses simply being wild horses, this day was different.

The Cremello mother and baby, and the Buckskin stallion. Would they be euthanized for the color of their eyes? Would they be “unscathed” after the round up and processing? Would they find an adopter?

“Just” two friends, with tears welled up in their eyes, passing by “just” one family of many that will be captured that day, week, month, year. It is rare to allow the emotions to surface while doing this work.

“Do now, feel later” has been said to me so many times when I struggle with this work, a WHE mantra, a survival skill given to me as I documented a first capture in 2016. As we drove by this family on our way to the trap, the family that brought so much joy in their sheer beauty and peaceful ways, it was impossible to hide my sorrow.

Cremellos Buckskin roundup

Chased out of their home on the hillside and down along a valley floor to the trap. The first band I had spent time with on the range was captured; the stud escaping, the youngster escaping and not caught until the next day. BLM killed more than one blue eyed mare that day. I will never forget the way this family was treated, ever.

That moment brought depth to the work I had already begun with WHE that I will never forget.

There are other memories like an amazing black stallion in temporary holding at Owyhee that I watched check on every horse offloaded; the band stallion of the entire herd, strong, yet gentle. The trips to the range gathering information and the beautiful wild families I have seen, many that will face the reality of capture in the coming year.

Joy, amazement, frustration, sorrow and pain; it all walks hand in hand in the journey of advocacy.

May 2019 bring change that increases the joy in all of our lives.


I love showing people their public lands. The look on their faces as I repeat “this is your public land,” always begins as an expression of disbelief and then spreads into an amazing smile. ~ Laura Leigh

Beth Quigley Lauxen 

Chose a memory, a highlight? For me that one is easy. But I’m not a photographer. I tried to learn how to use a camera and relied on my cell phone. I hope my video does not shake too much.

The April 2018 WHE Board Meeting on the range holds moments of unforgettable impact to board members. First the logistics of getting everyone to the same place at the same time, the middle of “nowhere Nevada.” Air miles, carpools and schedules were all jostled around and we finally found a way to accomplish the task. Living on the opposite side of the country, this truly was a “trek.”

For one, myself, it was the first lifetime encounter, ever, experiencing our truly wild horses and burros and the public lands they stand upon.

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A stallion that dashed within feet of us, so close you could feel his hoofbeats, in pursuit of a mare that was over a mile away. He had his sites set on one mare. My heart beat with his hoofbeats.

The thrill of seeing family bands and entire herds, behaving as nature meant them to be, for the first time, was unsurpassed. I was swept away into a magical journey that covered HMA after HMA listening to our most amazing guide give us history, challenges and personal knowledge of area after area, horse after horse. We covered over a thousand miles.

That thrill was tempered by the dismay of seeing how cows and mines have degraded habitat critical to the survival of our wild horses, including water sources, in all areas that were visited.


The last day and evening were spent within the Pancake HMA, where well over 100 wild
horses were peacefully grazing near us. It had been a day of unsettled weather, with the tantalizing possibility of much needed rain, yet all that occurred was virga, rain which never reached the ground. But the virga did make for a spectacular and spiritual sunset over the mountains, as the wild horses bedded down in the valley.

A promise was made to bring my grandchildren out to see the Pancake HMA. Isn’t that what public lands and the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act is all about? Protecting our wild places and wild horses for future generations. The astounding beauty of that valley that held wild horses, sage grouse, antelope, was an absolute treasure.

Yet now we, WHE, are fighting a legal battle against a mine that would devastate the very spot where we stood.

Place after place, story after story, that came from Laura’s mouth as we drove and drove. Her joy and sorrow all rolled up into each word.

Our “Wild Horse Education” was truly completed on that trip. This was a training in advocacy that surpassed my wildest dreams.

Our west is under siege and we are losing our American treasures. Will my grandchildren, their children and their children, ever be able to set eyes on a sunset like that surrounded by a truly wild herd of mustangs?

This is advocacy. May 2019 bring depth, breadth and progress.


Our year in review will continue as 2018 draws to a close.  Our work has the dry and technical side, but it is deeply personal for all of us at WHE. We hope you continue on this journey with us.

We have begun our final fundraising push of 2018. This time of year is critical for all nonprofits.

 WHE has been offered a final match of 2018 by a very generous donor. From now through January 1, 2019 all contributions up to $10,000. will be matched dollar for dollar! We appreciate your support to continue our important work. 



Categories: Wild Horse Education