I guess in my frustration I did not think of how my email could make people feel. I certainly understand that this economy is harsh, (we don't even have floors or counter tops in our house and some of the walls aren't finished). So I truly do understand what it means to be living "hoof to mouth".
So I truly apologize to the people who are out there on their computers WORKING IN A POSITIVE WAY TO HELP THE HORSES! Unfortunately, we get so many people "demanding" that we save these horses and there simply is no money available after they are picked up. I am not taking any more of them, because we are full, unless we get a critical or baby that we need to care for. And one of the biggest and most important "donations" to the horses are PRAYERS!!! ANYTHING POSITIVE is worth it's weight in gold, but the hate and rudeness simply cause us to lose credibility as people who truly want to find a solution.
So I humbly ask y'all to forgive me for maybe not expressing myself so well in my original post. We truly do love and appreciate every single person out there that loves the horses and burros so much and that do whatever they can to support the cause of saving and protecting them. Each of us has to do whatever we can and use whatever we have at our disposal to work for our important cause. We saw a lot of negativity and just plain rudeness and when you "fight against" someone instead of respectfully trying to come up with solutions, it closes the doors and makes our access to the horses go away! We've worked for so many years in trying to make changes and headway to get laws, policy and plans changed it is very difficult to accept that when we do make some progress, the smallest interjection of what is perceived to be "attacks" will set us back, again finding ourselves in the situation of going forward one step and falling back two. That has been the long and arduous path for many years and it's our goal to find solutions, open doors and keep them open to actually resolve the bottom line situation of OUR horses and burros ending up at long term holding or the horrid slaughter plants.
It hurts my heart so much that I made someone feel bad. She is an awesome lady and only works in a positive manner to help the horses. Our frustration comes from the day to day of working like mad to keep them safe and out of the slaughter pipeline and just when we catch our breath for a split second, we get word that more have been rounded up and taken from their homes. It's an unrelenting situation at this point in time nationally and in states that have "free roaming" wild horses that DO NOT even have the limited protection of the federal program. As we're just getting a bit settled from last emergency rescue of 29 in Northern Nevada, we just got word last night that approximately 20 more were trapped in Reno and will now be going through the NDoA process eventually ending up at Fallon Stockyards again. SINCE SEPTEMBER 19, WE HAVE HELPED RESCUE OVER 80 HORSES PICKED UP BY NDA AND SENT TO AUCTION. NONE OF THESE WERE BLM HORSES, BUT THEY ALL NEEDED PERMANENT HOMES AND FOOD FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
I also have to explain my remarks about the stallions. If you bring a band of horses to a sanctuary and are not planning on breeding, there is no reason not to geld the stallion instead of separating him from his family and causing more stress to the family band. This is blatantly obvious when you observe the stallions that are brought in and separated from their families at roundups. Some will go to the horrible length of crashing panels fatally injuring themselves out of stress and fear from being separated. Even if you bring a group of stallions to a sanctuary that have not had a band before (in the 11+ years that I observed them) they will often form their own bands, covering the mares even after gelding and fighting for their girls. Of course, if there are breeding stallions the ones that are intact will usually keep the mares, although I have seen a mare go find a stallion to get bred, and then return to her mixed band of geldings and mares. She did this every year, and after she was bred no matter how hard the stallion tried to keep her, she would go back to her band of geldings.
I know that geldings, just like stallions, will play and form "bands" if they don't have mares around. My point was that, it is extremely frustrating for an intact wild stallion to be placed in one area and put his mares right across from him as they want to be with him and he wants to be there to protect them. Just because a mare is sterilized or a stallion is gelded doesn't make them lose their genetic disposition of being a "wild horse." I observed two colts that had been gelded as youngsters that seemed to wake up one day and decide they were still stallions with all the gusto and behavior of a true stallion. It is important that we all share our observations, knowledge and experiences to work and find the best solutions for keeping our horses and burros safe and living the life closest to their natural environment as possible when on sanctuary lands. I feel extremely privileged for the years I've spent in being able to gain some insight and hopefully provide input that will make our horses and burros lives easier until we can find ways to stop or at the very least slow down the roundups.
It doesn't seem to work well when we write when we are overwhelmed by pain, frustrated, tired and angry that more progress doesn't come faster. These are VERY trying times for all of us and we certainly love and appreciate ANY GOOD WORK that is being done by the folks that care so much to work hard in all venues to support saving our horses and donks and treat all wildlife and critters with respect and protection.
Best to ALL,
Have a fabulous day.
It started out at 6:00 a.m., trudging through the slush and ice. I was Ioading up and heading over to Nevada to pick up the Virginia City - Virginia Range horses that were saved at the last minute from a one way trip to the slaughter plant. Now normally I wouldn't be driving the 200+ miles one way over there to help move horses, but we were one trailer short, and as I was available, off I went. I really feel honored to be able to help out and make a tiny difference, although fuel is always a consideration. However, I have a wonderful lady who is sponsoring my plane ride to the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting in Salt Lake City, so it worked out very well. However, the first three hours were solid ice and snow. The roads had been called "clear" and there were no chain requirements. I was definitely not expecting the conditions to be as slippery and icy as they were. It took Soldier and I over three hours to go 85 miles and if I took the truck out of 4 wheel, the trailer and truck would start to slide. Will never ever voluntarily take a trailer in those conditions again, and if I had been loaded, I would still be parked on the side of the road. :) So I guess in retrospect, I am glad it all worked out.
I arrived about 12:30 in Dayton, and we headed off to the Fallon Auction Yard. What a dismal place. My stomach was sick and I wanted to cry as I saw the horses standing there. It was such a far cry from the freedom and life they had once known. We loaded them up to go get their blood work done. As they stood in the trailer, their eyes wild and wondering, I wanted to let them know that, eventually, they would end up in a place where they could live life in peace. I can only imagine what it would be like to be terrified, yet still having their home and the wild mountains in view, right in front of them. We picked them up, loading 5 wild ones in our trailer and headed to the vet to get their Coggins done. We worked until just before dark, leaving the horses at a beautiful family's place. They are amazing and stepped up to help these horses so they would have a temporary place to stay. "Temporary" being the operative word.
Now this is where things get tough. Once they are "saved from slaughter", people seem to forget that THEY NEED TO EAT - every single day!! We are constantly bombarded with requests to "SAVE THE HORSES FROM SLAUGHTER". NO ONE WANTS SLAUGHTER- YET THEY SEEM TO FORGET ABOUT THE FACT THAT THESE CRITTERS COST MONEY TO KEEP. JUST GETTING THEM OUT OF SLAUGHTER DOES NOT COMPLETE THE JOB. WE NEED PERMANENT HOMES AND PEOPLE TO HELP FUND THESE GUYS.
So please think about that when you are on the computer, typing away, about "SAVING ALL THE HORSES". We desperately need people to "git 'er done", not just talk and type about it. Donations, permanent places for the animals and being PART of the SOLUTION!!! is critical.
God bless everyone who is stepping up and helping these horses!!
Just a quick update. Just got back to Reno after spending yesterday and today at the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting in Salt Lake City. I want to thank Julie for getting me there. (You are amazing and this was an awesome and extremely important meeting. )
Wow I can't believe how expensive everything out in the real world is. Will feel so great to be back in our little cabin in the woods!!!!! It really reminded me of why we eat at home, or take our cooler for picnics. Hmmmmmmm I bet if everyone who eats out at least once or twice a week wanted to save a horse, they would probably have enough funds to actually sponsor one of the wild ones that need a home.
I have to say that although emotions ran high, I have definitely found that working together on a seemingly hopeless issue far exceeds the benefits of fighting with people. Not everyone is going to agree with everyone else. But having respect for each other certainly gets you a lot farther than fighting.
No matter what the reasons, everyone seems to want 1) better range conditions 2) the horses to be managed appropriately, (although people's ideas definitely differ on that issue) 3) to not have thousands upon thousands of horses standing in holding pens.
We need to think about what is best for the horses overall. There was an excellent suggestion from Callie about the horses in long and short term holding. IF EVERYONE ON THE COMPUTER WHO SITS AND WRITES EVERYDAY ABOUT SAVING THE HORSES.......WELL - if even half of them put their money where their mouth is, we could have a giant step towards a solution. Instead of sitting on the computer everyday and yakking about it, start skipping that meal out, or that coffee, and ACTUALLY SAVE A HORSE! If we had enough people step up, and there are plenty of them out there who purport to want to "save the horses", well - do it!! I know lots of advocates who cannot "have a horse at their home", but who have found ranches or sanctuaries where they can put their "saved horse"
I will update more later, just wanted to let y'all know that it was a very successful meeting and that I made it back and wanted to once again tell Julie thank you! Love you girl!
I am sorry, but I think it is plain cruel to leave stallions intact and keep them separate from the mares. The 11 years that I have spent working with the wild ones, (in a hands on, there nearly every single day situation) PROVE BEYOND A DOUBT THAT in the MAJORITY OF CASES, GELDING A STALLION DOES NOT TAKE AWAY IT'S DESIRE TO PROTECT IT'S MARES. Even geldings that never got to "be a stallion" will often start acting like one when they get age appropriate. They fight to protect "their mares", often injuring others who don't take no for an answer. They FULLY COVER their mares to the fullest extent, and the only difference is that they are non-reproducing. I cannot imagine leaving stallions intact and keeping them separate from the mares. Talk about torture. The family bands need to remain intact if at all possible.
As I sit here, my heart is heavy and filled with despair, and I know that I am not alone. We spent Wednesday(?) - seriously can't even remember what day it was, all day moving and separating wild horses that were saved from slaughter in Nevada. Now I only get to help every so often, but the folks in Nevada spend more days like this than they care to count, and I am talking long, long, exhausting days. They spend their funds on fuel and take time off of work to move these horses from temporary holding places to get to the vet to get their Coggins tests, bloodwork etc. and travel papers so the lucky ones can be moved to sanctuaries. In the past month or so, close to 100 horses (Virginia Range mainly) have been rounded up by the Nevada Department of Ag. These horses are being rounded up as fast as possible and as quickly as possible to make it impossible for the advocates to save them. This is an extremely huge part of history and one of the main tourist draws to Nevada. I am privileged to be able to help in a small way, once in awhile, but the folks over in Nevada don't have a minute to even breathe. It takes a huge toll on lives, marriages and health when people are in the middle of this fight.
Virginia City is famous not only for it's own history and mines and crimes, but their wild horses. There is another group (the 3rd) of about 29 Virginia Range horses that are headed to Auction on this coming Wednesday, 10/24/12. There is not enough money or temporary homes for them, and that is not counting all of the other domestic horses that are sent to auction. As hay prices rise, more and more animals are being abandoned, sent to auction (which in essence is being sent to slaughter) and in some cases left to starve. I wish I had an easy answer for the economy and the effect on people and their critters, but I REALLY DON'T!!! EXCEPT FOR ONE BIG ONE - STOP BREEDING HORSES!!!! I do understand that there are cases that are special, where rare breeds and bloodlines are being preserved. But we seriously need to tell the sanctuaries that are randomly breeding more unwanted and unneeded horses to STOP!! IF THEY ARE TRULY A SANCTUARY, AND WANT TO "SAVE THE HORSES", they should think about the fact that every new baby born basically sends another one to slaughter. I am not talking about someone breeding their own mare to keep the baby, but people are getting donations for being sanctuaries to "save the horses". Well, that is not "saving the horses" when you are flooding the market with more babies. EVEN IF YOU HAVE ROOM FOR MORE HORSES - WHY NOT SAVE SOME OF THEM BEING SENT DOWN THE SLAUGHTER PIPELINE????
There are so many sanctuaries that are not breeding, and they are being over run with animals that have no where else to go. They are using every penny they have to try and do what they can. They need the donations to keep doing their work, so I truly hope that when people donate they think about what their money is being used for. Is it being used in a place where the horses are being managed responsibly and where the sanctuary is not adding to the number of horses already flooding the market, or is it being used where it is a benefit to the sanctuary to breed so people will pay to come and see all the pretty little babies? If people want to see wild horse babies, all they have to do is drive to the holding pens. Unfortunately, that is fast becoming the true "American Wild Horse". We NEED ALL OF OUR SANCTUARIES - BUT WE NEED RESPONSIBLE MANAGEMENT and we need to make sure that we are supporting the ones that are part of the solution, not part of the problem. I know this might sound harsh, but if you think it does, take five minutes and watch one of the many videos of how the horses are transported to slaughter and how many of them are "processed" before they are even dead. We have so little power in this fight right now. But we can take those baby steps to make sure we are not helping to cause more issues.
We just got a call about two more starving horses. Wouldn't it be nice if there was room at a sanctuary? Every new baby at the sanctuaries that was deliberately bred in captivity by not responsibly managing the horses is a "NO" - WE HAVE NO MORE ROOM AVAILABLE FOR MORE HORSES" when that phone call for help comes in. Most all of the sanctuaries are full to the brim, and we are facing a crisis much larger than we have ever seen. People's budgets are stretched tight and I haven't heard of any rescues that are not feeling the pinch as people just don't have the funds to keep donating. The range conditions in many places are horrible, although there are many wild horses in different areas that are doing well. Nevada Dept. of Ag is gathering up the wild ones as fast as they can. So why on earth would anyone be breeding more mustangs? We are in desperate times and we only have a limited number of things that we can do to change the situation. Surely not adding more unwanted mustangs would be the first step. We can preserve the bloodlines by using PZP and waiting for some of the older horses to pass. (For those of you not familiar with PZP, it is a birth control for the mares and I believe there are one and two year strains available). I have participated in several studies, the latest being at the Carson Prison Program and it is not difficult to administer and the horses do not seem to have many side effects.
So please, think about who you support, and what they are doing to actually help the horses. We need prayers and miracles, and while I do not care to ever eat a horse, my main concern is how they live and how they leave this earth. God made it clear that we are to care for the animals here on earth, and although sometimes what we do is heartbreaking, I am grateful that this is the path He chose for me. So thank you all for your support, and I hope that we will always be able to do what we do. We are truly blessed by the support from our community, which allows us to do this, and I can only say thank you and God bless you for all you do!
Hope this finds everyone and their critters well.
I had a rather frightening experience the other day, and I thought it might be prudent to share what happened. I know that if a baby is dehydrated and they drink too much, too fast, their brains will swell and they will die.
However, I didn't know that a two year old can go down just as fast. We came home after a day in town, and Honey Bandit's water was tipped over. That in itself is quite a feat, but the puppy who normally causes all the h2o issues and splashes the water away was confined as she just had surgery. So, I was wondering if HB could have done it. We were gone for most of the day, and I checked him as soon as we got home. He had no water, so of course I filled it up right away. I noticed he was thirstier than usual, but I was actually focusing more on how or who had knocked it over. I noticed that he had left his grain to drink, which if y'all know HB - food ALWAYS comes first. I was really upset that this could have happened and was talking to Matt about "how could this happen when I am always filling the water troughs"? Seems like Matt is always letting me know that I have flooded them over. So, muttering to myself the whole way, I went back to check and my world crashed. Honey Bandit was starting to go down. He was shaking and his muscles were convulsing and he kept whinnying to me. Then he kind of ran and bucked and then came back and stood there shaking, all the while his hind end was sinking. I was so scared and not sure what was happening. His muscles were moving more violently and he kept whinnying to me. I called Shirley in a total panic, all the while realizing that even though I know he may not live a long life, and have tried to always be prepared, the thought of losing him was beyond comprehensible.
The reason I am telling you all this, is to give you life saving information in case it ever happens to you. What happened was that Honey Bandit took on so much water so fast, that it washed all the necessary electrolytes out of him. This can cause the brain to swell and malfunction. Immediately after replenishing his electrolytes, - HIS MUSCLES STOPPED CONVULSING AND HE WAS ABSOLUTELY FINE!!! Of course we watched him like a hawk for a long time after. We were completely blessed that it was not a hot day, so he was not "heated" or "tired from working", or most likely we might have lost him. Again, I know that it is imperative with the orphan foals we get, to not let them drink too much water or it will swell up their brain, but never would I have imagined that something like that could happen so fast with a rested, cool, 2 year old. I PRAISE GOD FOR HELPING US WITH THIS. ONCE AGAIN HE SAVED HB'S life, and once again he used my Angel, Shirley to give me the needed info.
It is always embarrassing when something happens that shouldn't, - like a horse tipping over his water tank. You feel so guilty and horrible. However, I needed to share this as it may save a life. If that had happened after a ride, or serious exercise, it probably wouldn't have ended like it did. It was very cool out, cool enough that we were in sweatshirts. PTL! So I learned another extremely valuable lesson. I realize that most everyone knows you never over-water a "heated horse", or let it drink too much, too fast, but now we all know (and I am sure many of you did already know this) that even a cool horse can kill itself by drinking too much, too fast. I always have electrolytes on hand for the orphans, and I thank God for that also. I would not have had time to "go get some". So hopefully this will help someone somewhere, and prevent another horse from "water overload" and the potassium/sodium? stripping that it causes.
Please remember that we are drawing the winning ticket for the Honey Bandit chair in December. It would make a great Christmas gift for a youngster (or grown-up hee hee) who likes horses. Tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10. You can go to our website at www.chillypepper.weebly.com or go to Palominodancer@yahoo.com (Paypal). We so appreciate your help as now that we have found a "hay shelter", it is most definitely time to start filling it. Honey Bandit is still a "special needs" when it comes to his feed. Also don't forget we have RockY the Rock Star and Romeo and Chilly Pepper who are all up for adoption, but continuing to eat in the meantime - haha. We are heading out soon to pick up the donated "hay shelter" and take Honey Bandit to visit "Wild Horse Robin" who was at the fundraiser for the Wild Horse Preservation League in Virginia City yesterday. (We need more youngsters like Robin to step up and help preserve our National Heritage - our Wild Mustangs!) It was a wonderful day and the folks were very generous, so the Wild Horse Protection League can continue to do their awesome work for the wild ones.
We have heard news of slaughter trucks full of horses "being turned back" and American horses not being accepted for slaughter. PTL! However, if this continues, we still need to find homes for these horses, and there are thousands of them out there. It is so wonderful when we find a place for a horse, but often they continue to need funds for food if they are taken in at a rescue. That is something that many people often don't realize or think about.
Soldier is settling in quite well. He is still pretty sketchy in different situations. It really seems like he was in some very uncomfortable situations. I hope that his Soldier knows that we are taking care of his buddy and partner. Maybe he is looking down from Heaven above and knows that his beloved "soldier/partner" is being cared for. It is so easy to get caught up in all the little trials and tribulations that we are experiencing in life that we forget to think about what our service men and women go through every single moment. God bless all of them and their families.
THANK YOU FROM ALL OF US!
Matt, Palomino & The Gang
Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang
Equine Rescue & More -
Rescue/Rehab Project LRTC
Life is certainly never boring. On the way home from the Vegas conference, we were attending a canine training class in So. Cal. Matt's sister and brother-in-law run canine cadaver and "live-find" dogs, and they also find drugs and one of them is a bomb dog for local authorities and has worked with the FBI. They are amazing dog trainers and it was really an honor to watch them at work. However, also at that training session was a beautiful red/brown doberman. I asked about him and this was the answer I received. "He is a military war dog, and his handler/soldier was killed in action. Since then he has bounced around a couple of different places, and again was needing a home." This dog is a war veteran (through no choice of his own), and not only has he seen action, but most likely watched his soldier die. We need to honor each and every soldier that comes home, and mourn those that don't. So, not only to honor "Soldier aka Scooby", but to honor his handler and one of our own, Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang now has their very own soldier. He is one of the first steps toward fulfilling our dream. (We still have very little background on what he did and what he was trained for, so we are being very careful and going slow with him. We are paying close attention to the things that make him nervous or uncomfortable, and waiting for more information on this soldier. He definitely deserves a "forever" home after all he has been through.
Now for those of you who know about the Big Dream for Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang, Equine Rescue & MORE - well, part of that dream is to find a place where we could have cabins for the returning military and/or servicewomen who have been injured or just need to decompress. The facility would house families in a lodge so they could come and visit, so the "reunion" could be at the very best pace for the servicemen and women and their families. Not all soldiers are ready to just jump back into the "mainstream life" and often, if given the opportunity, would like to have a place to decompress and gradually integrate themselves back into the household.
So we are very excited to be able to step up and help one veteran to start with. He has met all the other critters and we believe that he is settling in very well. We took HB to the vet yesterday to get his coggins and health certificate so he can go and visit Robin's school when we pick up the donated hay shelter. Rob told us that often times these war dogs can be so traumatized by losing their "partners" that they can really lose it. We are very fortunate in the fact that he is transferring his affection and loyalty to us. He is getting to know Matt, but is obviously going to always be my "protector".
The other critters are doing well, and Honey Bandit once again demonstrated how intelligent these horses are. If you have ever seen a ballet dancer warming up on a barre, (sp), well Honey Bandit does similar exercises. He puts his foot through the panel and then leans his ankle on it and then stretches backwards. The first time I saw him do that I thought it was coincidence. But then I saw him do it deliberately and over and over. As usual, he is always entertaining. Romeo is doing wonderfully and they are all hanging out together during the evening so "Donkey Pepe" can watch over them and chase away the bad critters. I would hate to be someone snooping around the property or trying to sneak in. That sweet little donk is terrifying when he is after something. He patrols the property and makes sure all is well. It is such a wonderful and peaceful feeling, although he still cannot figure out why the little guys boss him around.
Take care and remember, when God takes something out of your hands, it is only because He has something better for you. Although this is a wild ride, He is definitely guiding us through each step and I know that with faith, He will not only provide, but keep us moving in the right direction.
God bless you and thank you for all your wonderful support. I look forward to y'all coming up and meeting Donkey, and a safe trip to the Nevada school to visit Robin with Honey Bandit.