Friday, July 17, 2009

Wild horse adoption in Lubbock, TX

Wild horse adoption at the South Plains Fairgrounds
By Katie Bauer

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A "stampede" of wild mustangs invaded the South Plains Fairgrounds on Thursday. For the first time, the US Bureau of Land Management will hold a wild horse adoption in Lubbock.

These wild horses represent a piece of the American West, living legends, that you can now be a part of. "People love the mustang they love what the mustang represents," said Spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Paul McGuire.

McGuire says reducing the range population is meant to preserve the plains, protect the wild horse population and other wildlife. "We have to call the herds from time to time to keep the populations in check. So those animals that we remove we bring around to places around the country like Lubbock to make them available for people to adopt," said McGuire.

Before adopting a wild horse you must qualify. Potential owners will go through an application screening, must have the proper facilities, and no record of animal abuse. Seventy wild horses are at the South Plains Fairgrounds for anyone to come look at, and fill out an application if interested in adoption.

"I might be interested in adopting, I'm looking at them pretty close," said Bill Head.

Head browsed through the herd for potential adoptees. "There's several good ones in here, there are three in one pen that I would take home for a little bit," said Head.

Because adopting a wild horse is certainly a challenge. "That's what people need to realize. They are getting into and that these are in fact wild animals. The first hurdle is getting the horse accustomed to you as a companion," said McGuire.

"You got to break them if you want to joy ride, or team rope, or bell race. You got to break them because they are wild and they don't have human contact. That's what they told me," said potential owner Casey Garcia.

The gates will open Friday at 8 a.m. and adoptions will start at 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. On Saturday, adoptions will take place from 8 a.m. to Noon. The minimum adoption fee is $125, and an auction will be held if more than one person wants a certain horse.

©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Horse Found With Brand Cut Out of Hide

updated 6:24 p.m. MT, Fri., July 10, 2009

Nev. case draws outrage from animal-protection groups, reward offer

Abandoned Horse CrueltyAn injured mare, found at the Nevada Livestock Market, was running loose in with the brand cut out of its hide so it couldn't be identified.

RENO, Nev. - A domestic horse found loose in Nevada with the brand cut out of its hide is drawing outrage from equine advocates concerned about the growing number of horses abandoned in the wild.

Humane Society officials believe the brand was removed so the 2 1/2-year-old mare couldn't be traced to its owner, representing one of the worst cases of abuse involving an abandoned domestic horse in the country.

The animal was found last week near Round Mountain, a remote mining community about 230 miles southeast of Reno. Its brand — which functions like a car's license plate — was removed in a 6-by-8-inch patch from its left hip.

The horse is expected to recover and will be transported Saturday to a sanctuary in California operated by the horse advocacy group Return to Freedom.

The case is under investigation by the Nevada agriculture department, which so far has one potential lead on the horse's owner, spokesman Ed Foster said. He didn't elaborate.

'As cruel as it gets'
Idaho state Brand Commissioner Larry Hayhurst said he'd never heard of a brand being removed from a live horse.

"That's about as cruel as it gets," he said. "Get yourself a tattoo and cut it off, and it would be the same thing. It's like skinning you alive."

The case has outraged animal-protection groups and prompted the Humane Society of the United States to offer a $2,500 reward for information leading to a conviction.

"We need to send a strong message that this sort of abuse won't be tolerated," said Stacy Segal, Humane Society equine protection specialist.

While no group keeps track of how many horses have been abandoned nationwide, some Western states have reported a surge in the problem. Experts attribute the increase to the faltering economy, saying it's forcing some horse owners to choose between feeding their families and their horses.

Nevada agriculture officials have picked up more than 100 domestic horses from the range this year, including 90 in the past three months, Foster said. That's up from a previous high of 63 last year and 12 the year before.

Abandoned horses on rise
Wyoming Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa said his state has handled more than 100 such cases this year, up from 50 last year and an average of six to eight cases before that.

Foster said some owners think their horses will be fine in the wild, but that's not the case. Domestic horses are rejected by wild herds and usually die after being unable to find water and forage.

In Idaho, Hayhurst said he's dealt with about 70 abandoned horse cases over the past year, compared with the usual handful. He said another factor is the ban on horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.

"Unfortunately, slaughterhouses are a necessary evil," Hayhurst said. "Without being able to ship a horse to a slaughterhouse, people turn them loose."

The Humane Society opposes horse slaughter and encourages other options such as leasing a horse or giving it to one of the more than 500 equine rescue facilities in the U.S., Segal said.

"Euthanasia is far more preferable to mistreating a horse by releasing it into the wild," she said.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Smithsonian Horse Exhibit to travel from New York to D.C.

July 13, 2009
By: Jena Tesse Fox

The relationship between Native peoples and the horse will be illustrated through the exhibit “A Song for the Horse Nation,” opening November 14 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center. Starting with the return of the horse to the Americas in 15th century, the exhibition traces how native people adapted the horse into their cultural and spiritual lives and integrated it into their geographic expansion, warfare and defense.

“A Song for the Horse Nation” will present 95 works, including horse trappings, clothing and photographs and will close March 7, 2011. The exhibition will then continue at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., from June 2011 through January 2013. Afterward, the exhibition is expected to tour nationally through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service program (SITES).

Included in the exhibition will be a Lakota winter count (ca. 1902) by Long Soldier (Hunkpapa

Lakota) that depicts when horses were first sighted by the community. The exhibition also includes a dance stick (ca. 1890) by No Two Horns (Hunkpapa Lakota), created to honor his horse that died at the Battle of Big Horn.
Visitors can also see examples of elaborate horse trappings, including a horse crupper adorned with fine quillwork (Cree or Red River Metis, ca. 1850) and clothing adorned with images of the horse, such as a colorful Lakota baby bonnet (South Dakota or North Dakota, ca. 1900). New work has also been commissioned for the exhibition. “A Song for the Horse Nation” was curated by museum curator Emil Her Many Horses (Oglala Lakota).
The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park. The museum is free and open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. For information, call 212-514-3700 or visit

Monday, July 13, 2009

Horses Rescued In Fremont County, Colorado

By: Stacey Kaiser
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CANON CITY - More than 20 neglected horses are now getting the care they need thanks to a change of heart by the Fremont County Sheriff. Sheriff Jim Beicker was going to auction the horses, but horse rescue groups say auctioned horses are often sent to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, and then sold as food in Europe and Asia.

"The slaughter industry is one of the cruelest, most vicious, most violent ways a horse can meet its death," said Pat Miller with Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue. And that is why horse rescuers came to get the horses in Fremont County.

Miller says this situation could have lead to what happened in El Paso County when Sheriff Terry Maketa auctioned neglected horses. "Some of them did in fact go to the slaughterhouse. There was a huge public outcry and basically he had to apologize to the community because he wasn't aware of that situation," said Miller.

Miller says most rescues know auction leads to the slaughterhouse, but not all law enforcement agencies do. "Their intent was always to protect the horses, it was never to harm the horses. And once they had all of the info, they easily switched track and said okay, rescues you can come and get these horses," said Miller.

The horses will go to Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue and Front Range Equine Rescue in El Paso County.


Related links:
22 neglected horses seized in Fremont
22 Horses seized from Canon City woman
Confiscated Horses Now At Rescues

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Horse or no horse, horse show welcomes you -- of course

BY RAY MARTIN - Staff Writer
Published: Sun, Jul. 12, 2009 02:00AM

RALEIGH -- You don't have to own a horse to benefit from the nation's second-largest 4-H horse program.

More than 400 children between the ages of 9 and 19 are competing in the 4-H state championship horse show, which began Wednesday and ends today at the Hunt Horse Complex at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. The show is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free for spectators.

Many of the participants don't have horses. They're just interested in them and want to hone skills that 4-H officials say will give them an edge in college and beyond.

Of the seven areas of competition, only one is devoted to riding. The other six are devoted to public speaking, writing, artistic skills and biological knowledge of horses. Each category features multiple competitions, all of which are horse-related.

Bethany Reid, 13, of McDowell County 4-H, rests on her horse, Hawk's Faith, a Tennessee walker.

"If you can't afford a horse, it doesn't matter," said Kira Pruitt, a sophomore at N.C. State University who started competing in the program eight years ago. "I've never competed in an event that involved me riding a horse."

Bob Mowrey, an N.C. State employee who runs the program, said most students want to be veterinarians. He said the educational aspect of the program puts them at a sophomore or junior level in biology once they enter college.

Many students earn scholarships through the program. Others say putting 4-H on their resume helped them earn scholarships from different organizations.

"I think colleges see how dedicated you are and how much time you put into it to learn extra skills," said Alison Thompson, an N.C. State sophomore who wants to be a stockbroker. "It gave me a head start. The program taught me how to communicate and gave me a lot more confidence about everything."

Students who want to ride horses but don't own one can lease them from the program. Program volunteers said they also help families find horses that are affordable.
"It really has something for everyone," Mowrey said. "Kids love it, and parents really appreciate it."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rodeo Horse Stolen and Recovered

Horse thieves sought
Investigation continues after horse found injured

By David MontgomeryCapital journal staffPublished/Last Modified on Wednesday, Jul 08, 2009 - 12:23:43 am CDT

FORT PIERRE — When Wendy Halweg put her horse Dually in his stall after the Fourth of July Rodeo Saturday night, the pair had just turned in a strong third-place performance in the women’s barrel racing competition.

Early the next morning, Halweg found Dually missing from his stall. She searched the rodeo grounds frantically before calling the Stanley County Sheriff’s Department. A deputy soon found Dually — but in far worse condition than Halweg had left the horse.

“He had been pretty much terrorized or tortured,” Halweg said. “He was severely rope-burned and was missing shoes.” Dually is now recuperating at a veterinary clinic, and Halweg said there is a good chance he will never compete in rodeos again.

Stanley County Sheriff Brad Rathbun said Tuesday an investigation into the incident is underway with several suspects.

“As soon as we can figure out what’s going on, then we’ll make an arrest,” Rathbun said. “We’re hoping to wrap it up here by the end of the week.”

Sindi Jandreau, director of the Badlands Circuit for the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, said the incident has sent shock waves through the rodeo community.

“In our rodeo world, nobody bothers anybody’s horses. They’re like our kids,” Jandreau said. “You just don’t mess with them. It’s kind of a cowboy code.”

Halweg said she is shocked anyone could treat a horse as roughly as Dually was treated.

“For someone to terrorize a horse — and with the shape he was in not call a vet or call the sheriff — is amazing to me,” Halweg said. “I cannot believe that anyone would leave a horse how he was left.”

According to Rathbun, a sheriff’s deputy responded around 7:30 a.m. Sunday to an address on Two Rivers Street where a horse had damaged a vehicle. The horse had been tied up at a residence on Two Rivers Street, Rathbun said, and a deputy found someone on the horse. Shortly after arriving, Rathbun said, the deputy received Halweg’s report about Dually missing from his pen.

Rathbun declined to release additional information about the case, citing a pending investigation.

Jandreau said the experience must have been traumatic for a rodeo horse.

“They are so pampered. Most rodeo contestants take extremely good care of their animals. I’m sure he just couldn’t even imagine that someone would rope him and hit him or treat him like that,” Jandreau said. “Out here, it’s a ranching community. It just blows my mind that somebody would do that in South Dakota.”

The incident has changed Halweg’s plans. She was registered for four rodeos this weekend and is in 8th place to go to the circuit finals, Halweg said. But she said she is most concerned for Dually’s well-being.

“This is as if it’s my first-born child. It’s no different,” Halweg said. “He’s pretty phenomenal.”

Jandreau said she hopes justice is done.

“Hopefully it’ll come to an end and justice will be served,” Jandreau said. “It would make the rodeo world a lot happier. There’s people who would like to handle it their own way.”

Halweg urged people who have information about the incident to contact the authorities.

“If they will do that to a horse, what is next?” Halweg said. “I’m just hoping that they catch the guilty parties and that something’s done about it.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Welcome to Horse News Network!

I will compile any and all horse related news stories I come across here, from the most terrifying to the most touching.

Check back regularly! I hope you enjoy the blog.