Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Feeding Was Almost Fatal

Several months ago, we ran an article in our newsletter about the serious consequences of feeding a wild horse anything that is not native to its diet. We have also discussed it previously in this blog. It bears repeating as we recently had a wild mare severely colic after being fed by residents in a rental house. She nearly died.
We received a call from a resident on a Friday afternoon who was observing the people at the rental house feeding a mare with a foal at her side. Later that evening, Herd Manager, Wesley Stallings, responded to a call about a black mare that was lying down and getting up repeatedly. She seemed disoriented. She had a foal at her side and was in the same general area as where the feeding took place. Wesley took the horse trailer up the beach and with the help of Carova Beach EMTs and other residents, he was able to capture the mare and foal.
A veterinarian from Dominion Equine Clinic examined her and pulled blood work. Normal heart rate for a horse is 28 to 40 beats per minute. This mare’s heart rate was 89, indicative of pain and distress, and it stayed elevated for over 24 hours. Early and aggressive treatment saved her life. Fortunately, this horse was located in an area where she was noticed when she began to colic. Not all horses will be that lucky. Some horses can tolerate nonnative foods better than others and do not colic. However, there is no way to determine which ones they are. THAT is why it is against the law to feed them. Feeding can be fatal. At the very least, it can cause excruciating pain. Who would knowingly want to do that to a wild horse? We have even observed visitors trying to give them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
A horse that colics may breathe heavily or sweat and will lay down and roll repeatedly. Rolling can cause the intestines to flip and twist. If this happens to a domestic horse, immediate surgery is the only way to save its life. An intestinal blockage and high fever can occur as well. If these conditions happen to a wild horse – it’s a death sentence.
Besides being harmful to the horse – feeding is against the law. The Currituck County Wild Horse Ordinance states in Sec. 3-36. “Feeding, riding and petting prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to feed, ride, pet or approach with the intent to feed, ride or pet any wild horse.”

Please, if you see someone putting a horse at risk, call the Corolla Wild Horse Fund immediately (252-453-8002). You may be saving the horse’s life.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Disappearing Wild Horse

It is important that we continue to update you on what is happening to wild horses out west. This is from the Cloud Foundation. Dr. Cothran is the geneticist who analyzed the genetic health of the Corolla wild herd.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- August 28, 2009: The Cloud Foundation and Front Range Equine Rescue have filed a lawsuit and a request for an injunction in Federal Court in Washington, DC to prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from removing horses from the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, and to stop the unprecedented round up of the Pryor Wild Horses slated to begin September 1, 2009.

The appellants argue that this removal of 70 horses will leave this unique and historical herd genetically non-viable and unable to sustain itself into the future. According to noted equine geneticist, Gus Cothran, Ph.D. of Texas A&M University, “… a census population of 150-200 is required to achieve the minimum effective population size…. The [Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd] has been one of the most important and visible herds within the BLM Wild Horse Program and it is important that it stays viable.”

The Bureau of Land Management is circumventing Congress’ wishes that wild horses be protected in the American West. The House just passed the Restore Our American Mustangs (ROAM) act and the Senate will review this bill (now S.1579) when they return from recess in September. “Is BLM just trying to do as much irrevocable damage to America's wild horses as fast as they can before the Senate can act?” asks Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation.

“Right now there are twelve entire herds being eliminated from 1.4 million acres near Ely, Nevada because these lands are suddenly not appropriate for wild horses,” Kathrens continues. “However, no action has been made to reduce cattle grazing in these areas.” There are no grazing permits in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range and reasons for holding an unprecedented removal this year are not clear. The range and adjacent lands are in excellent condition following three years of drought-breaking precipitation.

Cloud and the wild horses of Montana’s Pryor Mountains are world famous but fame and an outcry from the American public does not seem to impact the BLM’s plans. There are currently only 190 wild horses (one year and older) living in the spectacular Pryor Mountains. The BLM plans to remove 70 of them, including young foals and older horses who could be sold directly to killer buyers.

The Pryor Mountain wild horses are descendants of the Lewis and Clark horses who were stolen by the Crow Indians in the early 1800's. George Reed, Secretary of Cultural Education for the Crow Tribe Executive Branch, wrote in 2006: “We advocate preserving our heritage, culture and language, and these Pryor wild horses are part of our culture.”