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Terri Farley
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

My chaps are packed. I'm ready to go.

 Dear Readers,
This time tomorrow, Suzanne Morgan Williams, our nameless skunk mascot and I will be on the road again!
After our writers-in-residence literacy celebration in May, we thought we'd have to wait longer for a return invitation to the super Nevada town of Hawthorne, but we are delighted to be returning for Mineral County Library's Summer Reading program.
The theme for the summer is "Digging into the Past," so Suzy and I will tell stories and give tips from our own fiction, non-fiction, contemporary and historical research. Don't be surprised if those stories include bucking bulls and broncs! 
At 3:00 younger reader/writers will join us for "I See By Your Outfit" & fun research tips which include chaps and a fur-lined parka. Hmmm....
At 5:30, teens can learn how to give their school and personal writing texture. Together, we'll dig into  Internet, Interview and "Getting Your Hands Dirty"  research.
We're excited to see some familiar faces again, and meet some new reader/writers. And I'd be fibbing if I didn't saw we are looking forward to the homemade Mexican food we've been promised, too!
Since you can't all be there, here are some snaps from our last journey! 

Nameless travel mascot
Writers at work

Community Night fun

Suzy and I will be on the road again in September, but this time we'll be FAR FROM HOME in South Dakota!
Come see us at the Tri-Conference 2013 - September 25 - 27, 2013. The conference, The Library: All Travels Welcome, is jointly sponsored by the South Dakota Library Association, the North Dakota Library Association and the Mountain Plains Library Association and will be held at the Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For more information and registration form, click here...Open in a New Window
Mountain Plains Library Association Conference
September 25 - 27, 2013

for info: (605) 336-0650

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Friday, July 26, 2013

CUTENESS ALERT: endangered foal arrives at Denver Zoo

Dear Readers,
If you're in Denver, Colorado this summer, you'll have the chance to see one of the cutest -- and most endangered -- foals, ever.

Sube is the first Przewalski's Horse to be born at the Denver Zoo in 20 Years .

If you're like me, you look at the name of her breed and decide it's too much of a tongue-twister to pronounce.
You might just call her a Mongolian Horse. That's accurate, too, but here's a key to pronunciation:

sheh-VAL-skeez .

The little filly was born to mom Yisun, on the morning of May 31.

Do you speak Mongolian? Hope so, since I can't find sensible translations of the names. Sube or Yisun. Perhaps they're just proper names.

Want to enjoy a Sube film? Click here: foal quietly exploring her yard under the watchful eye of her mother. Sube is a little unsteady on her feet, and when she's afraid she'll fall, she's all about cuddling closer to her mother!

 Thanks to Felise Buckheart for these photos

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Saturday, July 20, 2013


ICE STALLION, award-winning photograph by mustang adopter and elementary school teacher Deb Sutherland.Wishing his coolness to you and his wild horse family -- captive and free.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Give Horses a Hand with the Press

Dear Readers,
I have a confession.
Recently,  I read a wild horse news story in which a reporter interviewed a source who didn't sound credible.
OK, that's a fib.
I went nuts. Mentally, I raged that she sounded like a crazy cat lady in horse-lovers clothing. She made us ALL sound too emotional, invested in conspiracy theories and -- Yeah. Kind of an over-reaction.

Still, since I've been both interviewer and interviewee, I have a few suggestions to make interviews EASY.

1) Know Your Subject: Memorize 3 facts which explain why wild horses should be protected -- or given shade -- or not sent to slaughter. If you're as poor at memorization as I am, write notes and keep them with you.  (see above diagram)
In addition, have an interesting, sad or entertaining PERSONAL anecdote about the subject which you can share.


3) Know Your Limits: Don't say NO to an interview at a rally, a meeting, a chance encounter. If you don't know the answer to a certain question, don't fake it. Do suggest a source and then quickly offer an interesting or quirky truth about your subject. This is also a good time to use your anecdote.

99.9 % of Reporters are not out to get you or the horses

The vast majority of recent news stories have fallen into two categories: pro horse or press release reprints. Your job is to supply information so that reporters don't have to depend on BLM press releases

Good reporters do their homework. Know your subject and you can have a relaxed conversation about it.
Make reporters' jobs easier by having sources for facts and offering entertaining anecdotes.  
Be succinct. Remember reporters have deadlines.

Some reporters -- bad, lazy, or sometimes just focused --  have a storyline in mind and are likely to ask a question that ends with  ".....right?"
That's your signal to ask for the question to be repeated. Listen carefully. If you agree --
"Wild horses are protected under the 1971 wild and free roaming horse and burro act, right?" 
say YES.
"There are at least a million wild horses on the range, right?"

Don't agree if you don't know the answer.
Have some sources in mind that you can suggest to the reporter.
I trust Wild Horse Preservation Campaign   or The Cloud Foundation

Thanking you for the horses,

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The West is Burning, but Captive Mustangs have No Shade

Walking to water, mustangs stay in the shade 

Dear Readers, 

June 2013 was one of the hottest months on record for the area surrounding the Palomino Valley Wild Horse center. 
The sun is not slacking off. Temperatures will hit 100 degrees today, 101 on Friday and 103 on Saturday. 
When I adopted Sage, BLM required me to draw and document shelter appropriate for the climate
Still, BLM's website says :  
"Wild horses are accustomed to open environments" and "Due to the temperament of the animals, the social hierarchy between the animals, and their unfamiliarity with shelters, the BLM feels that corrals without shelters are the safest approach."

Yes, wild horses are accustomed to open environments, but they -- like other mammals -- seek shade and relief from the heat. 
Below, you'll see wild horses in a sanctuary with 5,000 acres. In 11 hours of riding, with temperatures in the 80's, these are the only horses I saw in the open sunlight.   

After they've had water, mustangs return to the shade. 

Cat Kindsfather's photo of mustangs in BLM captivity. Fenced in, they cannot find cool grass to lie upon or shade against the relentless desert sun 

Do you disagree with fencing animals away from shade in soaring temperates? 
Go to:
GIMME SHELTER petition at

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Writer's Spell Box : Visiting Horse Fair in My Mind

Dear Readers, 
When I was a little girl, my mother belonged to a recipe-swapping club. It started in a national Methodist magazine, led to many pen-pal-style exchanges and a few lasting friendships. 
I don't know the name of the pie crust expert who sent my mother a braced-in-cardboard print of THE HORSE FAIR, by Rosa Bonheur for me, because she knew I was "horse crazy."  I do know I stared at the painting for hours and hundreds of stories bloomed in my brain. 

People ask authors "Where do you get your ideas?" I'm likely to say "everywhere," but looking at this painting now, I realize that lots of horses living in my books now, were present then.  
Dead-center you see a fiery white horse and a rearing black.
Both have the hot-blooded conformation of Arabians, but the black, especially, shows feathers above his hooves. They might well have come from today's Calico Mountains or from "The Challenger."  Did they sire the fictional Phantom and his son New Moon? Two sorrels -- one floating in the background, one on the left, darting beside a stalwart gray, remind me of Hoku. In another light, the gray could be the steeldust mare Medusa.

The men in painting try to dominate the horses, but the artist doesn't allow it. I learned recently that young Rosa dressed as a boy for a year to sketch the real life horse fair. 
Thank you, Rosa! 

An observer might say half of my work is staring into space. In fact, I'm staring into my child-mind where no editorial guidelines, market thirst or sales figures exist.  
It's a rich place, a realm of heart and imagination and a good place for writers to visit. 
See you there,

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Counting Wild Horses : Why Statistics Don't Stack Up

How many wild horses do you see? According to BLM: 2

Babies born to mustang mothers in Federal captivity are not wild horses until they are old enough to be branded.   

The rhetoric of death is complicated. 
As an English teacher and word lover, I wonder: is this an example of oxymoron or irony? 

Maybe it's a logic problem.

Bureau of Land Management is legally required to protect and preserve America's wild horses

If records for a wild horse facility show BLM paid for disposal of 241 dead wild horses, how is it that 577 equine corpses were picked up for disposal ?

The discrepancy is made up of phantom foals.

In May 2013, BLM explained it this way: 

 "How many horses have died at the facility since Jan 1, 2013?  According to the Wild Horse and Burro Program System, the number of horses that have died at PVC from Jan. 1, 2013 through April 1, 2013, is 37. This number does not include stillbirths (aborted fetuses, animals born dead and newborn animals found dead) and young foals that died before they were freeze marked. Foals are freeze marked when they are weaned. This varies with the size and condition of the foals and the mares, but usually occurs sometime between three and six months of age."

As a stereotypical English major, I'm usually willing to take the blame for my trouble with numbers.  This time, I don't think it's me. 

BLM's statistical problems as diagnosed by the National Academy of Sciences won't clear up until fuzzy math is no longer a matter of policy.  

***Read more about Animal Angels' investigation captive mustang deaths here:  

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Phone Interview with Jeb Beck, Acting Manage PALOMINO VALLEY

Dear Readers, 
What follows is only a transcription of my notes. 
You've seen plenty of my opinions other places, but for this blog post, I put on my objective journalist's hat, asked questions and wrote down the answers. If you see quotation marks, that means this is a direct quote which I took down like dictation, word-for-word.
Since I am sitting at my kitchen table and was not looking at the horses as we spoke, you'll find no judgement here from me. 
I attempted to focus on concerns from Facebook and Twitter posters, but of course I didn't cover everything.  Best, Terri

Sale Authority and Three Strikes Horses: 
Purchase of Sale Authority horses must go through D.C.  This may be a slightly longer process than before because D.C. doesn’t just sign off. Checks and balances have been added to avoid Tom Davis – style disasters.
Sale Authority mares with foals at side can’t be purchased until foals are of an age to be branded.  Then, foals may be adopted and mare may be purchased outright.  
So, it’s 2 transactions, not a two-for-the-price of one sale.

Three-Strikes: According to Beck, horses at PV don’t get a strike just for being there, available for adoption. They may get one if they’re featured in an Internet adoption. After they get that "strike," they're usually shipped further  East for adoption at another facility. 
The horses move are based on what other BLM facilities need. Example: if they facility has all mares available for adopters, they might ask PV to send geldings.
Brands: U mark on horses’ necks (in some photos, it  looked like a sideways F to me) means the horse is – on arrival at PC – a sale authority horse because s/he is 11 years or older. 
Hip brands - AC is a common one -- are tied to fertility studies and indicate when/where horses received fertility shot(s). 
There are currently 1800 horses at PV.

Although these aren’t “fresh” horses (fresh off the range), they are all at greater risk when they are moved – to have feet trimmed, for instance. Risk is higher than when they’re just standing in pens because crowded horses will kick and spooked horses may run into fences. 
Hooves are currently being trimmed on a most-needed basis.  Staff moves from corral to corral and trims hooves of all horses in that corral based on which corralhas the MOST horses who need their hooves trimmed.
Beck said is safer than taking them out one at a time and stirring up all of the horses in multiple corrals. It also ensures all horses in each corral will have attention to their feet. 
At this moment, they were “halfway through yearling geldings." 
Hoof trimming is sandwiched between other chores and may be delayed if horses have strangles or are sick.

Dead Mustangs: between June 28th and July 8th  four horses died or were euthanized.

1.  Mare in pen with other horses in preparation for hoof trimming presented with “wobbles” one morning, meaning there was swelling around spinal chord, possible neck fracture. She was euthanized.

2.  Horse died of Bastard Strangles (different from standard Strangles because it presents in body, not neck), 2 weeks post-diagnosis and treatment 

3.   Yearling from video “passed overnight” and was found dead in her pen on the morning of July 2. Her body was removed by 8:30 am July 2.
“Unless there’s clinical signs of cause of death, horses have to be listed as undiagnosed,” said Beck.

4.  3-year-old was found dead.  Cause of death undiagnosed.
“No animals have passed since July 2,” said Beck. 

Injured horses: Horses which appear lame from a stone bruise, kick or other minor injury are observed in their corrals and not immediately moved to sick pens.  "If they're eating and drinking, we watch them,"  because this is safer than stirring up all of the horses in the corral.  
If the injury worsens or horse seems sick, s/he is evaluated by vet and a determination on whether it should be taken out of home corral is made.

Sunburned horses:  Beck commented specifically on a gray and white pinto, sunburned and peeling across the withers.  This horse, he said, has been at PV for six months and had been diagnosed earlier with a food allergy which caused skin peeling according to a vet report. That peeling patch got sunburned.  

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Which Silver Would You Pick?

Which movie stallion -- the new or the original -- suits your equine tastes? 

In the collage above, the horse with rider is the original Silver, a 12 year old Morab-Tennesse Walker cross. Here he is again.

In the collage at the top of this blog, the riderless horse is the new Silver,  a white Thoroughbred. Watch him in action here   

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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Those Crazy Ely Brothers

Dear Readers,
Guess which non-equine PHANTOM STALLION character I get asked about most?  
Not Sam or Jen or quirky Calliope (Callie, Queen's "soul mate"), but Jake Ely. 

I bet you can figure out the questions to these answers. 

1. Jake Ely isn't real, but he IS based on one of my former high school students and he has no idea that his literary clone is famous! 

2. Jake doesn't have a series of his own, based on his tracking ability (as many of my guy-readers suggested) , but I did propose it, only to be told that boys don't read anything but fantasy. Really? 
I think it's worth a second try.  

3. Jake's one of 7 brothers and they are: Adam, Kit, Quinn, Nate, Brian and Seth. His parents are Maxine and Luke. His grandfather is MacArthur Ely.  Thanks to someone who's not me, Wikipedia has great descriptions of the characters in PHANTOM STALLION.  You can check them out here:   Wikipedia PHANTOM STALLION 

4. In my books Jake and Samantha don't have a romantic relationship, but they are very good friends (mostly) and they are on-the-verge of being boyfriend and girlfriend. I think they're both a little bit afraid of messing up their friendship.  
However, there are 600+ PHANTOM STALLION fan-fiction stories online, and while I haven't read all of them,  99% of those I have checked out feature Sam and Jake in love.  
Even cooler:  I'm amazed at how closely the photos and drawings that illustrate fan fiction resemble the Jake in my imagination. 

Happy trails! 

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy July 4th Newsletter for you!

by Robin Warren 

My newsletter just popped into your e-mailboxes if you're subscribed. 
If not, come on over anyway --->    July 4 2013 Newsletter
It's an important one! 
Hugs ! 

Terri  &  the Phantom

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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Horse reveals the truth of Johnny Depp's Tonto

Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, with the Lone Ranger's Silver

The revived legend of the Lone Ranger is tracked by controversy. Is it another movie depiction of a patriarchal white man one-upping a Native American? Is it a response to the child that was Johnny Depp musing Wait, Tonto 's the sidekick? He'd know the land, have a better handle on Nature and...

Caught between what Sherman Alexie might say and Depp being ceremonially adopted into the Cherokee nation, I don't know how I'll perceive Depp-the-actor, but my feelings about Depp-th -guy changed when I read Michael Ordona's San Francisco Chronicle interview. It it, Depp talks about an unplanned dismount from his movie horse.
"I was hanging off the side of the horse, looking at the wonderful, beautiful striations of muscle in his front legs. And all I could think about was 'Hooves. How do I avoid the hooves?' So I just held on until I thought, 'Well, you know, now's as good a time as any.'"
Depp let go.
"Luckily, amazingly, the horse saved my life-- put his front legs over me, jumped me -- then I stood up...It was weird."

There's so much to like about Depp's reaction.

Even as he's falling, he appreciates the essence of the running horse. Instead of blaming his mount for the predicament, Depp credits the horse for his jump. And seeing the belly of a horse sailing above you and standing up unharmed -- you bet it's weird.

Open. Humble. Humorous.
The movie doesn't premiere until tomorrow, and this interview could be Hollywood hype, but the incident happened. I have the scars and bone bumps to empathize with Depp's tumble and I like his attitude.

Turns out that movie-Scout's saddle slipped. So happy I wasn't the one charged with tightening that cinch.  
                See film of Depp's fall

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