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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Love on the Road

Suzanne stands with our luggage stuffed w/booth decor

Dear Readers, 
My friend author Suzanne Morgan Williams and I distributed Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Sourcebooks full of information on authors and illustrators who do school and library visits at library conferences in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska. Response was GREAT.  
Yes, we did bait librarians to our booth with candy

After we'd shown off the books of 22 of those authors and the exhibit hall closed, we took the books to the Eastside Boys and Girls Club learning center where participants had mailed them. The Club staffers hadn’t opened the boxes on arrival, so our return trip felt like Christmas. 

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Kind of Cowgirl Eats Horses?

Lacy J. Dalton sings for the wild horses, with Willis Lamm


        by Lacy J. Dalton 

What kind of cowgirl eats horses?
What kind of Rodeo Queen?
There’s plenty of steak
So give me a break,
Eatin’ a pony’s just mean.
What kind of cowboy eats horses?
When he’s spent his whole life raisin’ beef,
With the ebb and the flow of the market,
Why butcher a horse to compete?

And to those who believe in the Good Book,
I’ll share the Lord’s words in this song,
When it comes down to meat,
The split hoofs to eat,
But eatin’ the single-hoofed critters like horses is wrong.

What kind of a Nation eats horses?
What kind of a Nation eats pets?
Will the Feds pass a law to eat puppies?
Will Grandma and Grandpa be next?

And to those who believe in the Good Book,
I’ll share the Lord’s words in this song,
When it comes down to meat,
The split hoofs to eat,
But eatin’ the single-hoofed critters like horses is wrong.
Boys, eatin’ a horse is just wrong! 

Story behind the song : 
While driving to a graveside memorial service for Wild Horse Annie, singer/composer Lacy J. Dalton pulled off to use the acoustics of a commercial restroom and her heartfelt genius to compose this ode which shames Wyoming Congressman Sue Wallis and her "United Horsemen" campaign which boasts that slaughter houses for horses, wild and tame, are a great way to make money. 

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flashback to Ghost Dance & Sage

Dear Readers, 
A little more than three years ago, I released Ghost Dancer and Sage, mares  from the ill-fated Calico Mountains round-up, into the 5,000 acre Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown, California. 
The article below is from the Shingletown newspaper & I'm reprinting it today because Sage was finally spotted this summer and I'll share that story with you soon. 
Until then, enjoy this flashback.
Happy trails, Terri

Calico Mountain Mustangs Newest Residents of Wild Horse Sanctuary

Posted on 30 August 2010 by editor
On Sunday, August 22, 2010 the Wild Horse Sanctuary welcomed two Calico Mountain mustangs to its herd. The two mares were rescued by Wild Horse Sanctuary support. On Sunday, August 22, 2010 the Wild Horse Sanctuary welcomed two Calico Mountain mustangs to its herd. The two mares were rescued by Wild Horse Sanctuary supporter and author Terri Farley from a herd of wild horses from the Calico Mountains in northern Nevada that were part of a round-up conducted by the Bureau of Land Management last winter.

The two wild mustangs once roamed public lands near the tribal lands of the Shoshones in northern Nevada.
 “I was determined to rescue an adobe and white pinto mare with the rare Medicine Hat markings. Such horses were held sacred to some Native American tribes,” explains Farley.

Because the Shoshones last stand against invaders included the Ghost Dance, a ceremony of rebirth for fallen warriors, Farley began thinking of the Medicine Hat mare as Ghost Dancer. Terri Farley also rescued Sage, a sorrel filly who was captured on the same day as Ghost Dancer.

With a handful of supporters looking on, Wild Horse Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Dianne Nelson opened the gates at 11:00 a.m. and Ghost Dancer and Sage scampered into the Sanctuary, joining a herd of wild horses munching on hay from their morning feeding.

Terri Farley is the author of the popular Phantom Stallion series of books set in the Calico Mountains in northern Nevada and her fictional herds are based on the mustangs that roam there.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where Have all the Mustangs Gone?

Broken Arrow, broken promises

The public is barred from Broken Arrow Ranch on Indian Lakes Road in Fallon, Nevada. Though privately owned, it is supported by the Bureau of Land Management as a feedlot for thousands of "protected" wild horses.

Public Property:  Keep Out

Except for a few highly-orchestrated visitation days, members of the press and public have been considered trespassers since May 2010. 
According to an internal email, BLM cut off public access due to "the damage that is being done to the BLM’s image as the result of the tours." *
*BLM denied this information. Read more in "There Are No Secrets at Indian Lakes."
Eyes Wide Open

In my blog entry from March of 2010, you'll see why Broken Arrow gates are literally chained shut. 
We saw too much.
My March 26, 2010 phone interview with John Neill (then-director of both Palomino Valley and Broken Arrow wild horses) was an honest one in which he revealed the existence of "phantom foals."  The unrecorded birth and death of foals born inside BLM facilities was and remains standard procedure.

Friday, March 26, 2010 --Fallon Foal Death

Mare stands guard over new foal, photo by Tara Kain

There's a new set of hooves in Heaven.

BLM's death tally for the week doesn't show what happened.
However, visitors are allowed to tour the tax payer funded Indian Lakes wild horse facility. It's land-locked inside a private ranch in Fallon, Nevada, but opened once each week by reservation only for two hours.
Three observers from the CalNeva Cloud Foundation and photographer Cat, visited Sunday, March 21 and took photos, video and notes.

Saturday, March 20

a pale dun foal is born to a buckskin mare

Sunday, March 21

11:00 Members of the public arrive to tour the Fallon facility. Director John Neill is their guide and he waits for a late arrival
11:37 tour begins
11:45 visitors observe buckskin mare and newborn foal in a pen with other adult horses. Foal looks like "he had melted into the contours of the ground" according to one observer and Mr. Neill said the foal was a weak newborn from the night before.
12:30? Sometime during the tour, members of the public notice a nursery pen with just six mare and foal pairs inside and wonder why the buckskin and her foal aren't with them*

(RIGHT: As adult horses move, mare makes a protective barricade of her body, photo by Tara Kain)

1:45 Tour ends, passing by the buckskin mare and her foal. Mr. Neill agreed with visitors that foal might be sick and indicated he would check on it. If necessary, a vet would be called. He added that volunteers from WHOA might be asked to bottle feed the foal if it couldn't rise to nurse.

2:00 as observers depart, foal is still down.

Monday, March 22
no deaths are listed on the BLM's facility update, so CalNeva Cloud observers hope for the best

Tuesday, March 23
9:55 am
Still no deaths listed for the weekend**, but one observer calls and talks to John Neill who says "the colt was euthanized." She understands Neill to say the vet had determined the colt had a broken femur and must have been kicked.
The caller commented, "Oh, that's why he never got up."
Neill replied, "No, he was up that morning nursing." Sometime after that, he speculated, the colt must've been kicked."
Neill said the foal was destroyed via chemical injection.

(with freedom tantalizingly close, mare urges foal to rise and nurse, photo by Tara Kain)

Friday, March 26

I reached John Neill at Palomino Valley wild horse corrals and he answered my questions about the Medicine Hat stallion I've told you about before and this foal.
He clarified two points from the timeline above:
* "Once we know the colt's strong, we put them in the nursery pen" along with their mothers
** Live births are not entered into BLM's system until horses have been freeze-branded, which takes place after four or more months.
Since foals delivered "in facility" are not listed as born, they are not listed as dead. So, they are not posted on BLM's online Calico Round-up updates.

John Neill described the last hour of the little dun's life.
"He was down during the tour. Afterward I went out to check on him and he was packing a right hind leg and he had to be put down."
"When did the vet come?" I asked.
"He didn't."
"Was it a compound fracture so that you could see it was broken?"
John answered, "I could just tell, so I took care of it."
After our call ended, my English teacher brain flashed to "I am cruel only to be kind." Hamlet, I remembered, and knew that if I were watching over a newborn foal with a fatally fractured femur, I would not want it to suffer.
But "Hamlet" ends with a stage strewn with corpses.
I tried to get confirmation that such a leg injury is easily diagnosed, but the two vets I consulted disagreed on both diagnosis and prognosis.
John Neill told me "We have births daily and if something happens like this or there's a bad mother, we can't track them all accurately."
Is it fair to the public that our mustang foals are born and die without notice?
This is not Neill's decision; it is BLM policy. As with so many other BLM policies, the numbering of lives and deaths are rough estimates.
That's wrong.
There are no disposable mustangs. Taxpayers have no disposable income, especially for a system they hate.
There must be a moratorium on the capture of our wild horses, before a ruined system erases an entire species.

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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Writing in the Dark

Dear Readers, 
In June, I taught a Writin' Riders creative writing workshop. Writers of all ages and skill levels rode through the Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown, California. 
During lulls in the action, I shared writing tips and by the time we got to camp that night, all of the riders were rarin' to write.
The Wild Horse Sanctuary has asked me to return next year.  We'll probably schedule it for about the same date. During the first half of June, snow time has (usually) passed and the hottest days are yet to come.  
I LOVED EVERY MINUTE of the weekend.  If you'd like to read an account written by one of the writing riders,  visit Ellen Jellison's blog on Turbo Monkey Tales (yes, you read that right).

Feel free to email me with questions! 
Happy trails, 

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Ransoming wild horses: The Ft. McDermitt rescue

Ft. McDermitt rescue
As ransom soared past $30,000 and smoke from the Rim Fire passed the "unhealthy for all" stage, wild horse advocates lined up to rescue horses. As part of a coalition effort, I was on the ground at the Fallon Livestock Exchange as liaison for two days.
Curiosity has not been abused out of them...

Read more »

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