Non­profit strives to pro­tect wild horse herd

The Taos News - - ANIMALES - – Staff re­port

Spirit of the Wild Horse is a Colorado-based non­profit that pro­tects the wild horses on Wild Horse Mesa at the New Mex­ico-Colorado bor­der. The mesa is home to 150 wild horses who live wild on 30,000 acres of pri­vate land, ac­cord­ing to Judy Barnes, the non­profit’s founder.

“We are also work­ing on a pre­serve over­look­ing the Río Grande River with Cos­tilla County that will pro­tect 200 Span­ish mus­tangs,” Barnes said in a state­ment. “We work with wild horse sanc­tu­ar­ies, pre­serves and ad­vo­cates all over the coun­try, to pro­tect and save horses on pub­lic land.”

For Barnes and a small cadre of vol­un­teers, drought years and poach­ers are a chal­lenge to pro­tect­ing the horses.

“Most of the horses are do­ing well,” wrote Barnes in a re­cent email. “We have lost an­other 20-plus horses to poach­ers on nearby ranches. Be­cause the pond was dry much of the sum­mer, over 100 horses had moved to the val­ley by the lake.”

Barnes knows the horses well and names them, part of a sys­tem of track­ing the herds. “The miss­ing horses are a large band of bach­e­lor stal­lions, most were Light­en­ing’s sons,” she wrote. “The other band was Thun­der’s band. Both are a big loss. In Au­gust we had to put down Rain, who was with Napoleon’s band for 12 years. She had frac­tured her knee and it col­lapsed, mak­ing it very hard for her to walk.”

It is a con­stant chal­lenge to keep hay and wa­ter on hand. “We need help again for the win­ter with hay and wa­ter,” Barnes said. “Hay that I paid $50 for last year is now $100 to $150. The drought has been tough. One rancher that usu­ally gives me 100 small bales each fall is now hav­ing to buy hay for his horses.”

Barnes thinks the wild horses can be an eco­nomic driver for the re­gion along the state bor­der. “One of our pro­jects is eco­tourism to show the Bu­reau of Land Man­age­ment that the horses are very ben­e­fi­cial to the com­mu­ni­ties that are lo­cated near the pub­lic lands wild horse man­age­ment ar­eas. They bring in tourism dol­lars for the com­mu­nity. I have had peo­ple from all over the world come to see the horses.”

All do­na­tions are tax-de­ductible. Do­na­tions can be made on the web­site, spir­itofthewil­d­ or checks can be mailed to SWH, P.O. Box 100, Cos­tilla, NM 87524

Cour­tesy Judy Barnes

Trucker and Casanova, two of the horses cared for by Spirit of the Wild Horse.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.