Story by Caitlin Blankenship
The Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act state; that all free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death. The president’s Senate is currently debating and voting on whether to repeal that act. If it’s repealed, it means that people will be allowed to sell wild mustangs to slaughter, capture them, brand them, and harass them legally. (Add sentence explaining where these animals live)
The act protecting the mustangs was made in 1976. Mustangs are part of America’s history and should be preserved. These animals are very magnificent creatures and very loyal to their leader, as long as they’re trained correctly. I personally own two of these wonderful horses.
There are organizations helping mustangs get adopted. One example of an organization that helps is The Extreme Mustang Makeover, founded by the Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Association. This organization gives trainers 100 days to train a mustang, then bring them to a three-day show to show their stuff. At the end of the show, after the freestyle, the judges choose a winner, second place, third and so on. Two years ago, my mustang, Freedom, went to the Mustang Makeover, and she and her trainer, Marsha Hartford Sapp, won first place.
When getting captured the mustang are chased by a helicopter. That sounds bad, but it’s the most humane way and safe way to do it. Once the Mustangs are close to the pens the capturers let out a trained horse to lead the wild horses to the pen without hassle. Sometimes the horses get tired and are allowed to rest so they get a break from running from the helicopters.
The ranchers are complaining and calling the wild mustangs ‘ranch rats’. The Mustangs are getting pushed on less and less land. They are having to go to fields where there are no grass or water, that is a serious problem.
There are 50,000 mustangs in holding at the moment and the numbers are increasing. The government does want to capture more. The main reason there is a problem is that the government is leasing out property to cattle and sheep ranchers. The ranchers kill off the predators They take the mustang’s grazing lands and their drinking places. The ranchers are demanding more federal land, so that means more mustangs captured.
If you would like to help protect these beautiful, wild creatures call your state governor:
Photos provided by Caitlin Blankenship