Friday, July 18, 2014

"Feature Friday–American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign"

Howdy Friends,
For today's Feature Friday we have a guest blogger, Grace Kuhn of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC). AWHPC is dedicated to preserving American wild horses and burros in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. I hope you'll read and share this important information about a coalition of dedicated people giving voice to the voiceless. And please, for the horses' sake, and our future generations, consider joining and supporting AWPC. ~ Dutch Henry

"The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. AWHPC was founded by Return to Freedom, a national non-profit dedicated to wild horse preservation through sanctuary, education and conservation. RTF operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA and is AWHPC’s parent organization.
What would wild horses tell us if they could speak?
Wild horses and burros are fenced in, fenced out, given the scraps of forage in Herd Management Areas after the BLM allocates the vast majority to livestock. They are forced to live under unnatural conditions. They’re being set up for crisis by BLM’s failure to utilize fertility control and to reduce livestock grazing in designated wild horse and burros' habitat areas.

This policy of favoring private livestock over protecting wild horses and burros continues, despite the fact that livestock grazing on BLM land is authorized solely at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, whereas protection of wild horses and burros are mandated by an act of Congress. 
Across the West, ranchers are threatening illegal action against the BLM to defend what they believe is their "right" to graze private livestock on our public rangelands, even during extreme drought conditions, and, all too often, the BLM caves in to their demands.
Recently, the BLM revealed that in designated wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas 77% of forage is allocated to livestock, leaving less than a quarter of forage resources for federally protected wild horses and burros. Public lands grazing is a remnant of Washington's interest in settling the West by providing a financial leg up to covered-wagon pioneers and private interests alike. Ranchers pay a fee, far below market rate, for each mother cow and calf they turn out to graze on BLM acreage.
And things may be getting even worse for our cherished herds. Just this week, a bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) on behalf of ranchers and their local representatives that aims to bypass a Congressional prohibition on the sale of wild horses and burros for slaughter.
Americans need to take a hard look at the brutal and inhumane practices the federal government uses to erase wild horses and burros from our public lands to clear the way for commercial interests. Each and every wild horse or burro that falls victim to this program is a lost icon of the freedom and untamed beauty that make this country great. Americans have got to speak up and demand an end to these practices before it’s too late."

Please join us in this important struggle,
Grace Kuhn
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Let Your Horse Understand You"

Howdy Friends,
Does your horse understand you? Have you spent the time, not teaching her, or "training" her, but simply allowing her to understand you? Recently I spent the evening watching a versatility show and noticed riders operating in a different realm than their horses. I noticed too how some riders seemed to possess two different personalities. One personality outside the ring while waiting their turn, and a totally different one inside.
Kessy understands me!
We hear so much about bonding, partnering and joining up with our horses, and too often what's forgotten is simple understanding. Before you and your horse can truly bond, she needs to understand you. Sure she understands your signals, cues … and you think you understand her, but have you allowed her to understand you?

There is a huge difference between a horse cooperating with their person, and truly understanding their person. Remember, a horse is very quick to read us and understand our attitude, posture and motives, and these barriers could prohibit them from deeply understanding their person.

What do I mean by understanding us? Think about your friends and family. Do they always communicate in the same manner with you? Do you with them? … But when they do something that seems out of character you realize it's out of character and "understand" them. You understand they may be upset, anxious, even hurt or angry. You understand they are not displaying their true inner being in that moment, and you take it in stride.

Sure when you act "out of character" with your horse they will respond, obey, even cooperate, but it will also confuse them. And each time we do this, it chips away a tiny bit of their trust in us. Think about friends you might have, around whom you sometimes feel as if you must, "walk on eggshells." That is the feeling your horse will develop around you, if you haven't taken the time to allow them to truly understand you.

It's easy to help your horse truly understand you, and requires no special training, clinics or instructors. First we must truly want our horse to understand us, in our hearts, and thoughts. Second we must spend time, a good deal of it, just being with them. Not feeding, grooming, riding or training – Just being in their company ... Walk with her, sit with her and very important, talk with her. Slow down, allow her to come to you, mentally. The neat thing is, as she begins to understand you more deeply, you will her as well. That then, is a true partnership, and when folks watch you and your horse they'll see two beings so in sync they act as one. Not two beings each operating in their own realm.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Monday, July 14, 2014

"They buried her on the hill at sunrise"

Howdy Friends,

They buried her on the hill at sunrise. She'd loved that hill in her final years, the trees, the other horses, and the warm sun in late afternoon. A long journey through many hands, homes and hearts had charted her life's trail, leading her to this peaceful pasture. She could often be found lying in the sun gazing out over the rolling hills in late afternoons, as if thinking of those she'd known in years past; other horses, people and friends. Scars and blemishes suggested not all those memories were pleasant, but her sweet persona would never offer a negative clue.
 Her life had been blessed with adventures great and small. From mastering the many different skills her varied people had asked of her, to giving life to two darling babies. Not all the activities suited her, and from time to time she struggled, but never once failed to give her best effort. Even when she was misunderstood, and mistreated. Several activities she did excel at, and had enjoyed time spent pleasing those riders, owners and spectators. There were moments she felt the praise, and understood the applause. She understood the hugs, and kind words too. And the tears. 

She welcomed being many friends' confidant. With patience born of true love, she listened to countless stories of joy, worry and sadness. Always she offered a thrilling, happy gallop to celebrate good news. And a mane to cry in, to help shoulder sadness.  Her spirit touched many lives on her journey through the years. Some only briefly, some much longer.

They buried her on the hill today, now she frolics as a spirit horse with old friends she's never forgotten.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry