For those of you who don’t know, the government (the Bureau of Land Management) has been removing and stockpiling wild horses (nearly 300,000) from western public lands and placing them in holding facilities to clear the land for the livestock industry since 1971, and continue to do so. The ongoing round ups have resulted in more wild horses in government holding facilities (more than 50,000) than are left free on the range (<30,000). With the massive difference between the number of horses in these holding facilities, and the adoption rate of these Mustangs, there is increasing pressure for these facilities to sell these horses to slaughter. (More detailed information can be found at http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/problem ).
Whether this is news to you, or you have known about this problem for a while, I am sure you are just as saddened by this information as I am. When I first learned about this problem, I was devastated and confused. I thought to myself, “How could something so ridiculous be happening in America, and how can I help?” So, I found a petition, signed my name to it, and shared it to social media hoping to educate others and get more signatures petitioning for a more humane method for controlling the mustang population. I then moved on with life, disappointed that there was not more that I could do, but feeling some closure in thinking I had done all that I could. In this past week, my eyes were opened to this issue again and I realized that there is indeed more I can do to help.
In April of 2015, a documentary titled Unbranded was released. Through social media I learned last week that this documentary was now streaming on Netflix. The documentary follows four friends on a 3,000 mile journey with 16 Mustangs across the US from the Mexico Border to the Canadian border. The purpose behind their journey, and what really sold the film to me, is to prove the worth of the wild Mustangs. Before they begin their journey, the documentary films the friends going to one of these governmental holding facilities for rounded up Mustangs and adopting the 16 Mustangs they are going to bring across the country. I don’t know what kept me from realizing it before, but this was the “lightbulb” moment for me when I realized there was more I could do than just signing a petition to help these wild horses. I want to adopt, train, and rehome these Mustangs.
This new inspiration comes as no surprise to my family and close friends. In my professional work, both currently as a Behavior Analyst and previously as a Special Education teacher, I have always been drawn to the clients and students displaying more challenging behaviors. I enjoy the thought process behind the hard work attempting to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Of course this drive can only be fueled more powerfully when combined with my passion for working with horses.
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), who has taken my knowledge in Applied Behavior Analysis, and the methodology of expert horse trainers, to create an Equine training program that is anything but average. Working with my own horses has led me to discover my passion for not just training horses, but practicing quality horsemanship. For the best interest of the horses, I hope to spread this interest in quality horsemanship.