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On any given day there are over 30,000

wild horses in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) long-term holding pens and another 11,000 in temporary holding pens. Gath- ered forcefully in oſt en-reckless roundups and chased for miles by helicopter, they are plucked from their native rangelands to mill in crowded holding facilities, oſt en in the sun with no chance of fi nding shade. Fam- ily units and bands are ripped apart won- dering... What did we do wrong? How did this happen? T ese 40,000 captive equines now outnumber those running free—the BLM estimates the number of still-free Mustangs at just 28,000. A number so low it virtually guarantees extinction of irreplaceable genetic material. It should be noted that the BLM does

not own the Mustangs; they are charged with managing the grasslands. T e Ameri- can people own the Mustangs.


Madeleine poses with members of the Santa Ynez tribe. T ey are very sup- portive of Mustang Monument and rode on the Mustang Monument fl oat at the Rose Parade. Photo by Jim Sanders

Horses have roamed this part of the world since before

the plates shiſt ed, creating the continents. T ere are fossils and skeletons in museums that prove their early existence. T en 600 years ago, horses were reintroduced to the Western hemisphere by the Spanish. It is their descendants running proud and free trying desperately to preserve their own heritage. Madeleine came to the US as a young woman drawn by the spirit of its freedom and her love of the West and horses. She remembers fondly watching old Westerns with her father as a young girl in Iraq. T ey loved John Wayne, the West, the heroes. T e horses. She always felt the horses were the true heroes. Madeleine has long been an advocate for those who have no voice of their own. In the aſt er-

math of Hurricane Katrina, she chartered commercial airliners from New Orleans to California to rescue abandoned and lost dogs and cats of the storm. T ey called this mission “Orphans of the Storm.” Later many of these were returned to their rightful masters. It was through her work saving animals and speaking out for them that she found out about the horse-slaughter industry. She was amazed and disheartened that, as involved as she was in the racing community, it took

her so long to discover the fact that such a thing existed in this country. She and her husband T. Boone Pickens became actively involved in helping put an end to horse slaughter in the US. It was about that time she became aware of the capture and removal of the American Mustang. She was just as surprised and dismayed that she had not known of their bat le to survive.

A WOMAN OF ACTION She sprang into action, fi rst doing research. All the while she was tormented by the question,

“How did we reach the point that the noble Mustang is considered a feral nuisance that must be removed?” T e BLM was created with the guidance and support of ranchers who were the primary users of the vast open rangelands of the West. T ey were charged with managing mil- lions upon millions of acres’ grazing rights and other management practices. As time went on, and more people with diverse views and plans to use the BLM managed lands came along, and horses got crowded out of the actual planning. Everyone made the point of how important their views, plans and usage of the vast lands were, but time aſt er time as rules and considerations were structured and enacted, the Mustangs and other wild horses had no voice.

A FIGHTING CHANCE FOR SURVIVAL Madeleine knew if the Mustangs were to have a fi ghting chance of survival, the plan would

need to be presented fast. One hundred years ago, there were two million horses on the range. continued next page


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