Thursday, September 09, 2010

Wild Horses in America : My thoughts

"Just because no one recognizes you, doesn’t mean you don’t exist."

I don’t understand sometimes, why there is always someone, some place, that wants to wreak things of historic significance and beauty just because they can. Destruction of this type, in my opinion, is nothing but Social Vandalism.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that the same people who want to erase our history want to do away with wild horses on public lands. I’m thinking back to the history I learned in school. About how years before any British, French or other Northern Europeans set foot on North American Soil, the Spanish came and with them brought horses. We are talking at least 100 years before the first boat loads landed in Massachusetts or Virginia. These were Spanish Barb horses with certain genetic markers that can still be traced. And guess what. These same markers can be found in the wild herds of Chincoteague called the Chincoteague Ponies and Nags Head NC, called Banker Ponies.

Most of the descendents of these wild horses were in North America running with herds of buffalo and being used by Native Americans long before any Europeans made a permanent settlement in North America. That means they were here first.

Ok now what are some really good reasons to keep these wild horses, besides the intrinsic value historically and culturally? Well there are some interesting habitat issues that are deliberately being over looked.

First: Horses have some very interesting biological behavior that actually is good for the environment. The first being soil renovation and replanting of seeds. In fact that is exactly what some South American countries are using horses for in their reforestation programs, to rebuild rain forests.

Second: Horses are a good “canary” as to whether there is enough forage and water in isolated areas. A healthy horse population generally means a healthy wildlife population. And a healthy wildlife population means everything is in balance. And since it is, that means the predators ( wolves, coyotes, and brown vultures,  mountain lions, and bears are staying in their range and not on people's farms eating their calves, sheep, and poodles.

Third: About the destruction of habitat. Horses in their natural habitat actually range anywhere from 50 to 100 miles when they aren’t impeded. Their impact on grasses, and water sources is negligible unless they are confined to extremely small areas. Horses in the wild do not over graze an area the way domestic cattle and sheep do. In fact, sheep and cattle tend to graze in one spot until everything eatible is gone, then they move on leaving nothing but weeds. Horses will graze for a day and move on (replanting grasses as they go). It’s a self preservation thing. Keep moving and stay ahead of the predators. Keep moving and stay healthy. A horse’s biology is made to take a bite and take a step.

So what’s the real deal here. If the wild horses are doing no harm why not let them stay where they are and thrive and feed the growing eco-photography tourist industry that leaves no damage to the land? Good question. I have a few theories, but no real concrete proof. Let’s just say that its not surprising that the agency that is targeting horses is also the same agency that caused the debacle with the reservation system. The reservation system after 100+ years is still, I might add, not fixed.

Kind of like the senator that told me a few years back. “I don’t think Indians actually live here anymore.”( about the tribes in Virginia seeking Federal recognition). And yet, I had just gotten off the phone with the chief of one of the tribes he said didn’t exist. That tribe has had a continuously recognized treaty that the Commonwealth of Virginia since the 1600s and could trace their ancestory, unbroken, to Pocohantas and Powhatan on both their mother and their father's sides of the family. Seriously thats about as Native as you can get and be not native. It sure does give one a reason to pause and rethink the legitimacy of all things publicly administered. These same people are now saying that they don’t think there is any such thing as a wild horse left on the range. I.E. If you say it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist.

The American and Spanish Mustangs are part of our history and our heritage. They need to be preserved on our National Lands, not exploited. There is an old saying, " You can tell how a man treats his family by the way he treats his animals" If this is how certain people in the government treat animals entrusted to their care, and have a history of treating people in their care the same way, I’m just wondering what they think of us.

You can read more about what is happening with the wild horses on Public Lands by going to:

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Kathleen said...

Good points! Glad you shared them.

LLMartin said...

I'm glad you found this Kathleen. I kept thinking about your bullhead weeds every where I went today. LOL.

It's interesting but these things seemed so obvious to me; I just don't know why no one is talking about them. Just my uniqe view I suppose. =0)

Kathleen said...

*roflol* I keep trying to think of ways to get rid of them - lol - but I think they have won =p

It seems to me that people are most likely to respond to things that they personally have seen. Not many people actually see or have wild horses so their thoughts are not easily turned towards them.

LLMartin said...

I think that is so true. Our civilization has removed us from so much and so much from us.

Imagine a whole generation of children that never saw a horse or cow up close. Children who never saw a rabbit or fox in their natural environment.

Children who dont know what a woodpecker sounds like when it calls to its mate. Chidren who dont know the wonders of butterflies or walking in the woods.

I hate to say it but those chldren are the ones having children right now in a good portion of our country.

We do need a sanctuary for wild horses and a place people of all ages can go to see them in their wild habitat so they can know what it means to be free and take care of yourself. ( ok that has a double meaning I didnt expect LOL)

Kathleen said...

So very true - we are more than ready to have a 'wild animal park' and feature animals from another continent. Where is our respect and appreciation for the animals on our continent?