Fantastic Friday - Victory for Wild Horses

I may not live in America, I have never seen wild horses in the flesh, but I fully support their right to live free on land they and their ancestors have occupied for decades.

Pryor Mountain mustangs

Pryor Mountain mustangs

I support The Cloud Foundation, a non-profit corporation that was, more or less, started by the cinematographer and writer, Ginger Kathrens. She’d been following the stallion, Cloud, and his herd. As she got to know them, she began to fear for their future, and that of other wild horses.

I began to realise that we were losing America’s wild horses. They are rounded up by the thousands, losing in an instant what they value most – freedom and family. I realised that even Cloud and his family were in danger.” ~ Ginger Kathrens.

Cloud (pbs.org)

Cloud (pbs.org)

I’ve been following the recent court case against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), responsible for rounding up and holding wild horses.

The case involved what’s called the Wyoming ‘checkerboard’, which is an area covering acres of unfenced land, which is both private and public. Private land owners, essentially the Rock Springs Grazing Association and other ranchers who use public lands, had requested the BLM remove any wild horses that cross into private property. But the group defending wild horses – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) – claim that the Grazing Association want the land for livestock grazing despite the association having agreed 40 years ago to allow the horses to graze up to a certain number, which means the wild horses are federally protected on public lands. But the Grazing Association say the BLM has failed to keep the numbers low enough and it now wants out of the deal, and it wants the horses gone.

Pryor Mountain mare and foal

Pryor Mountain mare and foal

When hearing of cases like this, it is easy to let cynicism take over and believe that politics and money will outshout any humane voice of reason. Well, colour me awesomely surprised to learn that on Tuesday, October 11th, the US Court of Appeals ruled in favour of the wild horses!!

Here’s part of the press release:

'DENVER, CO (October 11, 2016) . . . Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands across the state. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, and wild horse photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl were granted the right to intervene in the case and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the BLM.

At issue in the case, first filed in 2014, were wild horses in the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Fifteenmile and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming.

The Tenth Circuit held, “We reject the State’s arguments… the [Wild Horse] Act does not define the phrase “appropriate management level” and thus does not equate it with any requirement to remove excess animals from a particular HMA… the BLM is under no statutory duty to remove animals from the seven HMAs at issue.”'

And the link for the full transcript

Whenever I see Ginger Kathrens and her friends' beautiful pictures take of the wild horses (which can also be found on the Foundation's facebook page), I find myself yearning to be there, in those gorgeous surroundings, just for a chance to see those “freedom loving icons of the West”. (Ginger Kathrens)