Monday, February 3, 2014

Coming Late To The Party

My mom told me when I was growing up that I lived a life most people would be envious of.  I grew up out of town on property with horses and other animals.  There was never a lack of things to do, including walking down to the pond and doing nothing but watching the water bugs and skaters in their mini world with the moss green like an underwater grass and the cattails bobbing back and forth in the breeze making shadows like giant trees on the bottom.  I remember climbing Russian Olive trees in our pasture and just laying on a branch for hours staring at the mountain in the distance- to my mind one end looked like the face of a camel- watching the color change from velvet green to stony blue as the sun set.  My entire life until I got married I had horses.  My dad took me riding for the first time when I was two weeks old, tucked in his coat and gave me my first pony, an appaloosa mare named Moonglow, when I was two.  Before you freak out, my dad was one of the best fathers ever given children and one of the best horsemen I have ever seen.  I had been riding for months on his thoroughbred bay, gelding, Innocence- probably the most incredible horse EVER born, before I got Moonglow. 
This is my little sister on Moonglow at her first 4-H show.

 He gave me a palomino gelding for Christmas when I was ten.  I named him Thunderbolt.  In between I had a sorrel mare named Terry, a palomino pony I trained by myself named Taffy, his mother an appaloosa pony named Quartermoon and my last horse was my dad's old horse, an appaloosa gelding named Bo-probably the most stubborn horse ever born.
This is me on Taffy at a 4-H show.

  I am a horse person by birth, by blood, by whatever it is that stirs that inner ache for horses.  It goes beyond that thing girls get for horses around the age of eight.  It is not necessarily something non-horse people can understand but I know I am not the only one who feels it- and I don't have anything against non-horse people. 

This is me on Thunderbolt.

 I have now lived longer without a horse than I have with one.  My internal feelings have not changed, just my external realities.  My backyard is not big enough for all of my kids much less a horse and we would need more than one. All of that being said, I find myself wondering how I didn't know what was going on with the wild horses here in the United States. 
 For the last few weeks I have been trying to catch up on what the Bureau of Land Management who is responsible for the care and management of the wild herds has been doing or not doing for the last few years.  I only found out there was a problem because my sister told me about what they are doing to the herds in Wyoming.
  I like to look at everything that is being said before I make judgments about things.   I try to be reasonable, look at things from as many perspectives as possible because I want to make correct choices and say things that are right and true.  Because I have grown up and had to face the realities of budgets and close quarters I realize that sometimes things look like cruelty or just plain wrong but there is no realistic alternative and you do what you have to do.
That isn't what is happening in Wyoming.  They are deliberately "zeroing out" wild horse herds to appease cattle ranchers who are getting tax-payer subsidized grazing on the public lands.  Lands the horses were supposed to be protected on.  They have rounded up and gotten rid of over five hundred horses.  They are converting the herds to non-reproducing and many of the ones that will be allowed to remain have been sterilized.  It may take a few years, but without the ability to reproduce in a healthy way, the herds are effectively eliminated.
There are still wild horse herds, but as I looked around the country to find out how things were happening in other states I found the same things have been going on.  The herds are being reduced and converted to non- reproducing- zeroed out.  Many have asked what the big deal is.  The horses don't do anything- they are not profitable.  The only value they have is that they are pretty.  They might even be destructive to the environment.  They are not really wild animals.
Well, there are a good many species of animals and plants alike that have no practical value and are only pretty- at least if that is how you look at things.  Ants are destructive to the environment if the wild horse herds are. For not really being wild they have found a way to adapt and thrive in a wild environment- at least until people get involved.  It just seems to me that when people want to justify themselves, they come up with reasons that other people will buy whether or not they are true or legitimate.  
Our government shut down an entire farming community in California because of a fish.  Despite the facts of wolves roaming out of the designated areas in federal parks and destroying ranch animals they were reintroduced into the wild and remain wild.  What is it about wild horses that makes them less important than these other species?  Why are they not worth saving?  
If it isn't the profitability angle from the extra grazing the cattle ranchers would get, I can't come up with anything except that they represent an idea, a concept that frightens some people- freedom.
I know to many this post may seem pointless, argumentative, maybe even agenda motivated, but I don't have time for  petty arguments or political agendas.  I love horses.  My point is that I think they have value beyond their beauty- they are living creatures that deserve the same respect and concern as any other living creature. Under the laws of our country they are supposed to be being protected.  I believe it is wrong that they are not.  Where do we draw the line?    

No comments:

Post a Comment