Saturday, March 27, 2010


 Here is a quick partial pictorial recap on our time in Washington D.C. on behalf of our wild horses.  I'm on my layover heading back to the West coast.  Will refine this post later... The photos below are just a flash view; they do not include all speakers. Suffice it to say, D.C. and all our lawmakers heard from us, loud and clear:  No more wasted money to BLM for roundups; no money to Ken Salazar's ill-conceived plan.
©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Clay Canfield singing his touching song, "Wild Horses"
  ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Advocates from all across our nation brought creative, strongly expressed signs expressing their commitment to our wild horses.
 ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Thank you to Friends of Animals for organizing this event.  They introduced Ginger Kathrens to start things off as only she can.
  ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Ginger introduced the history-making, former news correspondent and author of America's Last Wild Horses, Hope Ryden, who was instrumental in getting the 1971 Act passed protecting the mustangs.  They literally owe their lives to this brave, stalwart woman.
    ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Suzanne Roy of American Wild Horse Preservation Alliance and Deniz Bolbol of In Defense of Animals 
    ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Horsewoman and actress Wendie Malik shares her heart and determination that our wild horses be protected and free.
      ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
R.T. Fitch, devoted husband to Terry and author of the deeply moving book, Straight from the Horse's Heart.
         ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Filmmaker and world class skier James Kleinert. James' new movie, Disappointment Valley, A Modern Day Western, is a tremendous whistleblower movie on behalf of the wild horses, bringing us up to date and giving us the story, the history the horses need us to understand, the history BLM wishes would go away.
                                          ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
Protesters marched from Lafayette Park to the Department of the Interior building to deliver an open letter to Secretary Salazar and express their frustration and demands by unified chanting.  It feels purile but effective. How else will we be heard?  We are doing everything within our legal power to effect change, to provide real safety for our American horses.  Serious, committed, dedicated people, we will be taken seriously because we are serious. 
                                         ©2010  Photography by Elyse Gardner
When I first spotted this four-unit mounted patrol coming down the street, I thought, "Oh, good; we're in time to see the mounted patrol on their rounds."  Then I realized they were there because of us.  Oh, my.  Wonderful, calm horses.  Serious, businesslike riders, as they should be.  But my, we are not terrorists. We are American citizens standing up for one of the most American icons ever.  And Homeland Security vehicles arrived, too.  Whew.  
This week wild horse advocates from all over the country descended upon Washington, D.C. to save our wild horses and burros from Secretary Salazar's exorbitantly expensive, ill-conceived, self-serving plan to remove the West's wild horses into gelded "sanctuaries" (the horses would laugh at this if it wasn't so tragic), to press harder for an immediate moratorium on all roundups, and to call for an investigation of the BLM.  
     On Wednesday evening in the very bohemian, warm ambience of Busboys and Poets restaurant/cafe,  James Kleinert gave us a personal screening of his revealing new documentary film, "Disappointment Valley, a Modern Day Western."  The horses have been talking to James, and he fearlessly recounts their story for us in ways that move us to action.  He gives us names and dates, people and places.  He gives us stories of real horses.  He gives us perspective.  He gives us a call to action.  Thank you, James.  Look for "Disappointment Valley."   (To view properly, click twice to play, or once the video starts to play, click once  within the frame.)
         Further motivated by James' movie on Wednesday night, on Thursday morning we spread out into the Hart, Dirkson, and Longworth Buildings where our representatives office in D.C.  Most of us had made appointments to meet with our Senators or their aides.

         Every Senator has either been visited personally or delivered a small packet of concise information.   Our Senators now know there are thousands of Americans opposed to Secretary Salazar's ill-conceived, self-serving, outrageously expensive and unnecessary "plan."  Our Senators have heard us, and so has the Secretary since we protested right outside his office and chanted clearly, "Leave the horses on the range," and, "The range is in the west," "No Salazoos," loud and clear.  Americans are outraged at the unnecessary financial burden Secretary Salazar's plan would impose while it further tortures the lives and wellbeing of our treasured wild horses.

         Thursday night advocates brought their dinners and had a great get-together and brainstorming.  Clay Canfield came and sang his touching song, "Wild Horses," for us once again, as well as other delightful original songs.  Innovative strategies emerged, and strong, lifetime  friendships and alliances are being formed as we fight for our horses. This movement to save our wild horses is gaining tremendous momentum.  The horses are well represented and will not be forgotten or allowed to slip into oblivion.

        We extend an open invitation to you to add your gifts and abilities, be they small or large, for the sake of the wild horses and burros.

          I would rather be with the horses.  I don't like marching around with signs and chanting; makes me feel very silly, as I've said before --  that is, until:
              I stop and really remember the horses.
              I remember Tomahawk and Redman looking baffled and alarmed in their new captivity.
              I remember the helicopters on top of terrified, exhausted horses.
              I remember the fear and accidental stepping on one another as they struggle in tight quarters to distance themselves from the two-leggeds with their plastic bag whips.
             And I remember La Belle, the first mare shot shortly after running for her life,  finally halting in the trapsite only to be loaded alone and trucked out and "euthanized" because she was deemed not likely to thrive.  What a tragic end for a grand old wild mare.
 -- and until I am there looking around at all these others who have hearts that beat for the horses, stellar people from all walks of life, pouring their hearts, lives, time and resources into saving our wild horses.
©Photos by Sue Cattoor, I think 
La Belle

Here is La Belle, I suspect just moments before she was loaded up and shot.  She is thin.  But she is alert and very smart; she clearly knows that something is up, that she is the focus of unwanted attention.  Her head is up, her ears are turning and searching around.  The other horses around are just standing there, but La Belle is on high alert.  Her tail is clamped tight against her body, and she is in a very defensive stance.  She was a beautiful mare once; I can see her.  She deserves to have died on her mountain.  She deserves to not have to run an insane race unlike anything she's ever known, chased by a monster she could never even conjure up in her worst nightmare, only to be singled out...
Yes, for the horses I am willing to feel silly. 
Plane is about to take off.  I remain,
for our beloved wild horses and their humble burro friends,
         If you are reading this blog :) you won't want to miss my in-depth article now available on detailing what is involved in "processing" the horses at Fallon as they are readied for the next phases of their captivity.  But there is still a chance for them to be returned to their home.
         I'm also calling 202/456-1111,  the White House Switchboard, to tell them I'm asking that our President step in and save our horses (he has the power).  No more roundups.  No to Secretary Salazar's plan. 


  1. Great job, Elyse. From all of us who couldn't be there, Thank you SO much.

  2. Elyse, Thanks for your tireless commitment as a humane observer for the wild horses. A blog update from advocates on the ground is important. I'm glad you got to go to DC. I light candles on my alter daily for the wild horses, spread the word via conversation and my mini-series mostly focused on silver lining stories for the mustang. I imagine them free, growing wings like Pegasus and their marvelous presence somehow transforming the hearts and mind of their cruel human preditors. I'll add your link to skydancer Production channel. Here's mine if you'd like to link to it, it would be nice. I'll be including some of Craig Downer in an upcoming trailer.