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☛ Myth & Management of Wild Horse Population 5-8-18






By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
May 8, 2018


On July 23, 2015, I authored an article, entitled “Horse Slaughter – Facts and Fiction” which was released on In the article I explained: An existing dichotomy in the American horse industry requiring scrutiny and analyzation is Horse Slaughter. As I previously stated in Horse Abuse, Part 6: Horse Slaughter – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, “Ever since the introduction of the SAFE Act Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 1214) was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April 2015, advocates on both sides of the aisle have been organizing in opposition of the bill, as well as promoting its passage.”


The article includes the identification of three TOP-TIER-RANKED HORSE SLAUGHTER ADVOCATES:


# American Quarter Horse Association

# Protect The Harvest

# Veterinary Advocacy Groups


This article also includes sections on:



The balance of nature is a theory that proposes that ecological systems are usually in a stable equilibrium (homeostasis), which is to say that a small change in some particular parameter (for example, the size of a particular population) will be corrected by some negative feedback that will bring the parameter back to its original “point of balance” with the rest of the system. It may apply where populations depend on each other, for example in predator/prey systems, or relationships between herbivores and their food source. It is also sometimes applied to the relationship between the Earth’s ecosystem – the composition of the atmosphere and the world’s weather.



First and foremost, neither ideology addresses a myriad of causes addressing each issue on an “apple-to-apple” or an “apple-and-orange” relationship, nor do they offer a specific alternative to rectify the problem – other than horse slaughter.  However, each organization directly appeals to the plight of the horse from an emotional factor in order to sway public opinion to support their biased position on horse slaughter as a means to control horse populations.



#  Public lands grazers (cattle and sheep producers) are a minority of livestock producers in the West and throughout the country.

#  Number of livestock producers with federal grazing permits: 27,000.

#  Percentage of livestock producers with federal grazing permits in the United States: 3 percent.

#  Percentage of livestock producers with federal grazing permits in eleven Western states: 22 percent.

#  Number of livestock producers without federal grazing permits: 880,000.


The facts and figures included in this article, as well as the plight of the Wild Mustang, were directly received from the Federal Bureau of Land Management in Washington D.C.


Now a newly released article in“Horsetalk.Co.NZ” entitled Latest Science Highlights Wild Horse Over-Population – Myth And Management,by William E. Simpson brings his reading audience even closer to facts concerning the Wild Mustang as well as contradicting allegations proposed by the BLM, who are proponents to horse slaughter, and the cattle grazers on Federal grasslands.  For the record, it also confirms my 2015 article on the same subject. William Simpson is the author of Dark Stallions – Legend of the Centurions, proceeds from which go toward supporting wild and domestic horse rescue and sanctuary.


In his article Mr. Simpson explains:The critics of the BLM and their Wild Horse and Burro Program, who number in the thousands (at least), have long held that there were more myths being spun about wild horses than truths.

Click for article>>


The Curator of Vertebrates at the prestigious American Museum of Natural History, Professor Ross MacPhee, is just one of that indelible multitude and has made his position on the BLM’s canards very clear as we read here.


Now we have further confirmation of those suspicions. Noted wildlife ecologist Craig C. Downer has just completed a lengthy and enlightening study on the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horses in Oregon and their management on publicly owned Wild-horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) that were established under Act of Congress in the 1971 Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act.


This same report is being provided to the administrative heads of BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Department of the Interior (DOI) in the public interest of proper management of the legendary and majestic American wild horses. A few of the many examples of the myths that have long been promulgated by the BLM and wild horse management officials in other government agencies, including the USFS, are cited as follows:


     1. Myth:          Wild horses cannot graze on rough or steep terrain.


     1. Truth:        This first myth is manifestly untrue. As someone who lives among wild horses in a naturally operating ecosystem, I regularly observed and documented wild horses browsing on steep rocky (volcanic talus) mountainsides.


     2. Myth:          Wild horses don’t eat brush or woody plants, only sweet grass and hay.


     2. Truth:        Wild horses in fact do browse on a diet that is widely distributed among many plants in the biomes of North America and maintain symbiotic mutualism with the plants eaten by spreading their seeds in many cases. This canard as to diet has been repeated often by BLM wild horse and burro managers who do not have the requisite field experience in wild horse behavioral ecology, so they substitute and impose domestic breed behavioral ecology on wild horses, which is not consistent with fact. Wild horses do in fact eat woody plants as we see in the below short video of a wild mare browsing on some white oak debris that was blown down from a tree top.


     3. Myth:          Wild horses consume forage needed for rebuilding depleted deer herds


     3. Truth:        This myth was spawned into the hunting industry by some individuals who were in and around the BLM and USFS. In the detailed, peer-reviewed study by Hansen, R.M., Clark, R.C., & Lawhorn, W. 1977 entitled ‘Foods of Wild Horses, Deer and Cattle in the Douglas Mountain Area, Colorado‘,we read in the first paragraph that the dietary overlap of deer and wild horses is just 1 percent.


     4. Myth:          Livestock should be exclusively used for grazing prodigious ground fuels that are the genesis of catastrophic wildfire.


     4. Truth:        The reality is that livestock are useful as wildfire ground-fuel grazers only in and around grazing areas that can be actively managed with mechanical means for soil conditioning and re-seeding. This is because livestock (cattle and sheep) are an invasive species and via their grazing, which does overlap more heavily with deer, will strip native plants and their seeds from any area where they graze.


This fact is a function of livestock being ruminants with a very efficient digestive system (complex stomach). The opposite is true for wild horses, which have a monogastric (single stomach) digestive system that passes both humus and undamaged/undigested seed back into the soils, thereby complementing and re-seeding the soils where they graze, which is of particular value in wildfire scars.

     5. Myth: Wild horses damage riparian areas more than livestock.


     5. Truth:        Both physics and empirical evidence prove this false. The math/physics proves that the ground-loading in pounds per square inch (PSI) related to cattle is considerably higher in cattle over horses. Furthermore, due to the pointed (pick-like) tips on the bifurcated hooves of cattle, that force is made even more effective, therefore disrupting soils and increasing erosion significantly as compared to the shape of a horse’s virtually round one-piece hoof and lower ground loading in PSI.


     6. Myth:          Wild horses have no natural predators.


     6. Truth:        Every apex predator (mountain lions, bears, wolves, coyotes) hunts, kills and eats wild horses and I have detailed and documented the depredation of our local wild horses, where the population of adult horses dropped from ca. 67 adults (2014) to ca. 52 adults in 2017. Only 5 percent of foals born alive with mares survive to their first year (1 out of 20 born) due to death by predators alone.


     7. Myth:          Wild horses are not native to America.


     7. Truth:        As professor Ross MacPhee says: “Wild horses are as American as apple pie” and without doubt originated in North America.


To further explain the plight of the wild horse or “Mustang” another article adds credence to the severity of “Over Production Of Stock – Cattle and Sheep”, on our Federal grasslands.  A May 6, 2018 FOX Newsreport entitled “Nearly 200 horses found dead, buried in mud on Navajo land in Arizona,”by Katherine Lam of Fox News.  Nearly 200 horses were found dead in a stock pond on Navajo land in Arizona after widespread drought and famine hit the area, officials said.


About 191 wild horses died of natural causes in the pond in Gray Mountain, Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said in a news release. Nez and Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye went to the scene to assess the incident last Wednesday.


“These animals were searching for water to stay alive. In the process, they unfortunately burrowed themselves into the mud and couldn’t escape because they were so weak,” Nez said in the news release. What this article actually depicts is just how fragile our public grasslands are and Mother Nature only provides so much substance for survival to go around. Water is life’s liquid. Livestock definitely play a part in the balance of nature by depleting food and water sources which would ordinarily be consumed by wild horses and wildlife.


Click for Navajo Article>>


For the record, these three articles clearly provide clear and unequivocal evidence of the fragility of our Federal Grasslands and the importance of a “balance of nature.”  It’s also clear that there’s a rumor factory engulfing the Washington D.C. area which is designed to upend this “balance of nature” by the removal of wild horses and predators, using the overpopulation of wild horses and predators as the “culprits” which must be removed at all cost to insure the reestablishment of the “balance of nature.”  Therefore, who suffers under such a convoluted ideology? The wildlife and the predators!


When in “truth and fact,” the BLM never provides the real reason for the removal of these animals, except a myriad of hypothetical propaganda-produced algorithms,  due in-part to: The whining of cattle and sheep producers and the “wanna be ” Ogliarch’s in Washington D.C. who are dictating the plight of the American wild horses and predators simply due to greed (money) that is made from cattle and sheep production on public grasslands. However, what’s not being told is the amount of money being made by corporations and individual ranchers by taxpayer induced government subsidies totaling in the millions of dollars annually.


Along with government provided subsidies, it costs the American taxpayer millions of dollars annually for predator removal and the housing, care and maintenance of the wild horses, which are removed and held in holding pens. Are all of these millions of dollars being spent wisely for the preservation of our wild horses, wildlife, and Federal grasslands or is it for the benefit of someone’s pocketbook and bank account? After all, the BLM report states Federal land grazers that actually pay for their grazing permits – minority. You decide !!!


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Office/Mobile Number: (985) 630-3500


Web Site:

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One Comment

  1. So glad you are bringing out the greater truth and justice concerning the naturally living horses and burros in North America, their place of evolutionary origin and long-standing evolution

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