FURTHER FINDINGS OF FACT, AND
The fact that the condition of the herd of approximately 470 wild horses now living in and around Cold Creek and within the Spring Mountain Recreation Area must be addressed immediately so as to find a suitable, humane and permanent solution is irrefutable. How so ever one might feel about their treatment this is an emergency issue that needs our full attention.
It is a disservice to the herd and an unacceptable way of thinking to any right-thinking person to waste time pointing fingers and trying to assign blame. Y’all can take all of that nonsense up later on amongst yourselves. My Great-Grandfather would have drug both sides out behind the barn and made them beat one another senseless until they finally got some sense and made peace.
Whatever your issue is, get over it or get lost. The horses have enough problems of their own without their advocates having a free-for-all in and over their best interests.
I call Horses#it.
Two weeks in a row, Mr. James Belvin and I toured the Mountain Springs Recreation Area. The first time was the 12th of May when we went from just above Pahrump all the way back to and around Cold Creek and back in Jim’s RZR 800.
That’s me making my own brand of Humboldt charcoal on the western slopes below Wheeler’s Pass.
The second time was this past Saturday, May 19th, 2018 when we took the horses up to the same spot where we off-loaded the RZR and tracked the movements of the smaller herd on the western slopes. That was a success despite the fact that we didn’t see a single horse during the entire 4-hour ride.
James Belvin mounted on Doc Box. Photo by Charles Ramos Jr. 5/19/2018
What I did see was encouraging for the herd there as there were many prickly pear cacti in full bloom along with many beautiful wild-flowers that the horses can eat. They are sparsely distributed across the landscape but not so sparse as to be considered rare.
The herd cannot be sustained by such meager fare but it will surely help them. But only for a short time and them all of that vegetation is going to burn off leaving a deeper crisis than ever.
In the past several days I have seen rain falling in the Spring Mountain region and on Mt. Charleston that was unexpected and this too will be a relief for the herd but only for a short time. What is needed is a permanent solution and many folks agree.
America was won and built on the backs of these horse’s ancestors. They are the spirit of America and the wild west embodied in flesh and flying flowing manes and tails. All the kings the world has ever known could not muster up even half of the splendor and majesty of the sight of a thundering herd of Mustangs rolling across the desert landscape wild and free on a level no other creature can possibly match.
The midnight ride of Paul Revere, the bloody battles of Bunker Hill, Bull Run, and The Little Bighorn might be ancient history to some points of view. But had it not been for Paul Revere’s horse
But the last mounted cavalry charge made by the U.S. Cavalry was made by the Black Horse Cavalry unit of the United States Army on January 16th, 1942 on the Bataan Peninsula, in the Philippines. The 26th Cavalry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts represented the last U.S Army horse cavalry unit to fight mounted.
This is a somewhat controversial claim to some people who say that the Scouts were not a regular U.S. unit, rather they served the function of mounted infantry, not cavalry.
No matter how you choose to look at it, the fact is that they charged an overwhelming Japanese force and were eventually forced to withdraw from the field under intense fire. The Scouts were eventually forced to destroy their horses and continued to fight the Japanese invasion forces dismounted.
When can their glory fade? Oh the wild charge they made, all the world wondered. Honor the charge they made, honor the light brigade. Noble 600.
Does that poem sound familiar to anyone?
The 26th Cavalry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts represented the last U.S Army horse cavalry unit to fight mounted. On the Bataan Peninsula, in the Philippines, the 26th Cavalry executed a charge against Japanese forces near the village of Morong on 16 January 1942, possibly the last U.S. cavalry charge. This is a controversial claim since the Scouts are not a regular U.S. unit and they functioned as mounted infantry, not cavalry. Withdrawing under Japanese pressure, the Scouts were eventually forced to destroy their horses and fight dismounted.
It is undeniably imperative upon America to take care of its wild horse herd like the national treasure they truly are because the noble mounts that carried the heroes of the Black Horse Cavalry into that final charge came from the same stock as these horses in the Spring Mountains.
As did these horse who serve the cause of freedom and democracy to this day. Unsung. Unprotected. And facing starvation in our own backyards. General George Washington commissioned the U.S. Cavalry in 1776. I submit to you that nothing says American independence louder than that name alone. Nothing sings of American pride and freedom louder than the songs and the sight of the wild horses of North America.
Stop for just a minute and ponder this question in light of what you probably didn’t know. Where would this nation be now if Paul Revere had to walk that night? History records no evidence that Revere actually owned a horse when he made his famous ride but he in fact borrowed one from an unknown person or persons in Charlestown just for that purpose. According to notations in Revere’s personal papers, he did own a horse in the early 1770’s but it appears that he no longer possessed it at the time he began serving as a courier for the Boston Committee of Correspondence.
Even if he had owned a horse on the 18th of April in ’75, he would not have been able to take it with him when he was rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown north of Boston, prior to setting off on his ride.
It was a spark from this unsung horse’s iron-shod hooves flying over cobblestone streets and rock-strewn lanes from Charlestown to Concord that ignited the powder keg called the American Revolution, not any actual or metaphorical gunshot.
For the want of a horse, an entire nation would have been lost.
One problem which exists for the horses in the Spring mountains and which has yet to be addressed is the amount of off-road motor-vehicle traffic in the area where they live. In the park which consists of 102,000 acres are numerous trails and a lot of them are either made by off-road motor vehicles or they were made by horses who have used them for many generations.
Horses are flight animals. Sneak up behind any horse and yell BOO! as you grab it by the tail, and see what happens to you. That horse is probably going to kick you in the face with both hind feet and be gone like the wind before you even feel the pain.
No proof exists that I’m aware of which might show that people using the park are chasing the horses around deliberately but it’s a sure bet that the horses are being scared out of their minds when there they are chilling in a meadow eating some nice flower tops when all of a sudden Evil Knevil or the like comes flying off of a bluff atop a fire-breathing yellow Yamaha 460 2 stroke dirt bike screaming YEEHAW! at the top of his lungs and lands in their midst like some kind of demented mechanical bat straight out of hell.
This might very well tend to explain why we saw no horses on Saturdays, and it might also tend to explain why the herd which the BLM observed from a helicopter recently displayed no fear of the helicopter itself as they usually do. No doubt this is partly due to their weakened condition but it could also be true that they have become accustomed to the sight and sound of nightmarish machines screaming through their home.
Picture this if you will. You and your church family are sitting on a blanket spread beneath a huge maple tree enjoying a lovely Sunday morning picnic when right in the middle of your store-bought designer salad and soda pop a full-blown fire-breathing dragon comes flying over your head that has horses riding on it and in it. Tell me that wouldn’t freak you, the flock, out. Tell me you wouldn’t run screaming for the hills as fast as your feet will fly, in a blind mindless panic. If I’m there you damn sure better be because if you’re not you can bet your assets I am going to run right over the top of you.
I have priors.
I will very happily throw my worst enemy, my best friend, and you who are reading this article too; up against or up underneath a bus for the sake of saving these horses lives. Bet on that every single time.
I like off-road vehicles just as much as the next guy but the horses were there first and they must come first in any event because we can take care of ourselves. There are a million acres of open desert land in every direction you turn from Cold Creek where sportsmen can get their ya-ya’s until their heart’s content. People can move to somewhere else that’s basically the same. Even better still, half the fun of seeing someplace new is getting there.
The people who use the park to ride around in can ride in any number of places nearby but the horses don’t have that same luxury because they live there. One or the other has to go and we can all agree that nobody wants to see the wild Mustangs taken away from their home range and out of the wild where they belong.
Nobody that matters anyway.
There are 102,00 acres populated by an estimated 470 horses and the entire area is crisscrossed with off-road trails which also means that people are destroying a lot of the horse’s food supplies with the repeated traffic. We kept to the marked roads when we took the RZR but when we rode up most of the ground we covered away from the roads on horseback was mostly dirt and stones interspersed with growths of varied nature and species.
A FEASIBLE SOLUTION.
The first thing that must be done (besides everyone getting off of the backs of the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service) is to secure their home in the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area by getting the legislature to declare the park a state and national wild horse sanctuary and equestrian park. America doesn’t have one, as far as I know, and if we don’t have one, then it’s high time that we do.
Is it not?
People have been asking me about feeding the horses themselves. I can only say that it is a federal crime to do so which is punishable by a fine of $500. There are however issues which are associated with feeding normal horse fare to wild horses.
If they were to be given alfalfa in their current state they would be harmed by it because it is hard on their kidneys to process it during the hot months of summer. Changing their diet dramatically can also cause colic which can result in the deaths of horses who are already far too weakened by malnutrition to survive it.
Some wild Mustang “advocates” want to demand that the BLM shall sterilize some of the mares so that they cannot have any foals. On their planet that might be a great idea but before I can endorse any such program, I for one want to know what the criteria’s going to be which decides which mares can breed and which ones can’t.
The inherent danger in this program is that one could easily choose a mare or a bloodline which has carries an unknown genetic defect that could conceivably lead the entire species to extinction. Granted that this is the extreme end of the list of possible scenarios, but it’s still one which must be considered as a real possibility and which cannot be ignored because it’s not going to go away.
Horses have their own way of selecting suitable mates for themselves that goes beyond the lesser human standard of sticking it in anything, animal, vegetable, or mineral, living or dead just for the fun of it.
If Americans can set afford to set aside sanctuaries for birds then America can surely afford to set aside a sanctuary for these wild horses too. Even if people do go up to Cold Creek hauling a ton of hay at a time this is not very practical and it is not a permanent solution.
Feeding 270 horses which shall remain in the Spring Mountain range after the BLM has concluded its roundup will still be daunting at best. Feeding 470 is completely out of the question. At this time anyway.
This is only about 35 horses. Multiply that by 13.5 and that’s what the size of the Cold Creek mob is.
But there is a solution. A very simple and cost-effective solution that will take care of itself and ensure that there is more than enough high-quality food available for not only the wild horses that live in the region but the wild donkey’s and burros as well.
REPRINTED IN PART, FROM THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
You probably won’t see it in any tourism campaigns, but Pahrump has dramatically reduced its population of jackasses.
The Bureau of Land Management quickly and easily conducted a burro roundup at the north end of Nye County’s largest town last week, thanks to cooperative group of mostly male captives.
The operation began Dec. 19 and was slated to last several weeks with a goal of collecting 75 nuisance burros. Instead, it took just five days of trapping over a 10-day period to collect 117 burros from the area about 70 miles west of Las Vegas. Thirty-nine burros were collected on the first night alone.
“It went really well,” said Tabitha Romero, wild horse and burro specialist for the BLM in Southern Nevada. “The nuisance problem I think we’ve got a handle on now.”
The BLM conducted the roundup to remove burros from the Johnnie herd management area north of Pahrump that had been roaming into town, damaging fences, water lines and vegetation on private property and causing a safety hazard on state Route 160.
Residents at one home in the area were providing water to the animals, which rewarded their generosity with increasingly aggressive behavior. “They said they’ve had jacks charge them,” Romero said.
It’s a good lesson for people living in areas frequented by wild animals: “If you want them to stay wild, you need to let them be wild,” Romero said. “People think they’re helping by dropping off a bale of hay, but what happens is (the animals) stop looking for food on their own.”
The burros were lured into corrals set up on private land and baited with food and water. The final tally included 74 adult males, 31 adult females and 12 foals.
All but one of the burros were safely transported to Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in California to be checked by a veterinarian and readied for adoption.
Romero said an approximately 30-year-old jenny — or female burro — in “really poor body condition” was euthanized after being trapped. She said the animal probably would not have survived the trip to Ridgecrest.
“She was pretty much at the end of it,” Romero said. “The poor thing, she was just a bag of bones.”
This was the first burro gather in the Johnnie herd area since December 2014.
Bureau officials estimate the area can sustainably support 108 burros, but more than 200 burros remain there after the roundup.
My own research into the matter turned up a cheap effective means by which the Spring Mountain park could be seeded and nourished back to health to an extent that would support the herd and that range can be expanded as they grow.
This is what I propose. Any grass(es) which shall be planted for this purpose must be of a native species.
Meet Indian Rice Grass, or Indian Rye Grass.
Adopted in 1977
Indian Rice Grass, (Oryzopsis hymenoides,) was adopted in 1977 as the Nevada State Grass. It was once a source of food for Native Nevada Indians. Indian Rice Grass now provides valuable feed for wildlife and range livestock. This tough native grass, which is found throughout the state, is known for its ability to reseed and establish itself on sites damaged by fire or overgrazing.
Nevada State Grass: Indian Rye Grass
Oryzopsis hymenoides (Synonym: Stipa hymenoides, Common name: Indian ricegrass) is a perennial cool-season bunchgrass with very narrow, rolled leaf blades. It is native to western North America east of the Cascades from British Columbia and Alberta south to southern California, northeastern Mexico, and Texas. In the wild it typically grows 4 to 24 inches (10 to 61 cm) tall and 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) wide.
It grows in a variety of habitats from desert shrub up to ponderosa pine forests. It can live in soils from sand to clay, but it does particularly well in sand, where it is the dominant grass growing with sagebrush and may occur almost unmixed with other plants
It is drought-resistant, adapted to dry, sandy soils. The plant grows in dense clumps, up to 2 feet tall and are beautifully airy & a graceful accent in rock garden, or flower beds & a great sandy soil/meadow reclamation grass.
By June, it turns straw colored & remains this color until Winter rains renew its growth. Often found in flower markets, many people grow it specifically for cutting. The leaves are slender and nearly as long as the stems. It is highly palatable to livestock, both while green in summer and dried in winter. Natural stands in many areas have been greatly depleted by over grazing. This is an important species for reseeding range lands. Seeds were formerly used by Indians for grinding into meal and making bread.
This species of grass can be broadcast over strategic tracts of fertile land in and around the Cold Creek area and this seed once it sprouts can easily be watered regularly enough to ascertain that they flourish there as they will surely do.
The area is and if made a national equestrian park still will be under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service, and the BLM. These agencies do not make policy they only follow it so wasting one’s time chastising a ranger who’s trying to relay information to those whom they thought might care about the horses more than they do the view from the big expensive homes they’ve built in the middle of this rangeland.
They follow the whims of the lawmakers who, if you let them know how hazardous doing nothing for the welfare of this mob can be to their own political well-being then they just might get off of their assets and help make this sanctuary a reality with all due haste.
The U.S. Forest Service has a number of airborne water tankers which they use to fight forest fires and wildfires. The pilots of those planes and the planes themselves have to remain certified. The pilots must put in so many hours at the yoke to remain qualified to fly those missions or else someone’s neighborhood or a parking lot gets painted bright red by a near miss.
It would be child’s play to convert the park to equestrian only and develop bridle paths for horsemen and women to use to explore the beautiful features of the park which they would probably never see from the back seat of a buggy. I’ve made both trips and the first one did not even compare to the one I made on horseback.
This is a massive stone carving which I call, Groot. I found it during the first trip to Cold Creek. But there I am right in front of it without the first clue as to what it is because I was not looking at the big picture. I was looking down. Just as are many of the people which I saw come through the park when I was there with Jim, who didn’t see it either.
People who love riding and who love the wild Mustangs can put their money where their mouths are and help feed the herd by this manner as well. The lawmakers who oversee making the policies of the USFS and the BLM have bosses too. They are you and I.
A very lovely lady called me just the other day and she asked me where do we start? Good question.
It has to begin somewhere and the phone in the offices of your representatives in the house and in the Senate both state and national. By making phone calls to them and to everyone you know that loves horses and animals in general and getting a commitment from them to get involved and stay involved in getting a home set aside for this mob and to make sure that once it is declared off-limits to motorized vehicle traffic; the park will be self-sustaining and capable of providing a healthy home for a herd of 470 horses or more if necessary.
Once the Indian Ryegrass has been planted it can easily be watered by the U.S. Forest Service who shall be directed to require periodical certification of its pilots as fire pilots by making targeting runs above the seeded areas. Thus keeping the grass watered whenever it shall be determined necessary. It will not take much to do this and the planes and the pilots have to do something with all that time they have to spend in flight to remain in flight.
The care and feeding of these horses is the responsibility of the BLM and USFS and so there’s no need for a lot of fancy lawyering to make it a reality all that needs to be done really is for someone to get the ball rolling and tell those agencies that this is what they’re going to do from now on and allocate the funds to get it started.
Funds which have already been taken out of your pockets and mine to (ostensibly) pay for what’s obviously not getting done. If enough people demand action and sign enough signatures it should be made official without a great deal of opposition.
But honestly, what is there for anyone to actually oppose? Saving the lives of the herd? Keeping them in one place where they were born free to remain free and thrive on native grasses as they deserve to do?
Now that America has put its equestrian heritage out to pasture and allowed it to run wild; are we as a nation, being indebted past our eyeballs as we are to those horses; going to just sit back and do nothing but bicker and bitch at one another over who’s to blame for their condition while they starve to death in our front yards?
Not on my watch.
Henry Brean’s article was a big help in the development of the first article in this 3 part series.
Images courtesy of Pinterest.com. Heartfelt thank you’s also to Google, yahoo.com, govtrack.com, ereferencedesk.com, and of course to Mr. James Belvin, without whose valuable contributions and assistance this article simply would not have been possible.