Thursday, April 16, 2009

Southern California's Last Wild Horses Stolen from YOU!!!

"Wild horses, they're dragging them away, the animals that blazed our trails, fought our wars, the very meaning of "don't fence me in" - still roam the west. They live on public lands, or in parks, mostly in Nevada, but some make their home in California.

Unfortunately, all of them are now under siege, victims of federal and state polices that have very possibly pushed them to the brink of extinction. These policies involved unchecked roundups of mustang populations, waged with virtually no media scrutiny. In fact, by the time you read this, all over the country thousands of will horses will have been purged from their homes on the range.

This is our heritage. I'm talking about our American birthright: as the Sioux elder Lame Deer once said to the white man: "...for bringing us the horse, we could almost forgive you for bringing us whiskey. Horses make a landscape look more beautiful."

On March 18, 2003, that landscape was diminished when the last remaining wild horse herd in Southern California was rounded up and taken from it home in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Here's what happened:

With the appropriate lies in place - the official government "reports" said that the horses were starving and dying of thirst and, therefore needed to be rounded up - a contractor from Utah (who makes his living by rounding up wild horse on public lands all over the West) arrived with his team, his truck, his chopper and his portable corrals and chutes to set the trap. Up went the corridor through which the horses would make their last run, funnel that would lead them to the dead end of metal fencing, forming the small pen into which thousands of mustangs had been chased before. With many more to follow.

From outside the park, the chopper hovered over the horses. The animals were in Coyote Canyon, their home - a stunning and rugged riparian region cut by a rare and sparkling desert treasure, a stream. The chopper dropped altitude and slowed and began to harry the wild horses out of the canyon, up the ancient path used by Indians, Spanish explorers, cattlemen, wildlife, hikers, drivers of jeeps and ATVs.

As the band neared the trap, the chopper peeled off and then came the dispatch of the contractor's Judas horse - a sad name for the sad gig that was this horse's lot in life - and it galloped before the oncoming band, leading them toward the trap, peeling off like the chopped just before the mustangs ran into the dead-end makeshift corral.

Panicked, the horses shifted this way and that, running into the fence, the stallions occasionally leaping above the pack and, trying to break out, battering the smaller horses in their frenzy. After a while, the mustangs tired and lowered their heads. Sorted by gender and numbered with chalk (there were 10 stallions and 19 mares), the wild horses of Coyote Canyon, the last herd of wild horses in Southern California, were then funneled into trucks and hauled out of the desert....." (Deanne Stillman, 111Magazine, March 2006)

The public was not allowed to witness this stealing of our wild horses by a government charged with their protection! Robert Hayden, (President of the Coyote Canyon Caballos d'Anza) author of the above slide show, was allowed in to photograph (NO VIDEOS ALLOWED!!) after he protested vehemently with the government guards, and questioned their motives for hiding from the public their supposedly righteous motives.

This slide show has never been seen by the broad public audience, whose horses were stolen by their government that March day in 2003. Did you know Southern California had a beautiful band of colonial Spanish Mustangs living in the Anza-Borrego Desert? Did you know they were removed on a lie by our government? Look at those they look starving?? Did you know all the mares were pregnant and that they were removed from this California desert and shipped to South Dakota, gave birth and all of the foals died in the cold!! All of them!!

Four of the stallions are still here in Southern California, in the care of Robert and Kathleen Hayden under the auspices of the nonprofit Coyote Canyon Caballos d'Anza. It is their hope to be able to return these stallions and the Sulphur Springs mares, recently rounded-up in Utah and brought here by the Coyote Canyon Caballos d'Anza, to a natural habitat in Beauty Mountain.

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