Save the Herd!

The herd of wild horses in Alto, N.M., are estray horses that roam Sierra Blanca on Mescalero and National Forest land, as well as dropping in to visit some of the subdivisions, such as Sierra Vista, Sun Valley, LaJunta, Little Creek and occasionally Alto Lakes Golf & Country Club. For the most part, they are loved and welcomed. But sometimes not.

Since the horse are not wild, they fall under the auspices of the N.M. Livestock Board. You may adopt horses from the herd. This is the best way we can save members of the herd, yet denies them the freedom they have known in the past and the comradeship the herd provides them.

To institute change in the policy and protect the future of our magnificent Wild Horses of Alto herd, we are looking for comments and suggestions at or also here..

PLEASE SPEAK UP, sign up to this blog to get continual updates and to also post your own comments. Email us at

HELP save the Wild Horses of Alto (WHOA!) herd

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Herd in High Sierra Estates / Enchanted Forest subdivisions

The herd seems to like this area of Alto and have hung out there most of the winter.  Here are some photos of the herd "hanging out".

Photos by Mark Stambaugh.  He has lots of other great photos of Lincoln County on Mary Weaver's Real Estate facebook page and blog.  Check it out!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2014 - the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac and in Lincoln County!

On the blog website, I just added the Ruidoso News link to the Top Ten Stories of 2014.  Our fight for the herd last summer made it in the Top Ten!

The top story was another horse story -- the search for the lost horse, Pasha, a 15-year-old Arabian horse in the Fort Stanton BLM lands. 

Here's the story on the herd from the article:  

 Wild Horses 

In July, admirers of a wild horse herd that roams the mountains around Alto were horrified to learn that one of the horses, Rock Star, a particularly tame and social animal, was corralled and eventually sold for slaughter.

The subsequent outrage prompted a meeting between residents and officials with the New Mexico Livestock Board that is responsible for the welfare of the unclaimed horses. The result was a better understanding of the conflict created when people try to tame a wild horse, but then do not follow through the proper state channels to adopt it and ensure it does not become a nuisance. New lines of communications were establish with the brand inspector, who handled the incident.

In August, herd supporters also handed out flyers to discourage visitors from trying to interact with the horses, who probably descended from equines turned loose on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Some residents still help out with hay and other feed during the winter, but they are dropping it farther up the mountain and away from the public.

One of the first "sanctioned" adoptions of a herd member occurred in September.
Members of the Alto herd show a bit of their "wild" side. (Courtesy photo in the paper)

Wild Horse herd sighting

Bays, the tail-end view
The herd that is composed mainly of bay horses was sighted in Enchanted Forest subdivision in Alto.  The person reporting the sighting said the herd was approximately 12 horses.  She didn't see any palomino colored with the white splotches.  Someone else reported they had seen the herd on the other side of Hwy 48 in this same general area, like where Jack Johnson's and Otero Electric are located. There is a Wild Horses sign located here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


     Son of Rock Star has made an appearance in the area.  He made a bid for the stallion Rocky's herd.  So, instead of losing his girls to a younger stallion, the aging Rocky decided to leave the area for awhile, taking his mares down the hill toward the Angus area.

 Apparently before being gelded, Rock Star fathered a son.  Nigel, we call him.  He looks exactly like Rock Star & Rocky, just a bit thinner and very, very wild.
Nigel is here with Kicker and her foal.  She decided to go with the young stud, although this is probably Rocky's foal, not Nigel's.   Hope you get a chance to see the new herd - but remember, Nigel and the baby are very wild.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Misty's adoption successful

The adoption of Misty by the Blaneys was the first adoption using the NMLB online notification and bidding process.  Here is Lynda Blaney's report on this fine Alto filly - Misty.

Misty is coming along very nicely - she is incredibly street smart.  She has been gentled down, leads on halter, ponies alongside our mares and picks up her feet.  She loads & rides very well in trailer and I do groundwork with her in our round pen every afternoon.  Most times I exercise her with a saddle on, which she  accepts well.  She has learned patience by being tied up for extended periods of time to an inner tube.   We will train her under saddle when she is old enough to be ridden.  

She immediately settled in with my two other mares - I think she was happy to have some horses to pal around with after being on her own for so long.  The herd comes through periodically and she could care less.  

Dr. Franklin said she was a year and 3-4 months old.  She received all vaccinations and wormed. Blood panel was negative for diseases and coggins was negative.  She will be micro-chipped as soon as the vet comes down from Albuquerque.  

The 5-day posting & bidding process on Misty worked exactly as it was explained by NMLB.  We presented our bid to Mr. Hatfield and Mr. Patterson.  $5 per day was deducted from our winning bid for feed.  Mr. Hatfield issued proper brand and ownership documents.  Don Hatfield was completely professional, responsive, caring and pro active throughout the entire process.  When I call him, he calls me back within the hour. 

Apparently, Mr. Baca and Mr. Patterson are working with their techs to further streamline the bidding process on the NMLB website. 

Because the Alto horse herd falls under the jurisdiction of the NMLB, the objective is to work in concert with NMLB throughout the rescue and adoption process. That process was tested on Misty and we can attest that it was a very smooth and positive transaction.  

There is a risk of prosecution if an estranged member of the herd is captured, hauled off and/or adopted out without notifying the Brand Inspector.  If a wild/feral horse is injured, the Brand Inspector should also be contacted so proper vet care can be rendered.  (Example, when we rounded Misty up, her leg had a minor injury.  Not knowing the extend of her injury, Mr. Hatfield was ready to call in a vet at the State's expense.)  Working through NMLB on future adoptions will ensure ownership of the horse is legal and proper brand/ownership documents are issued. Once adopted out, the horse will be micro-chipped (at State's expense) to ensure the horse is not left to roam or returned to the herd.  

We have offered Mr. Hatfield a section of our horse property as a holding area for other rescued members of the Alto herd and a few other neighbors have offered assistance in this regard.  The NMLB email notification process works very well--I receive regular notifications when a horse is found estray.  

NMLB instituted their email notification system, lines of communication opened up and NMLB modified their online bidding process as a direct result to our petition, Ms. Stalling's coverage in Ruidoso News, Ms. Stewart's WHOA! blog, and our meeting with executives from NMLB.  Wild Horse caution signs have been installed on Hwy. 48 and Ski Run Road in Alto, thanks to the efforts of Ms. Campos.  We continue to thank the public for signing the petition and caring about the Wild Horse Herd of Alto.

Misty learning patience.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


The herd should be up the mountain, living in their natural habitat and eating natural grasses.  Unfortunately, the herd has become increasingly accustomed to getting fed by residents throughout Alto Mountain Village, Alto Lakes and surrounding areas.  By feeding the horses, residents are at risk of serious injury, such as kicking or trampling.  Likewise, the herd becomes at risk by being much too close to the highway and high traffic areas around Chisums.

The Stallion stands guard over his mares and colts.
The hand feeding has gotten out of control.  We know the horses are wonderful creatures to be around, but please admire the herd from a distance.  Better yet, admire them by taking their picture.  Further domestication of this herd threatens their existence and their right to live peacefully in our back country.  If you CARE, please do not hand feed the horses.  THANKS FOR YOUR COOPERATION!

When the Stallion says hit the trail, everyone follows.

Meet Augusta - the newest member to the herd

Cute and curious!
Time to rest.

Augusta sending a whinny out to the Save the Herd advocates.  You're my heoros!