Wild Horses of Alto. Save the Herd!

WILD HORSES OF ALTO (W.H.O.A!) disclaimer: this blog is in no way associated with the group WHOA (Wild Horse Observers Association). This blog has actually become like a vertical file in the library where important past documents - like newspaper articles - are filed and kept for research when needed. It has become almost a lesson in librarianship for me.

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

At this time, it is being decided in a court of law whether the horses are wild or domesticated (and therefore estray). At present, the horses fall under the auspices of the N.M. Livestock Board. We are trying to save all members the herd and other herds that exist in the area. We do NOT want to deny the horses 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 have a petition at https://www.change.org/p/new-mexico-governor-save-alto-wild-horses, a fundraising site for lawyers and feed/care at https://www.gofundme.com/altohorses, an account set up at City Bank-Ruidoso for donations to the "Wild Horses of Lincoln County Trust Fund" and an ongoing facebook group "Bring Ruidoso Horse's Back". Click on the Stallion's photo to go directly there.

PLEASE SPEAK UP, sign petitions, give to the trust fund for the horses. Sign up to this blog to get continual updates and to also post your own comments.

We LOVE our horse herd.

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Penned wild horses of Alto have moved

Horses moved yesterday, March 20 - first day of Spring.  All that is know by blogger is that the herd is on a ranch near Carrizozo waiting for the May court date.  Whew.  Way hotter there than their homeland mountains. 

From Facebook:

Wild Horses of Lincoln County - WHOLC
May 21 post see a video of the herd's move at the above link
"BREAKING NEWS" Alto Wild Horses Released
at a Scholarly Gentleman's Lincoln County Ranch!!
*After being corralled for 1.5 yrs, the Alto Wild Horses were released onto over 2000 acres while they wait for their final day of FREEDOM, after which these horses plan to work for Alto/Ruidoso Tourism as they always have!
*Community Members came together to make this happen!!
*A Kind Gentleman Rancher and an Oilman worked together with WHOA and local WHOA members to make this happen. Natural foot wear is critical for wild horses.
*The horses milled around the round bales provided for a short time and then literally ran off into the wide expanse becoming dots in the horizon.
*Two of the 15 Alto Wild horses (Mare and foal) were moved back to the Enchanted Forest (Their home territory with Blaze) and are having the filly's feet trimmed and the mare's wound addressed. (Seperate post for these two later today.) We are looking forward to a BLAZE & HIS long time MARE REUNION.

WHOA is pleased to announce that a very kind and community minded Ranch owner has stepped up provide a contract for the horses.

WHOA is also pleased to announce that there has been a phone conference between WHOA and the NMLB discussing details:

1. The ranch is in Lincoln County.
2. The ranch will provide 100 acres minimum per horse.
3. Until court it will be 133 acres/horse all together at 2000 acres.
4. There are wranglers there to supplemental feed and watch them.
5. The move from the current property (Who, when)
6. Potential need for a fosters location for the potential 2 that may need this.
7. PZP was discussed and requested.
8. Working toward the NMLB's vet, The Signers Vet, and WHOA's Vet meeting and viewing the horses this wk-end prior to this move.

We will continue and finalize negotiations via email.

The free roaming ability provided here will very likely resolve/prevent all over grown foot issues naturally.

Costs Avoided if NMLB approves
The charge that the NMLB was considering at Santa Fe was $15/DAY/horse which is $5 more than the usual. That would have been $6,750/month to be split by WHOA and the NMLB.

Costs if NMLB approves the ranch
The charge by kind owner of the beautiful ranch is $15/MONTH/horse plus supplemental feed as needed. WHOA is expecting that our share each month will be $112 to $863 depending on forage/rain. The same as that for the NMLB. This does not include the feed for the two horses likely in temporary foster care.

THANK YOU to ALL involved in any way so far!!!


WHOA is looking for a Ranch where the penned Alto Wild Horses can roam on 3 sections for 2 to 12 months.

While the penned horses have been cared for by volunteers under contract to the court for the last yr and a half, we want to acknowledge that this is not logically a sustainable situation and this has been 3 times as long as originally thought.

WHOA's first preference is to have the horses on a ranch, free roaming, feeding and watering themselves, wearing down their own hooves, eating a variety of natural grasses, OR, second preference is to have them in the care of people whose actual job it is, to care for them professionally at the horse facilities in Santa Fe. (Remember folks, this is also where movie producers keep their horses.)

WHOA understands that this case make go longer than May 18th due to the fact that the outcome of court May 14th to 18th may end up appealed to the NM Appellate Court, and again to the NM Supreme Court. In either case, these courts can decide NOT to hear the case and thereby uphold the lower courts decision.

In any case, WHOA is holding strong as always for FREEDOM.

WHOA will not entertain a private owner corral situation with volunteers for the Alto Wild Horses for the following reasons.

1. Volunteers have other jobs and responsibilities and cannot be expected to keep up such a a commitment for these time periods without undue stress and complications.

2. Caring for 16 horses is a tremendous task over time and cannot be taken lightly or ignored on even one day no matter what.

3. A corral situation without the proper footing for the wearing down of hooves naturally is a huge liability for the health of the horses in a non-professional situation.

4. Wild horses can roam, exercise, maintain their hooves, forage for food, smell water, in a ranch situation without relying on people day to day, hauling feed, hauling water, hauling excrement, or putting them at risk by tranquilizing them, in order to trim their feet. The latter is also a huge risk for the humans involved especially without the proper expensive equipment.

5. A ranch situation is a Win Win Win we believe for all involved. The Horses, WHOA, and the NMLB. The horses were healthy when free roaming as admitted by the NMLB and seen by all. The NMAG objected to having responsibility to the horses in court.

A ranch situation (Like WHOA had acquired but lost) would minimize the work and risk by all, while providing the most natural and healthy situation for these deserving large mammals.

6. Wild horses are not pets and are best dealt with by paid professionals.

7. With the state and our veterinarian, there will transparency as required by law.

in summary WHOA now being given equal shared responsibility and authority of the wild horses with the NMLB by the court, takes sustainability into account and is acting accordingly.

photo credit http://awakenings2012.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 9, 2018

UPDATE from Facebook groups

Wild Horses of Lincoln County - WHOLC
Major Results Today AND a BLAZE Sighting
1. The WILD horses made it through another unforeseen attempt at adoption today, and are still on track for Freedom!
2. The May 14-18 Court Date for this case will not be pushed out any further, no matter what, by either side!
3 The WILD horses will be in the custody of WHOA and the NMLB with 50/50 responsibility in 10 days.
We will keep you updated. We are working to keep them in Lincoln County as well as other considerations like their feet/hooves.
(A complicated day and those are the results - Further Motions were filed today by the Defendants before court. Motions we thought would be heard today mostly were not.)
A Total (19) Motions have now been filed, and still the Plaintiff has filed only (3) of these.

March 7 posting on Facebook group: Bring Ruidoso's Horses Back
The ORDER has been signed and ENTERED. A property HAS been located. When all i's are dotted and t's crossed, more shall be revealed.
Thank you ALL for your support. We can't do this without YOU!
We move FORWARD.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wild Horses of Lincoln County - WHOLC Nonprofit Organization Sends Message

SEE You There!
Feb 26th Monday @ 1:15PM - 3:15 PM
A Total (16) Motions have been filed, the Plaintiff has filed only (3) of these. Plaintiff's Motions were filed timely as per the Court's Scheduling Order.
FIVE (5) Outstanding Motions to be heard on Monday Feb 26th!
1) NMLB's Motion in Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Witnesses Bonnie McGahee and Lorri Burnett
2) NMLB's First Motion to Compel Plaintiff's deposition.
(Plaintiff has been deposed for 7 hrs.)
3) Board's Motion to Compel Deposition and for Attorney Fees and Costs - (Plaintiff has been deposed for 7 hrs.)
4) Intervenor Motion to Move the Alto Penned Wild Horses Back to Santa Fe during remainder of trial.
5) Intervenor Motion to remove 2 Signers from the Signer's list (at their request).
==> Let us know if you have any questions!
==> Hope to see you there!
The TRIAL itself, has been rescheduled to May 14th thru 18th

also from facebook: We received the following notices from the Court. Dates for upcoming hearings are listed. The next date is Monday, February 26, 2018 at 1:15pm. This hearing will determine the Intervenors request to amend the TRO and move the captive Wild herd off their property and sent back to Santa Fe.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Court Hearing on the fate of our Wild Horses of Alto!

Wild Horses of Lincoln County/WHOA vs NMLB
COURT DATE: November 16th 2017
1:00PM at Carrizozo 12th District Court

Spent some time today with our captured herd. They are so undeserving of what is being done to them by the TRO & the court case. Hopefully there will be a decision on the 16th & this nightmare will end for them. We are in need of donations to continue caring for them. There have been so many caring people in the community, around NM & out of state that have dug deep in there pockets to make sure these horses are given the best care possible & it has been GREATLY appreciated. Hopefully we just have to get them through the 16th & this nightmare will be over for them. So please if you can donate please do so. Call Peggy Annen-Schoemann @ Little Bear Feed @ 973-2388. We now are starting them on alfalfa so the bales are a little cheaper.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

From the Ruidoso News: WHOA president submitted a statement on her organization's position and participation.

While a dozen or more members of a horse herd that roamed the Alto area are confined to fenced pens awaiting their fate, individuals who voiced support for the horses in the past seemed to have split into different sides with different goals.
Saturday, several of the original supporters who sounded the alarm after the horses were rounded up by a homeowner and later hauled to Santa Fe by the New Mexico Livestock Board, and five who signed on as official caretakers of the horses when they were returned, called a meeting to discuss the equines’ future.
But when members of the Wild Horse Observers Association arrived, the story gets hazy with both sides contending the other was disruptive and intimidating. WHOA is a nonprofit Placitas-based organization that filed for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from selling the herd at auction.
Ruidoso Police Chief Darren Hooker said his officers were on stand-by to ensure no major problems developed at Wingfield Park in Ruidoso. Although a permit for use of the park pavilion had been obtained by Barbara Yates, one of the meeting organizers, the individuals decided to regroup at a local real estate office.
“I told the officer that our message is not about fighting, our message is about truth and facts,” Yates said Monday. “So we decided to leave to help the officers keep the peace.”
She emphasized that most of the local people at the meeting were not members of any organization, but individuals who still are committed to the welfare of the horses.
One of the major criticisms by those at the relocated meeting was their contention that WHOA is not contributing financially toward the physical care of the horses despite collection jars in the county stating that purpose. They urged that donations for the horses be paid directly to Little Bear Feed in Capitan, where an account is established. They said if anyone is concerned about past donations, they can request the charities investigation arm of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office to look into the finances.
Another criticism is their contention that a resolution is needed to ensure the future care of the horses, who now are in limbo awaiting a judge’s ruling on a motion for summary judgment in favor of WHOA and a motion by the state attorney general’s office on behalf of the livestock board that when WHOA filed the suit, it had no standing on the issue, because it did not have a county resident on its board.
Yates, Melissa Babcock and Robbi Davis among others point to an agreement by the Livestock Board that depending on the judge’s ruling, caretaker signers for the horses would have first option to adopt and that any other applicants would be screened. If any horses from a roaming herd are penned in the future, the board would consult the community before taking action, an element missing in the original situation.
Yates noted that while an informal similar agreement was struck before, the new agreement would have force of law with court action.
Ari Biernoff, the lawyer who represents the livestock board from the attorney general’s office and was at the meeting, said that the agreement was worked out when he met earlier in the year with the nine signers who are responsible for the horses while they are confined.
The individuals at the meeting seemed convinced the horse herd could not be released to roam the Alto area again. Yates explained that “public land” where the horses could be “allowed” is practically nonexistent and does not include the national forest. Defining the term “public land” was one of the issues Bryant wanted to research before ruling on the two motions, she pointed out.
“We all love these horses and want them to stay on our mountain and be under the local care and control of the community, because that’s who been watching out for them all along,” Yates said. “The livestock board has said they are not interested in rounding up wild horses. That’s not their job. But if (WHOA) keeps us in court as (WHOA president) Patience O’Dowd has done in Placitas, these horses are in legal limbo and it’s not fair to them. They are living breathing creatures and to me that is cruel. I’m not saying they are not getting proper care, but they can’t halter break them, they can’t even do simple things like farrier care without all this drama and stress on the horses. It’s not right.
“We all were told 120 days (and the horses’ fate would be settled) and it is way past that.”
O’Dowd stated her position in a prepared statement submitted to the Ruidoso News:
“The community of Ruidoso and Alto are overwhelmingly united for the freedom of these majestic wild horses. This is clear from the over 94,000 signatures for freedom, and wild horse tourism, also from the 95 (percent) of the Enchanted Forest community in a door to door petition filed with the court. This support for freedom also includes three of (the) signers, one being a life-long horse professional as well as WHOA/Wild Horses of Lincoln County experts.
“All money raised for the Alto horses from within the community and from outside the community has been spent, and will be spent, on these horses for their care and their freedom. There are no salaried WHOA board members. WHOA has spent over $15,000 for feed and care of the horses and continues as able while the opposition increases costs by delay. This documentation (is) available. 
“WHOA has not delayed the courts. The courts scheduling order stated that motions should be filed by April 10, 2017, and WHOA respectfully filed its last motion for Summary Judgement on that date. However, since that date, the NMLB has filed four motions, all long after the requested end date for motions. Each motion requires a minimum of six weeks to allow both sides to respond, and allows for three extensions for each side. Hence, each motion can delay court resolution for two months or even more. Each motion also increases costs for attorney's fees for freedom and hay costs for internment. WHOA has respected the courts scheduling order.
“WHOA has not changed sides and has stayed true to the Mission Statement, which is freedom. WHOA has replied to the motion to dissolve the Temporary Restraining Order and adopt out all the horses. This is a question for the courts and the experts. WHOA opposes this motion.”
Although one herd's ultimate disposition is unresolved, at least two other horse herds still roam the Alto and Ski Run Road area.