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, 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!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A small change that makes a BIG difference!

NMLB email notification alerts started.
The first colt of this year.  Check out that spiky mane!

Below is an example of an email notification alert.  This is an excellent pro-active tool, implemented by NMLB (Ray Baca/Troy Patterson) specifically for all concerned Alto residents.  This is due to our Rock Star petition and the many conversations with NMLB's Troy Patterson.  
NMLB email notification alert . . . this one came through yesterday (not here in our area):

The Following Notice Has Been Posted on the NMLB Website:

NOTICE:  Found one Brown Flaxen mane and tail gelding pony taken up from La Cienega Area. Picked up June 6th by Santa Fe Animal Control. If you have any info on this horse call Shane Faulkner @ (505)358-8433.
La Cienaga Horses 002.jpg

A group effort and thanks to all for helping to forge a path for change!  
 Lynda Maire Blaney
WHOA! Wild Horses of Alto-Save the Herd!


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Wild Horses of Alto, NM, Thanks YOU!

 We are overwhelmed by your support and overjoyed to hear from so many of you who grew up with the wild mustangs of Alto. So many of us live in harmony with our herd and take pleasure in their peaceful and majestic presence.

The sad news is, we have two more horses missing from the herd.

I know there is so much going on in your lives, but it just takes a minute to make a change. Please reach out to your community and distribute our petition to save the Wild Horses of Alto (WHOA!). What is life without something to fight for?

2247 supporters have signed our petition since it was developed and posted on four days ago!  The goal is 5,000 supporters.

Herd Advocates:  Audrey Breeding, Bruna Campos, Lynda Blaney plus all of you!
This is so important. We need to respect and preserve our wild horse herd. Thanks a million!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Save the Alto Horse Herd petition

I've started the petition "Sen. Heinrich, Rep. Pearce: STOP SENDING OUR MAGNIFICENT ALTO WILD HORSE HERD TO SLAUGHTER!" and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:

Here's why it's important:
Rock Star making friends
Our venerable Alto horse herd has been in our backcountry for over 30 years. The herd numbers are approximately 12-14.  They are longstanding members of our community. One of the herd members, a gentle, inquisitive 3-year-old gelding we called Rock Star was picked up and hauled off to auction by the NM Livestock Board.  

Rock Star went to Southwest Livestock Auction, LLC, the largest kill facility in the southwest United States, with criminal charges for animal cruelty and other violations. They illegally funnel horses from all over the country. Our gelding sent here.  He was sold to a kill buyer in Mexico and slaughtered - suffering an inhumane, violent and needless death. 

By forcing the NM Livestock Board to revise their policy and protocol regarding our wild horse herd . . . 
  • We can stop these horses going to disreputable kill auction and slaughtered. 
  • Place our organization of New Mexico Board's required notification chain prior to a horse being hauled off by the District 20 Brand Inspector.  
  • We will spread public awareness about the benefits and protocol of adopting one of these magnificent animals.
You can sign my petition by clicking here.  Please distribute to your friends & co-workers for signature. Visit our blog spot!

Thank you!

Lynda Maire Blaney
WHOA! Wild Horses of Alto-Save the Herd!