How do we coexist with the wild horses around us? There have been many letters to the editor regarding the mustangs that frequent the East Valley, Wildflower Ridge and Fish Springs areas. It's been a hot topic about what to do with the wild horses that bother some residents, but delight others. When the Bureau of Land Management receives a call from an angry citizen wanting the BLM to remove wild horses from his property, what can be done?
It's frustrating on both sides " neighbor against neighbor. Legally, it only requires one complaint to the BLM and the horses may be rounded up and taken away. Meanwhile, other neighbors are thrilled to sit outside and watch the wild ones graze on their front yard grass. How do we coexist with the wild horses around us?
We know that it is dangerous for the mustangs to run all around the fast-growing East Valley area. Last year there were five wild horses " two stallions, a mare and two babies " that were hit by cars and died. There have been some suggestions for the BLM to consider fencing off a lot of the land "and for a lot of money.
How do the residents of Fish Springs, Wildflower Ridge and the East Valley feel about that? It certainly would be less expensive if the property owners who don't want the horses on their land to just put a fence around it. There is even a Nevada law requiring people to fence off their yards if they don't want range livestock on their property.
For several years there was a family of 13 very beautiful and healthy wild horses that roamed around Fish Springs until a few residents complained that they were a nuisance. So the 13 were round up and then another much larger band of horses came down out of the Pine Nut Mountains to take their place. There were 42 horses round up in 2000. The cycle started all over again and it's too bad we couldn't have kept the original family of 13 and eliminated all the successive roundups.
After that, a posse was formed with equestrians who volunteered to assist with moving the wild horses out of the congested areas. Jeanette Evans and Sheila Schwadel were part of that posse. The posse has been disbanded now but if you're interested in adopting a baby wild horse you can call Sheila at 782-2531.
She and Jeanette won't capture any of the babies unless they have a home already prepared for them. Right now there are two bands of wild horses in this area. Last Sunday my husband and I saw a beautiful little wild horse out in the Rabbitbrush area along with its family of seven adults. Then on Tuesday morning there were nine wild horses in the field across the road from us. Seven adults, two young ones, one of which is very small and all of them are beautiful.
There's a minimal adoption fee to the BLM and strict regulations must be followed. First of all, Sheila and Jeanette will halter break the little colt or filly and catch it without any trauma. The foal's new home must have a secure fence that's 20-by-20 feet and five feet high and with a shelter to protect it from inclement weather. There's also the expense of health care and vet bills.
A young horse needs a lot of attention and there's a large commitment of time to socialize and train it. And who's going to rake up the manure each day?
Sheila and Jeanette receive no fees for their personal time and talent. There's a BLM processing plant where they can get hay for the young horses but they have to drive up to Fallon and pick it up, and they're not reimbursed for their gasoline.
There's much to learn about taking on the responsibility of adopting a young horse, but you'll fall in love doing it.
Whether you fence off your property or you allow the wild horses to share the land with you, or even adopt one of them, it is your choice to live here in this beautiful place.
n Linda Monohan may be reached at 782-5802.