Adoption vs. Holding Pens or Slaughter: The Current Situation of BLM Mustangs
I wanted to address a topic that has come up constantly throughout my participation in the EMM.
First of all, I would like to clarify that I, and everyone else at Windflower Farm, would only participate in an event that benefits these amazing animals.
I did some further research about BLM mustangs to make sure I could back up this claim. I reached out to other trainers in the competition, as well as my own trainer Ainslie, and the good old Internet to learn more about the situation of the BLM mustangs.
First of all, I want to make something clear: the mustangs in this even were not rounded up for the sake of the competition.
The Extreme Mustang Makeover does not take their freedom away.
The government rounds the mustangs up “to protect herd health,” says Emma Minteer, a fellow EMM trainer out of Rose Hill Ranch. “A herd can double in size every 4 years and they have to remove some excess horses.”
Few people know that mustangs are not native to North America. They were brought over by the Spanish hundreds of years ago and the population must be kept in check.
Another issue pertaining to mustang round-up is that the BLM is caught in a debate with cattle ranchers. The mustangs are losing their land so that cattle can have more grazing lands. For more info on this, check out this article.
The extra horses are kept in holding pens. “If we, the trainers, don’t do what we do,” says Stacy Garner, another trainer in the competition, “those mustangs in those competitions will spend the rest of their lives in holding facilities.”
Ainslie, my trainer, points out that my girl, Rocío, would most likely have been shipped to slaughter eventually, as some of them are. The fact that she was wild and never handled would have made her adoption very tough without this competition. The Extreme Mustang Makeover not only helps raise awareness, but makes the competing mustangs much more appealing for potential adopters.
Emma, some other trainers and myself agree that we want to stick to our area of expertise: training! If anyone has any concerns or wants to learn more about the BLM mustangs, I hope that they will conduct their own research before forming an opinion.