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Green news from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Hills
Comments:
by christine amber
on December 11, 2016 at 6:24 PM
Here is your problem. Picture of two fat arab horses in the article, don't look like mustangs to me. Either way, they are very healthy looking.  
The pond, hey, that is winter to horse people. You won't do any convincing unless you can show how it would be without too many horses. But, for god sakes, put pictures of emaciated horses, not fat horses running or a bunch of wild fat horses at the water hole. If the editor pics the pics, you need or educate your editor.
by Jeannette E. Warnert
on December 12, 2016 at 11:39 AM
Hi Christine,  
 
Thanks for your comment. I used the picture of the beautiful galloping horses to illustrate the lead paragraph of this story - the image most Americans have of wild horses in our country.  
 
But I can understand the confusion. I added an additional image to the post that was taken by the UC Cooperative Extension advisor conducting this research, Laura Snell. This may give people a better idea of actual wild horse situation today. The picture of many horses at a spring was published in California Agriculture journal.
by christine amber
on December 12, 2016 at 12:43 PM
NO. You are missing the point. I am a horse person. It is clear to any horse person you first picture is of two young Arabian horses. Not what mustangs look like at all.  
The horses at the watering hole look quite healthy and the state of the watering hole is what any horse people would expect and NORMAL. The picture's need to more accurately discribe over crowding which leads to starving of animals. That is what will get people behind the issue. Many people believe the environment for he horses is natural for them; clearly becuase they have over bred. But, they don't look to be in any problem from it. They are fat and healthy looking.  
If you want to get people behind a movement to control mustangs, they need to see the mustangs suffering not the environment. That is my point. I also sent an email to Ms. Snell saying that the picture was the antithesis of the problem she is trying to solve, controlling mustangs on wild land.
by Laura Snell
on December 12, 2016 at 5:29 PM
Christine,  
Wild horses on the Devil's Garden look like normal domestic horses. Horses were turned out after the mechanization of farming and horses that were part of grazing allotments were not fully gathered in the early 1900s which led to this “wild” horse herd. This herd does not exactly represent the "mustang" look that viewers often want or expect. They have draft horse, Arabian, and Appaloosa influences among others. I am sorry if the initial picture was confusing, the first picture in this article is not of Devil's Garden horses even though we do have many horses that look similar.  
Let me address the "watering hole"  
Although this may look like a watering hole now, it is actually a natural spring site and riparian area that used to house fish, fairy shrimp, a variety of macro-invertebrates, waterfowl, and other wildlife. This is not a man-made water hole and shouldn't be considered “normal.” The "normal" appearance is exactly the kind of thinking I'm trying to combat with my research. I realize that I will most likely not be able to change the feelings of most horse advocates but I am aiming to show the millions of birders, hunters, fisherman, wildlife enthusiasts and others what their public land is starting to look like due to unmanaged grazing from wild horses. The environment is important; habitat is important and by the time wild horses look emaciated and starving, the environment is often beyond repair. I conduct research on the Devil’s Garden and can only speak to the conditions of the rangeland, riparian areas, and vegetation in this area. There are horses that look worse on other public lands, but those pictures have been circulated and a solution has not been achieved. I am trying a different strategy and targeting a different group of people.
 
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