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Saturday, September 26, 2009


I was recently asked about both sides of our mustang issue, with the loaded question, Why?

The answer, point blank "Money". And as we all know, money talks LOUD and can carry a lethal stick! It is not my assumption, but for years have learned this simple notion by gathering facts.

OUR public lands allotted and PROMISED to US and our wild horses (through the ROAM act of 1971, but then surreptitiously amended in 2004, which is where the struggle was resurrected), has gotten smaller, and continues to do so. Why? Because individuals pay to LEASE public (meaning "our") lands from the government for grazing rights. But it doesn't stop there.. there's also big game hunting (money for tags), urban sprawl (money for land), oil, and recently ~ wind turbines, and the latest eye-opener... URANIUM mines (in a very interesting Arab-US deal~ Thank you TrueCowboyMagazine for the enlightenment), see Mustang for Uranium~ . Absolutely no joke. It's crystal clear why money is the main thread and source behind the removal of more and more mustangs... Mustangs which are our western and National heritage.... and our National treasure!

North America used to have 2 million of our LIVING LEGENDS roaming free, now the numbers are down to only 27,000 and declining. It's disheartening to know that another 33,000 are in government holding facilities around the US (here's one such article of many ) . The government doesn't know what to do with these horses,so they're seriously considering EUTHANIZING them (a covert document was uncovered, and within it was even the plan to incorporate counselors to deal with the workers who had the job of killing healthy horses), and for those who relate best in "money terms".. paid by us tax payers (feeding/holding .... and the euthanizing). All of these facts are backed up with more infomation, article links and news reports by even unbiased third parties. Questions? Go Google for it, it's all there. Isn't it alarming that there are only a handful of states that have wild horses... Why is that?

There is a claim that horses are non-native and therefore there's a need to eliminate them. As you may know, and as it's thought, horses came to North America with the Spaniards, and so it is assumed that they are non-native. However, there is evidence that they were here long before the ice-age and died out from natural catastrophic events (or quite possibly, man). Wild ancestors (Equus ferus ferus) of the Mustang roamed the plains of North America till about 10,000 years ago before going extinct and ancient DNA studies clearly shows that the Wild Horse originated from the Americas. . Horses were THEN RE-introduced by the Conquistadors.

The BEST "GO-TO" source for accurate information, along with a great Q&A and stats is to go to You'll feel very enlightened with the information.

It is indeed important to know both sides of the story. The government officials who's plight to reduce free-ranging mustangs, claiming that it's due to their concern and welfare for the animals to protect them from famine by keeping mustang numbers down... are the SAME government officials who want to kill these amazing animals, who they've mismanaged and put into government holding facilities (33,000 mustangs, yet they continue roundups!) because they don't know what else to do with them, and that they're costing tax-payers millions. Is this making any sense to anyone?? Why round up more to add to the problem on our dime, just to destroy them... again, on our dime?

For the average person, who is not up to speed with this issue... it may be soothing and nice to hear them say "it's for the welfare of these horses". Wild horses like ALL wild animals can do just fine without human intervention. True, the only predators wild horses have (beside the obvious~ man) are cougars (Thanks again to "intervention" nearly eliminating wolves). BUT EVEN SO, lack of forage for whatever the reason, IS also a process of nature, and keeps herds in check. Why must we attempt to control everything, including the effective functioning of an ecosystem? Insufficient forage means less birth rates, and of course, during times of drought or famine there would fully functioning natural selection. (Side note, a large cause for forage depletion? Cattle outnumber wild horses 200 to 1 on PUBLIC lands.) Our natural laws of the ecosystem are fully functional and self-adjusting. If a horse is lost to famine, nature also has a way to give back and recycles it to benefit other animals or organisms.

ALSO in human intervention, we assume a roll of a higher power, by chosing future generations of horses based on what "we" want, and with reduced herd numbers, we effect the genetic viability of these horses, including increase in inbreeding, which further effects herd health. I can go on and on with other examples, including on emotional levels in regards to family ties and bonds among the individual bands. I've witnessed it myself first hand (my Journal ~ website ).

North America in early 1900's had 2 million mustangs... my heart sinks when I think there's now a mere 27,000 (w/more in captivity than roaming free), and only a few states have them. It would be a very sad day, if we had to go to the zoo to view America's mustangs. The west without mustangs? Empty and in my opinion, no longer considered wild or the "last frontier'... as we've conquered/controlled IT down to the last wild animal.

Please take action, here's what YOU can do: to make your voice heard and counted. You may think it's just a simple "grain in the bucket" but eventually the grain bucket does get filled! Tell them, NO MORE MUSTANGS for MONEY!!



Between horses, a husband, two energetic young boys, a household and two businesses... I DO take out time on occasion to play with some art work. It does become a feat, and when I do complete one, it's quite the big deal and I'm tempted to turn it into a ceremony... but who has the time?

L/E 250
Graphite & Acylic

This is my newest, called "Sage". The original photograph used for this drawing is by an amazing western photographer, Robin Corey The beautiful horse "silver" Sage is a long-time equine love of the photographer, and so it was my pleasure to draw this beautiful horse for her. Primarily, it's done with graphite, but there is also some light pastel, and for the whisps of mane blowing in the wind, I used a few strands of hair collected in the high desert of an American mustang and with dark acrylic paint, painted in the details. So essentially, this image was "touched by wild horse". A portion also gets donated to a wild horse preservation group.

Simple things.

WildWind Art

Monday, September 21, 2009


All pets and critters have their own remarkable stories. I often pet my mutt-girl River, and I think out loud for her tipping ears to hear, that there’s a story in my head about her that needs to be told. So unfortunate there are many "throw away" pets out there, and living out in the country, we’ve met quite a few sad and confused animals that were no longer wanted and dropped off at a lonely crossroad near our home. River was one of those "throw away" dogs.

Yelling and shouting caught my attention while out in the yard. Down the road lives a nice, but pet-less couple in a quaint little farmhouse about a 1/3 of a mile away. When I looked up to see what the commotion was about I saw a little black dot streaking across their manicured front lawn like a bolt of lightning toward the road with the farmer chasing behind throwing rocks it’s direction. Sad, I thought, wondering about the little black critter. I went back to my tasks.

The following day while out at the barn, I noticed a little black speck down in our pasture past the pond, along the riverbank. “Oh…just great” I thought. Now, I’m not one against helping critters if they need it, but I was sure hoping this one was just one of those dogs that left for the day, taking itself for a walk, but was making it’s way back home. We’re already inundated with kids and critters, and I maintained my hopefulness with that thought, and went about currying the horses. I watched the black speck for 3 days looking for food like blackberries and moles, along the river’s bank.

On the fourth day, I spotted the black speck trotting up the road along our pasture fence heading this direction. “Shoot!” my head exclaimed! And I knew, once passed our driveway is a series of sharp and windy corners as you head up the hills back toward town, some of which are dangerous blind curves… I knew an intervention was inevitable. A little black critter would be impossible to see once sundown fell upon the dark road and it would certainly become a road stat. I had had enough, and no longer wanted my conscience to be nagging and tugging at me. This little black speck turned into a skinny little half-breed dog as it neared the driveway. My heart hurt as I worried for its safety as I could hear a truck of some sort make it’s way down the windy road.

From my long driveway I called to the aimless and confused little dog in a playfully high-pitched voice, getting down low and gently patting the ground. I was concerned that I may make it bolt and cross to the other side with oncoming vehicles. To my relief, the little black dog dropped her head and ears as she turned into the driveway acknowledging my offer. Extremely uncertain and fearful, she wagged her tail and down onto her belly she went, doing a belly-crawl the whole length of the long driveway to me. My heart sank for her. So skinny and frightened was she. Fearful and timid, she stopped short on her belly and lay on her side in submission smacking her tail on the ground and licking the air. She showed her submissive posture, but on edge and was ready to bolt if she thought necessary. I was able to slowly make my way to her and touch her, easing her anxiety by a thread.

We fed her and made her a comfortable bed in the doghouse with clean straw next to our German Shepherd, Ace and she became quite comfortable and befriended my very loyal and protective canine. Ace guarded the property and would never consider leaving the boundaries without my husband or I. That is, until the lure of a female… and one in heat, nonetheless! Gone for a day, but they both returned, exhausted with burs, berry vines, grass, and stickers covering their coats, in their ears, and between their toes. Ace had been gone nearly 12 hours and that was enough for me. I contacted the dog control and tied her to the front deck with my lungeline, awaiting for the county to take her away.

So away she went in the truck and they said they would do all they can to find her a good home… for 72 hours. I watched as the truck drove down the driveway with her, and I went back to what I had been working on. The county worker had mentioned that they post the photos of the new dogs on their website. The following day, I was curious, and I looked up the website, hitting the link to new dogs. There I saw a picture of this little black dog on a leash through the front glass doors of the pound… on her belly, like the belly-crawl she did up my driveway. My heart couldn’t take it, and the next day I made a phone call and drove to pick her up. I had to pay $40 dollars and get her in the books with the county to reclaim this abandoned dog. Needless to say after she was ‘bought and paid for’, she was then promptly taken to the vet fixed, to assure there would be no more ‘lure adventures’. Though abandoned, she certainly didn’t come free, because besides those expenses, she’s also endured 5 surgeries in an attempt save her back leg from a truck-riding accident. I say that with a smile on my face because of the irony in acquiring a “free” abandoned pet, that has cost us more then some of my horses. But, like family you don’t count the cost.

So, her name is River, and since that one day when she was taken to the pound, she hasn’t left since. We named River for a couple reasons, as that’s when she became ours, those days she spent trying to take care of herself along the water’s edge, alone, hungry and cold. Sometimes people are sent ‘gifts’, and don’t realize it or don’t know why unless they open themselves to the possibilities. During the days when she was down along the riverbank, we also had an old advanced-aged malamute-wolf hybrid named Kobuck (also an abandoned pet, and named after a river in Alaska) who would never leave the yard unless we took him with us…. That is until the last few days before he passed on. Like his wild ancestors, daily, Kobuck walked himself down to the river, crossed it and laid there waiting for his time to come, away from the ‘family den’. Each day he slowly walked himself down, (very unusual for him to leave the yard/deck), and each evening my husband and I went down with a small trailer and carried him back to the house. When Kobuck passed away, River came to our lives. Coincidence? Maybe.

Today, River is a fat and sassy girl with adoration for the whole family in her sweet eyes. Because of her unfortunate experiences, she seems that much more grateful. When tossed a treat, she never fails to stop to give a second look as if to say “thank you” and wags her tail. She’s so attuned to us that she pays attention to where your eyes are. She’ll sit, quietly attentive, watching. You don’t even have to turn your head, but if you just turn your eyes to look at her, her ears drop with adoration, her tail thuds on the ground, and licks the air. On occasion, we can even get her to howl with the whole family when we are out by the firepit. River… aka Cajun Sausage is fat, black, shiny, and happy and no longer a ‘throw away’ pet, but a fixed member of this family.

Simple things.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Art at the HEART OF THE WEST Show & Sale

These are the two of my originals headed this October to the very prestigious HEART of the WEST Show and Sale in Wyoming. Only 40 artists are selected for this event each year. I am deeply honored to have been one of the selected western artists.

I'm primarily a pencil & pastel artist, but I also paint in the detailed hair structures using dark acrylic paint and strands of authentic wild horse mane hairs found in the high desert. So essentially each drawing is touched by an American mustang... our western heritage, living legends that are our National treasure!! I also donate to wild horse organizations to protect them and keep them roaming free.

To see my art work on Heart of the West's website, click this link and look on the bottom right and you'll see these two there! Thanks for all your well wishes! The original photograph I used for "The One for the Job" is by wonderful equine photographer, Pam Nickoles of .

Headed out on Friday to mat & frame with name plates:

"The One for the Job"
L/E 250 signed and numbered

"Water Paints"
L/E 250 signed and numbered

Where the wild wind blows,

Friday, September 4, 2009

Boots Can Tell on You

I have a pair of boots that have cleaned stalls, walked undaunted through soupy mud and cowpies, ridden over miles of amazing trails and prairies, ridden many a horse, and clung on to wanna-be broncs, chased down steers, licked by dogs, ran from rattlers, and snuck up on mustangs. They've seen their share of drought, ice, snow, puddles or driving rain. They've kicked some booty, stomped to get their way, & hustled pool or target shooting. They've walked many miles whether concrete, packed dirt, marsh, through sagebrush, grass, dust, or rock.

They are half my age and took a long time to mold to just how I want them, and now are more comfortable than slippers. When I go out on the town to blow some steam and play pool at a tavern, I kick some dirt off & proudly wear them with grit, scuff marks, and their share of scars. One thing they refuse to do, however, is dance... not because they can't.

It's an easy habit to notice others' boots, which tell their own stories by the shape they're in, whether they're hard working & real riding or buckaroo boots, or just clean & shiny wanna-be weekend or fair-weather show-off boots to give an impression. Boots tell a lot about a person and the kind of person they are, but mostly if they ride and how well they sit a saddle.

My boots' stories about me?... They've been sworn to silence!

Simple things.