Wild horse enthusiasts in western Colorado have formed a new partnership to help the BLM White River Field Office manage the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area. The BLM and Piceance Mustangs formalized the partnership in April 2018 through a memorandum of understanding.
"We're already seeing significant results on the ground from this partnership," said White River Range Technician Melissa Kindall. "The projects completed by Piceance Mustangs benefit wild horses as well as livestock and wildlife."
Between April 2017 and October 2018, Piceance Mustang members worked 2,730 volunteer hours. They worked with livestock grazing permittees to redevelop several water well resources using a $10,000 donation from a local family foundation.
Piceance Mustangs also built 0.25 miles of new fence, repaired 1.5 miles of boundary fencing, and removed about 0.75 miles of old, unnecessary fencing. The group made wreaths and barbed wire swags from some of the barbed wire they removed, some of which was more than 100 years old. They received more than $1,000 in donations for their wares.
Group members have staffed informational booths to increase awareness of the Piceance-East Douglas Herd and wild horse management at popular local events in nearby Meeker, such as the Range Call Celebration, the Meeker Sheepdog Trials, and Fall Craft Show.
"Piceance Mustangs formed to support long-term maintenance of a viable, healthy, free-roaming horse herd on healthy rangelands," said Piceance Mustangs President Tracy Scott. "As we go forward, Piceance Mustangs plans to work with BLM to develop more water sources, continue educating the public about the mission of Piceance Mustangs and about the American Mustang, continue with fence management, begin documenting horses and implementing fertility treatments, and assist with adoption events."
BLM Colorado has found these types of partnerships effective in helping manage its wild horse herd management areas.
"All four of Colorado's herd management areas now have citizen partner groups taking an active role in helping BLM successfully manage these areas," said BLM Northwest District Wild Horse Specialist Ben Smith.
Interact with mustangs or connect with Tracy Scott at Steadfast Steeds Mustang Sanctuary of Western Colorado
Follow the link to see the original article posted by the Bureau of Land Management.
Gentled and socialized (tame & safe) mustangs retain heightened senses from their experiences and family lineage in the wilderness. Most were born under the cloak of darkness and would walk miles at dawn to safety with their extended family band.
They quickly learn what a threat is and where protection is; the experienced mother raises the fur baby to adapt to a changing environment and remain secure within the band relationships.
Mary and Susan, couldn’t tell you much about these traits, but that didn’t keep them from having life-changing mentor sessions with a mustang! (their stories are below).
Many of the traits in mustangs are not trained or taught. In fact, we count on this! Rather than training or conditioning a wild horse to behave in certain ways, the horse is actually the “standard” or “control” that is predictable. Each mustang mentor behaves congruently with its nature, thereby being a trustworthy barometer for the human participant and the coach.
Mary has never spent time around horses. She’s an acupuncturist who admits, “my head is in the clouds most of the time. I want to be more grounded and practical in my day-to-day tasks.”
Susan actually lives with several mustang horses and is very practical, yet in her words, “I say ‘yes’ to everyone else’s requests, and then I resent them and get angry with myself for not holding better personal boundaries. I want to be able to say ‘no’ tactfully.”
Satin is a gentle quiet mustang born in the Little Bookcliffs wilderness of Western Colorado. She was brought off the range at a young age, and adopted by a local person. Now she lives at the Sanctuary with her adopted family band.
Satin and Tracy (equine-guided life coach) coached Mary and Susan on the same day, several hours apart. The two women never met and do not know one another.
After an orientation, Tracy empowered each of the women to be fully present in the moment as they sat peacefully for one of the 9 horses to connect/choose to mentor them.
Unusually, the same horse chose to mentor both persons on the same day. Due to Susan’s and Mary’s different needs and intentions, we were really curious as to how they would manifest in Satin’s behaviors?
Satin calmly stood in the DiscoveRing as Mary entered through the gate. Satin immediately turned away and wandered toward the far side of the ring – actually sliding her head through the panel to graze weeds on the outside!
Later that day when Susan was about to enter the DiscoveRing, Satin stood with her head extended over the gate and her chest pressing on it! Remember, Susan has troubles holding boundaries.
Through the 45-minute coaching session, Satin’s behaviors and Tracy’s questions challenged each woman to release their needs and reclaim their intention; to embody and ground their authentic self in such a way that Satin’s behavior would tangibly reflect their recovery of true self.
Sure enough, while Mary walked around the DiscoveRing with grounded strength and purpose, Satin followed her respectfully behind at liberty (without a rope for physical connection). Mary was beaming with the outcome of her manifested intention!
Now, Susan had to release what her brain knows about mustangs and focus on her own need for healthier personal boundaries. This was a huge shift from “what I can do for and with horses” to “what a horse can do for and with me.” Sure enough, Susan was able to conclude her session by walking confidently within her own skin. And Satin? Of course she followed Susan at a few feet behind all the way around the DiscoveRing at liberty!
While standing with Satin, Tracy helped Mary and Susan to integrate the life lessons into their daily behaviors and relationships. Then they thanked Satin respectively and received their own picture postcard of Satin to place in their cubical at work or mirror at home – a positive reminder of living into their authentic self.
Live your LIFE@LIBERTY! Click Here to Learn more about being mentored by a mustang.
Ever been asked by a sad young family member why their pet had to die?
Or where do animals come from? These and other questions can catch us off guard! Sometimes they come from out of the blue, yet often they come on the heels of a pet’s death or birth.
Tracy’s niece, Jessica, experienced both in just two days! Imagine the swirling emotions of a 13 yr. old girl trying to make sense of witnessing a dog’s dying and a wild horse birth in just 48 hours. While visiting Steadfast Steeds, that’s exactly what occurred.
Akiva was a “wild child rescue” from the Humane Society. Over the next 12 years, he was a beloved family dog who loved to catch frisbees and rabbits. Though he learned to refrain from catching rabbits, thankfully. With the permission of her parents in Missouri, Jessica chose to be with Tracy and I when it was time for the veterinarian to mercifully help Akiva “take the journey”; “cross the rainbow bridge”, as we like to say.
We were all a mess of course! Tears ran as freely as Akiva used to. And then, we placed his body in a grave on the sanctuary property while sharing memories, gratitude, and prayers.
How to we help death and loss make sense to young ones?! You know what? We don’t. “Making sense” of things beyond our control and grasp is an agenda that grown-ups have. And it’s not all that necessary.
There’s a healthier happier way! And it can accelerate our recovery as well.
Make or do something together
Prior to Akiva’s passing, we cast his paw prints in a mold. Then we created the memorial in a frisbee of course! The craft provided a way for talking, crying, listening. It gave us some power to do something with our grief and loss. Even more than this, it helped us to make another amazing memory with Akiva.
We learn so many life lessons from our beloved pets! Patience, discipline, chores, accountability, unconditional love, and on and on. Those memories only die with the pet if we let them. However, keeping those life lessons and memories alive is a way of honoring the legacy of the relationship between the pet and other family members, two legged and four legged alike.
Shift from “trying to make sense” to “making another amazing memory”
When we shift our energy and focus from the death and loss to what we still have, it adds traction to our recovery. “Some life lessons that I’m going to remember about (pet’s name) are…” Then see the pet in your mind’s eye during the years of health and happiness. This can soothe the pain of loss as well as preserve memories that death cannot take away.
An untamed wild horse birth
Two days after Akiva’s burial, we were hurting in many ways. Jessica’s two-week internship adventure was ending. Tomorrow we would drive her to the airport early.
And we had been anticipating a birth by an untamed mustang that we had rescued 5 months earlier.
“Stardust” was named by four young sisters in Chicago who emptied their piggy banks to help the rescue and name the horse. And Stardust was due any day!
Jessica’s question was filled with longing, dread, and perhaps a bit of hope, when she asked, “TT, do you think that Stardust’s baby will be born before I go?!”
“Well,” Tracy paused, letting go of her need to make sense of it all or over explain the biological process. “Let’s intend it to be so! We still have today.”
Now, Tracy knows that wild horses nearly always give birth under the safety of deep night darkness. That “makes sense.” And Tracy also knows the power of prayerful intentions for the good of all involved.
The day’s activities seemed to drag along, when, just minutes before sunset, Tracy yelled from the corral area, “Hey! Come quick! Stardust’s having her baby!”
Laying in the long grass, under an inspiring Western Colorado sunset, Stardust vulnerably allowed the three of us and the family band of horses to witness the miraculous birth of Princess Jenavive “PJ”. A name that Jessica got to participate in creating.
We were actually very nervous, because we had learned that a number of pregnant horses rescued from the horrific domestic situation, had given birth to deceased or deformed babies already that spring.
So we watched with bated breath… helpless and inspired by the life and death and relationship process which we could not control. Our only solace was that we did not feel the need to make sense of it all, only to experience it fully as the present moment unfolded before us.
Can you imagine the supper conversation?! We had just made another amazing memory together! Now, our tears flowed with joy and laughter replaced the crying as we celebrated through the evening.
PJ is a healthy happy girl! And she’s not the only one. The memories made with Jessica have deepened our relationships with one another, animals, and Creator in ways that just don’t make sense. And thankfully they don’t!
Emphasize the relationshipsSo, rather than trying to have the answers to life’s overwhelming questions, emphasize the relationships that sustain us, fill us, and love us through birth, life, and even death. For the memories we make will always be amazing when we make them together.
Make your own amazing memories with America’s mustangs, visit us www.SteadfastSteeds.org/Mustangs where you can sponsor Jenavive and other mustangs.
We’re into the new year! It’s back to school, work, enduring the cold, and reverting back to the normalcy of the pre-holiday routines. It is known as the "January blues," and for many, the stress of dealing with them can take a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Here’s a process for brightening your January blues that the horses have helped us develop. And you can lighten your load anytime anywhere through the day!
The Mustang Masters of Steadfast Steeds
In multi-sensory awareness (MSA), one is mindful of energy within, while at the same time observing the energy and activity of others. Wild horses are masters of MSA. They utilize their entire body to perceive their surroundings: thick hide protects them from harsh weather and is sensitive enough to feel a fly on their back, each ear hears multiple sounds, each eye sees a panoramic view. Their very survival depends on their MSA. By sustaining MSA and living only in the moment, these horses know when it is safe to graze, sleep, play, or move, thereby staying powerfully connected. The complex social system of the wild horse demonstrates instant, non-judgmental feed-back for all relationships.
These attributes and skills of mustangs empower their human partners to accelerate personal recovery, resilience, and development. Here’s what we’ve learned that you can practice wherever you may be – (horse not included, sorry).
Everything a mustang does within a coaching relationship is in response to the energy and presence (or lack of presence) of the person(s). Yet I’ve never seen a horse stand with shrugged shoulders or tensed face. Chief, a seasoned pinto, is exemplary at accepting people just as they are and challenging them to become so much more!
Here’s how to brighten your whole being w/in a minute or two:
Become aware of your body and shift to a comfortable position.
Relax the tension from face down to your toes
Gently slowly inhale 4 sec. then exhale 4 sec. Do this 4 times.
Discover the particular emotions
Become aware of what your feeling. It’s not helpful to judge your feelings as bad or dumb or whatever. Just notice them. An effective ask is, “That’s curios; I notice I’m feeling (name the emotions)”. Don’t ask why, or get distracted by the cause.
Discover where it is in your body
Ask yourself, “Where do I feel this in my body?”
Become mindfully aware of a particular area e.g. stomach, neck, chest, etc. and some of the sensations located there. E.g. tightness, contracted, heavy, dark, etc.
Discover the message
Consider yourself a student learning from your being. Therefore, your gaining information from the emotions rather becoming distracted by how to fix/correct them.
Ask yourself, “What’s the message in these emotions?”
Breathe into that space
Continue balloon breathing with your mindful focus on bringing ample oxygen to that specific place in your body.
Chief immediately joins up with the person as they become fully mindfully and physically present. The person gratefully experiences Chief’s response as validating their true/authentic self. And when they walk away, Chief is glad to stay with them because he feels safe in their presence.
Open the gate – Release
Now that you have raised awareness about the emotions, their message, and where they’re lodging in your being, you can release the unneeded emotions. Not forcefully, just give them permission. Because these emotions are indeed useful in different situations, just not for this one.
Kindly state to your emotional & physical being without judgment, “these particular feelings aren’t helpful right now, and I release you from my being.” You can even practice this as a mantra – (while inhaling) state “these particular feelings aren’t helpful right now. (While exhaling) “I release you from my being.” And mindfully see the emotions dislodging and departing.
Following a coaching session, when Chief rejoins his family band, he will lay down and roll, then stand up and shake it off! This accelerates his recovery from the tiring session. He’s no longer in the energy of supportive work, therefore he releases any unhelpful sensations and returns to a quiescent state, or an “E-quiscent” state in our jargon.
Galloping toward the horizon – Reclaim
With the release of unhelpful emotions, there is space in your being for how you DO want to feel without the distractions of how you DON’T want to be feeling or the distracting problems in your surroundings.
Shift your mindful focus to the horizon of your day, and ask yourself “how would I like to feel (state specific time frame, e.g. this afternoon or during that meeting) in my being?”
Name two positive emotions. E.g. hopeful and confident.
Joining up with your health and happiness
Ask yourself, “Where does my awareness go to in my physical being?”
Ah! Now you have a location to focus your mindful breathing and to expand those positive helpful feelings. This not only helps your mood, it empowers you to conserve energy for living your best life! Bright days ahead!
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