Monday, November 19, 2007

Coming Soon the AHDF Library

In the interest of helping horses find homes, the AHDF is building a library of training tapes and DVDs to loan rescues and possibly even individuals. If you have training videos you are not using please consider donating them to the AHDF for others to use.

Our first donation has come from Sylvia Scott who donated her Round Pen Leadership and Whispering Way 12 Step total Training System. Sylvia offers a weekly newsletter with training tips and also is always available for email questions. Sylvia has been VERY supportive of our efforts and we would like to thank her for her awesome and generous donation to our library efforts. We are hoping to contact other trainers to hopefully obtain videos to help support those on the front lines.

If you have a dvd or video sitting around gathering dust and would like to share it with those who rescue and rehabilitate horses please consider donating them to the AHDF. If you have a contact within the training community and would like to encourage them to make a donation please let us know. All videos can be mailed to AHDF at PO Box 328 Covington, TN 38011.

If you would like to borrow one of our videos please watch our website for the launch of the library program. While you are there please check our rescue listing page to make sure your rescue is listed and all your contact information is correct. The AHDF strives to have the most comprehensive listing of rescues both for our book and for our web visitors. Recently another organization mentioned our rescue listings in a newspaper article, so many people looking for a rescue to support or to adopt will be looking for you on the AHDF site. Don't miss this opportunity to make your rescue more visible and to be listed on a site with thousands of visitors a day. If your rescue is missing please email our webmistress.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sad State of the World

I have been having trouble sleeping. It isn't that I am not tired, with kids a husband, dogs, horses and getting a house ready for the holidays, I am tired. But when I lay down to sleep thoughts go through my mind keeping me awake. Add to that the fact that we have some data from the BLM to go through, it adds up to many sleepless nights.

So, as I was trying to get sleepy tonight I decided to do a little reading to get sleepy. So, I went looking for something happy to distract me and I found a story called "Little Girl to get Pony". Wow, I thought, a really happy kid/horse story to wipe out some of the ugliness I get every day. Unfortunately, it wasn't a happy story. It seems that the little girl was getting a pony, but to replace hers that had been tortured, killed and mutilated. The little girl had found her pony and was severely traumatized.

How sick does someone need to be to do that to a poor animal, let alone a child's pet? How sick is the world when vets, charged with protecting and caring for horses, say that brutal slaughter is humane? How twisted is it that the BLM, a government agency charged with protecting our wild horses, is systematically eliminating them from our public lands? And not just that, but doing it in such a way that it is even more inhumane.

How sick does the world need to be before someone changes it? How cruel does the act need to be before these animals get the protection they deserve? When will laws and policies change? When there are no more horses running free, when children find their beloved pets slaughtered in their own pasture?

I have said that when we sell out our horses and think of them as just a commodity we sell our souls. It is up to the people who care to protect and speak for them, even if it looks like nobody is listening. Passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act wouldn't have saved that child's horse, but it didn't help that the current thought process is that horses are disposable and can be treated as though they have no feelings when they are handled brutally during transport and the slaughter process. It is changing the view of animals that protect them and HR 503/S 311 will start that process.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

USRIDER Teams with EKU to Offer Animal Rescue Training

Lexington, KY (Nov 9, 2007) – USRider and Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) are partnering to offer large-animal emergency rescue training for the fourth consecutive year. As with last year’s training, specially trained demonstration animals – horses and a llama – are being brought in to help provide realistic hands-on training during the seminars.

Two Technical Large-Animal Rescue training seminars are to be held next spring. Scheduled for April 18-20, 2008, the first seminar is reserved for EKU students. The second seminar, April 22-24, 2008, is open to the public, with emphasis on recruiting fire and EMT responders, veterinarians and others involved in the equine industry. The training is being funded through the Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund, administered by USRider.

The training will educate fire/rescue personnel, first responders, veterinarians and horse enthusiasts about techniques and procedures to assist large animals involved in transportation accidents and other emergencies. Instruction will cover the use of sedatives and tranquilizers, chemical restraint, rescue ropes and knots, rescue from barn fires, mud rescue, helicopter rescue and water rescue, among other situations. The training, which consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training, qualifies each student to receive FSE 489 credit for the class.

The training will also include a separate session on HAZMAT Decontamination of Large Animals. Scheduled for the morning of April 25, this free session will cover the issues related to rescuing large animals that have encountered chemical, biological or radiological contamination. Local and state emergency preparedness officials are encouraged to attend. Interested parties should contact EKU so accommodations can be made.

USRider offers a nationwide roadside assistance program designed especially for equestrians. Since its establishment in January 2002, the company has endeavored to raise awareness of the need for training in large-animal emergency rescue.

“We’ve found that while emergency responders are trained experts in human rescue and extrication, they usually have no training in large-animal rescue,” said Mark Cole, managing member of the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan. “Because of this lack of training, responders are being put at great risk. Moreover, in many accidents and disasters, animals without life-threatening injuries are being injured further or even killed by use of incorrect rescue techniques.”

Through its Leg-Up Fund, USRider has provided backing for numerous large-animal rescue initiatives, from equine ambulances to individual responder training. In 2005, the company took its efforts in a new direction by creating the first-of-its-kind Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund at Eastern Kentucky University. The endowment fund was established to promote large-animal-rescue training efforts and support related training programs.

Eastern Kentucky University has established an annual Large Animal Rescue training program that provides training to the students within the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program. The Fire and Safety Engineering Technology Program was established in 1975 and is one of only a few programs in the country which offers undergraduate degrees in fire and safety. Areas of study include life safety; fire prevention, suppression and investigation; fire service administration; fire protection principles; industrial loss prevention; safety program management; and occupational safety and health.

The Large Animal Rescue training within the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program provides the students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required to become proficient in the rescue of large animals. The program is provided to the students as part of their college curriculum requirements. To-date, approximately 100 undergraduate students have successfully completed this program.

“We are very glad to continue our partnership with EKU through their College of Justice and Safety,” said Cole, “especially since the university is located in central Kentucky – an area that is commonly referred to as the horse capital of the world.”

Due to the hands-on nature of the training, each large-animal emergency rescue seminar is limited to 30 participants. Be sure to call and reserve your space today. For more information on the seminars and to register, call the EKU Loss Prevention and Safety Department at (859) 622-1009.

Contributions to the Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund may be sent to the Division of University Development, CPO 19A, Jones 324, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, KY, 40475-3102. The Development office may be reached at (859) 622-1583.

USRider Equestrian Motor Plan is a nationwide member-based organization providing roadside trailering assistance, including towing and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. For more information, visit or call 1-800-844-1409.

NOTE: Because some involved with the Illinois trailer accident had recently received this training there were not as many deaths as there could have been. The horses were VERY lucky that these folks had training. We need more classes like this one to be offered all over the country and more people trained. I hope anyone who can take the course will.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

COLD!! Brrrr

I know that some of us are seeing the first cold weather of the year. Some areas have already seen snow! We had our first hard freeze last night with another expected tonight. With the cold weather comes the holidays and the time that the horses need us the most. It has been an incredibly hard year with fires, droughts, floods and even tornado and still no passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. However, we have seen some great things this year including the closing of the last slaughter plant in this country and more interest from the media in publishing stories about the humane treatment of our nation's horses.

While it is hard to think of the suffering of horses during the holiday season, we cannot let our momentum stop. However, there are ways we can enjoy our tasks. We can shop and help the horses. When you are thinking of your holiday gift giving also think of helping the horses and we all win. Why let all the profits go to the shops when you can give a part of your shopping dollars to the AHDF. If you shop through please select the American Horse Defense Fund as your chosen charity. You can also shop at the AHDF mall and a portion of your total will go to AHDF. Our mall has stores that you will recognize and some small wonderful stores that you may find are your favorites. You can also shop at Cafe Press and buy AHDF items. Or what about shopping at the AHDF site? We are going to be adding some new items soon to enhance your shopping experience, including some great Christmas ornaments. Think gifts and think AHDF. Got a kiddo to buy for? Shop at Cafe Press and get them a tee or a soft teddy bear or you can shop through the mall for personalized books, educational software, name trains and much more or give the gift of sponsoring a horse and if you let us know it is a gift we will send the receipient a photo of their horse and a certificate of sponsorship. A horse owner? You can buy him/her a new custom saddle pad through our partnership with R9 Custom Horse Creations. Just let them know the funds are for the AHDF horses and the hay for pad program. There is not a single person you cannot find a gift for through one of our programs.

As with just about every charity on the planet we count on our contributions to continue our work. We also count on the charity of our donors during this time of year for most of our annual budget. We don't have any benefactors that direct our actions, we prefer to stay close to our supporters and their direction. So, this year when you are doing your shopping please think of us and the horses.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board

Tomorrow, November 5th, the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be meeting in Portland Oregon. This group of supposed experts are supposed to advise the BLM on actions involving our wild horses and burro management and preservation. So far this sounds like a great program right? Wrong! The groups just seems to rubber stamp every action that the BLM proposes.

The group never seems to question any of the actions of BLM including the zeroing out of HMAs because of lack of resources all while approving additional livestock grazing in the same area. Not a single HMA gives the horses in the entire HMA what cattle and livestock are given in a single section. I guess this doesn't disturb the Advisory Board in the least. If it does, there is no record of it, but then again there is no recent minutes of their meetings for us to look at so we can see where they have asked for an explanation. I guess we can ask for that under the Freedom of Information Act, but we submitted a FOIA back in June and we are still waiting for that information to arrive. If we request this I am sure all the wild horses will be gone forever before we get any response. I guess the single keeper of information for the BLM is just overwhelmed with requests to find out what the hell is happening over there, but back to the Advisory Board. This group is entitled to documents and data not available to the public, so there is no reason why they should be floundering in the dark like those of us working to really protect these animals.

Most recently the BLM determined that the West Douglas HMA could only support 60 wild horses. We sent in comments stating that this number is well below genetic viability, but they had determined that the horses were the problem, not the thousands of cattle. Their biggest concern was for some possibly rare big horn sheep. It turns out these sheep were not rare, but they didn't return the wild horses, they didn't apologize to the public for their error. What did they do? Well, now they agree that 60 isn't genetically viable, they are zeroing out the herd area and REMOVING the horses. Did the Advisory Board do anything when the proposal was put forward to reduce the numbers? NO, they didn't. Are they screaming to leave the remaining horses who have now been genetically proven to be Spanish Mustangs? NO, they are not. This group of advocates, scientists and vets who all should know better than to agree to a reduction so far under genetic viability, but they just smile and give the BLM a thumbs up.

We can look at the make up of the group to find at least part of the answer. There is one person who is supposed to be a wild horse advocate, one humane person, a vet, a representative of the public, 2 livestock managers, a wildlife manager (read wildlife to read game animals), natural resource manager (read game here too) and a wild horse and burro researcher. No other BLM advisory board has so many opponents of the animal they are advising on. There are no wild horse advocates on the grazing advisory group, it is mostly made up of livestock supporters. Yet, this group is not and the election of the positions is set by policy and they will not even accept the nomination of a wild horse advocate to fill the position of one of the livestock advocates.

This group is woefully inadequate for protecting our wild horses and burros. Mostly because the majority of the members are hell bent on seeing every wild horse and burro off of the lands that ranchers see as theirs. Well, it isn't theirs and the public needs to start asking the hard questions about what is happening to their land and their horses. Frankly, it is illegal under the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act to zero out herds, to give away land that was set aside for their preservation and the BLM should be held accountable for these acts. Obviously complaining to the BLM or trying to appeal to their better nature is not working. We need to be asking Congress to investigate the waste, fraud and abuse of public funds, resources and trust. A single complaint to the President resulted in a horrific policy change in veteran's burials. We need thousands of complaints about the BLM and the Advisory Board to see a policy change there.

You may say I don't own a horse, don't know much about them. Well, actually yes you do own a horse. Every one of us owns the American Mustangs and Burros. If you want to learn more about the issues affecting them read this blog.

It is our right and responsibility to ensure these horses and burros are kept safe and on the lands that they are entitled to. Otherwise they will all be gone.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hay Shortage

This has been a very hard year for parts of our country. Many areas have been hit with extreme drought conditions, while other areas have been hit hard with flooding. In the areas where there has been drought there was no second hay cutting and the cost of hay has gone through the roof. I know we are hearing about larger than normal owner surrenders and even some rescues giving up or going under.

I know in my area we have gotten a little rain lately, but it came too late to help with hay. Tonight we are expecting our first frost of the year meaning there will be no chance to get more hay from our recent rains. Hay prices have doubled and are expected to rise more the later in the season it gets. Where there is hay, the brokers are buying it up to ship around the country. Rescues and horse owners are feeling the pinch. However there is an answer.

Some enterprising individual has put together a website where people can list and find hay. The prices may be a bit higher and you may have shipping costs, but at least you can find it. I was able to locate some myself. If you have friends and neighbors having similar problems perhaps you can share the shipping costs to make it more affordable. Visit the Internet Hay Exchange and put in your state and it should return a number of listings. Try first to locate hay as close to you as possible to save on those shipping costs or to pick up the hay yourself. Also, remember the more you buy the bigger the discount and you can negotiate with these guys.

If you seriously cannot afford the hay prices or just cannot find any Tractor Supply and other feed stores often sell alfalfa cubes or other forage supplements. At the end of last winter I was forced to rely on these to get us through. However, often later in the season they run low on these, so you may want to stock up. Last winter we weren't able to get these for weeks because of snow and depleted supplies. So, in addition to the hay we are planning on buying several bags of these in case of emergency. You may want to do that as well.

I know our pasture usually has grass until well into the winter, but this year we are down to dirt. We are going to have to replant in the spring so we have enough grass. If you are like me you may also want to buy some year end grass seed. I am sure that it will be in short supply in the spring. If you don't have horses, but your lawn suffered because of the droughts you may also want to buy some grass seed now. In the spring it will be far more costly. Just remember to store it carefully for spring planting.

I know that it will be a long hard winter, but we can all make it through if we are committed (or should be LOL).

Updates, Trailer Accident and Slaughter Bills

Photos courtesy of the Chicago Tribune- Photo taken byNeil Rigler.

The death toll from the trailer accident outside of Chicago, Illinois has risen. A total of 17 horses either died or had to be euthanized as a result of their injuries, leaving only 42 of the original 59. The insurance company had originally planned on taking possession of the horses and has been paying the costs of their recovery. However, Donna Ewing of the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society has worked out a deal to place the horses. She hopes to place them all within the next 10 days. The cost of the animals will range from $50 to $100 and this will be paid to the insurance company.

While Ewing assures the media that the horses will not go to slaughter, her position on the issue puts a question mark on that assurance. Ewing is one of the pro-slaughter industry's biggest advocate. She has been quoted as fully supporting the "euthanasia services" that the slaughter plants supposedly provide. If anyone is interested in one of these horses you must apply through Ms Ewing's organization. Priority will be given to the volunteers who assisted with the rescue.

The pending federal bills are getting more notice after the horrific accident. HR 503 now has a total of 188 cosponsors, with the sponsor that makes 189. S 311 has 35 cosponsors, with the sponsor that is 36. The bills are not moving at this time because Congress has not yet passed a single budget (Appropriations) bill. The fiscal year began on October 1, 2007 and all budgets should have been in place before then. It is possible that instead of individual budget bills Congress may instead do an Omnibus Appropriations Bill. As many of you may remember, this combines all the bills and is so bulky most of the Congress cannot read the whole thing before they vote. This is how the Burns Amendment got passed that stripped the protections for wild horses. With all the mess going on with the budget it is hard to get Congress to focus on our bills. We NEED to keep up the calls, letters and faxes to let them know we are still here and committed to seeing the bills passed into law. To see if your Congressperson or Senators have cosponsored you can go to the Library of Congress and search the bill number. If your Senator/Congressperson is a cosponsor please let them know that you appreciate their support and ask them to please continue supporting the bills. If they are not please make sure that you don't just ask them to support the bill, but that they also become a cosponsor. There is no magic number of cosponsors needed to pass the bills, but we need as many as possible pushing for them.

We are asking for specific focus on the following Senators.
Robert Bennet - R/UT
Jim Bunning - R/KY
Richard Burr - R/NC
Robert Casey - D/PA
Saxby Chambliss - R/GA
Bob Corker - R/TN
Elizabeth Dole - R/NC
Judd Gregg - R/NH
Chuck Hagel - R/NE
Orrin Hatch - R/UT
Johnny Isakson - R/GA
John Kyl - R/AZ
Claire McCaskill - D/MO
Gordon Smith - R/OR
Jim Webb - D/VA
Please, only call these offices if you live in their state. Calls from others will not be counted or even noted. If you do not know how to reach your Sentors you can go to and find that information.

I do want to say something really quick about the number of petitions online. These are not taken seriously and nothing ever comes from them. they may be a good way to inform the public about an issue, but it does NOTHING to help the bills. Passing along this information only makes those who don't know any better think they have done something to help. Instead of signing endless petitions or passing them along pass along information about contacting Senators and Congressmen. The only time petitions are effective is when they are collected and signed in person with proper identification procedures. The signatures cannot be confirmed and our elected officials are well aware of this. They throw these things out and it makes any efforts of well meaning people worthless.

Think about the last recall petitions in your area. All signatures had to be collected in person, when they sign they have to provide identification and proof of voter registration. After the signatures are collected the staff at city hall then call each signer and verify their signature. Often times more signatures are thrown out than authenticated. The staff of your Congressperson or Senator are not going to verify the signatures and there is no positive identification collected with the signature. Don't waste your time on these online petitions.