From the beginning, I started this blog to not only share my experiences with the Pryor Horses, but I also had another intention in mind: To Be There For The Horses. To work with those involved with the horses for the better good of them.
I knew that some things that I would say or do would not “sit well” with some people or groups. But I pretty much say it like it is and how I feel. I have said it before and I will say it again: “I am here for the horses. I am not a BLM hater, nor am I a BLM lover.” Also: ” I do not belong to any one group, I am here for the horses.” I will work with everyone involved if they are good, HONEST people. I would like to be treated with respect and I also expect the same for my friends and family.
Let’s just say, I don’t mind ruffling a few feathers if it gets the job done.
So, it is with that mind set that I am publishing Lori’s story. I love Lori like a sister, and I stand behind her. We are a lot a like. Don’t back us in a corner, it won’t be pretty. But stand beside us, and we will fight to the end for you. (and bring you chocolate chip cookies). We don’t hesitate to state what is on our mind for the animals (and people) we intend to protect.
Because of my post in August: “Please Stop , Thank you” (click HERE to read that), my blog got the attention of some people in Washington, DC and caused quite a wave of trouble here in Montana and also for Lori in Wyoming. I don’t regret a thing. I would do everything the exact same way, except I guess I would let Jared know that it was coming.
Liesl and Lori’s Story
Since someone has asked a question about how Liesl injured herself, I thought I would answer this question as honestly as I can. I was not going to bring it up because I did not want the Center to appear “insensitive” or “irresponsible” to Liesl’s blindness, but since it has been brought up, I think it is only fair that everyone should know what happened. I will start from the beginning so that everyone will understand how and why Liesl got hurt.
When Kaibab & Liesl came to the Center, Diane Granger (board member) and I volunteered to be the care takers for them. Since that day both of us have been feeding them, cleaning out the Shelter, and spending time with them. Diane has a heart of gold and loves those two horses, and the ones who run wild and free!! She has been going to the range faithfully since 1993!
At this time there were other horses in the field outside of the corral, including Exhilaration. As time went on we were seeing bent & damaged panels on the corral.
I am sure that Liesl did some of the damage as she is BLIND and was frightened of the other horses poking their heads through nipping and kicking at her, but, one has to imagine not being able to see the threat that is real through Liesl’s eyes. Her reaction is to kick & run away from the threat of danger. This is normal behavior for a blind horse. Also, keep in mind that her whole life has been this way…picked on, kicked, bitten, and chased away, because she is blind. I found this information while researching about blind horses: You can read more on this website, by clicking BLIND.
Horses are herd animals with a social hierarchy and a well-defined pecking order. Usually the blind horse falls to the bottom of the pecking order. The others sense the blind horse’s vulnerability and take advantage of it. A blind horse will get beaten up, chased away from food, and run off from the group. It is not a pleasant life. Blind horses can get hurt in a herd environment because with their fight-or-flight instinct, blindness leaves them with only one choice: flight. And fleeing from a bully in the herd in a blind panic (literally) is when a blind horse will run into a fence or a tree and get hurt.
We’ve found that even in an otherwise easy-going small herd of four or five horses, it only takes one sighted horse to bully the blind one and you have a potential injury on your hands.
The answer is not to isolate your blind horse, but to give him or her a compatible pasture buddy to hang out with. Horses need company, and a lonely horse is an unhappy horse. So we keep our blind horses in pairs, or with a sighted pasture buddy (we call them our “seeing eye horses”), in separate pastures. The rest of our herd – elderly sighted horses – stay together as a group in a different pasture.
We’ve seen that even small groups of blind horses can create pecking order problems. A lot depends on the individual personalities of the horses and the ‘social chemistry’ when they’re together. You’ll quickly discover what works and doesn’t work for your blind horse in your situation.
Although there are exceptions, in general a herd is a bad place to be for a blind horse.
The decision was made (not sure exactly who made this decision) to take all of the other horses, except Exhilaration, home. They needed the corral to gather up the other horses and so Liesl & Kaibab were released out into the field while the other horses were rounded up into the corral and loaded up into a trailer.
After that Liesl & Kaibab were in the corral with the heated water tank, and Exhilaration was on the outside. Everyday someone had to let Exhilaration in to get water, and the little ones went out into the field. At night Liesl & Kaibab were locked into the corral, and Exhilaration was on the outside.
Still we were noticing panels being dented and actually one of the bars on a panel was broken in half. It was then that someone decided to bring Exhilaration home. The Center has replaced the two panels that were totally destroyed, and since then there is no more damage to the panels.
From the beginning Diane and I had reservations about letting Liesl out into the field as it is fenced with barbed wire and the fact that she is blind, for the most part.
Our fear of Liesl getting hurt on the barbed wire became reality on the 16th of January.
I was getting their food prepared (they eat pellet mare/foal & some hay) and Kaibab was already in the corral. Liesl was making her way around the fence and just walked right into the barbed wire fence. She bent a T- post and ripped a section of her shoulder. It was a pretty nasty wound, but since I have horses at home I usually have medicine for these types of injuries. I went home and got some Fura-zone salve and applied it to her wound for three days. I have been spraying Vetricyn on it since then. It is healing well. Diane asked our Veterinarian about antibiotics and she said to just keep a close eye on it and as long as it did not look infected it should heal up well. Thank goodness she is healing well and should be fine.
I am not placing the blame on anybody; I am only stating the facts.
I think that the Center is planning on replacing the fence with wood this coming spring/summer.
Since resigning from the Center I am now a volunteer for the care of Liesl and Kaibab, but am not the one making the decisions concerning them. I can only make suggestions.
This leads me to the rest of my story:
I have always had the horses first and foremost in my heart and that has always been and still is one of my main concerns. I am a very passionate person when it comes to what I believe to be right. I will not compromise my principles, and I will not back down from what I believe is the right thing to do.
For those of you who know me personally, you know that I never claimed to be “politically correct”, nor am I afraid to “make some noise” and stand up for what I believe in. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is an old English idiom. Sometimes it makes a difference and sometimes it does not. But to sit by and do nothing when I believe something needs to be said is not an option for me. It is not in my nature. I admit that I can be a bit outspoken and blunt at times, but it is never without conviction from my heart, and I never intend to hurt anyone on purpose.
With all of this said, this past August I questioned the BLM and the NPS (by telephone) as to why they were gathering more horses from the Dry Head part of the range. I thought it strange that they would remove more mares and foals as there are way more stallions than mares in the Dry Head.
I had also made a couple of “personal” comments, from my “personal computer” on Sandy’s blog stating my “personal opinion” on the continuing gather/removal. I did this from home, not at the Center and in my mind it had nothing to do with the Center or my job as Director.
I believed that I was doing the right thing by the horses, and that it was part of my job. I believed that it was my job to question those who are responsible for managing this herd when and if the need arose. Well I guess I believed wrong. . I suppose they did not want any “friction” from the Center and “how dare I” question the government!
The BLM certainly did not appreciate my questioning and they sent a letter to the Board concerning my “combative behavior” among other things. They never even mentioned all of the good things I had said about what a good job they were doing throughout the gather or what excellent care the horses that were removed were getting!
The majority of the Board did not stand behind me (although John Nickle did and I believe Diane Granger also) but the rest did not, and so I felt that there was only one choice for me, and that was to resign.
If I could not have a personal opinion, and I could not question what I thought was a legitimate cause for concern, then I could do better for the horses on my own and through other avenues. Also, I suppose the Center does not need someone as “feisty” and “outspoken” as me to be the Director.
I gave my heart and soul to the Center, and so did my most loyal and compassionate husband.
It is with great enthusiasm and passion for these beautiful horses that I will continue to observe, study and protect the Pryor Mountain Wild horses. I also have peace in knowing and believing that I did the right thing for the horses, my character intact!
I want to thank Sandy for allowing me to help with her blog, and also for doing this post!!
Thank you Sandy for your dedication, honesty, passion and generosity to and for the Pryor Mountain wild horses!
A couple of quotes that I like!
Character is higher than intellect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current. ~Thomas Jefferson