I tried to write this yesterday, but I couldn’t find my words. Today, I’m struggling with it too. I do most of the PR for our team. I deal with the people, I answer the questions, I handle fundraising, and I get to read a lot of positivity. I also take the heat. I’m the one that has to say “no” to everyone. I have to turn down requests to take to dozens of wild horses (and other animals ) each and every month. We’ve seen hundreds of requests this year alone. For an empath and animal lover like myself, it can be absolutely soul-crushing. We do our best to help as we’re responsibly able to, but the need is so much greater than the spaces that we can provide. Even in a pastured setting, it is expensive to keep this many horses!
We are beyond grateful for the support that we do receive, but we’re still mostly privately funded. It makes it tough for us to grow, and it’s also a primary reason behind us saying no. Donations are so deeply appreciated, but we ultimately need to make sure that we can still feed our herd even if donations dry up. We’ve taken responsibility for 143, and we intend to care for them. Well. Last spring, we closed our gates to any new herd members so that we could refocus on creating a secondary release site. Yesterday, with the help of some generous pledges, we were able to change that.
A little back story…
Several weeks ago, we were contacted by concerned citizens that had knowledge of a group of mustangs that were caught in a tight situation. This herd, the Devil’s Garden mustangs, have become known worldwide as a tragic example of the plight of North America’s mustangs. For those that don’t know, these wild horses were captured from their native land and put into government holding, an event which is far too common in this country. What made this herd so notable is that adults and seniors were sold for just $1 apiece. Imagine that! In a market for meat, hundreds were sold to private buyers for this measly amount. We know this to be true, we bought ten ourselves! Our senior Devil’s Garden geldings were the last releases to join our herd. We requested those that had the least chance of being selected, and they sent us ten of the biggest wild bays that our team has ever seen! Our last release was for this herd, and five more are in line to be our first releases in roughly 15 months. It’s pretty humbling to be able to provide space for these horses who so desperately need it, but to be able to reunite former herd members, it makes it all the more meaningful!
We didn’t come to this decision lightly. While discussing their profiles amongst our team, the words “wretched refuse” were used. Nobody wants wild horses with issues.
One is blind in one eye.
One is recently blind in one eye.
One tries to bite.
One has a powerful flight instinct.
Another one freezes.
These are simple issues, but they were issues serious enough to have them earmarked for euthanasia if they couldn’t find a sanctuary placement. We struggled to find a reason to euthanize healthy mustangs. Thankfully, their corral staff and advocates felt the same way. Today, I am grateful to announce that we started the official paperwork to bring them home! This is a huge undertaking for our already strapped team, but we’re making an exception for this ‘wretched bunch’. If all goes according to plan, we hope this will be a beautiful example of what is possible through ongoing collaboration. This placement, if we can indeed get it to the final stages, will be through the teamwork of advocates, compassionate welfare groups, generous pledges, and the proactive corral staff that stepped up to identify these horses. We’re still working on logistics and assembling our plan, but we’re going to do our best to make this work!
We’re doing it, friends. We’re bringing these mustangs home.
We’ll be posting more as details they become available, but PLEASE SHARE! The more cross-posts we can get, the more people will see! We’ll also be publishing a fundraiser for more desperately needed perimeter fencing so that we can truly reopen our gates! If you have some spare change, slush funds, or savings that you’d like to see used in a life-saving way, please consider helping us to reach this goal! If you’d like to donate now, you can do so at https://serengetifoundation.com/project/engler-canyon-ranch/ (501c3 nonprofit). Thank you, everyone.
Let’s do this! Let’s bring them home.
Signing off for now.