We hope you are enjoying a beautiful autumn. The Sky Mountain band is prancing, rolling, and playing in the crisp fall air. The sanctuary is shades of red, orange and yellow gold and the first snow fall in the Carson has left the peaks off in the distance a frosty white. Fall is a busy time at the sanctuary as we work to ensure that the horses have water and more feed for when the snow flies and the creek freezes. We are excited to report that the sanctuary’s new headquarters in Nambe includes plenty of pasture for the horses to spend the coldest part of winter while we rest the range where they run spring, summer, and fall.
Sky Mountain is on the move in several new directions. You’ll notice that in addition to our new address, we have crafted an enhanced vision and mission and are working with our partners to expand humane treatment of mustangs in the wild beyond New Mexico (see the PZP update). Our deep thanks to sanctuary members Maureen Havey and Ed McMillan for the use of their home for our first Board of Directors retreat. We spent the days visiting with the horses, walking the fence line at the sanctuary, and brainstorming future paths for Sky Mountain. The revised mission reflects the same core values Sky Mountain has always strived to promote, and we believe it better reflects our interest in bringing animals, the environment, and people closer together to coexist harmoniously and sustainably for the future.
Thank you for all the support you provide for wild horses. Just as the beauty and antics of the horses keep us laughing, hopeful, and inspired, so do each of you. This just in from New Jersey – 5 year-old member Grace Cannizzo took the sanctuary to her school’s show-and-tell, with pictures and stories about the Sky Mountain band and why wild horses are “endangered” (yes, her own choice of words according to mom Sarah McMahon). This exemplifies our mission at work, with our younger generation making it come alive. We truly appreciate our community of members and ask you to consider the Sky Mountain mustangs in your holiday giving. We wish you wonderful holidays and all that brings you joy and wildness in the coming New Year.
Karen Herman & Teresa Jacobs
Carson PZP Update & Other News
Sky Mountain, Mt. Taylor Mustangs, and the U.S. Forest Service are concluding our first full year of treating mustangs with PZP (birth control), in the Carson National Forest. The project aims to maintain the health and freedom of the Carson herd by keeping their numbers sustainable for the range and eliminating the need for their round-up and removal from this territory. Recently, Dan Elkins of Mt. Taylor Mustangs and Karen Herman of Sky Mountain were invited to Utah to share information about this project, as well as unique methods for darting mustangs in the wild that were developed by Elkins for the Carson horses. As a result, we are finalizing plans with the U.S. Humane Society and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for remote darting of mustangs on BLM land in the Cedar Mountains of Utah.
In other news, Sky Mountain members in New Mexico may have heard of Governor Bill Richardson’s plan to allocate land in New Mexico for a state wild horse park. It’s an exciting prospect, and Sky Mountain continues to follow this proposal closely. Sky Mountain believes it is critical that any such efforts include a robust debate about humane strategies for keeping wild horses wild and their numbers sustainable for the lands on which they roam.
Contributed by Teresa Jacobs
Luna is our gorgeous and “unpredictable” mustang. Named for the sliver of crescent moon on her forehead, we could say that her name is very fitting given her personality. As prey animals, most horses run away when startled or frightened. Luna runs AT us, making for some very funny and interesting times around the sanctuary…such as the first time I treated her with Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP), or birth control. One minute she was standing in the chute as I prepared a dart, the next she was trying to jump over my head.
Luna was heavily pregnant when we adopted her, an odd-looking mix of big belly and jutting spine and ribs after a hard winter in the wild without enough to eat. Her foal Starlight appeared one morning about 3 weeks after she arrived at the sanctuary, our first birth. We are often asked why Sky Mountain is a non-breeding sanctuary. Our policy of non-breeding is very much in keeping with how we envision sanctuary… a refuge for mustangs who have no other place, where they run free throughout their lives. With 30,000 wild horses essentially “homeless” in long-term holding with the Bureau of Land Management, we believe the most responsible and humane path is to prevent breeding at the sanctuary. This enables Sky Mountain to adopt more unwanted mustangs in the future while maintaining the health of the range on which the horses run.
Today, Luna is a stout, healthy mustang with beautiful, inquisitive eyes. She is often seen roaming the range with her now 3 year-old Starlight. Skittish and flighty, she is quick to wheel around and gallop off when she decides it’s time…and she’s learning to head away from what startles her. She arrived wild and she will remain wild. Thank you for keeping Luna free.
Contributed by Karen Herman
Sky Mountain Welcomes and Thanks Our Newest and Current Members!
Welcome to our newest members:
Laura Bonar Sharon & Wayne Campbell
Felicia Griffin Elaine Sausen
Madeline Sausen Pamela Thompson
Our gratitude for continuing support from our founding members:
The Mayhew Family Ellen Fogarty
Sue & Pete Herman Connie Monahan
Shelley Joy in memory of beloved Finn Melissa Neiss
Member Profile: Nancy McGeoghegan
Home: Sandia Park, New Mexico
Membership in Sky Mountain: 3 years
Pets- Species & Ages:
Dog: Scoop, 11
Cats: Caesar, 7; Jonathan, 8; Karma, 4;
Lola, 1; and Zuni, 10 months
1) You're an animal lover - what types of work have you done or are you currently doing on behalf of animals?
I’m serving as an Operations Manager for the Humane Society and I participate in domestic horse rescue. I also own my own pet sitting business and I foster and board cats.
2) You're also a very involved member of Sky Mountain - what types of activities have you done to help Sky Mountain achieve its mission?
Over the years I’ve helped move fence panels, rounded up escapees, fixed fencing, brainstormed programming ideas for Sky Mountain, and helped to spread the word about the sanctuary on Face book.
3) There are many great organizations striving to protect animals and the environment, why do you think Sky Mountain's work is especially important?
Humans are the cause of shrinking lands for wild horses. Though we can never do completely right by all of them, it is our responsibility to protect the ones we can.