Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4th Week of Employment

Michelle Deden
Mustang Heritage Foundation
Youth Employment Program
History Research Paper
4 May 2012

            Through the days of lore and celebration and joy, and through the dark days of mourning-the faithful horse has been with us always.
            Wild horses have been an important part of America’s history since the Spanish Conquistadors came to America.  It all started with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493.  Columbus brought around twenty horses including the Spanish Barb, Andalusian, and the now extinct Spanish Jennet breeds with him.  These breeds were the foundation stock for the Paso Finos, a horse breed well-known for their fine step and graceful head carriage.   The Spanish Conquistador’s called them “Los Caballos de Paso Fino” meaning the horse with a fine step.  The Spanish Barb, Andalusian, and Spanish Jennet were also the start of wild horses in America and and were later called the Spanish Mustangs. 
            These Spanish horses that were freed or escaped from early explorers soon became of use the Native Americans.  The Native Americans soon learned how to make use of these powerful creatures to hunt buffalo.  The Appaloosa, a brown and white horse with a Rosetta pattern, and Pinto horses were prized by the tribes because of their beautiful coats.  High chieftain owned Pinto and Appaloosa horses and rode them during celebrations.  After a couple decades horses that strayed became known as mestenos by the Spanish.
            In 1620, the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower, it is believed that the Pilgrims re-domesticated  some of the wild horses for farm use.  Nine years after the Pilgrims arrived in America, New England brought horses to the New World.  They brought larger, huskier horses meant for pulling heavy equipment.  They also brought with them tall, graceful Thoroughbreds from England and Ireland.  All these horses added diversity to the mustang population.  As each set of immigrants arrived in America, their horses added diversity to the wild horse population.  Although these horses are no longer the pure Spanish Mustangs, people still used the term Spanish Mustangs when referring to the wild horses.
            Years later many Native Americans lost or released their prizes mounts because they were forced onto unfertile reservations, leaving their horses to join the wild herds.  The Mustangs, being an invasive species to America flourished and by the end of the 19th century, there were between two to four million horses running free throughout the West.    Ranchers, cowboys, and ever fur traders put them to good use.  During the Civil War, the Northern Army needed 200,000 horses anually, so they were rounded up for military service.  Mustangs appeared to be an inexhaustible source for the people of the 19th century.
            But by the beginning of the 20th century, los mestenos became a problem.  One rancher in Nevada reflects his father complaints “They ate twice as much as cattle, and their sharp hooves cut into the land and uprooted the grass.  To a rancher, grazing land is a precious as gold, and the horses were ruining it.” Ranchers sought different ways to take care of this dilemma, driving horses from their newly claimed lands, and then building sturdier fences to keep them out.  Other ranchers reverted to killing as many mustangs as possible.  Through poisoning the water-holes.  In Utah, ranchers killed thousands of wild horses by driving them off cliffs.  By the 1940’s wild horse slaughter had hit an all-time high with the opening of the pet food companies.  Pet food companies paid ranchers ten to twenty dollars for each horse brought in.  Pet food companies giving rise to the Mustangers, people who used low-flying planes and other methods to chase the horses many miles until they could no longer run or entered a trap then forced into trucks to be shipped off to pet-food factories.  Another method of capturing them is roping the horses by having the other end of the lariat tied to two large tired which tightens around the horses neck pulling them backward and affecting their breathing.  The wild mustangs almost disappeared from America altogether because of the Mustangers.
            If it was not for one Velma Johnson, otherwise known as “Wild Horse Annie” one of Americas last symbols of Wild West would be long gone.  Velma Johnson grew up riding a mustang by the name of Hobo, who captured her heart and was Mrs. Johnsons inspiration to stand up against what was happening to these horses after she saw a stock trailer over-filled with wild horses who looked starving and dehydrated and wondered what was the cause of this.  Soon after she witnessed the capturing of the wild horses and realized how oblivious she was to what was going on.  Several times she to lawmakers suggesting it be illegal to use airplanes and vehicles to herd and trap horses, but every time the lawmakers ignored her.  But finally she gained the attention of the congress by showing them snapshots she had attained from witnessing these horrific scenes, going all the way to Washington D.C to have a court case.  Finally in 1971, the Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act passed, requiring the protection, management and control of the mustangs.  Thanks to Velma Johnson, the wild horses of the American West were saved. 
            Because the Mustangers are no longer a threat to wild horses, the population has increased from the less than 10,000 mustangs in 1970 to 50,000 horses in the year 2000.  These growing herds created new problems, such as over-grazing.  This time the solution was from the Bureau of Lang Management (BLM), a government agency in charge of tending for public lands.  It was decided that the best thing to do would be to thin out the herds by capturing the horses and offering the to the public.  This program became known as the Adopt-A-Horse program. Tthe horses are branded on their neck for identification.  This ID specifies: area of capture, ownership, holding facility, and tag number.  Many horses are not sold and BLM has to keap them in holding pens and corrals.  This is expensive and some say cruel so in 1988 landowners offered to rent their land to the BLM for the horses.  The BLM and the public both like this idea and made these lands into long-term holding facilities for unadoptable horses.
            Mustangs helped us develop the land, transformed Native Americans hunting and fighting techniques, provided us with mounts for our wars, and captured the hearts of people everywhere with their strong will and big hearts.  They are truly a magnificent breed and have been an integral part of American History.

Youth Competitors from Previous Makeover

Found this on that handy-dandy internet website called Facebook!  Didn't know there was a picture of us here too!  It seems Pictures of Pilgrim and me were pretty popular that weekend!

Since I never shared what else happened in Tennessee, this is Cohn Livingston and Teddy Bear.  The won  the Legends division in Tennessee this past year.  In their performance, you heard the phantom of the opera play all the while Cohn had removed Teddy Bear's bridle then jumping through these rings of fire!  Pretty cool if I do say so myself.

Up above was my History Research Paper for the Mustang Heritage Foundation.  It turns out quite wonderfully and my friends helped me tremendously, fixing most of my grammatical and punctuation errors.  But even after that nobody is absolutely perfect at those kinds of things!

As for the new mustangs, we pick the up in less than three days!  Excitement is starting to kick-in!  I wonder what  they will be like? Will they like to jump like Magic did?  Or will they like to climb like Pilgrim?  Will they like attention?  You never can tell what horse you're getting yourself in to until see for yourselves sometimes!  I know whatever they turn out to be, I'll be content with anything.  For if there's a will, there's a way!

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