Personal Message from Leigh

This was posted on Laura Leigh’s blog “Art and Horses” today.

Jackson Mountain stallion watches his mares after arrival at PVC. They will be separated here, he will go to the stud pens and they with the mares.
Jackson Mountain stallion watches his mares after arrival at PVC. They will be separated here, he will go to the stud pens and they with the mares.

from the desk of Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education (follow ongoing work at wild horse education website)

It is very hard to describe the personal experience of the current state of the issues that Wild Horse Education is addressing for our herds.

On one hand this has been an extraordinary physical marathon of range work, in all kinds of weather, under all kinds of physical extremes. Dust, mud, blistering heat and frigid temperatures take a toll on equipment and ones physical body. Files are massive and the quantity of documentation fills drive after drive and causes laptops to choke. The vehicle makes new sounds every time it is shaken, bounced, bumped and run in sub freezing temperatures or high heat, your physical body begins to mirror the creaks and groans.

The very real need to expand this aspect of the work is apparent. This aspect of the work is what gives us the ability to demonstrate a first hand knowledge of the range and present accurate information toward gaining real changes as we try to bring an honest conversation to the management of wild horses and burros to the agency itself, the public, legislature and if needed, the Federal courts. You make this part of the journey looking like a character out of “Mad Max,” or other post apocalyptic film. You forget to brush your hair, have no time to clean your clothes and your equipment is a mishmash of devices pieced together that looks like it shouldn’t even run but is a powerful editing tool.

On the other hand this work requires diligent research and organization. Thousands of hours of video footage, hundreds of thousands of still photographs, assessment documents and grids, reference material and the hundreds of documents filed in court. You have to focus, wear the right glasses to read,  remember to shower, and raise your vocabulary above the guttural sounds that your dog finds acceptable as conversation on the road.

Then there is another aspect, communication with the public. Somewhere between being a “range rat” and an “accountant” you need to remember the social skills to engage the public in a conversation that relays what you “gained” on the range, digested in the “library,” in a manner that speaks to the daily lives of “normal.”

Many of you have written wondering what it is like to do this work… the best way I can describe it… it is like carrying a bag filled with “hats.” Some of the hats you have worn before and they fit well, others don’t fit quite right but when you wear them in enough storms they shrink and mold and become familiar.

Today I sit at the computer organizing three active cases against the Federal government. Two of them speak to the objective of gaining a humane handling policy for wild horses and burros, one of them speaks to access to animals from range “through ultimate disposition, adoption, sale or death.” I am organizing depositions, documents and editing video footage for various purposes.

High Rock, 10-30 (Leigh) 6 escape the trap
High Rock, 10-30 (Leigh) 6 escape the trap

I wanted to “touch base” with the followers of the blog and say “whew” as we gain the first step in the conversation at Owyhee toward gaining a “humane” objective in the ten year plan and “where’s the #@*! coffee?” as we start to compile and hone the effort on access. The work we are doing on land use plans and investigations such as the slaughter issue are also still in progress AND I have to get back out on the range.

Yes, there is an extraordinary amount of work that needs done YESTERDAY. There are tools that as an advocacy we do not have and must literally build. But this is not without hope… we are building the tools and creating the language for conversations based on first hand observation… we are gaining a conversation that can lead to changes… that can grow to more changes. It IS movement.

As a MOVEMENT we must recognize that fact and gain momentum. If there is an opportunity, no matter how small, if it is not seized the moment passes. The road to change leads to change as the road of apathy leads to apathy, the road of depression leads to depression. We are on the road to change…. it may be a two track in the dessert but eventually (even if you have to travel off-road a bit) it leads to a highway.

Best to you.




11 thoughts on “Personal Message from Leigh

  1. thank you Laura for all you do you are an Angel on this earth, I wish I could do more I sign every petition, send money when I can.. heartbreaking these stupid people that know nothing about horses ,put Stallions together & break up family’s !! I’m not proud of the way our Goverment handles this, its sad when I see other people from other country’s horrified by how we treat our Wild Horses !!!! It is a CRIME !!!!

  2. Dear Laura, You certainly have your work cut out for you. Your doing the work of about six people. I don’t know why you haven’t dropped in exhaustion. Maybe it’s easier said than done, but please take care of yourself. I know you are driven to make a difference and believe me, you are. As one of your supporters, I want you healthy and happy, even though the work your doing isn’t happy work. I know too there is little gratification. I think I can speak for all you supporters when I say, we love you for what you are doing and your doing such an excellent job. I feel quite helpless. I live in Canada but have duo citizenship. I was born in the states and had a mustang when I was a child in South Dakota. I love horses and animals in general but what is happening to the horses and burros is draconian. I’ve repeatedly donated sent emails and faxes but alas that’s all I can do. I would love to be right out there with you but since I can’t I pray God blesses you and looks out for you. Love your way, Judy Maxwell

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Laura… Thank you again for always giving your best for the safety of Our Wild Ones! I’m sure when I say this you have made a great difference in the way these animals will be handle in future round ups! I pray for the day you can retire from this and there will be No more round ups ever again… Take care and God Bless you and Our Wild Ones!

  4. You are doing an exceptional job! At the very least, you should be given a grammy’s award. And then on the high note* you should be honored by the president for stepping up to the plate and taking a stance that obviously we as people in this country are not doing, to stop this extinction of our wild herds. Our systems are so backwards it’s not laughable. WE need an army to fight this greed. We need to have this become more public. I feel somehow if we could get this out to the public better – serious college students organizing a Fight for the Wild Mustang’s Herd Movement, GreenPeace, or the Sierra Club, National Geographic needs to get involved. You can’t do this alone – Fundraisers are a small portion of what’s needed. Everyone needs to spread the word………Fight for the Wild Mustang Herd Movement. Laura, Thank you. My colt thanks you too!

  5. God Bless you Laura I pray for you everyday! May God give you the strength and resources that you need! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  6. Laura, I am so gratefull for your enormous effort and commitment to the wild spirits! I exuberantly applaud when an injustice against these fine majestic animals is taken to court. I pray and send healing energy to those animals that need it after the brutal round ups! I am saddened and wonder about all those that have lost their home land and families and there location, conditions they live in and treatment is unknown, as they are in holding pens somewhere out of the public view. I realize That so very much more needs to be done to provide for our supposedly ” protected” wild horses and burros. I am so aware of the vastness of this need. Thank you for ALL the hats you chose to put on for these wonderful beings! I will continue to share and tell folks in my area(Boston area) what is happening in the west and what they can do bout it ! I will continue to search for and find horse friendly folks in my area in order to come together and help in a bigger way.

  7. Thank goodness for you, Laura. .
    Steadfast, diligent, factual, walking the walk for the Wildies.
    You and the wildies are in my prayers thrice daily
    Big thanks also to your amazing team of volunteers.
    Kudos to you all xx
    May the World wake up and see the message in every Horse’s eye …
    They are here to help us Heal
    to heal the Planet
    in spite of ourselves.
    Thanks also who have commented here, and support on all social networks.
    Together we can all move this tide of recognition and Justice forward.
    ~ nana

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