Practicing Earth Stewardship, Woman Creates Sanctuary for Wild Mustangs


T. Boone Pickens has been putting his fortune to good use, it seems – and he’s certainly putting himself in the limelight. Mr. Pickens supplied $7 million to victims of Katrina. Since then he’s made a huge splash in the green energy debate.

But you may not know that his wife, Madelaine, is passionately involved in conservation efforts. After Katrina, she helped to rescue 800 animals, dogs and cats, and had them flown to Colorado and California for adoptions.

More recently, the wild mustang population has had need for someone’s full attention and Madeleine has once again come up with a plan.

Wild horses have roamed freely in the Southwest since the times of the Spanish conquistadors. Today, the land the wild horses call home is under the supervision of the Bureau of Land Management and is shared with domestic cattle. It’s becoming a bit of a squeeze, as the BLM tries to keep the number of horses in the wild to 27,000 in order to ensure enough food for all the creatures. The rest of the horses are then herded, gathered and sold at auction or adopted.

This year there are 33,000 additional mustangs being held in holding pens at a cost of $1500 a year to feed.  Without people to buy or adopt them, they will be put to sleep.

Why are there so many horses in the wild? Madeleine explains, “They have no natural predators. Their only predator is mankind when we do the wrong thing.”

And, inviting us into her vision, she says, “If all the cattlemen have access to all this BLM land, what if I buy a ranch and I can get access to the BLM land and then we share it. This way, I could create a sanctuary. This way nobody will ever be turned away.”

She’s currently negotiating to buy approximately a million acres. Hey,  Rhode Island  doesn’t even have a million acres!

The ink isn’t dry yet, however. The sanctuary, if all goes well, will open in a year. And to share the glorious sight of the  horses galloping  together with streaming manes and tails, Madeleine is already planning that “there will be Hopi log cabins and little hotels, children will sit outside and we’ll have bonfires. They’ll be educated about the West, about our heritage.”  

You may want to set your vacations plans for a Southwest adventure.

“I can’t wait for the day the first horse is turned loose and you’ll see him kick his heels up and gallop away with this herd together,” says Madelaine. “It’s going to be so beautiful.”

Way to go, Madeleine!  Let them ponies run! 

Source: Washington Post