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Friday, December 2, 2011

LONG TERM HOLDING - Shadow 7, Vestring, and ...Buford...

In my efforts to both learn about LONG TERM HOLDING and the connection to THE PUBLIC LANDS upon which the American Mustangs roam, I have come to search and compare the past and current lists of HOLDING FACILITIES. (at this point I will be ignoring the Short Term Holding-even though that sometimes encompasses time periods of up to 6 years, and I will also ignore Processing and transfer Facilities like PALOMINO VALLEY(?) and ELM CREEK).

The BLM lists the latest data of HOLDING FACILITIES on their website: (under quick facts)
Please take your time to look at the individual data and then the Grand TOTAL of 41, 245 (with a total capacity of 49,674) horses in Holding by SEPTEMBER 2011. (The letters after the name of the facility describe whether the facility holds Geldings(G) or Mares (M).
Compare these numbers to a previous statistic released in January 2011:

Now take some time to look over the numbers. The two charts are not completely comparable since they vary in criteria. One lists actual number of horses and burros vs capacity, the other lists the facilities numbers and then adds the ones in ONE STATE. (It appears that ARIZONA, Kingman has ONE horse in holding and yet a total of 4...This must have been a budget decision....)
In the upper chart you have the short and long term holding facilities seperated, in the bottom chart short term holding has an asterisk*. It is not easy to compare these charts, even though they are from the same agency and from the same year 2011. The first chart does not seem to have any order of listing.
The next question is: WHAT qualifies as LONG TERM HOLDING versus SHORT TERM HOLDING. ( I still have to find the answer)

It seemed plausible that facilities like the several PRISONS in the country (I believe these are the prison programs: Canon City,CO. Hutchinson, KS. Carson City, NV. Rock Springs, WY and at least one facility in Oklahoma) would be considered SHORT TERM holding since they only provide feedlot-type conditions. But that is not the case. They are considered long-term holding. Some animals spend their entire life there from birth to death (?)
So, besides Long term holding there is also PASTURE LONG TERM HOLDING and that is where KANSAS and OKLAHOMA come in.
Nearly HALF (18,323) of all the horses in Captivity are in facilities located in OKLAHOMA boosting the local economy with nearly $30,000.- dollars a day or approx. 11 Million a year. Next is Kansas with
approx. 9000 horses (adding 9000x1.30x365=4 million 270 500 dollars to the state income).

Still looking for the answer between long and short term holding - I decided to PICK JUST ONE facility and take a closer look: I thought I would take TETERVILLE EAST/WEST in the FLING HILLS in KANSAS, because I had seen a video from 2009 that depicted the beauty and peacefulness of the life of the mustangs (now in either mare or gelding only herds).

.....there will be a continuation of the same text in another BID example lower in this blog.

I also hoped to find some answers to my question whether I (and some friends) could possibly become LONG TERM HOLDING facility owners. Since the FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE included a small business incentive program for ranchers and landowners to convert their pasture land into WILD HORSE holding with competitive bids solicited by the BLM for the better part of this year, I was planning to lease or buy property in the Midwest and house approx 500 (Sale Authority) horses at a competitive bid of 1.35-1.70 per head per day. The income (min. $ 246,375.00) would have to cover the upkeep of fence, provision of water and 26 weeks of the year  supplemental hay-feeding at a pasture-yield tested to approx.7 acres per horse. (7x500=3500acres). We would also require tools and vehicles and employ a small part-time staff for "MINIMUM INVASIVE" management during weaning season, for processing periods and census. (These horses are counted every week). With the mortality rate of approx. 4-7% we would require facilties to both euthanize (by firearm) and dispose of the animals. In preparation for shipping. BLM reserves the right to ship horses to Training facilities (Prison and Makeover), adoption events (weanlings) and other ( 6 years and older) chutes and corrals would be available. (So much for a Long Term  Holding Template, Brogan)
THE  MATH got too complicated and my head started smoking and after consulting with some friends I decided to try to talk to an OWNER OF A LONG TERM HOLDING FACILITY. During the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ft. Collins, in which I trained a mustang (Coppersmith Tag#900) in 90 days for the competition, I had met a sympathetic couple from IOWA, that had just been granted a 5 year long term holding contract (with annual renewal) for approx. 400 horses. (I think it is the only facility in IOWA). They had given their contact number to my friend MELODY PEREZ, who paints these beautiful horses and had a booth at the competition. Unfortunately several calls and emails remained unanswered.
Then I took a gander with another number that my friend Patricia Burge had provided and called what I thought was CASSODAY HOLDING facility in KANSAS in the FLINT HILLS (one of my especially loved areas after reading the novel by DEBORAH VOGTS "SNOW MELTS IN SPRING", which plays amongst the WILD HORSES OF THE FLINT HILLS).

The number I dialed had the name Robert Buford and was answered by his administrative assistant with the words:" Hello,  ZENITH DRILLING....

Information taken by Googling ZENITH DRILLING

In the conversation with Mr. Robert C. Buford(78, there is also C Robert Buford and Daniel S. Buford) . I learned, that he had bid for a BLM Long Term contract after talking to a friend who had always taken horses from the Military Bases that had encouraged him.  QUESTION HERE: When did the BLM install Long Term Holding Facilities for the FIRST Time?)  I think their first application for long term holding was in 2001 and at this point there are 4000 horses on 36 000 acres. He has to feed additional hay 26 weeks out of the year and his land has been tested to yield 7acres/per horse.
His facility has corrals and chutes with hydraulic gates and his oldest horse is 34 years old. 30% of the mares that come, are in foal. They get weaned at 7 months and then shipped to Hutchinson Prison for some training and adoption. The mortality amongst the horses fluctuates between 4 -7% and the horses get euthanized if they are injured without chance for recovery. It was confusing to me and still is to sort out the connection between the different facilities Shadow7 being his, then Vestring ranch (Mr. Vestring died in 2010 and), the Craig Miller Ranch.... and as you can see from the above image, the woven web of individual involvements is complex. I am also unclear about the count of the horses and the actual location of the pastures. Some are mentioned in and around Cassoday, some are close to Eureka... Nonetheless the conversation did reveal, that there is no money in LONG TERM HOLDING and that the contractors usually act out of sympathy for the horse and with gratitude to the BLM.

These excerpts sometimes overlap...
Looking at this article (2002) this is probably the inception of LONG TERM HOLDING FACILITIES in general. I actually do not know what happened with the horses before 2000. And the prices per head per day were $ 1.20 at the time. It says the inventory increases 18% every year.

Here is an example of a CONTRACT BLM for LONG TERM HOLDING KANSAS 2006

.....To be continued...


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