"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Free Spirits of the Wild West - 12th Blogger/Non-Blogger Challenge

2014 is the year of the horse. 
Wild Mustangs of Sand Wash Basin

    Welcome to the 12th round of the blogger/non-blogger challenge.
     I was the lucky winner of the last round "Winter Forest", with my nuno felted laptop messenger bag "Walking in a Winter Wonderland", making me the hostess of the next round.
                           Here is my challenge.......

    In Chinese Astrology, 2014, or year 4712 is the year of the horse, or the wood horse to be exact.
    Each year has an animal and an element. 12 animals and 5 elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Combined they run a 60 year cycle before repeating.
    The elements operate kind of like "Ro-Sham-Bo" (rock, paper, scissors). In one direction they build each other. In the other direction they destroy. For example, fire will burn down a wooden house, but wood fuels a fire for cooking and heat. Feng Shui is the art of balancing these elements.

    People born in the year of the horse tend to be active, energetic, witty, self confident, independent, excellent communicators and have a straight forward and positive attitude towards life.
Some famous horse people include:
-Franklin Roosevelt    
-Neil Armstrong
-Loius Pasteur
-Paul McCartney
-Genghis Khan

    As it's their year, seems an excellent time to bring up the plight of the Wild Mustangs.

    The main horse in these first 3 photos is known as Picasso. He's the grand duke of the Sand Wash Basin, Colorado Herd. The photos were taken by John Wagner, one of the Three Amigos of SWB, and co-founder of the Wild Horse Youth Outreach Program.

   "Halted in animated expectancy or running in abandoned freedom, the Mustang was the most beautiful, most spirited, and most inspiring creature ever to print foot on the grasses of America."  -Frank Dobie

    The heritage of these painted ponies may be traced back to the Nez Perce tribe of Washington. The Nez Perce became the most skilled horse handlers on the continent and the only Indian Nation with a highly selective breeding program that produced colorful Paints and Appaloosas.

    This beautiful pale Palomino below, is Cloud.
    He's the most famous wild horse in the world.
    His life has been documented in print and film since the day he was born in 1995, in the Arrowhead Mountains of Montana.
    For almost 20 years Ginger Kathrens has shared his trials and tribulations.
    Ginger's chronicles of Cloud have been compared to Jane Goodall's work with the Chimpanzees in Africa.
    In 2011 Congress designated Cloud an Ambassador for all wild horses living in the American west.

   " Cloud symbolizes the spirit of the West and links us with our heritage. The study of his life has brought recognition and appreciation of wild horses and burros on our public lands. Cloud has taught us that what wild horses and burros cherish most is not so different than for all Americans, freedom and family."   

     The heated debate continues over whether the wild horses are a native species or feral animals.
    It is fact that horses once roamed these plains. Though speculated that this species became totally extinct.
    However modern DNA testing shows that the horses of today are genetically equivalent to their allegedly extinct ancestors.
    Why does the feral vs wild issue matter?
    Because wild animals are designated a much greater degree of protections than feral animals, which need to be controlled.

    In 1971 the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Bureau Act was created to protect these majestic creatures.
    It was unanimously passed by congress, declaring "the wild free roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene."
Snowflake Appaloosas
    Sadly since then 270,000 of these wild horses have been removed from these public lands via mass roundups, by the Bureau of Land Management. The very agency that was appointed to protect them.
     There are currently 50,000 Wild Mustangs being kept in holding pens by the U.S. government, while only 32,000 horses still roam free.
    That may still sound like a lot, but unfortunately some of the herds have been reduced to a point where genetic viability is an issue.
    Then consider, that around the turn of the century, the 20th century that is, possibly as many as 2 million horses roamed freely on the American plains.
    Their numbers have been reduced by over 98% in about 100 years.
    How much longer until their extinct?


    So ranchers can graze their cattle on these lands instead.
    Already the cattle grazing on these public lands outnumber the wild horses 50 to 1. Yet the horses are still being blamed for the decimation of these grassy plains.
Chincoteague Pony Swim
    What happens after the roundups?

    The lucky ones will be adopted and then most will have their spirit "broken" by trainers, to be tamed.

    Others will be put in holding pins, indefinitely.
    The very unlucky will be sold for about $10 a piece, herded into trucks and shipped off to slaughter houses.
    Even the few that remain free, escaping the roundups, their family units are destroyed.

    President Obama just recently signed the Safe Guard American Food Exports Act, shutting down U.S. horse slaughter houses, but it's only temporarily in effect until the end of the year.
    There is also nothing stopping these trucks form crossing the border to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico.
    With the Bureau of Land Management having already blown their budget for the year, the fate of those 50,000 corralled horses is in serious jeopardy.
    Rancher's have money and a very loud voice, but who speaks for the Mustangs?

    There's a movie released last October called "American Mustang". A documentary about their plight, but told in a dramatic way. Created by Ellie Phipps Price who has herself adopted 220 Wild Mustangs.
    A film festival favorite. It's been making the rounds at film festivals and horse shows throughout the country.
    It is currently showing in select cities. I encourage you to see it if you have the opportunity.

What can you do to help?
    -Like the movie's facebook page and share it with friends.

    - Request a screening of  "American Mustang" in your town to make others aware of the problem.

    - Sign the petition to put a 10 year moratorium on wild horse roundups for scientific studies.

    -Call or email your state representatives and urge them to sign the "Keep Wild Horses Wild" pledge.

    -Urge your state representatives to co-sponsor the SAFE Act and permanently stop the slaughter.

    - Follow the Protect Mustangs blog and/or donate.

    - Watch the PBS special Wild Horses an American Romance.

    - Support the Cloud Foundation by donating or even buying something from their store.

Cloud Livewires
    - Support one of the artists that support the Cloud Foundation.

    -Read the biography of Velma Bronn Johnston called "Wild Horse Annie - the Last of The Mustangs" She made saving these horses her life's mission and was hugely instrumental in getting The Wild Horse Annie Act and eventually the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Bureau Act passed into law.

    -Be a volunteer for the Three Amigos of Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Youth Outreach program to help get this information into schools and inspire our youth to make a difference in the world.

    - Visit the Wild Horse American Romance page for teacher activities designed for older children.

    - Buy a Polo Wrap from Polished Ponies. Founded by 2 young girls, Abigail and Audrey, with all proceeds going to Once Upon a Rescue.

    - If your on the east coast visit The Wild Horse Museum in North Carolina near the near the Virginia State line or donate to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund a charity organization founded to protect and conserve the wild horses roaming their sanctuary.

    - Support those who support the cause, like Sundance catalog founded by Robert Redford who is a very vocal voice on the plight of the Mustangs.

    - Head on over to the Mother Nature Network and read Mustangs of the West: Why This American Icon is Disappearing. 

    -If your in France, don't order the Chavel. Sounds funny, I know, but french hamburgers often come from our wild American Mustangs.

    -If you own land, Adopt a Mustang, or 10. They can be adopted for as little as $125.

    - Visit the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaigne to learn more ways to become involved.

    - Google. Read. Watch. Share.
    - Use your Art to Raise Your Voice!
    Shout it from the rooftops in any way that you know how.
                  Education is empowerment!
    The more people that are aware of a problem, the better the odds of fixing it.
    Help me to make other people aware of this issue that is dear to my heart.
         I hope that it will move you as well.

   The Challenge: 

    Here is my challenge to you. Create something inspired by the photo of Picasso.
    It can be something based solely on the picture. I however encourage you create something based on how this makes you feel.
    Though this has traditionally been a jewelry challenge. I am encouraging you to think outside the box. You are not limited to jewelry.
    Weather it be poetry or painting, or crochet, or compose a song. I hope that you will create from deep within yourself.
     I am really hoping to have stirred a few souls into proudly standing beside me to say                                           "This is wrong!"

     If you would like to participate, head on over to the Bead Soup Cafe to add your name to the original Doc.
    If you're not already a member, you'll need to join the Bead Soup Cafe in order to participate. Don't worry, they're a very friendly and welcoming bunch.
    The deadline will be Saturday April 19th.
    Anytime between now and then you may post a picture of your creation in the photo album designated for this hop.
    A blog is not required, but if you have one I hope you will post there as well.
    Voting will begin on Sunday April 20th, for one week, ending Saturday April 26th.
    Prizes will be announced on Sunday April 27th.
    I haven't decided what the prizes will be just yet, but don't worry I'll make it good. :)


  1. Great Post Kelly, I signed up already, I will see what this moves me to create! Have a Blessed Day!

  2. this is very challenging Kelly, I just signed up. I really have to think outside the box this time LOL !!

  3. Hi there,

    I just saw your post on Bead Soup Cafe. Great cause! What beautiful horses How sad to be treated this way :(

    Off to cast my vote.