Sunday, March 13, 2011

South Steens Week on the Mustang A Day Challenge

This week will be an opportunity  to learn  a little about the horses that range on the South Steens  Mountains of Oregon. Our guest blogger this week is Tracey Westbury operator of  Mustang U, a non- profit organization. Mustang U is a chapter of the American Mustang and Burro Association. 
It is located in the Pacific Northwest Corner of Washington State.

“Their mission is to increase public awareness of the beauty, trainability and timelessness of the American Mustang. They assist the BLM at wild horse adoptions, as well as foster and gentle wild horses in an effort to place them in adoptive homes.” The focus of Mustang U is to help out with the adoption of wild horses destined for Long Term Holding or effected by the Sale Authority Act .
According to the blog about Mustang U, the most challenging thing about helping to place a gathered mustang for adoption is educating the public that simply because a horse is over the age of 4 that it does not mean it not be trainable. Tracey has proven over and over that older horses not only are very trainable but they make wonderful work and companion animals, and excellent pleasure horses.Tracey works with the horses and the potential owners  as well as helping to place the horses in adoptive homes.
The majority of the horses she works with are from the South Steens HMA:
Photo by Tracey Westbury used by permission.
In Stacy’s own words:
“The South Steens HMA is located in Southeastern Oregon, roughly 70 miles southwest of Burns along hwy 205.  It consists of just over 130,000 acres.  In this area of the country, it takes approximately 100 acres to support just one horse, which equates into an ideal herd size of 130 horses.

The region is covered in volcanic rock, with rim rocks and plateaus dissected by perennial and intermittent stream channels.

The horses are managed for their pinto coloring, but you'll see every color under the sun on the South Steens, from coppery gold palomino to black, buckskin, sorrel, and the occasional appaloosa.

South Steens horses are known for their good size, often reaching 16 hands, as well as their exceptional conformation.  Most people don't know they're looking at a wild horse when they see them all saddled up.  I recently showed a calendar to a quarter horse person who argued with me that some of those horses were turned out, and must have been bred in captivity.

There are several bands that congregate not far from the highway that have been dubbed the Hollywood Herd.  They're typically not all that shy, and they love having photos taken of them.  Seriously...they pose.
Read more about Tracey Westbury and Mustang U  on her blog : or  follow her on Facebook