Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dickie,Virginia Range Wild Band Stallion Part 2 Challenge Painting #402

 Part 2 of Dickie's Story:

As A Band Stallion
5 by 7 inches watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist
 After the drunk driving incident, in which three of Dickie’s band were killed on Highway 50, The Department of Agriculture stepped in.  The idea  was to prevent  road deaths before a person was killed. For the first mare in Dickie’s Band and two others, it was too little too late.

 Wild horse photographer, Mikel Ann Hettrick tells the story this way:

“A drunk driver killed his first mare her foal and another mare, because they were grazing alongside highway 50.  Next thing,  the Dept. of Ag. trapped the remaining band and put them up for adoption.  Lacy J Dalton's Let ‘em Run foundation purchased the 8 horses. With the permission of a private land owner, of over a hundred thousand acres, and about 400 other wild horses, Dickie and his band were  were released to freedom again. “According to Mikel Ann they were released on privately owned land.

“Jim Barbee, director of the Nevada Dept. of Ag. approved the gelding of him the day before the sale. “
“The next tragic event was when he was stolen from the range. He was missing for a period of six months and was found to have been released on the out skirts of Reno.  Dickie would never have left his band, nor could he have traveled to that specific area unless he was moved by someone. “ according to Mikel Ann.

“ Time is giving all the leads as who took him. Again the the Dept. of Ag. trapped him, even though they were sent an e-mail stating we were aware of his whereabouts and were going to bring him in and place him in a private setting. How I wish I had put that rope around his neck. About a month after his capture he was released.” This time Mikel Ann brought him home and he lives safely with her now.

I asked Mikel Ann how they  knew that  someone had taken Dickie off the range.

“Dickie was definitely stolen. We are trying to prove it.  A wild horse does not go missing for six months and come back knowing how to do things a trained domestic horse does. The tell-tale signs of him being captured were I haltered right off and as I ran my hand down his legs he raised each foot.   He will ground tie and the second day he stood there for over an hour while I detangled his mane and tale.  “

“The third day after having him at my house, he trotted on cue to both voice and cluck.  He also went right into a canter the same. What was astounding was when at the lounge he would come to a sliding stop when I said whoa.  He never had a bit in his mouth, as I am working on that. He also knew how to flex his neck. The strange thing was he had no whiskers on his lower lip, like someone clipped them.  He now has whiskers under his chin. He does not mind when I lay my body over his back, I have never straddled his back, but sat sideways on his back. The only mystery left is where his older mare is.”

The events with Dickie, in the opinion of this blogger, were caused by feeding a wild horse so that it became tame enough to loose fear of people.  After seeing video tapes of The capture of the Pine Nut Mountain HMA wild horses being lead into a trap simply by shaking a bucket,  I understand  how easy it would have been to  approach Dickie and any of his band out on the open range, even on private property and simply sake a bucket and capture him.  This irresponsible behavior not only endangered people driving along roads where wild horses congregate but it endangered Dickie and his band. The side effect was that it also makes it possible to illegally steal wild horses right from the range. This is why it is against the law to feed wild horses.

Currently in Nevada a group of Citizens are working with the Nevada State Legislature to tighten Astray laws that forbid the feeding, trapping, impeding or harassment of free roaming wild horses on state land in Nevada by private citizens. In the initial language any of these things could become a class one misdemeanor which includes a hefty fine and jail time for each incident.

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