The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Celebrating ISPMB’s 50th Year: Keeping Annie’s Dream Alive!

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on August 24, 2010



ISPMB is proud of its many accomplishments. We are a leader in the field of wild horses and burros. We hope you will join with us in our efforts to continue to protect America’s wild horses and burros.

Without the efforts of the ISPMB and our first president, Wild Horse Annie, there would be no wild horses and burros left in our country today.

In 1971 the Wild Horses and Burros Act was passed unanimously in Congress thanks to the efforts of ISPMB and Wild Horse Annie and our grass- roots effort.

In 1968, under a custodial agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Wild Horse Annie accepted orphaned foals from the Pryor Mountains in Montana and found homes for them. This unprecedented agreement gave birth to the federal Adopt-A-Horse/Burro program in 1976 administered by the Bureau of Land Management. (Today, more than 225,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted in the program.)

Recognizing the heritage of wild horses and burros, Wild Horse Annie and the ISPMB were instrumental in encouraging the federal government to establish protective ranges for wild horses. The first range was established in 1962 on Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada followed by the Pryor Mt. Refuge in 1968 and Little Bookcliffs Refuge in Colorado in 1985. (The latter was dedicated in memory of Wild Horse Annie.)

Each of ISPMB’s presidents has been appointed to The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board and served on the first three boards mandated by Congress.

ISPMB was instrumental in creating educational workshops for potential wild horse and burro adopters in 1985. These programs are now used nationally prior to wild horse and burro adoptions in the U.S. In 1988, ISPMB was commissioned by the New Mexico BLM to conduct an evaluation of their wild horse prison training programs. The report centers on the Las Lunas facility and was later cited in the 1990 GAO Report on Wild Horses. ISPMB was instrumental in bringing a coordinated training program to all the prisons in the U.S.

In 1989, Governor Carruthers of New Mexico called in ISPMB’s president, Karen Sussman, to mediate a tenuous situation developing in the state pertaining to the removal and sale for slaughter of wild horses on

White Sands Missile Range: This resulted in a ten year effort which ultimately protected the White Sands wild horses allowing 1500 horses to be adopted. The last of the White Sands wild horses are now protected under ISPMB’s Conservation program.

In 1989, the ISPMB signed a historic national agreement with the BLM that created the first volunteer compliance program in the United States, checking on the welfare of untitled adopted wild horses and burros and making sure adopters are in compliance with federal regulations.

The ISPMB began an experimental program in Arizona in 1990 purchasing titled BLM wild horses before they were sold for slaughtering purposes. Unable to monitor the auctions throughout the entire state, the organization negotiated an agreement with members of the horse slaughter trade allowing for the total protection of all BLM wild horses and burros in the state from 1995 to 2000. More than 100 adopted animals have been saved and have found permanent responsible homes. In 2000, the ISPMB relocated to South Dakota.

After the Good Friday Massacre of 54 wild burros in the Black Mountains of Arizona, ISPMB raised the largest reward for animals in history at that time for information leading to the arrest of conviction of the perpetrators. ($22,000)

With maximum fines of $500.00 for crimes against wild horses and burros in Arizona’s federal district, the ISPMB partnered with the BLM and through the Sentencing

Reform Act of 1988, was instrumental in raising fines for violations of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. Penalties of up to $100,000 per animal, per offense were the highest of any federal district in the United States. Now all federal districts carry the same penalties.

ISPMB’s participation was critical to the success of one of the first Ecosystem collaborative teams created by then Secretary Babbitt in 1992. The Arizona Black Mountain Eco-team received the prestigious Health of the Land Award from the Department of the Interior in

1996 for its tireless work in creating a master model for management of burros in the United States.

In 1993, in cooperation with the BLM, ISPMB (me) coordinated an effort, bringing in two other humane organizations, to check on the welfare of 462 wild horses dispersed from the failed South Dakota Mustang Meadows Sanctuary. The horses were transferred into private maintenance and care to homes in Montana. Twenty-three recommendations to improve the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption program were given to the BLM.

From this Humane adoption program were given to the BLM.

ISPMB has worked in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programs in concert with several major groups involving interactions between wild horses and disadvantaged youth and prison inmates. The programs were designed to create positive educational experiences for the participants and the horses.

In 1995, ISPMB organized a Humane Summit in Albuquerque, NM to bring attention to the Del Rio, TX Grand Jury convened to ascertain whether BLM employees committed crimes against wild horses. Six BLM law enforcement agents brought forth charges against their own agency.

Summit, AP reporter, Martha Mendoza spent one-year investigating our reports and brought forth seven front page stories appearing in newspapers across the United States concerning the mismanagement of the Wild Horse and Burro program by the BLM.

1994-1997, the ISPMB, along with the military, the state of New Mexico and congressional leaders successfully facilitated the adoption of nearly 1800 unprotected wild horses from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

In 1996, ISPMB paved the wave for the protection of the Arizona Gila wild horses as wild free-roaming horses under the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. The Gila horses are thought to be descendants of Father Kino’s Spanish horses that he brought to this country in the late 1600s. It is the only herd to be designated as federally protected since the implementation of the original Act, coming twenty-eight years later. The Gila herd was absorbed by the BLM into the Painted Rock Herd Management Area where burros were already under management.

In 1998, ISPMB and the Animal Legal Defense Fund worked together to bring a successful lawsuit against the BLM stopping them from euthanizing 12 foals born to EIA positive mares in Utah. The foals were kept in quarantine in OK at the university for six months until they tested negative and then were adopted.

In 1999, the ISPMB became recipients of the last of the wild horses on the White Sands Missile Range. This historic event marked the first time that a privately funded organization has taken an entire herd of horses to save the gene pool and manage as a wild free-roaming herd.

In February of 2000, ISPMB adopted the last remaining Gila wild horses and placed them in a conservation program to preserve this rare gene pool. The horses were eliminated from their rightful lands based on a technicality of the 1971 Act that allows wild horses to be removed when straying onto private lands. Prior to the protection afforded to the Gila horses, they were indiscriminately shot by local ranchers.

September 2000, ISPMB received its first grant to build a foundation for the development of the International Wild Horse & Burro Heritage Center, an international eco-tourism center. By doing so, ISPMB has created a new paradigm in the protection of wild horses and burros.

The third wild horse herd saved by ISPMB was initiated in September of 2001. Eighty wild horses from the Virginia Range near Carson City, Nevada were transported to the Cheyenne River Reservation in November 2001. The Virginia Range wild horses are unique in that they were the first herd to receive protection in the U.S.

October 2003, ISPMB began an AAT program for recovering alcoholics in conjunction with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Four Bands Healing program bringing healing between ISPMB’s rescue horses and Tribal clients.

In September of 2004, ISPMB accepted a fourth wild horse herd into its wild horse conservation program. Eighty-two wild horses from the Catnip herd were sent to ISPMB by Sheldon Wildlife Range in northern Nevada managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This agency is not mandated to protect wild horses and will reduce wild horses on its refuge to 125 animals and may potentially eliminate all the horses from the refuge

January 2005, ISPMB formed the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates in Reno, Nevada to counter the stealth rider from Senator Burns (R-MT) that was secretly inserted in the appropriation bill allowing all wild horses over the age of ten to be sold to the highest bidder paving the wave for sale authority by the BLM. ISPMB has been active since this time in trying to end horse slaughter in the US and to reverse the Burns amendment to the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

2004-2005, ISPMB’s National Spokesperson, Stefanie Powers, was successful in bringing Ford Motor Company to the rescue of wild horses that fell under the Burns amendment. Today ISPMB continues to work with Ford to bring about a “win- win” solution in saving over 36,000 wild horses threatened by the Burn’s amendment.

2006– ISPMB is preparing to save its fifth herd from the West Douglas Creek Herd in Colorado. Plans are underway to move the horses to a 9,000-acre site where they will be managed in a conservation program.

February 2007 – Saved 11 West Douglas Creek Stallions from castration by the BLM and brought them to our facility to be eventually reunited with the West Douglas Mares. This Colorado herd is scheduled for elimination from their Herd Area by the BLM shortly. It is ISPMB’s goal to protect endangered herds from eradication. ISPMB is looking for land to eventually place this herd. The Minneapolis Star Tribune covered the event of the stallions coming to ISPMB’s ranch

May 2007 – Associated Press covered ISPMB’s quest to save threatened and endangered herds.

May and June 2007 – National Geographic magazine photographer photographed ISPMB’s rare Spanish Herd (Gila Herd).

August 2007 – ISPMB prepared to rescue over 300 historic wild horses from the Virginia Range Herd now roaming on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

August 2007 – ISPMB has begun its search for a larger ranch where the organization can supply its own hay, cutting costs, and house one of its four herds

October 2007 – ISPMB took 80 of the original Virginia Range Wild Horses and placed them under ISPMB’s conservation program designed to save endangered wild herds from extinction.

October –December 2007 – ISPMB began adopting out the younger Virginia Range Herd that remained on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal ranch. More than 200 wild horses were adopted. Two Native American Schools took 25 wild horses into their program reuniting the Lakota youth with horses in a cultural preservation program. This constituted the largest horse rescue in the United States since the slaughter plants were closed in 2007.

In the spring of 2008, the ISPMB succeeded in rescuing over 300 Virginia Range Horses from the possibility of slaughter.

That fall, the ISPMB was a pivotal force in creating the landmark Las Vegas Emergency Wild Horse and Burro Summit, bringing together leading scientists, ecologists, and advocates who were instrumental in protesting the BLM’s announcement of its inability to care for approximately 35,000 wild horses – posing the real threat of euthanasia.

In 2009, ISPMB’s eleven years of behavioral observations of its herds has yielded significant information to show that the removal of wild horses by helicopter and separating mares from their harem stallion has led to the destruction of their social systems over time which has resulted in the increase in the horses’ recruitment rates. This finding has significant importance to the future of wild horses on public lands.

In 2010, the ISPMB has completed a model management plan that will be submitted to the BLM. This plan if followed will ensure protection of the herds and will assure the herds survival over the long term.

ISPMB remains an advocacy organization to promote education, protect and preserve America’s wild horse and burro organization.

Location: We are located on the Cheyenne River Reservation located on Hwy 212 near Eagle Butte, South Dakota.
Contact Information: Karen Sussman, president Phone: 605-964-6866
Address: ISPMB, PO Box 55 Lantry, SD 57636-0055 Mobile: 605-365-6991

3 Responses to “Celebrating ISPMB’s 50th Year: Keeping Annie’s Dream Alive!”

  1. Linda Horn said

    Congratulations to the ISPMB on 50 years of outstanding work protecting American Mustangs and Burros.

    It’s a black mark on the BLM WH&BP that they have abandoned their legal obligations for so many yearson and zeroed out numerous HMAs in favor of special interests.

    Fortunately for the wild ones, private organizations like ISPMB have stepped up to save these animals and proven proper and humane managment is possible.

  2. Linda Horn said

    Meant to say: “It’s a black mark on the BLM WH&BP that they have abandoned their legal obligations for so many years and zeroed out numerous VIABLE HMAs in favor of special interests.”

    It’s early … more coffee!!!

  3. Terri Watson said

    A message to Karen and her support staff. I just returned home from a 3 day photo workshop on the ranch and with the horses. I want to post some of my photos and send emails to friends and family, primarily to tell them about ISPMB and raise the awareness as well as some donations. I normally would include a link to the website so people can check it out themselves but I need to let you know that your website is down. (Maybe you know that but maybe you don’t.) I will keep trying over the next several days.

    I am very enthusiastic about the Society (and Karen) and will continue to direct people to ISPMB in hopes of getting some donations and further interest in saving the mustangs.

    Sincerely, Terri Watson
    Denver, CO 80237

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: