RENO, NV - Shannon Windle greets a wild horse on a fenced pasture in Washoe Valley.
Windle is with the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, which has set up this arrangement for problem horses taken off the Virginia Range and placed here to be adopted. “They were found in at-risk situations,” says Windle.
But there are hundreds more horses like these in the Virginia Range--the hills east of Washoe Valley. The department of agriculture estimates there are about 1900 of them on approximately 300,000 square acres. It's an area on which 6 local horse advocate groups and one national group have agreed to manage the horses.
“This landmark cooperative agreement between wild horse advocates and the state of Nevada has been long in the making. We are very proud to be a part of that,” says Windle.
Under the agreement, wild horse advocates will place mares on birth control, and remove horses from private landowners' property. They will be allowed to fence certain areas off, and coax horses away from areas with the help of food.
The Department of Agriculture will work with the groups, but will also oversee some of the programs.
”We look at our management role at the signing of the agreement as a high level overseer of the overall management of the horses, whereas the groups take on the role much more on the ground level every day with the horses,” says Flint Wright, administrator of animal industries with the state Department of Agriculture.
Windle says signing the agreement was the easy part. Now the groups have to draw up policies and procedures and management practices to make the plan come together.
For those horses that must come off the range, she says pastures like these await them, hopefully followed by adoptive homes.