This week I received Karen Sussman's Spring Newsletter 2011 of the International
Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. It is one big challenge to keep fed
the 500 Mustangs this group overseas during the cruel harsh winters of S. Dakota, but
somehow, miraculously with the help of generous donors, they seem to manage.
A believer in heaven like that little 4 year old - now 12 saying that there is a heaven
because he saw it, I see "Wild Horse Annie" (Velma Johnston), the first president of the
ISPMB, looking down from heaven and watching over her beloved mustangs with the
help of committed and dedicated people like Karen Sussman et al.
This newsletter started off with the sad news that the Audubon Magazine had allowed
the publication of two negative accounts by a Ted Williams -denigrating wild horses. I
am glad though that one person who had been supporting the Audubon from the
1970's took action in the form of a scathing letter to them. In part, he or she wrote:
"I was mortified to see your magazine serve as a platform for this person who is well
known as a bigoted and mean spirited person who would like to exterminate all of the
remaining wild horses in this country..... I want you to immediately remove my name,
address, and e-mail from your records. Please rethink and return to the days when
your publication was not the best choice to line the bottom of a birdcage."
Now the account of Ian, their famous stallion, injured by a snowmobiler. On an afternoon
in February when a snow storm had begun to subside, a tipsy snowmobiler made his
way close to the south pasture where the rare and endangered Spanish horses reside
on 500 acres of S. Dakota land.
Sussman believed that the mustangs were safe in their south pasture, but in the evening
when the police came looking for a drunken snowmobiler were surprised to find instead
a mustang outside the pasture- standing in two feet of snow. Something was clearly wrong
because, despite the noise of their snowmobiles, the horse didn't move but just stood there
in the dark, obviously dazed.
When notified the next morning about the lone horse, Sussman and her manager, Shawn went
to check and were shocked to see Ian out of the pasture. And worse yet, Ian wasn't himself
and didn't come to Sussman as she called his name. This was very uncharacteristic of him.
It soon became apparent to Karen and Shawn that he could not see. They also discovered
that the barbed wire fence was down. And there were barbed wire cuts across Ian's face
The snowmobiler must have spooked the herd and cut off Ian from his mares- running him
through the fence. Getting a blind mustang into a trailer was a feat in itself, but Karen
and Shawn managed to do so, and immediately called Dr. Scott Toppin to address his
wounds. Then for three weeks they had been going to the barn every 3 hours to put the
medicine on his eyes which was prescribed by Dr. Toppin. This beautiful Gila Herd
Stallion still cannot see today, but Sussman et al won't give up hope. In the meantime
he is residing with Santiago, their young Gila stallion who will keep him from going
through the fences he cannot see.
Sussman provided an update of the snowmobiler from MN:
"About 9AM that morning, the lost snowmobiler walked into a farm house 9 miles south
of our pasture. He went into a river with his snowmobile and walked for hours with
frozen clothes until he found the farm house. Of course he is fortunate to be alive
but he may have destroyed the life of our great stallion not to say how many people
he put in danger by searching throughout the night for him. The searchers did not
hear one thank you from this man. I do hope someday that he realizes the consequences
of his actions."