An Open Letter to HORSE AND MAN from Becky Standridge, one of the people fighting for Champ, the Stallion who saved the filly … YOU DECIDE.

I wrote about Champ two days ago… He is the Stallion who saved the filly from the river – and who now faces removal and potential sale for meat since they are considered ‘feral’.  If you missed it, here is the link.

WHOOOOOO BABY!  The story flew around the Internet like wildfire and the Arizona Forest Service was hopping mad!  They took the time to seek out my blogpost and comment that there was no truth to the rumor… and that this horse stuff was taking away from the important fire issues that are threatening the state.

I think most of you received the same exact email.  Exact.

Many of you wrote to me and asked if the story was true or false.

I wrote to Becky and told her that I had stuck my neck out (happily) and would continue to do so, but I would appreciate her personal story so that my readers could feel better about standing up for Champ and his herd.


But first, I gotta tell you…  I’ve sat in many BLM meetings here in the State Capitol of California (Sacramento) and to be frank, I wanted to throw spitballs, they were so ineffectual.  I’ve seen second graders divide up their lunches in a more diplomatic and conscientious manner…  The BLM consistently showed no true interest in the pleas from educated and informed Mustang supporters who were there to present different methods of management.

I left every meeting frustrated and muttering.

Flash forward to yesterday… receiving that pat email from the Forest Service (after they took the time to find me) resounded in my mind as the same sort of jibberjabber nonspeak that I heard in those BLM meetings.


To quote Howard Beale, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

I don’t like this issue with Champ and I really don’t like how we, the people, are being treated when ‘we the people’ actually own all of the State Parks and all of the land.

No, I’m not going to be intimidated and let this issue slip away.  No, I’m not going to sit back and believe the nonspeak.  No, Forest Service, don’t tell me and everyone else the same pat answer…


Deal with me.

I’m taking a stand and I’m going to print Becky’s open letter.

You can decide for yourselves.


This is Becky’s information and the information for her group CERAP:

The Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program (CERAP), a 501c3 equine rescue and advocacy charity.

Contact:Patricia Haight, Ph.D. (480) 593-4491
Becky Standridge: (480) 620-4490,

Salt River Wild Horses FB Page:



Here is her story.  You can decide if you’d like to support her and her altruistic crusade for Champ’s herd:

Dawn, I have heard the same feedback but what the forest service is saying is not true. Here are two statements I put on my Facebook fan page for the Salt River Wild Horses. I think it should be helpful in information your readers that you are stating the truth.

The Forest Service is actually the one who is spreading untrue allegations. We have had several people inform us that Congressman Flake’s office has stated the removal of the horses IS on the table. The Forest Service is still labeling these horses incorrectly as “feral” and “trespass.” Any estray or trespass horses on Forest Service land can be removed legally under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. It is possible some horses have already been removed and it is possible they are temporarily stopping their efforts until public pressure fades. I do not believe it is possible Congressman Flake’s office started this story for the fun of it or to distract the Forest Service from their current most challenging issue: wildfires in Arizona. Please contact your Congressman and Senators regarding this issue.

The primary reason I signed up to be a Forest Service volunteer was because I was told by the Range and Wildlife manager that they have a multiple agency effort going to determine what they are going to do with the horses, and one of their options was to use PZP on the mares.

To eliminate the many reasons this option might not be selected, I offered to pay may way so I could become certified for delivering PZP, I offered to purchase the dart gun, I offered to buy all the PZP to be used on the mares, I offered to dart the mares myself and to track the progress in a database that I would create. I offered to create a non-profit organization that would manage the wild horses and would raise funds through the sale of related products, request for donations, membership fees and grant money. I described an entire campaign to improve the road safety condition and offered to contribute some of the money the organization would raise into making this happen. But with every enthusiastic step I was ready to take, I was asked to hold back.

One day I came into the Forest Service office prepared to work with the Volunteer Coordinator on the Volunteer database when I was given surprise notification that I would be having a very big day because I was to do an interview with a News Reporter. They fitted me with a uniform and within two hours I was on camera doing my best. That interview turned into two news stories. For weeks after the stories aired, I was repeatedly instructed I should not have called the horses wild because they are feral. Finally, the District Ranger came to speak with me regarding this verbiage. I agreed to call them “horses” when I was in uniform and he offered I could say and do what I want when I was not in uniform. At this time, the District Ranger also told me I should know one option they are considering with the horses is rounding them up.

Soon after this conversation, and on one bright day, I met Jim Ripley who wrote what I consider the most wonderful article on the wild horses. There was no mention of the Forest Service in this article, but a few days after it was published I received a phone call from the Forest Service relieving me of my position as a volunteer because my reference to the horses as wild in Jim’s article was too politically charged.

On May 24, I had a phone conversation with Dave Stewart, Range Director from the Forest Service Regional Office, and asked why had the Range and Wildlife Director told me they were considering humanely managing the horses using PZP when their only goal is to get rid of the horses? Dave replied, they should be telling you what I’m telling you, “they need to take assertive measures to remove them if the Indians don’t claim them.”

If there is anything else I can do to assist you then please let me know.


Oh, and Forest Service, come get me… game on.


Live long and prosper

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

9 comments have been posted...

  1. Kerry Kenney

    I’m interested in helping. I live in Gilbert, AZ. What can I do? I can see the BLM would like to label the horses as feral so they can thin the herd/eliminate the herd. I can see that many people love these horses. I live nearby and love Arizona history and wildlife. I would love to find a way to protect these horses and allow them a space as well. I follow the Salt River Wild Horses Facebook page, what else can I do?

  2. Karen McLain

    Champs story is one of the most inspiring, I wish I had been there that day. This herd has been an inspiration to many people and very important to me. I have been observing, photographing and painting the herd from life for the past two years.First I spent time just finding them. I took photos, then started carrying a small sketch book. After they got used to me sitting and sketching I put together a small painting rig that I could carry in a Camelbak. It still took some time, but the first painting I did from life was thrilling! It was on one of these trips, over a year ago that I met Becky while she was on a walk with her camera in hand.

    Becky has compiled a huge reference documenting the horses. Her dedication and files are the foundation of knowing and tracking the bands. (if you have not seen her photos they also go beyond documentation with beautiful compositions that anyone of us would like to hang on our walls).

    This herd has a huge territory, that includes National Forest, AZGFD, and Reservation land. That inter agency causes complexity that dose not happen in HMA’s. I would like to see the development of the Red Mountain Wild Horse Territory and the creation of The Friends of the Salt River Wild Horses to collaborate in management needs.

    We need to continue to have contact with the FS and Congressmen to follow through to pursue FS transparency about what they have planned and how we can work together.

    ***If you know anyone living in the Metro Phoenix area, encourage them to visit the Lower Salt River recreation area and the horses.

  3. cherra

    Thanks for fighting for the horses. Its just another example of our goverment at work.
    They are out of control.

  4. Amy

    I read about Champ & watched the video of his valiant act of selflessness. He did not hesitate to do what he knew was right. He didn’t weigh the odds or consider the risk to himself. To me, this only serves as proof of great intelligence & compassion. Something pure & good. Something that seems lacking in many of the individuals who present themselves as “representatives” of the taxpayers. The federal government & the BLM specifically, have been playing this game of labels as if it matters whether we call these horses “wild” or “feral”. Regardless of the label you use to describe these beautiful creatures, it is apparent to anyone with the capacity for empathy & compassion, that they have a right to exist without our interference since they have existed without our assistance, in many instances, for centuries. I am constantly reminded of the US government’s Indian policies of “removal” and the “labels” that were used to rationalize the actions of individuals & agencies that should have known better. Haven’t we come to a place in our evolution as humans where we know better? St. Francis of Assisi said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

  5. Patty K

    thank you for trying to help the wild horses, please everyone…help them!!!!!

  6. Brenda

    Oh Dawn a woman after my own heart…… are BEYOND AWESOME!!!! If you need anything at all with regards to Champ please don’t hesitate. I’m in OC but willing to do whatever it takes so these bastards don’t get away with this anymore!!!

  7. Joy Cook

    The government is in the wrong and we have to do something, quickly! We the people have to start taking our government back in more ways then one! Once again, it’s called a right to life…….

  8. KarentTX

    Yep, got the same email as everyone else. So I just emailed back and asked why the option was still on the Congressman’s desk and that the horses are not “feral” or “trespass” and why were they being classified this way? We’ll see what I get back. Keep the pressure on, people!!

  9. Joanie

    I am so appalled by the lies that our government tries to tell everyone. AND I am mad that Becky could not call the horses WILD…they are WILD…give me a stinking break. These idiots need to leave these beautiful creatures alone. How dare they…..

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