Truth trumps tall tales

Susan Blumenthal is a long-time resident of Placitas, living on land owned by her family since 1956. It’s set on a beautiful stretch of Las Huertas Creek where Susan has nurtured the stream for years with the help of her youngest son. They have learned about stream remediation and spent hundreds of hours building erosion control structures and weeding invasive plant species. Susan generously granted the Archeological Conservancy an easement in 2004, ensuring that her land will never be disturbed by residential or commercial development.

Susan cares for the land and honors the intricate web of life  she inhabits on Las Huertas. Understandably, she was concerned a few years ago when feral horses started showing up in increasing numbers. They damaged the stream banks, destroyed property, and stripped the area of native grasses and shrubs. After all her years of careful stewardship, Susan was overwhelmed by this new invasive species. Instead of a prickly kochia, she was faced with thousand-pound animals that didn’t want to move.

Susan turned to the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) who advised her that they would remove the unclaimed feral horses if she gathered them in a corral. She set up a corral with the help of some friends and soon a number of feral horses wandered in and were secured. Susan advised the NMLB and they sent a crew to pick up the horses. The NMLB contacted the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office who sent out deputies to monitor the situation because of prior protests at lawful horse gathers. In the meantime a group of WHOA and PAR supporters set up camp at the gate to Susan’s property.

The transfer of the horses from the corral to the NMLB trailer went smoothly. The wranglers from the NMLB exercised great caution and care loading the animals. They put themselves at risk a number of times to calm the horses and direct them safely into the trailer. The protest group on the road did not have a full view of the action, but claimed to see evidence of abuse. This video, put together by Susan, corrects that assertion.

An interesting side note. The NMLB and Gary Miles from Placitas Animal Rescue (PAR) worked out a custody arrangement as a result of this impoundment. From Susan’s property the horses were transported about 1/2 mile down the road to a corral designated by Gary Miles. No actual problems with the horses at either end.