We have two mustangs from the wild currently residing at the ranch. One, Sunshine, or Sunny, you’ve already met. The other one, Aby, you saw on the video I posted. Of course, being at the ranch, they are wild no more, but the alternative for them could, at one time, have been pretty grim.

Approximately 33,000 horses roam free in 10 Western states and about half of those horses are in Nevada. Another 40,000 horses that were formerly free to roam are now contained within government holding facilities awaiting adoption or auction. Yes. Yes. I had to look it up on the Internet! πŸ™‚

The government, or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), removes thousands of wild horses from the open range every year. There are a number of reasons for this, to include, thinning herds to prevent overcrowding, submitting to pressure from cattle and sheep interests whose herds compete for grazing, etc. I am not a horse activist, so won’t go into it any further, but there is plenty of information on the ‘Net should you want to do more research.

Sunshine is from Nevada. Aby is from California. Both were formerly wild. Both were somehow caught up in the BLM’s wild horse round-up and removal program. Both went to auction. Both are wild no more.

When the BLM removes a horse from the wild, they brand it under the mane. But rather than hot- branding the horse, which is very painful, they freeze-brand the horse, instead. The extreme cold temperature of the brand permanently destroys the pigmentation and the brand remains forever readable. This brand is used to identify and track the horse after its removal from the wild.

BLM's brand to identify Sunshine.

In the old days, when a wild horse was bought at auction, the BLM transferred ownership of the horse to the buyer immediately. This allowed some unscrupulous people to buy large numbers of horses for very little money. And once out of sight, the buyers immediately resold the horses for slaughter where they ended up in cans of dog food.

Now, when a horse is sold at auction, the BLM retains ownership of the horse for one year. At the end of that year, the buyer must prove they have properly cared for the horse and will continue to do so in the future. Assuming everything is in order, the BLM then signs ownership of the horse over to the buyer. There are bound to be loop holes, there always are, but I will give the BLM credit for trying to do something to prevent unscrupulous buyers from doing their morbid thing.

Somehow. Someway. Sunny and Aby ended up at the same auction. Somehow. Someway. Diana ended up at the same auction, too. While looking over the horses to be auctioned, Diana noticed Sunny and Aby sticking together back in the corner of the holding pen.

Sunny (on the left) and Aby (on the right)

Aby has a problem with her right-front leg, up near the body. She was staying back in the corner trying to protect her leg from the other horses and Sunny was back there with her. Both looked stressed and frightened, as you can imagine, but, within all that chaos, each seemed to have bonded with the other for the overall good and protection of both. In essence, they were looking out for each other. πŸ™‚

Aby has a problem with her right-front leg, up near the body.

Diana had room to take two horses back to the ranch. She bid on Sunny until the other bidders backed off. One done. No one really wanted Aby because of her leg problem, and since both horses had to ride with each other in the same trailer, Diana figured Aby would be a good choice for the second horse, not only because of her leg issue, but because Aby and Sunny were already friends. Two done. A very nice ending for two very lucky mustangs from the wild!

Now let’s get back to the ranch. We are homeward bound! πŸ™‚

Sunny and Aby at the ranch and still bonding today. Hanging out in the shade in the middle of a pretty hot day. No more cares. No more woes. Life is good. Don't you know? πŸ˜‰