Madeleine Pickens is no ordinary horsewoman. A lifelong equestrian, she has led numerous champions into the winner’s circle, including the Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Cigar, winner of 16 consecutive races. Now she is championing a new cause: America’s wild horses.
“Wild horses are a living symbol of the pioneering spirit of Americans and the America West,” she says. Her goal is to establish a 501(c)(3) eco-sanctuary for all horses currently in holding facilities on BLM lands. Similar to a national park, it would be a tourist attraction as well as a refuge. To that end she has submitted a proposal to the Bureau of Land Management to create a public/private partnership that would not only locate appropriate land with sufficient forage and water sources but allow wild horses and burros to be free‐roaming and able to form natural bands.
“While the primary objective of the project is to care for these wonderful creatures, we will also be stewards of the land,” she says.
In March during hearings on H.R. 1018, Restoring Our American Mustangs (the ROAM Act), Pickens testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Committee on Natural Resources. She has also submitted a plan to initially alleviate conditions for 10,000 wild horses currently being penned in BLM short-term holding facilities.
“My view is for a wild horse sanctuary that will be a tourist destination similar to our national parks where Americans and tourists from around the world can come, observe and be a part of this great part of American history. We can use this treasure to promote ecotourism and at the same time provide for permanent retirement and management of these American icons to which we owe so much,” she says.
To that end, she is urging those who cherish the wild mustang and support her initiative to contact Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to stop the slaughter and confinement America’s wild horses and burros.
To join the thousands who have already petitioned Secretary Salazar as well as read more about her plan, The Land Report encourages you to visit her website.