Auctioned Wild Springs Mustangs may face bitter end

Cross-posted from the Equine Advocacy Examiner

Written by MAUREEN HARMONAY

Wild horses at upcoming Wild Springs Indian Reservation auction could face a gruesome future

For the last eight years, the tribal residents of the sprawling Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Wasco County, Oregon, have rounded up countless wild horses who roamed their extensive million-square-mile territory, and quietly offered them for sale. On Saturday, June 19th, they will do it again, at their annual Wild Horse Auction.

Often fetching ridiculously low prices, many of the dazed and frightened young colts are purchased not by hobbyists or pleasure riders, but by the lowest rungs of the horse business: kill buyers and stock buyers. Whatever happens next, these horses’ lives are going to be hell.

One woman is trying to make sure this year’s auction is different. She’s trying to save as many of these imperiled horses as she can, but she doesn’t have much time. Joan Steelhammer, who runs the all-volunteer, nonprofit Equine Outreach Horse Rescue in Bend, Oregon, doesn’t have a lot of extra room at her 20-acre facility, and she doesn’t have a lot of extra cash. But the possibility that dozens of tender colts will be snagged by stock contractors seeking prospects for rodeos or cruel horse tripping contests, or kill buyers seeking to fill their slaughterhouse-bound trucks, has spurred Joan into action. She doesn’t yet know how many horses are at risk, but she’s worried, knowing that “the meat buyers were there (at the auction) last year.”

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