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Holistic Herd Letter

The below  letter is written as a follow up after Robin Davis of Holistic herd saw the film for the first time at Colorado Horse Rescue.  The evening was filled with concerned and well informed horse lovers.  It was a pleasure to be present for the Q & A after the film and share some time with Carol Walker, a long time wild horse advocate, photographer and author.  Robin Davis of holistic herd told of her experience owning a mustang that doesn’t want to be ridden.

Hi Mara,

I am so impressed with the film that you have made for the horses.  The approach that you took will go a long way to open up the whole conversation around the wild horse issue.  So many myths are floating around about what the horses really are to us.

I think the biggest is that many folks really believe that they are just over romanticized and are truly just feral horses.  The way that you delve into history to prove their long term existence will open many eyes.  My own included.

I have never liked the idea of helicopter round ups, but had no idea as to the extent of the crisis until Saturday.  Thank you for that eye opening.

I believe that the solutions start from the grass roots.  The way all of the current organizations are splintered is a reflection of how many different personalities our country is made up of.  This splintering does not have a solution and I’m not sure we need one. Everyone needs a place that they can feel safe and accepted.

If we can get more voices from the many walks of life tuned into the fact that we are purposefully driving an animal to extinction all in the name of ‘land management’ that, I feel, is the solution.  Your enlightened message of an environmental impact statement is powerful.

How do we achieve this?  Through awareness, education, voices and empowerment.  What Jim said to the people about contacting their electeds was perfect.  We need to help people see that they have a voice and can use it.  I think many people see the power of the electeds and forget that in effect they are supposed to be our employees.  We are supposed to be the managers. So we must manage them.

I’d love to see a handout that goes with your film.  Something that actually spells out the call to action.  Using only the positive stuff that empowers people to feel like even if their voice seems to fall on deaf ears, they need to feel good about voicing it.

A hand out is a good idea.  The advocate groups are dicey though.  Cloud Foundation hands down against birth control, which I believe has some possibilities on some ranges.  Anyway they all fight and use the horses to further their political and religious agenda.  I want to keep working on the film reaching into environmental circles and encourage more pressure on whole eco system studies.

Encourage folks to buy the DVD to place in local and school libraries and to donate to 4-H and pony clubs.

Most libraries will order films their members ask them to.  I’d like to see people encourage their libraries to buy public performance screening licenses.  If community members help market library screenings, they can attract large crowds and have important discussions following the film.  It’s also a way for me to recover costs because public screenings are one hundred dollars, plus a DVD

Encourage folks to write a letter to their local newspapers to help spread the word.

MARA RESPONDS -Letters to the editor are usually about some event in town or Gov’t something or another  – so by getting  libraries, pony club or groups showing the film publicly they  can  be inspired and encouraged to write letters to the  editor.

Encourage folks to make that appointment with their electeds when they are in town.

MARA RESPONDS – Power in numbers.  If folks in each area would organize and show up with a list of how the BLM could manage things better it would serve to educate the officials.   Or — who should take over management of the wild horses would be a better approach. The problem is now – although we don’t want the BLM to be the managers it’s a double edged sword for the horses who might take over.  This is why more education is still needed.  Too many people still don’t think we need horses on public lands at all.

They can sit down and just share one on one, they don’t have to be ‘anyone’ or an organization.  They will be placed on the schedule just like the groups and ‘power’ folks.

Encourage folks to know that they can make a difference by just speaking to 1 person.  That’s all it takes.  Give them something they know they can do instead of feeling like it’s all just too much and there are no ‘outs.’

I’d love a website that has examples of letters to editors that folks can just use with facts and talking points that are effective.

MARA RESPONDS: There are many of these websites.  AWHPC, and RT Fitch, and Cloud Foundation and so on.  If you’d like to post a comment on my website or send a blog post in the form of a sample letter I will post it.

When the common person feels empowered that is when a difference can be made.  Through that energy.  The common person can only feel empowered if we make them feel educated by giving them facts that they can readily digest and then make use of.
Oh yeah…. the electeds do respond well to an organized group…. but I have seen some of the greatest power come from 1 individual sitting down one on one with the same message as the group has.  Since it’s so uncommon, they tend to sit up and take notice. People need to feel encouraged that they don’t have to be a ‘joiner’ to have a heartfelt interest and a voice in something that they want to change.

I would always hear from the electeds when an individual had been in to speak with them.  They would call or e-mail with…. “Is so and so a part of your group?”  They are impacted greatly by a common person stepping out.
Your film does this without getting so emotional that the facts are lost.  Nice work.

Well lady, that’s all I have for now.  Thank you for a delightful evening and the opportunity to help you present a call to action.  I hope you thought it was helpful.

You are welcome to post my comments.  May I encourage you to not try to solve the entire issue, but to continue to bring awareness any way that is available.

The biggest lesson I received in our effort was that we cannot control what it looks like.  Sometimes it looks rather disjointed and messy, but giving the common person power on some level is where perfection lies.  It’s just like horse training.  As we train a neophite or a disempowered individual, sometimes they fall into a reactive state for awhile and all their legs appear to be going in different directions.  If we shut that ‘try’ down, the horse will freeze and not express itself as easily again.  ‘Tis better to allow the bucking, squealing, tripping, left turn when we ask for a right turn so they feel success and then get better, ourselves, in redirecting the energy that has been offered by these lovely and willing individuals.

Fear not.  Education is the key and some individuals hear things differently than another.  I would not engage the debates re: sterilization, slaughter, birth control or anything.  I would encourage that a message is formed.. specifically the one about possibly extinction and an environmental impact study needs to be done.  All debates can be answered with “What we really need is to avoid the extinction of the wild horses.”  and “What we really need is an environmental impact study to see how eradication of the species will effect the whole.”  This will redirect the energy to the positive rather than getting sucking into the mudpit of differing opinions.  I submit that all groups agree upon those talking points.

Our effort had us constantly having to stay out of the nuclear power debate.  We never engaged it.  Our message is one of clean water.  Humans cannot live without clean water.  We have been inundated with HUGE efforts to engage the nuke debate.  By media, by other eco groups, by the left, by the right, by the U miners, by locals and even within our circle.  We kept redirecting the enrgy to the positive message of “We support clean water.  The onous is upon the U miners to prove that they will not contaminate the water.”  All parties, all religious groups all humans see that we need clean water.

This is the kind of message that a movement that will be effective in protecting the wild horses needs.

Blessings on your mission.
Robin Davis

Our Circle of Influence Honors The Horse.