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Homes sought for wild horses

Rapid City, South Dakota (AP) 9-07

The Cheyenne River Sioux had planned to auction for slaughter some wild horses on its ranch near La Plant but instead decided to work with activist Karen Sussman to find people to adopt about 200 of the animals.

Six years ago Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, got 82 horses from Nevada and gave them to the tribe, which put them on a ranch it had set up for a conservation and children’s program.
But the program floundered – and meanwhile the herd grew to about 300 while drought gripped the region, reducing the amount of available feed.

The tribe, in danger of losing its ranch, now plans to lease it for cattle grazing, said Sussman, of Lantry. Crews were trying to gather the wild horse herd and move it off the ranch.

“Our goal is to save most of them,” Sussman said. “I’m assuming I’ll take whatever horses are not adopted.”

However, the society’s ranch near Lantry already has 300 horses from three other herds occupying only 683 acres.

“We’ve had some rain this year, thank God, but we do feed a lot of hay,” she said.

So Sussman is looking for people to adopt the horses and is seeking hay and money to buy hay for feed. She said she hopes to raise $50,000 for hay and veterinary expenses.

The society’s ranch at Lantry raises money through donations and tourism. She said tourists pay $20 an hour or $50 for half-day tours.

“It’s the only place anywhere in the United States where they’re going to learn about and be able to see actual wild horse behaviors – we simulate the horses in a wild environment,” Sussman said. “Here you’ll see a lot of interacting, especially in April and May during the breeding season. You’ll see a lot of stud fights, battles over the harems.”

At the Lantry ranch, the wild horse bloodlines are kept pure, Sussman said.

Information from: Rapid City Journal,
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com
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