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Feral horses devastate the land

Some editor at the Journal must have been quite taken with Rosalie Rayburn’s story about the feral horse situation in Placitas, which appeared in last Saturday’s Rio West section and again in Fetch!

In her articles on the subject in the past, Rayburn has appeared well-informed, with a pretty balanced stance. (The Fetch) article was accurate in the headline, which identified the horses as free-roaming.

After several failed lawsuits by the Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) against various government and private entities, the court has ruled that the horses are not wild, but free-roaming feral animals and are subject to ordinances that do not allow feral horses on the Placitas Open Space, and that allow owners of private property to corral such animals and have them removed by the New Mexico Livestock Board.

Rayburn interviewed newcomers to Placitas who are enthralled by the “magical” sight of free-roaming horses in the (open space) and the neighborhoods.

Better she should have spoken to anyone who has known the (open space) for 20-plus years and has seen the ecological devastation wreaked by the rapidly growing numbers of horses, which would never survive in this high desert region without being fed and watered by humans.

There is no natural water source and the grass is only beginning to recover with the recent rains.

WHOA’s members, including Gary Miles, would have the (open space) become a one-species wasteland devoid of anything other than cacti and yucca.


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Since being completely fenced in February 2014, excluding the horses, and with the monsoons we have enjoyed, the (open space) is making a recovery, but it will be many years before it is the lovely refuge it used to be.

Please speak with anyone who loves Placitas.

We respect horses too much to countenance the activities of those who would keep the horses as a decorative landscape accessory, rules and preservation of the land be damned!