In 2005, a rider was inserted into the spending Omnibus bill which began to destroy protections for wild horses and burros in our country. Senator Burns (MT-R) and Senator Dorgan (D-ND) and Senator Reid (D-N) were behind the clandestine rider. Yesterday, another insertion eliminating more protections for wild horses and burros was inserted into the Omnibus bill, which will be law until September. The Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 PL 92-195 passed through Congress without ONE dissenting vote. For years now, the opposition has managed to erode one the most important environmental laws written for public lands. The insertion (below) was never debated on the floors of Congress, just as it was not in 2005.

 (b) Section 810(a)(1) of Title VIII of Division B of Appendix D of Public Law 106-554, as amended (54 U.S.C. 320101 note), is further amended by striking ”$10,000,000” and inserting ”$12,000,000”.


 SEC. 116. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals: Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act: Provided further, That any Federal, State, or local government agency receiving excess wild horses or burros as authorized in this section shall not: destroy the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction into commercial products; sell or otherwise transfer the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products; or euthanize the horses or burros except upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.

Although protections are written into this bill, nowhere does it prohibit the agencies from selling our wild horses and burros internationally. Once protections are lifted, these animals can be sold abroad to third world countries by agencies as long as they proclaim that the horses and burros will not be sold for slaughter.

What Congress people were behind the insertion of this bill? We must know. The bottom line is … we are seeing democracy eroded in this country and what will we do about it?

Heber Horses

ISPMB Appeals Forest Service Plan in Continuing Effort to Save Heber Wild Horses of Arizona

In an ongoing effort to save the Heber Wild horses that reside in the Apache & Sitgreaves National Forest, an appeal by ISPMB’s attorney, Anthony W. Merrill of Polisinelli Law Firm in Phoenix was filed on December 23rd. ISPMB and Mr. Merrill have been active in the Heber Case since 2005 winning a stay for the horses and requiring the FS to develop a Territory Plan for the wild horses. Joining ISPMB in this current appeal is Terra Wind Ranch Eco-Action Group in AZ.

“It should be evident to the Forest Service that the people of Arizona love their wild horses. When the Salt River wild horses of the Tonto Forest were nearly removed last August it created uproar by thousands of AZ citizens,” states Ms. Irvin. 

Karen Sussman, president of ISPMB, asserts, “Wild horses and burros are loved by the majority of the people of our country, well over 90%. Support for wild horses/burros crosses all cultural, religious, social, and political lines.” “The Heber wild horses must be preserved so future generations can enjoy these ‘last living symbols of the American West.'” 

Since the beginning of the Act in 1971 which should protect wild horses and burros, nearly half of the herd areas have been eliminated; while the remaining herd areas, of which 75% of them, have less than viable numbers of horses/burros. There is no overpopulation of wild horses and burros in our country. This is a fact. 

There are approximately 6 million livestock, 4 million wildlife, and only 30,000 wild horses and burros. Simple math verifies there is no overpopulation. 

According to Sussman, who has studied wild horse behavior and population growth for the past sixteen years in four of ISPMB’s wild herds that the organization manages, low reproductive rates in wild horses are directly related to keeping the family band structures intact. This means that the governments own management has increased population growth by the constant disruption of the family bands through helicopter roundups. Stable band structures are essential to the health and well-being of wild horses and this is why the 1971 Act stated that horses must be managed with ‘minimum feasible management.’ 

ISPMB was the organization, which along with its first president, Wild Horse Annie, was instrumental in getting the legislation passed in 1971. Otherwise, today, there would be no wild horses or burros left in our country.

Both organizations represented in the appeal are appreciative of the fine work of Mr. Anthony Merrill and his law firm. They have done an outstanding job protecting America’s wild horses. 

Use the link below and click on International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros located under appeals. There are 27 exhibits pertaining to the case as well as two other appeals which you can read.


We can put any size donation to work!
Thank you for your generosity!

ISPMB is a 501 (c) 3 not-for profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.


Genocide of America’s wild horses

Please Help Us End The Genocide of America's Wild Horses

While wild horses are being torn from their families and their homes on OUR public lands, there is a bigger picture that must be understood if we want to save the true nature of America’s wild horses. Your support is vital to our continuing efforts in saving America’s wild horses.

Manage Wild Horses by Behavior, Not by Numbers Reproductive rates can be controlled by BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT saving the taxpayers millions of dollars from unnecessary roundups. 

First – Helicopter roundups must end. The sustainability and functional adaptation of wild horse societies are based on long term stable social bonds of group members. Helicopter roundups disrupt these social bonds and cause disorder within the herd structure of major magnitude, leading to the loss of herd wisdom which is vital to healthy functional behavior. 

Second – Management objectives must sustain stable functional behaviors. As a result of destabilized band structures whether from loss of mare fertility or helicopter roundups, we see dysfunctional reproductive behaviors, loss of leadership and cooperative skills, and most critically we could see the loss of their true wild nature. 

Third – The minimal feasible management stated in the law must be the rule. What we know. Reproductive rates are low because of stable family bands, not because of forage availability. Under the best of feed conditions, never disrupting our horses, and based on 16 years of studies of ISPMB’s two wild horse herds, growth rates are under 9% while BLM’s projected growth rate is 20%. When we began our study, there were 31 horses in our Gila wild horse herd. If we used the BLM’s calculation of herds doubling every four years, we should have 496 wild horses, but instead there are only 120. We have 220 wild horses in our White Sands herd, but if we used the BLM’s figures, there should be 1,120 horses. We must remember that human intervention is not smarter than nature and social mammals need the stability that can only come from nature. Nature manages for functional species, but this harmony is constantly being disrupted by current wild horse management techniques. 

Fourth – If you want to save the true wild nature of wild equids – we need your support. ISPMB is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is home to over 500 wild horses. It is vital that everyone supports our efforts to continue our important studies and maintain our wild herds. Every single monetary gift, no matter how small, makes an impact. We also accept donations in the form of hay, tack or equipment necessary to run our operation. Membership and sponsorship information is available on Facebook and at Your generosity will help support our mission of developing and implementing the best model for managing wild horses in our country, protecting them for future generations to enjoy.


We can put any size donation to work!Thank you for your generosity!

ISPMB is a 501 (c) 3 not-for profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

Salt River Horses

Forest Service scraps plan to round up Salt River horses


August 6, 2015

Forest Service scraps plan to round up Salt River horses.

August 6, 2015

US Forest Services agrees to temporarly hold off on roundup.
Read the Forest Service press release HERE

August 5, 2015

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today issued a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture. The letter was also signed by Congressman David Schweikert and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.

August 5, 2015

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey posts on FaceBook: “The federal government should leave our free roaming and wild horses alone. But if they don’t, Arizona will do everything we can to protect them, provide them sanctuary and ensure they are treated humanely.” See his Facebook post HERE

August 5, 2015

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) sent this letter to the U.S. Forest Service and the Arizona Department of Agriculture requesting that they postpone the roundup of horses from the Mesa Ranger District on the Tonto National Forest until there has been sufficient public engagement in the process, and that they respond to questions.

August 4, 2015

Read the press release statement from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community HERE

Only a few days remain until 100 plus wild horses will be rounded up and sold by the Forest Service. These horses make their home along the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest near Mesa, AZ. The horses are one of the main attractions that bring tourists from around the country and locals who love viewing them as they tube down the river.

These wild horses have existed in this area for well over a century and yet were not declared wild and free roaming under the Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community successfully manages nearly 200 wild horses on their sacred lands. These wild horses use the Salt River to water. It is highly likely that even these protected wild horses could be removed during the roundup.

Please contact the following numbers/E-mails and request:
The Salt River wild horses need to be protected under the 1971 Act.

The roundup must be stopped.

FS must develop a management plan. Remind FS that they promised (June 11, 2012) to have a formalized management plan after data was gathered using the Salt River Pima Indian Community’s wild horse management as a benchmark for success. This was NOT done.

Following public outcry back in 2012, the Forest Service promised to gather information and explore options for managing these horses. (To my knowledge, they did neither.)

Neil Bosworth – Supervisor for the Tonto National Forest – 602-225-5200- 2324 E. McDowell Rd. – Phoenix, AZ 85006

Clay Templin – Forest Fire Chief/Fire Staff Officer – Region 3 Southwestern (AZ/NM) – 602-225-5220 – 2324 E. McDowell Rd. – Phoenix, AZ 85006

Gary Hanna- District Ranger – Region 3 Southwestern (AZ/NM – 480-610-3301- 5140 E. Ingram St. – Mesa, AZ – 85205

President Obama – 202-456-1111

Note that since 1971 the government has eliminated nearly half of the wild horses and burros in our country.

Please take a stand for our Salt River wild horses now!

A Farewell to our esteemed Michael Blake

The Council Circle of ISPMB announces the passing of our beloved Vice-President, Michael Blake, on May 2, 2015 at his home in Tucson where he resided with his wife, Marianne Mortensen Blake, and their three children, Quanah, Monahsetah and Lozen who were named after historic Native Americans. 

Michael has been an active participant of ISPMB since 2010 when he joined our Council Circle (Board of Directors) and worked together with ISPMB’s president, Karen Sussman whom he had known since 1991. 

In 1991, Michael adopted his first wild horse named Twelve. This beautiful black horse, although castrated by the BLM, never lost his regal stallion characteristics. He was tattooed on its left hind flank with the number 1202 as they did in concentration camps of yore. Michael relates that it was not the number that Twelve was named after but that on a scale from one to ten, Michael rated his horse a 12, hence the name. He also adopted a mare Samantha whose spirit was as free as Twelve and who would keep this once great stallion company.

Both of these horses changed Michael’s life and directed him into a course of action saving America’s wild horses for the next two decades.

For many American’s, Michael will be dearly remembered for his famous screen play for the movie, “Dances With Wolves” which won him an Oscar for best screen play. His dear friend, Kevin Costner starred and directed the movie which received seven total Oscars in 1990.

He will be remembered by our organization as immensely passionate about the need to protect wild horses keeping their families intact and free from roundups on our public lands. 

Michael was always proud of ISPMB’s accomplishments. He was especially thrilled that ISPMB saved four wild herds of horses knowing that for the past 15 years, they have been living happily together in families here at our ranch undisturbed by helicopters and roundups like their public land counterparts.

Michael’s spirit will always live on in our hearts. We bid farewell to our hero.

He is survived by wife Marrianne and their three children. 

The family asks that any donations be made in his name to the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros


For years the BLM has been rounding up herds using helicopters and an irresponsible method of gathering the herd which disrupts herd structures.

ISPMB has years of study on herd structures which ultimately could help the BLM make better decisions as to how roundups should occur.

We need to keep the herds together for further study.

Below are photos captured by wildlife photographer Carol Walker during the 2008 Sand Wash round up.

Helicopter round ups not only destroy herd structures, they terrify wild horses including pregnant mares and young foals as they run for their lives!

Too many horses pushed too fast by BLM contractors caused a jam of panicked horses at the gate to the trailer. A grey mare (later to be named “Beautiful Woman Standing” by ISPMB) gets shoved and hits the gait’s upper bar.

The grey mare (Beautiful Woman Standing) falls under all the other panicked horses as BLM contractors just watch.

More terrified horses are continued to be loaded into the trailer stepping on the body and face of the mare. Nothing was done to help her or control the situation.

The grey mare, partially under the trailer, appears to be dead. The loading is finished but the grey mare still lays there motionless and bloody.

After over 15 minutes, she got up shaking and bewildered. The grey mare stands there in a daze before they drive her into the trailer.

Her first day at our ranch. She is under weight. She has been at Canyon City for nearly three years. She had a foal at her side at capture which was adopted. She was pregnant and foaled again and that foal was adopted. Her first day at our facility there is a sadness about her.

This is Beautiful Woman Standing at ISPMB today. There is a big difference in her since her first day here. Although she is bright, shiney, and alert, she is still leary of people.

This is Beautiful Woman Standing at ISPMB in 2019.