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Because of Horses

Jun 22, 2018

Elise’s guest today is Sonya Spaziani, also known as “Mustang Meg.” She is a mustang and wild burro advocate who is renowned for her work to educate the public on the status of these animals in the American West.


Currently, 75,000 wild horses and burros are caught in political, emotional, and environmental controversy. Another 45,000 are held in government holding pens, costing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) nearly $50 million annually. It is estimated that there are more wild horses in captivity now than exist in the wild — with more round-ups scheduled regularly. Wild horse advocacy has become one of the largest grassroots efforts in U.S. history — a touchpoint for horse enthusiasts, conservationists, ranchers, and even politicians.


In the midst of this volatility, Mustang Meg is respected not only for her expertise but also for her willingness to partner, as a steadfast advocate, with all sides on behalf of the horses she so devotedly works to protect.


In this episode, Elise and Sonya discuss sustainable solutions for managing and taking care of wild horses, the status of fertility control, land management and herd management, how to help horses in long-term holding facilities, and Sonya’s predictions and hopes for the future of wild mustangs and burros.


Topics of Discussion:

[:45] About Elise’s guest today.

[1:41] What should people know about wild mustangs?

[4:23] Some stories of the special horses Sonya has witnessed from her research out on the field.

[10:31] What keeps Sonya going through the rough conditions she endures for field research and photos.

[13:51] The measure of success wild horse advocates, ranchers, Oregon BLM representatives have accumulated in behalf of mustangs.

[17:40] How does Sonya think we find a common place from which to have a reasonable dialogue and does she think there’s a sustainable solution that everyone can accept?

[21:37] Reading listener feedback!

[23:29] The status of fertility control and why wild horses cannot always be darted with PZP (birth control).

[28:37] Is there a reason why gelding stallions has not been brought to the conversations of fertility control?

[32:20] Does Sonya foresee a point in time where we might not have wild horses left because of all of the increase in horses being held in government holding pens?

[33:45] All about the complicated issues that come with land management and herd management.

[40:53] Is the BLM the primary resource for determining the status of the mustang’s well-being? To what degree do advocates partner with them to ensure this?

[42:52] What can we do to help horses in the long-term holding facilities? Is there a plan going forward?

[49:28] Rachel’s insight into ranchers, corporations, and grazing on public land.

[53:58] A preview of next week’s Because of Horses.

[55:11] Sonya’s predictions and hopes for the future of wild mustangs and burros.

[1:00:21] Where to learn more about the status of wild mustangs and burros and follow Sonya online.


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Discover More About this Week’s Guest — Sonya Spaziani “Mustang Meg”


Mentioned in this Episode:

Bureau of Land Management

Herd Management Areas 

Extreme Mustang Makeover

BOH Episode 33 with Leslie Janecka

Wild Horse and Burro Program
American Wild Horse Campaign

The Cloud Foundation


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