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Because of Horses

Sep 28, 2018

Elise’s guest today is Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times National Reporter, David Philipps. David’s book, Wild Horse Country, tells the fascinating and complex story of the Mustang, from its prehistoric ancestors in North America to its current controversy and possible future. Even those who are knowledgeable about Mustangs and the American West’s history will be surprised by the huge gaps in information David shares.


While not a horse person himself, David does hold dear the notion of wildness and liberty — fully appreciating the symbolism and emotion associated with the Mustang, but without any preconceptions. A Pulitzer Prize winner and noted journalist, he truly is the perfect person to explore the varied perspectives of all of those involved in this complex and costly dilemma — as well as potential solutions. In his book, Wild Horse Country, David provides a balanced exploration of the Mustang’s history, current situation, and potential future. He describes his book as a celebration of still having wild horses in this technological day and age, as well as the story of how that happened — the history, the values, and the myths around these horses.


In this episode, David fully explores these ideas with Elise -- diving deep into his own explorations, explaining what he has learned in his observations and research, and his perspective on the many entangled topics that involve the wild Mustang.


Topics of Discussion:

[:46] About today’s guest and the topic of discussion.

[2:55] How did we get to the point of spending millions annually to store tens of thousands of horses?

[5:10] David’s experience at a Bureau of Land Management gather.

[7:22] What started David on this journey.

[10:04] David explains what a roundup is and his experience at his first one.

[13:19] Join the conversation by joining Because of Horses Facebook page!

[14:09] How David’s actual observations differed from what some of the information he had been given.

[15:50] What is the land of the Wild Horse Country (as described in David’s book) like?

[21:02] BLM’s role in managing Mustangs and how they differentiate between horses that are under their management and horses that are not?

[23:20] How do you know where a horse is born?

[24:13] David’s findings on the argument that Mustangs should not be protected because they’re not a native species.

[30:41] How is it not common knowledge that the Mustangs were hunted almost to extinction, just like the American buffalo?

[35:50] David explains the sad transition of the Mustang being viewed as a valuable resource to being killed in the thousands.

[40:06] About the horrors that Phillip M. Chapel perpetrated on horses.

[43:18] David describes the incredibly pivotal moment for the wild Mustangs and how the “Wild Horse Annie” Act happened.

[50:02] How the BLM has attempted to manage wild Mustangs, and David’s observations through his own research and observations.

[54:28] David’s terrifying experience interviewing Tom Davis for his book, Wild Horse Country.

[55:54] The distinction between ranchers and cowboys, and David’s experiences in better understanding the rancher’s perspective.

[1:01:55] A preview of next week’s Because of Horses!

[1:03:03] The beautiful philosophy of the rancher, Joe Fallini, and his rocky experience with the BLM.

[1:06:55] David gives his perspective on controlling wild horse populations and keeping reproduction down.

[1:20:12] David’s hopes and predictions for the Mustang’s future.

[1:23:10] How to follow David online and read his book.


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Mentioned in this Episode:

Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang, by David Philipps

Bureau of Land Management

Because of Horses Facebook Page

United States Pony Club

Young Rider Magazine

A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Chand

Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie)

Wild Horse Annie Act

The Mustangs, by Frank Dobie

Phillip Chappel

Laura Leigh (Horse Advocate)

Tom Davis

Joe Fallini (Rancher)

Next week’s episode of Because of Horses

PZP Vaccine


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