Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Horses hear call of the wild

Fundraiser planned to return 19 mares to the open range

Express Staff Writer

Doro Lohmann makes a connection with one of the 19 mares she helped rescue from BLM holding pens last month. Photo by Jodi Herlich

Hailey resident Doro Lohmann is breaking new ground.

Lohmann, founder and director of Silent Voices Rescue, a nonprofit group that seeks to end abuse to horses, has rescued 19 wild horses captured by the federal Bureau of Land Management but were deemed unfit for adoption. The horses, all mares from the Challis herd of central Idaho, were scheduled to be shipped last month to a holding facility in Oklahoma, where their fate would have been uncertain, at best.

Before being rescued, the 19 mares had all been held captive in holding pens for some four months, since they were captured as part of a BLM roundup of members of the Challis herd. Most of the horses captured by the BLM were offered to the public for adoption—but not all.

"These horses did not qualify for the adoption program because of age or appearance," Lohmann said.

So, in an unprecedented move, Lohmann convinced the BLM to allow her to adopt all 19 horses, in large part because of her successful record of saving other horses. It was the first time the BLM had allowed an individual to adopt more than four wild horses.

"The roundups have been a very political issue— there has been too much anger," Lohmann said. "I want to move past that. I want to set a new example, to help find solutions that work in favor of the horses."

BLM officials, she said, embraced her plan to save the Challis mares. In October, after the negotiations with the BLM were completed, Lohmann had the mustangs transported to a ranch near Bellevue, where they have tasted the fruits of freedom for the first time since last spring.

Now, Lohmann and her partners in the project want to find a way to keep the 19 mares wild—they do not plan to put the horses up for adoption. Instead, the plan is to find landowners with large holdings of private property to become partners in the project by providing a wild sanctuary for the mares.

To offset the costs of the project, Silent Voices will hold a fundraiser Thursday, Nov. 5, from 6-8 p.m. at the Gilman Contemporary gallery, 661 Sun Valley Road in Ketchum. A $10 entry fee includes a raffle ticket for a photograph by Elissa Kline.

Lohmann and Kline, whose photographs have documented the Challis herd, will talk about their efforts to save the horses.

For details, call the gallery at 726-7585.

Greg Foley:


Silent Voices will hold a fundraiser Thursday, Nov. 5, from 6-8 p.m. at the Gilman Contemporary gallery, 661 Sun Valley Road in Ketchum.

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