Friday, September 21, 2007

Ode To The Taken

“…..these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected…” Public Law 92-195

Kathleen Hayden of Coyote Canyon Caballos D'Anza recently announced the arrival of “Harley”, an adopted Clark Mountain burro whose entire herd was zeroed out in January 2007.

Located in Southern California, the Clark Mountain burros had been one of oldest and genetically rare burro herds left. Since 1980, only two herds officially remain and Southern California has seen a 90% reduction in wild burro populations and habitat despite their “federally protected status”. (1)

Harley will now live with the Coyote Canyon wild horses Kathleen also adopted in efforts to preserve the bloodlines of these historic herds.

Like the Clark Mountain burros and dozens of herds over the last few decades, the Coyote Canyon wild horses were zeroed out in 2003 and were Southern California’s last remaining wild horse herd. Numbering a mere 29 wild horses when they were taken, highly questionable "Emergency" conditions and authority were used to justify this final blow.

The desire to protect big horn sheep was cited as a significant factor in the decision to permanently eliminate both these herds.

The Haydens continue to lobby for the return of the Coyote Canyon wild horses based on their cultural and historical significance, their contributions to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and their enrichment to the lives of the American people.

This was inspired by Kathleen’s photo of Harley meeting his new Coyote Canyon friends for the first time-

Ode to the Taken

Still soft and slightly dreamy from arising
unprepared for cold truths and hard facts
the end rides in on a Harley
as the memories of four centuries
are washed away,
their last gush, only tears
left on barren ground

Empty silence tells no tale
of generations that brayed and neighed
thundering hooves, flying manes
and large, soft ears
that heard all of
Mothers desert secrets

Gentle creatures,
smashed by horns that curl
and blackened hearts,
eagerly trading
the flesh and blood
of grandfathers and sons
mothers and aunts
for hollow sentiments painted on
now dead trees
"In God We Trust"

Consciousness shatters
with a lightening bolt,
last witness
to the last of their kind
with heart of lead, still weeping
the children’s questions can only
be answered with,

"I'm sorry....they are gone"

For more information, donations or to help with reintroduction efforts for the Coyote Canyon Wild Horses contact:

Tax ID #510553809
Robert Hayden, Director/Manager
Kathleen Hayden
P.O. Box 236,
Santa Ysabel,CA92070
Phone: (760)782-3340

Ode To The Taken - Cindy MacDonald, August 2007
Used with Permission - All Rights Reserved.

(1) Wild Burros of the American West – A Critical Analysis of the Status of Wild Burros on Public Lands – 2006, C.R.MacDonald, 2007. Available on line at American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign,

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