The Heber Mogollon Mustang — Rebuttal on Tuesday’s 11/16/21 article entitled Heber Wild Horse Territory by John Koleszar

Paragraph 2:

Horses in the Heber area have not been studied extensively but rather exterminated extensively.

• Also see: illegal agreement of capture of 187 wild Heber Mustangs dated May 10, 1988, and signed by Doy Reidhead and Forest Supervisor, Nick W. McDonald. “During trapping periods which will be prescheduled by Bruce Mortensen of the Heber District, traps will be checked daily.” This is further substantiated by my personal interview with former Black Mesa Ranger District employee, J. K. Stewart in charge of baiting and trapping resident Mogollon Heber Mustangs of 500+ years documented in this Black Mesa District. This event would be in violation to the direction of former President, Richard M. Nixon, and Congress of the United States.

• Also see: supporting evidence of “Oral history interview with Doy Reidhead [with transcript], April 3, 2006: Colorado Plateau Archives by Norman Lowe.

• Also see: Sitgreaves National Forest Maps (est. 1909) “naming” Canyons Springs, etc., i.e. Palimino Canyon/Lake — Pinto Horse Trap Canyon/Lake — Horse Canyon / Tank — Mustang Tank — East/West Buckskin Tanks — Dead Horse Point / Draw / Tank — Migration, WMAT Res. (pre-fencing of 1935-40). 1.3 million acres of southern facing range to sustain horses during heavy snows of winter. King Phillip, sharp Hollow and a portion of Stermer Ridge also designated For Horses Winter Range. Ingress / Egress from fence at Forest Lakes to Lakeside Ranger District at Clay Springs transition at F.R. #132 at Mormon Church is the total “Legal Herd Management Area” (HMA) of 300,000+ acres for positive long term sustainability of this species. This NON-feral horse species is 99% accurate for this Equid DNA. See Fig. 1: Heber Wild Horse Territory by Black Mesa Ranger District (never captured, domesticated, released!) See: Diane Tilton’s article about feral Roosevelt Elk were domesticated and delivered to Winslow Elk Lodge in 1912, then by team and wagons to Cabin Draw. She presented a wonderful truthful story! By contrast: some Native American, African Negro and some Oriental blood lines would be, by definition, feral as they have been captured-processed / domesticated and released or re-wilded.

This author is by no means a pure-bred as I have been informed that I am Scotch, Irish, Holland Dutch and a speck-a-sioux. Having been married with children, I too, am now feral by definition. I assure you readers that I, like the horse, have been rode hard and put away wet. “Cowboy humor” to those who do not recognize it.

Now see: Wildlife Ecologist, Craig C. Downer, A.B., M.s., Ph.D.C. — Cell: (775) 901-2094. See: “The wild Horse Conspiracy.”

• Also see: Karen A. Susman of ISPMB Pres. International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. I am their Arizona based Assistant and a full time 33-year resident of Heber/Overgaard, Arizona.

In conlusion to “Part 1,” my readers must realize that it is impossible to educate Greed!

Now a message to “little John”: I can tell by the nature of your article, that you have the usual “greedy rancher mentality,” and you just pulled the same bull feces off the internet as thousands of others have. I really love saying that you don’t know your steatopygia (that would be a donkey) from a hole in the ground. But don’t take my word for it. See: Downer / Sussman.

Editors Note: Published as submitted

(5) comments


I am sorry to read the attempt at a rebuttal. I live and work in the Valley, and have known affiliations with several groups, none of them ranching. Greed hardly plays a role in my endeavors. I am concerned about the proliferation of feral horses and the incredible expansion that has occurred. If you Google me, I doubt that you will find any thing other than a respect for all creatures and a lifetime of avocation regarding wildlife. I understand your passion for horses and I admire it. Single species adulation however can become problematic as we have seen in the Heber area. Congratulations to the Sitgreaves for attempting to cobble together a management plan. I will stand on the 19,000 acres as a wonderful place for all residents to view horses. That is set in stone by Congress. Expansion at the cost of all other wildlife surviving is certainly not what any conservationist wants to see. I would certainly like to see horse activists belly up to the bar the way conservation groups do. We have given millions of dollars to protect the fragile habitat and water supplies that all wildlife need. I challenge the horse advocates to match the efforts of conservationists. Again, I appreciate and respect passion for horses, no matter how misguided it is.

Bob Smith

And what did we learn today kids? Everyone can benefit from a little editing now and then...otherwise your letter to the editor might be mistaken for gibberish.


The debate over free-roaming horses on public lands is rife with strong emotions. Unfortunately, facts often get lost amid the noise and smoke. Here are a few to consider.

The last true North American wild horses went extinct during the Pleistocene epoch, about 12,000 years ago. The horses currently spreading across the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest are feral domesticated animals and their decendents that have gone "wild." Feral horses have few natural predators and very high reproductive rates. Left unchecked, their populations expand to the point where native vegetation and native wildlife are irreversibly harmed -- an unfortunate pattern repeating itself across the western U.S. The Salt River debacle is a stark example of what that destruction looks like.

Our National Forests were established to sustain the diversity of native wildlife and for the benefit of all Americans. Compromising those core values to suit a narrow self interest is simply unconscionable, not to mention contrary to the Forest Service' legal mandate. Free-roaming horses outside the designated Heber Horse Territory on the A-S do not meet criteria for protection under the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act and must be removed. I encourage everyone who cares about conservation of these lands to support that effort.


GFR did a nice job sharing facts. This isn’t complicated if you take the emotions out of the picture. It’s a small territory and the forest service is simply following the laws & using range science. These reservation (origin) horses are ruining the landscape. The native wildlife are losing out in this deal. I’ve seen the damage from horses in Nevada & Utah on our public lands. AZ is not far behind.


These are interesting comments; however, data alone cannot address this matter because human values are involved, and I find them to be mostly selfish values at that. Long before humans arrived anywhere, nature was, as always, in balance, but that balance was natural and involved no human values until recently. As soon as Sapiens came to north America, the major fauna of the entire continent was virtually wiped out and many extinctions were human driven. We humans then decided that nature required our highly intelligent governance and we set about “managing” nature. That most onerous of words, “manage” is ubiquitous in our interface with nature. We have become so good at it that we have now engineered the sixth, and greatest, extinction ever.

All of this enormous carnage follows our arrogant presumption that we have the right to bend nature to our will and do as we please, no matter the size of the natural train wreck we have now wrought, and which is mostly irreversible. Curiously, what the data also reveal is that “nature” seems to have fared rather well (even in the face of natural calamities) without us. In fact, I can make a very good case that the lack of human depredations throughout geologic time was possibly responsible for the evolution of our species to begin with. So, let us dispense with the hypocrisy here and just admit that behind everything we do lies a selfish human motivation (even the conservationists) which animates our destructive impulses.

Bottom line is there just too many of us and our consumption patterns are destroying the only habitat to which we are amazingly adapted.

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