trueCOWBOYmagazine Sept/Oct 2014 - Page 65

GMK: Why did you feel compelled to create Mustang Meadows Ranch? HAD: I was never afraid of a challenge. When I ended up with this very beautiful, productive 35,000-acre ranch, I somehow felt compelled to do something creative and different with the land. Whether it was the ranch talking to me or me talking to the ranch, I can’t answer, maybe some of both. I just knew that I had enough eggs invested in cattle ranching. So when the possibility of keeping wild horses on this land flashed in front of me, I grabbed it and ran. Some would call it stupid, some impulsive. I called it exciting. GMK: What makes the mustangs so intriguing? HAD: The mystique of their running free across the prairie has appeal to everyone. The idea that I could make friends with them and be accepted by them was a really interesting concept to me and ignited my fire. GMK: You maintained the mustangs for four years, and then the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) awarded their care to a low-bid rancher. In the end, your decision not to sue BLM when your contract was not renewed is commendable, and I applaud you for that! In hindsight, would you walk away again? HAD: Would I sue them, no. Should I have tried harder through other avenues, such as calling my senator, yes. Maybe if I had alerted people in power that I was getting run over, the outcome might have been different. Maybe I walked away too soon. I did try filing a complaint, but from my perspective, the turndown reply was classic bureaucratic double-talk. GMK: How many Mustangs reside at Mustang Meadows Ranch today? HAD: None. They were all shipped to Oklahoma and there they remained as far as I know. GMK: Will you submit a proposal to BLM for care of the Mustangs in the future? HAD: No. At this point, I’m retired from active ranching.