wild and free, horses in the Kimberley …

This post is inspired by a new follower, A Horse For Elinor. I have grown up with horses myself, all the way from a small private Primary school in Zimbabwe that taught horse care and riding, formerly Rhodesia, then in Australia, decades with little interaction other than the odd attendances of race meetings.

Eagle School was a wonderful boarding school, that closed due to terror activities in the late ’70s.

Horses have thrived in many regions of the Kimberley, developing into the tough and sure footed brumbies and wild horses today. They can now be found from the Blue Mountains in the East, the deserts of the heart of Australia and the heat of the Pilbara Iron Ore country.

‘Our own’ wild horses in the Broome and Kimberley region are beautiful, stunning, fascinating to watch and interact with, and this series of photos I hope do justice to our efforts to prevent the slaughter of these animals by the ‘authorities’.

(Share! http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/49953)

The living world of Nature has always called to me,…

 Craig Downer, a mustang scientist from Nevada was one of the highlights of our agenda when he visited the Kimberley and toured the rest of Australia’s wild horses after leaving here. Some of my other ‘wild’ Broome friends come to check me out:

Craig Downer, pictured with my partner and horse lover and defender, who organized Craig’s Kimberley trip with me. ‘Smarty’ the ‘hound’ appreciates attention too.

These horses are mostly the progeny of those that were rescued from mustering in the extreme north of the Kimberley. Only one of the original is still here after 10 years, after natural attrition. They never mixed with other wild horses in the same area. They are now not so wild, once the colts and stallion were gelded. The fight goes on to stop the slaughtering of our wild horses from helicopters and adopt management plans instead, as advised by ecologist Craig Downer. Some pics from the Lake Gregory region near the Tanami Desert where Craig Downer visited.

It’s Australia’s shame that wild horses are treated so badly, many going back to descendants of WW1 where hundreds of thousands lost their lives in our quest to survive the cancer of oppressive governments.

It’s about time authorities invoked the management plans in the ecological papers published by Craig Downer. That goes for the US mustangs and burros too.

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to kimenvhort@yahoo.com.au
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2 Responses to wild and free, horses in the Kimberley …

  1. Pingback: wild and free, horses in the Kimberley … | pindanpost | Cranky Old Crow

  2. Craig Downer says:

    Greetings, Tom! Greatly appreciate your reminding people of the wild horses of the fascinating Kimberley region, and of their great value in the wild. Yes, I continue the good fight for these amazing presences and strive for real justice. I often think back to our great time there and your guiding us to see the Lake Gregory Arabian wild horses and this vast and magical region! On Earth Day I will be giving a talk in defense of the wild ones, and I have begun the Reserve Design project with one area evaluated and report issued. Hope you’re doing well and to hear from you again soon.

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