Pegasus Equine Guardian Association™ (PEGA) formed to unify efforts to preserve and protect the wild and free roaming herds of horses in Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest and Fort Polk. These who have been a part of Louisiana’s local culture since its early beginnings, and are considered Louisiana’s Heritage Horses.
For centuries, horses have roamed the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, which is approx. 604,000 acres in which the US Army occupies approx 250,000 acres.
These wild and free-roaming horses, over years and generations, have reverted to their wild state, especially through their offspring who have never known anything other than wild.
In the past Army has at least tolerated the horses and some have actually enjoyed their presence. Some commanders appreciated them even enjoyed their presence and stated that he didn’t want to lose the horses, which had become an integral part of the environment of the training areas where they constituted an element of realism.
In August 2015, a new commander, Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McGuire, approved (if not ordered) the removal of the horses. The Army held a public meeting to discuss a good plan for their disposition on August 13th, 2015. Part of the outcome from the hearing, was recommendation that the public submit comments & proposals for humane solutions regarding the equine presence in Kisatchie and at Fort Polk. Comments/Proposals were to be submitted by Sept 5th, 2015. By the end of the comment period in September 2015; over 1200 individuals sent approx 2,736 letters to Congress. Public demand for conservative, humane, ethical treatment of these animals is undeniable and support continues to grow as seen by the steady increase in support today.
The Commanders at Fort Polk come and go every couple of years. Previous Generals allowed the horses some even fought to preserve them, protecting the sanctity of the land, history and animals. It is grossly unfair that a temporary commander is making a permanent decision on the behalf of future generations. There is a very real possibility that some of the remote herds are of Spanish Mustang decent, and would be Federally protected and should not be managed to extinction. The population management of these horses cannot be a brute attack on their future ability to thrive and exist.
It is vital that this herd management is done with careful, conservative, scientific, humane consideration. Ethical and human solutions be the goal, that may, in the end, include a mix of finding good adopters for some horses, fertility control for others, and remain in place for yet others (particularly the horses with specific historic and genetic importance), along with some herd control measures to keep horses away from sensitive areas of the fort property. But the only way to find the best solutions is to engage in honest and open consultation with as many experienced people, experts, and local stakeholders as possible.
These horses are an important part of the history, culture, and heritage of this area.
We implore officials to include Specialized Wild Horse Professionals and Equine Advocates to assist Fort Polk in devising and executing an ethical and humane solution to the equine presence in Kisatchie / Fort Polk / Peason Ridge that allows the military, the civilians of the area, and the free horses to peacefully and safely coexist as they have done for the past centuries.
As concerned citizens our goal is to protect the Wild Horses in Kisatchie National Forest including herds at Fort Polk, Peason Ridge, etc. We are in awe of their ability to self sustain as a wild herds dating back centuries.
Our efforts focus on advocating for sanctuary with responsible herd management and non permanent fertility control. They are both irreplaceable and worth so very much more than their price per pound. Although there have been reports of such activity as well as official requests by locally known kill buyers for access to obtain horses. While there have been discussions of potential adoption for a portion of the herd – as guardians we do not recommend this for any horses that have lived wild for the entirety of their lives, and should only be considered a last resort.
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association is a federally recognized 501(c)3 and can receive tax exempt donations. EIN 47-5680770