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About UsHistoryPueblo Preserve

About Us

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Placitas WILD is a New Mexico, non-profit, tax exempt corporation that:

  • Created and supports the the WILD HORSE PRESERVE at the San Felipe Pueblo for resident wild horses that have roamed our shared communities for decades. The preserve was established primarily to keep the Placitas area wild horses safe but it benefits all large mammals including bear, elk, deer, cougar, bobcat, and coyote.

  • Advocates for continuous and unobstructed access between established and future critical wild life corridors ranging from the Jemez Mountains to the Sandia and Manzano Mountains and north to the Galisteo Basin.

  • Sponsors community educational programs about living with wildlife.

  • Communicates community views to planning groups, to governmental agencies at all levels and otherwise as provide by the corporations By-Laws.

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"Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoofprints of the horse beside it." ~ John Moore

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Placitas WILD began as a loose-knit group of Placitas citizens who were concerned about the division in our community over the "free-range" horses.

We naively believed that there was a common sense solution. We participated in a Task Force formed by Sandoval County. We paid to bring in the Director of the Corolla Wild Horse Preserve to speak to the community about wild horse management. We have worked with San Felipe Pueblo to provide financial support for a 400 acre interim preserve for the horses most at risk. We advocate for the transfer of a large tract of BLM land north of Placitas to the Pueblo for a permanent wildlife preserve, which would include wild horses and large predators.

These horses and their ancestors have roamed for centuries across lands belonging to the state and federal governments, sovereign Indian lands and private land, creating jurisdictional issues that Placitas as an unincorporated community has not been able to overcome. Sandoval County attempted to help us enable solutions that included administration of birth control to control herd size, but we are all up against the unyielding power of government bureaucracies. Placitas WILD realizes that we must be prepared to fight a long battle to change entrenched governmental policy.

Another realization is that our Sandia Mountains are in danger of becoming biologically "dead", strangled by development and gravel mining, cut off from the Jemez Mountains and the Galisteo Basin to the north. Island landscapes inevitably lead to loss of species. We must think in terms of connected chains of cores and corridors, encourage biodiversity on private and public property, and fight for all species. Our focus has evolved into multi-species preservation and the preservation of the precious chains of cores and corridors for all our wildlife.

We are in the company of many dedicated individuals and organizations who work for the benefit of America's wild horses, the black bears, cougars, coyotes, bobcats, and other species considered by some to be a "nuisance". Only by working together will we succeed.

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"To me, horses and freedom are synonymous. ~Veryl Goodnight"

Pueblo Preserve
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Ricardo Ortiz a land management specialist for the San Felipe Pueblo was a Sandoval County Wild Horse Task Force Member in 2013. While attending meetings he understood that the Pueblo's ideas about land preservation for future generations and wildlife corridors aligned with the ideals of many task force members. He proposed that San Felipe build an interim Wild Horse Preserve on their land. They would then expand it to include the 3,000 acres of BLM land that separates the pueblo and the community if they were successful in acquiring the parcel. The wild horses would continue to safely roam the lands we were accustomed to seeing them on to the north of our community.

In a community wide meeting he explained how the Pueblo was committed to preserving the land from development and mining. He told us that the Pueblo had closed its own small gravel mine and he envisioned how the Pueblo could gently use the land and the presence of the horses to attract photography tourism to defer some of the cost of maintaining a wild horse preserve. A solution that meant the wild horses would be safe from the BLM and slaughter, citizens would be safe from horses on the roads and the access to the existing wild life corridors to the north and west assured the Sandias did not become isolated.

San Felipe fenced over 400 acres of land, created a road, and sent tribe members to ZooWyoming to be trained to administer birth control, Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) Vaccine. San Felipe purchased the PZP and darted mares as they were moved to the preserve. Two Placitas WILD donors contributed $15,000 for the well while Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) found a grant to pay the remaining $10,000. The preserve is in operation.

We've grown confident that the Pueblo knows how to protect lands for the future generations. When they acquired the Ball Ranch they developed covenants that are administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs so that the annual changes in tribal government could not affect long term directives. San Felipe consulted with a local Wild life Corrido advocacy group, Pathways Wilf Life Corridors, to assess their fencing and changed miles of fencing they had just installed to become wild life friendly. San Felipe is clearly committed to the establishment of this preserve.