Wild horses galloping across the Western plains is an image that has long been associated with the spirit and freedom of America, and in 2004 Americans fell in love with a legendary mustang, thanks to the Disney film Hidalgo.
The film featured the story of Frank Hopkins, a man who devoted his life to protecting wild horses, and his famous mustang Hidalgo. Descendants of Hidalgo still range free in Blackjack Mountain near Finley, OK, along side original strains of the Choctaw Indian Horse. Owned and overseen by Bryant Rickman, the horses have been able to range in hundreds of thousands of acres, until now. Having endured centuries of change, the survival of this herd is now threatened. They are facing their last stand.
The Oklahoma Land and Timber Company has, with very little warning, terminated the grazing leases on Blackjack Mountain. They have just sent a final notice demanding that the mustangs be removed by March 31st 2008 and then it will be handed over to the local Sheriff’s department who will take the horses to auction.
In an effort to preserve this historical herd, John Fusco, Bryant Rickman, Dr. Phillip Sponenberg (geneticist), Return to Freedom Founder Neda DeMayo, and other conservation groups have joined forces to launch an urgent rescue operation.
The IMMEDIATE and URGENT need is to safely relocate the horses to a 300-acre tract of land owned by the Rickman family, and to provide feed and veterinary care for the herd.