First grants from wild-horse license plates disbursed |

First grants from wild-horse license plates disbursed

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Sales of wild-horse license plates could help wild horse advocates get an accurate count of horses on the Virginia Range.

The Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association, which aids horses in the Virginia Range area of Storey County, was one of two preservation groups awarded grant money from the Horse Power Wild & Free License plate organization. The grant was for $10,000.

According to president Jeanne Gribbin, the money will be used for helicopter horse counts.

“The last time a real scientific count was conducted, the cost of fuel was significantly lower than it is today,” she said. “VRWPA has been brainstorming on how to raise the needed $8,000 to $10,000 it would need to pay the cost of the fuel. We don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

The protection association engages in educational, scientific, developmental and range-management activities, and on matters pertaining to the environment and the preservation of wildlife habitat.

According to Sally Summers, head of Horse Power, which disburses the grants, the other grant, for $112,140, was awarded to Wild Horse Spirit of Washoe Valley.

These were the first grants awarded since the wild horse license plate went on sale last year.

Not every wild horse advocacy group qualifies for a grant, she said. They have to be a nonprofit organization and the money has to stay in Nevada.

“When we got the plates approved, we had to jump through a lot of hoops to show we were going to be responsible,” she said. “There were people we could not help.”

To help those groups, she said, Horse Power will start another fundraising campaign.

They also plan to put together scholarships for individuals that apply and are accepted to go through the nonprofit management certificate course at the University of Nevada Reno, to make it easier for horse groups to get grants.

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.