Fish Springs wild horses find home thanks to local advocates |

Fish Springs wild horses find home thanks to local advocates

by Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service
This 2-month-old wild horse was born in captivity to a mare that was taken off the Pine Nut range. She is also up for adoption. Shannon Litz/ Nevada Appeal News Service

Five Pine Nut range mustangs that once grazed on lawns in Fish Springs and the Bently agricultural fields were rounded up under the auspices of the Bureau of Land Management, but they won’t be going to a bureau holding facility.

Thanks to the efforts of Sheila Schwadel and other members of the Fish Springs Wild Horse Posse, three are going to a ranch in Montana. One colt has been adopted and another, an 18-month-old filly up for adoption, is being gentled.

“We’d like to see more wild horses on the open range, but the best we can do is work with the bureau to get the horses in holding to good homes,” she said. “It takes a little work, but these horses are great pets and riding companions.

“Once these horses start trusting their owners, they’re friendlier than domestic horses,” she said. “They seem to develop a deeper, more natural bond. They learn to trust people as if they were a member of the herd.”

The filly still up for adoption watched with a wary curiosity from her round pen as Schwadel eased around her.

“The last one I trained was gentled as soon as she got used to the halter, but this one is different,” Schwadel said. “She’s more dominant and it will take more time, but she’ll make a good gymkhana horse.”

Schwadel said these horses are small, but good looking. They’ll grow to a height of between 14.1 and 14.3 hands.

A 2-month-old filly born in captivity to one of the mares is also up for adoption. She pranced up to greet Schwadel from behind her shelter while her mom, a dark bay mare, watched. The mare is one of the three that will be sent to Montana after the filly is weaned, in about two months.

A small group dedicated to the welfare of these animals, the Fish Springs Posse, works in conjunction with the BLM, just part of a network of horse rescue groups and advisors dedicated to the preservation of these animals.

The Fish Springs Wild Horse Posse was formed in 2001, following removal of 40 horses in the Fish Springs area in 2000.

Since that time, the posse has successfully adopted out 15 wild horses and colts through the auspices of the BLM.

• Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at or 782-5121, ext. 211.