Navajo Nation veterinarian Dr. Upshaw-Bia says $22,815 to feed 1 horse for 25 years

Navajo Nation veterinarian Dr. Kelly Upshaw-Bia presented "Understanding the Past to Protect our Future" at Navajo Nation Horse conference at Twin Arrows Casino & Resort on Aug. 16, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Navajo Nation veterinarian Dr. Kelly Upshaw-Bia presented “Understanding the Past to Protect our Future” at Navajo Nation Horse conference at Twin Arrows Casino & Resort on Aug. 16, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Here at Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources Department of Agriculture “Horse Project: Past, Present, Future” conference. The conference started yesterday, Aug. 15, and ends today, Aug. 16. It’s at Twin Arrows Casino & Resort, which is 15 minutes east of Flagstaff, Ariz.

“Understanding the Past to Protect our Future,” by Dr. Kelly Upshaw-Bia, who graduated from Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2005.

DR. KELLY UPSHAW-BIA
my grandparents only had two horses and one just died. they were used for herding livestock. there were summer and winter camps for livestock. they cut their herds. there are traditional medicine still today and there is also western medicine.

we also talk about disease control. with data, wild/feral horses do have disease. this presentation is on feral horses and abandoned horses. abandoned horses had homes but they are abandoned.

managed is when we are in charge, when we take on responsibility.

horse facts, 25 to 30 years life span, fillies not taken care of go thru puberty as yearlings. phillies in an uncontrolled setting can foal as early as two years old. mare can fola up to age 20 years. colts stallions are capable of breeding at 2 years. dominant stallion is average 5 to 15 yars of age. off spring of the herd tend to leave so no inter-breeding.

when get horse it means 25 year commitment, which is longer than most marriages. so have to feed and water. 20 pounds feed per day, 182,5000 pounds of forage/roughage to feed one horse for 25 years. so $22,815 to feed one horse for 25 years, which is as much as car, child’s education. that’s a lot if look at that way.

for water, 45,625 gallon of water for one horse for 25 years.

i’m not against horse, i’m just giving facts.

my job was draw blood for horses at roundups but i wanted to find out more. found out how many branded. of 476 horses roundedup, about 52 percent or 247 horses were branded or gelded.

different for areas. when looking for data: 35 percent or 55 were emaciated/thin; 31 percent or 49 were moderately thin; 32 percent or 51 ideal; 2 percent or 3 were overwight.

not picking on western area but numbers were higher. 50 percent of horses were emaciated/thin. ganado and naschitti were in better condition.

Mare to Stallion ratio: 50 percent/79 were mares. 18 percent/28 studs. 32 percent gelded. total horses.

we know we are part of problem by letting horses out. we took herd from breadsprings. year one was 14, then year 2 was 18, then year 3, 23; year 4, 29 horses, year 5, 39 horses. so 278 percent breedng rate.

estimated 70,000 feral horses, based on 50 percent breeding rate and 278 percent growth rate, in five years, could grow to 194,600, at the cost of $64 million a year or total of $1.6 billion. we say all navajo donate dollar but that would only buy panels. for water it is 3 billion gallons of water.

so need to think realistically. what is it going to cost us? our grandchildren?

monetary value – i agree horses are sacred. but right now, five horses go for $100. 6 cows is $4800. 25 sheep is $3250. so now do want to keep these animals? do we want our kids to have livestock? i hope answer is yes.

i heard this person say that if we are careful, we will be raising camels instead of horses.

for 500 owned mares, will need injections to not get pregnant; after that will have to be injected manually. Castration – Stallions: over 500 owned stallion gelded. We, NNVLP, castrated both halter broke and non-halter broke animals. In one day, we (NNVLP) can do up to 40 per head of stallions. so if we want to do population control, we can do this. but what about 20 years from now.

we need to know wat feral horse population is. then we need to talk bot Bureau of Indian Affairs on carrying capacity. Then we have to decide what breed keep and who allowed to breed. we have to control that. which horses cut and let go. lady said take horses to horse house. and we can really manage horses realistically? what does free mean? we say we want to free horses, but what does that mean.

we do need to do something. those numbers don’t lie. from 70,000 horses, in five years it’s estimated that more than 194,600 horses.

DURING THE QUESTION & ANSWER PORTION OF DR. UPSHAW-BIA’S PRESENTATION, ONE INDIVIDUAL ASKED QUESTION WHICH WAS ANSWERED. THE SECOND PERSON TO ASK QUESTION WAS LELAND GRASS, FOUNDED OF DINE’ TRADITIONALIST. MODERATOR SAID THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR HIS QUESTION. PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE SHOUTED FOR GRASS TO BE ALLOWED TO ASK HIS QUESTION. MODERATOR SAID THERE WAS TIME SCHEDULE. AND THEN MODERATOR STARTED DOOR PRIZE SESSION SO SOME PEOPLE SHOUTED TO CANCEL DOOR PRIZES.

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