Episode 9: Lee McLean on Domestic v Wild

Listen to Episode 9

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Lee McLean

This is Episode 9 of Season 4 and in it, Jec welcomes back Lee McLean to our show. It’s a great interview in which the two horsewomen discuss observations around domestic versus wild horse lives and the possible management practices around them. They get into their observations, which are insightful, as well as weighing in on the sometimes problematic online side-taking around this issue.

This is a compelling topic. At the Best Horse Practices Summit, the board and I talked a lot about how best to cultivate best practices – and by that we mean practices that are in the best interest of the horse — through Summit presentations. Horsekeeping involves making decisions around space, diet, hoof care, your horse’s socialization, riding. As Jec and Lee mention, we can get pretty tribal about what we think is best – that’s a shame because in my observation, the tribalism is often distinct from horses’ actual experiences.

After listening to Jec and Lee, maybe you can take a critical look at how you keep your horses and what improvements might be made for their sake. We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks to our title sponsor, Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds, extremely handy and healthy bales of alfalfa, timothy, and grass blends. A great addition or substitute for your hay or grass and way better than grain.

Also, thanks to Chill Angel, a Colorado company that makes luxurious superfine merino wool sleepwear, perfect for these cooler nights.

It’s true – horses in the wild can appear to be doing just fine and we should remember that humans have done a great job of wrecking horses’ feet, nervous systems, temperments and confirmation as we have domesticated them for our purposes. Of course, we have elevated their lives, too. As Lee mentions, wild horses have tough lives and a lot of the not-so-pretty events are never witnessed. Also, the various governments and agencies charged with managing wild horses have not done a stellar job here, nor have they used science to roll out optimal policy. It’s a political mess, also known as, yep, tribalism.

If we zoom out, we see that the horsekeeping swings from wild to domestic can be smooth or startling, depending on what lens we look through, what year, what culture, what education, what motivation folks have.

A lot of people, especially on properties with more acreage (especially, on acreage with diverse topography), keep their horses ‘naturally’ with great success. People with less space have gotten creative with hacks to improve their horses’ mental and physical well-being – I’m thinking of pasture design and footing as well as group housing.

Here are articles:

Wild Horse topics

Dr. King: Horses want fewer gifts, better care



Last week, after 15 years and 700 newsletters, I suspended the Cayuse Communications newsletter. It was a good stretch and thanks to all those who subscribed. While a page has turned, you can still find great articles on the Cayuse Communications sites, which include HorseHead, NickerNews, BestHorsePractices, and HighCountryOutsider. And, as ever, we have great books available at the Cayuse Communications library.

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Listen to Episode 9

Posted in BestHorsePractices Summit, Podcast, Women.

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