I have gotten information that 6 Lusitano mares will be going to auction in Oregon at the Wallowa County Sheriff Auction this Feb 11. The information I have is that they are healthy and have been well cared for and from the Carpe Diem farm. I have pictures and blood lines for anyone that is interested.
This is the information I have regarding the mares:
This particular group of mares have been boarded in Joseph, OR for almost a year. The caretakers have been trimming, worming and vaccinating on a regular schedule. Horses are in good shape and are very well bred as you can see on their pedigree sheets. This group of mares will fit in your breeding program and will produce some wonderful blood lines and colors.
Notice is hereby given that Fred Steen, Wallowa County Sheriff will on the 11th day of February 2011, at 10 o'clock a.m (pacific time)at the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo Grounds on Hurricane Creek Road, Joseph in Wallowa County and State of Oregon.
I dont know the circumstances surrounding the reason for the auction, but I am hoping for a good outcome for these girls. I was sent pictures and bloodlines also for those interested.
ENTERPRISE -- The Wallowa County Sheriff's Office was transporting hay Friday to more than 120 exotic Portuguese Lusitano horses allegedly neglected on a remote ranch near the northeastern Oregon mountain settlement of Troy.
Deputies took temporary control of Carpe Diem Farm on Wednesday, Sheriff Fred Steen said. The horses were malnourished and some had died, but the cause of their deaths had yet to be determined, he said.
Not enough hay had been stockpiled for the winter on the property, fences had been knocked down and deputies were struggling to provide water to the horses, Steen said.
Authorities typically would seize the animals and relocate them for better care, but the farm is buried under 4 feet of snow, the sheriff said.
"It is not practical to move horses in and out of there," he said.
Farm owners Byrde Lynn Hill and Frank Baxter were believed to be in the Seattle area, he said. The telephone number listed on Hill's website was disconnected.
The horses, originally bred for war, dressage and bullfighting, had been in the care of employees, the sheriff said.
Wallowa County is paying to truck hay to the scene at a cost of $120 per ton, a job made difficult by bitter cold and frequent snowstorms.
"It's expensive for the county, and given the weather conditions, it's an emergency situation," Steen said.
Was really surprised to see that too. There is another thread about it on COTH and Fugly has a post on it.
This can happen near cities too. Anyplace really. And do a few searches on COTH for shocking and/or wacky examples.
Hoping all ends well for the horses. This has been going on for a while -- maybe stuck in lawsuits across several states and in Canada too.
Wallowa County is amazing. The county has about 7,000 residents, is breathtakingly beautiful and is REMOTE. A 6 hour drive from Portland. There are a few lovely towns and an artist's colony in Joseph's. And with one of the largest intact native Palouse prairies --- supporting the nation's largest nesting colony of raptors --- (Zumwalt Prairie).
OK- I don't profess to know it all but in my search for buying another Lusitano, my husband and I have spoken at length with a whole bunch of the "actors" in this drama.
The sheriff is playing out a political game too.
Byrdie Hill - is the Owner and is known to hire and fire employees often. She is known as a fruit cake. Portuguese breeders call her the Crazy American Lady. She (and her new husband -now separated) hire someone to care for and sell off the herd two Plus years ago, as she says she wants to downsize. Her new husband looks around and finds the best person he can find for her, someone with horse skills. This man has a "dream job" already, he is talked into taking the position -and he will only do it for a contractual arrangement whereby, they are given certain horses at certain milestones, so he moves his family to OR, etc. Turns out, the resources for caring for 200+ horses aren't what he thought they were -like it is just him caring for 200 horses. But he is there and makes the best of it -in fact, works his butt off.
But the owner Hill and husband talks to a local "friend," who says he can make more money for her (convinces her that he can sell the herd for millions). -so she fires the employee on the spot. Like get out now! Guess what, when you sign a contract -it is no longer just employer/ee law.
The ex-employee/business partner has resources -he is not someone you fire like that. He sues. He wins. Hands down -took the jury all of an hour to decide. She loses -$375,000. and probably more.
In the meantime, she has sold horses she had no rights too during the six months, tried to file bankrupcy and loses (holding up the court case), she stopped having the animals cared for, etc. They just run wild.
After she loses, she had the local editor write a smear article (which they then retracted), the sherif is good friend of hers and he is passive-aggressive about his role in selling the horses at auction and it is small town 101.
The judge says as horses get sold (remember some of these are lusitanos -very rare), the money is to go to the winner of the lawsuit and the winner of the lawsuit is supposed to have a hand in deciding which horses will go to auction and pay for auction costs up front BUT the latest twist is that the sheriff has now seized control of the horses and won't allow him or anyone on the property (all the while talking to newspapers about starving horses).
Every side is playing all angles.
It is ugly.
Now that the sheriff has taken control, the Gov will have to feed. That is good news. The interesting thing is that he says the horses are all in "Good" to "fair" condition -why did he seize control of them and want to move them? I assume that the costs are going to be billed to the owner -again politics (ever read "Bleak House," by Dickens). Basically, in that book there is a court case that goes on forever, all assets are used to cover gov costs of trial, the winner of the court gets...nothing. hmmm
The person who sued and won did get close enough to take photos this week from the road (did I mention that the road has been closed due to 4 feet of show and the place is totally inaccessable to most shippers?)
But I saw the photos, the horses look to be in good shape but lots of prego mares.
Word has it that another auction will happen soon of about 30 mares and a few young stallions. There will be Luso, QHs and some crosses. I am sure we will all get about 10 days notice -as it is up to the sheriff to announce the date.
Someone let a gate or two open (rumor has it) last year, so babies were born in winter (not good up there) and mares have been bred to who knows who.
Not all horses will be able to have their registrations sorted out -particularly young stock, as Hill stopped DNA testing, registering. But IAHLA has said they are willing to work with new owners, if possible.
Only the older horses will have Portuguese registry or be eligible because Hill got mad at the Portuguese inspection process over a decade ago. Most horses will be able to get a IAHLA registry. Although IAHLA has now kicked Hill out of the registry.
The court issues are not all settled yet.
There -hopefully I have presented the picture as accurately as possible (I am sure some details are wrong as it is a complicated story but this was my best shot).
I hope one day someone makes it into a book.
The problem is not lack of money, the problem is all the horses are assets and tied up in the courts and it is all tied up in small town government.
Last edited by Cielo Azure; Mar. 2, 2011 at 10:48 AM.
there is a picture showing the horses in the street, and before anyone freaks, Joseph is a very small town. It's only a few blocks from one end to the other, so it's no biggy driving the herd both ways. The horses look pretty good in the photo, and I'd post it here if I had that privilege.
JOSEPH – Managing a herd of 120 half-wild horses has been daunting for the Wallowa County Sheriff's Department, which resorted to doing things the cowboy way on Thursay – wrangling them on horseback right through Joseph.
Riders herded dozens of Portuguese Lusitano and Andalusian horses back and forth through the town, population 967, between from a broad pasture at one end and the Harley Tucker Rodeo Grounds on the other, so the stallions, mares and foals could be sorted.
"This is a pain in the neck, but it's something we have to do," said a weary Sheriff Fred Steen after the final gallop through Joseph over rain-slick streets.
The herd was taken into temporary custody on Feb. 23 at the remote Carpe Diem Farm north of Troy. Steen took the action because he was worried that too little hay was available on the 500-acre property to feed them through the rest of the winter. Fences had fallen down, some horses were having difficulty getting to water, and the hooves of many needed trimming.
The farm is at 4,800 feet elevation and was buried under nearly 3 feet of snow in late February, and a mountain road to the outside world periodically drifted shut.
Steen said that since then, eight horses have been sold to satisfy civil liens against owner Byrde Lynn Hill of Bellevue, Wash Even in the current depressed horse market, the mares brought an average $3,500 to $4,000, and a stallion commanded more than $19,000, according to Undersheriff Steve Rogers .
Forty-one more horses will be sold at a sheriff's auction at 10 a.m. April 15 at the rodeo grounds in Joseph, said Steen. No minimum bid will be required, he said.
"This is a high-quality, specialty market, and there is a fairly large following of people who like this breed of horse," said Steen.
Advertisements on Hill's website describes the herd as "classic Iberian horses with world class beauty, kindness of temperament and athleticism."
Since confiscating the horses, Wallowa County has spent about $22,000 for hay, veterinary bills, transportation costs and wages for wranglers, said Rogers. Eight seasoned wranglers were paid Monday to move the herd back and forth between the rodeo grounds and pasture.
Deputies blocked Joseph's Main Street at the intersection with the Imnaha Highway, and the wranglers stampeded the herd through the city center in about fifteen seconds. The riders moved them fast so the herd didn't split apart at the intersection.
The furious pace brought perils of its own, and Steen's horse shied at a yellow crosswalk painted on the wet asphalt during the headlong run.
"She hit the brakes and skidded a little bit," he said.
In most parts of Oregon, such a herd probably would have been loaded onto stock trucks and hauled to the rodeo grounds and back. But most of Carpe Diem Farm's horses have never been trained to lead with rope and halter, said Steen. Adding to the difficulties, the fenced pasture where they're kept has no loading chutes.
"You've got to treat them as one big herd," said Steen. "It's a lot cheaper to run them down the road."
Because the herd is part of a potential criminal case, Wallowa County has refused to accept donations to help with the animals' care and feeding. And even when a horse is sold to satisfy a civil lien, such horses may have to remain with the herd for a time as evidence until the case is resolved, said Steen.
No criminal charges had been filed Tuesday against anyone linked with the case, a sheriff's spokeswoman said. Efforts to reach Hill on Tuesday failed.
"I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Joseph isn't remote, it's only an hour from La Grande (I-84 runs through LG) and the weather in and around Joseph and Enterprise is doable. Where the horses originally were, Troy, is snow bound off and on throughout the winter.
Sounds like a big mess, I wouldn't put out money on a horse that had to stay with the herd because the court case wasn't settled. What if you didn't get the horse or your money back?