Just heard about this one. Awful. Relatively new so not clear what is going on yet, but seems that horses were dumped on a strip mine and left to run feral. No one is claiming them or so far seems to know who "owns" them, if anyone.
by looking at the info on the pictures it seems to me that these 100+ horses were just discovered. The people involved are trying to get the local media to cover the story.
I C&P from the facebook page:
Where: Mingo County - Wharncliffe, WV
(I believe this is close to Gilbert, WV)
They are on Glenn Elm mountain – likely a former mine site -
What: 100 plus free ranging horses starving
you do not want to see the pictures. I will give you a run down, all ages, from dying to what looks like a recently released horses on a site where there is limited resources.
The name of the facebook group is "Help Save Mingo Horses!" There are links to the pictures in that group near the beginning. The picture album is entitled "starving/dying horses in WV....NEED IMMEDIATE HELP!".
It sounds like they are organizing getting hay to the horses today but aren't sure they even know where they all are yet. What a mess.
Not clear where they are going to go, so they are asking for people to hold off on donations until they get the ducks in a row so they make sure legitimate 501(c)(3) organizations helping the horses get the money, and not scammers. Sounds prudent.
You're correct that they have been turning horses loose on old mountaintop mines for awhile. There was a newspaper article a couple years ago (probably AP).
I know pretty much where this would be. I've been writing about mining down there for 14 years, including a book, Moving Mountains. But now I only go there every couple of years because I have horses at home in Virginia. Haven't been to that area for two years.
Ironically, some of those old mines could work for rescue/retired horses if done right. There's desperate need for new economies down there (a friend down there just emailed me about an idea she had for the mine sites).
If the land was properly nourished, hay and grain could be grown there. People could have jobs. And horses could benefit.
All of Mingo County is extremely rural, with a high poverty rate. the closest thing to anything recognizable in the entire county is Matewan, a mining town about which someone made a movie in the '80s about the WV mine wars in the 20's.
Honestly, the place is too far from anything to be anything useful, really. For Mingo County to be useful for retirement facilities or any other industry, they need things like easy interstate access. But I guess it makes it an easy place to dump 100 horses without anyone being the wiser.