Wild Horses Saved By Billionaire’s Wife


Time Running out for Wild Mustangs on Goverment Land


Recently, news reports hit the papers that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could no longer afford to feed and house the wild horses and burros in their holding pens while they awaited adoption.

Wild Horse Adoption Center

The Bureau of Land Management was on the verge of slaughtering 2,000 of the mustangs because they’d not been bought at auction and were too expensive to continue to feed.

Horse Relocation

Now, 33,000 horses live in holding pens, each horse costing $1,500 a year to feed. By law, if they can’t be auctioned or adopted, they are to be slaughtered.


Recently, the land available to the horses has been drastically reduced by 19 million acres, so the government has had to round up more and more mustangs.

That was until just a few days ago when Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, dramatically stepped in to come to the aid of the animals.

She offered to adopt not only the 2,000 mustangs and burros, but the entire herd of 30,000 unwanted horses that were rounded up by BLM and are kept on federal land.

The BLM agreed to work with Mrs. Pickens to locate an area of federal land that she could rent or purchase for the animals.

In doing so, Mrs. Pickens earned the ABC Person of the Week Award. She is an animal lover and as a horse breeder and a philanthropist, she has always considered that people must be responsible for the care of animals.

“Animals don’t have a voice, and as long as man is their protectorate, we have a responsibility to take care of them,” she said. “We cannot abandon them.”

After her husband gave $7 million to the Red Cross to help Hurricane Katrina victims, she wanted to help the animal victims, too.

“I managed to hire an airliner, a cargo airliner and I went on my first trip down to Baton Rouge and we picked up 200 dogs,” she said. “I think we got about 800 dogs and cats out to California and Colorado and got them adopted out.”

So when Pickens heard that thousands of wild mustangs might be euthanized, she wouldn’t sit still for it.

“Our wild mustang must be our national treasure. We must not be slaughtering it,” Pickens said. “The horses have no natural predator. Their only predator is mankind, when we do the wrong thing.”


Wild horses, which date back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, roam free on federal land in 10 western states and share that land with herds of cattle.

“Can you imagine somebody suggesting that you euthanize 30,000 horses? It was abominable,” said Pickens, who lives in Dallas and has a ranch in the Texas panhandle and a home near San Diego. “That will never happen.”

“If all these cattlemen have access to all this BLM land, what if I bought a ranch and I can get access to the BLM land and then we shared it,” Pickens said of her plan.

“They can have their land and we’ll have ours for our horses. This way, I can create a sanctuary and we can take in all the horses that are homeless so that no one will ever be turned away.”

wild horses

Pickens said she is in negotiations to buy about 1 million acres for her wild mustang sanctuary in the West, a land mass slightly larger than Rhode Island. And it will be a place where anyone can go and see these wild horses running wild.

“I think a lot of people would love the opportunity to go and see what America’s really like, to see our true heritage, which is the wild horses.”


With the generous rescue plan from Mrs. Pickens and two other rescue organizations, the wild mustangs and wild burros got the intervention they so desperately needed … and just in time.


Re-written from news sources:

Website: Madeleine Pickens’ Project

Link: ABC: Pickens Person of the Week

Link: The US News and World Report


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60 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you, this is great

  2. Wow! That made me cry with joy for that womans heart of mercy and such a diligence in her duty of stewardship. She can do that and she did!
    I would if I could. AWESOME, thanks for sharing that!
    I will check out her sites soon

    • amen, mrs.pickens is a great blessing.god bless her.

  3. She’s doing a wonderful thing for these mustangs. It’s the only thing that’s going to work right now for them. I hope she’s successful in finding acreage for them to live and be safe from helicopter herding and crowded pens etc…

  4. God bless you, Mrs. Pickens. Your good deeds to our animals is what I would have done if I could. But,you can be sure I wrote a letter to the BLM offering solutions in lieu of an easy way out (euthanization). This should be good news for every American and should be printed in every newspaper in our country.

  5. is she planning on gelding any of the stallions? If we are the only natural predators….this could be a continuing problem.

  6. Thank you Mrs. Pickens. I was very touched by your generosity. You do want so many of us dream we could do.

  7. Wonderful what she did. Now I hope they work hard on devising a birth control plan for the herds. Can’t have them over populate and face the crisis on a bigger scale.

  8. What an amazing woman. This article brought tears to my eyes. These animals deserve to live.

  9. Thank you Mrs. Pickens. I have a few rescue horses myself that were going to slaughter, including a thoroughbred who’s grandfather won the kentucky derby in 1964, Northern Dancer. I love them dearly and only can dream of saving many more. Thanks again, God bless you and your husband. Cheryl, Ohio

    Cheers to you, Cheryl,
    Thanks from all of us for saving rescue horses. They have a special way of thanking us, everyday!

  10. This is so cool! It is awesome to see those with money step up to the plate!

    • Amen to that………

  11. Mrs. Pickins you are wonderful for giving 33,000 mustang horses a permanent, safe home.
    I was raised with horses, although I don’t have any now. I was horrified when I read the article about the possibilities of the mustangs being euthanized. In the past I adopted 2 mustangs, they were eager learners, had wonderful dispositions, & were loyal to us. On the trails, they kept themselves & myself safe from any dangers. One killed a rattler that was on the trail, which I had not seen. The other one now brightens the lives of handicapped children. She goes so far as to lay herself down on the ground, so that those who can not climb, could get on her back.
    Killing these animals(a vital part of our history, both for Natives & other Americans), is akin to burning an American flag, as far as I am concerned. I also want to thank once again, for helping us to preserve our history. Kudos! ! !

  12. Oh I love you Mrs. Perkins,
    You are a true horse lover.
    God bless you and reward you. You are my hero.
    (((((((((((((((((((((((HORSE HUGS)))))))))))))))

    We are the earth’s smartest creatures and therefore also responsible for caring and finding solutions to over population of “wild horses”. I’m sure we shall see their numbers rising as the population of wolves an only predator to control the horse population by weaning out the old, the sick, the injured, and the weakest of the herd is either endangerd,non existant or has declined through out the horse’s 19 million acre territories.Ranchers have seen to that, even though they were using government land to raise their cattle and sheep for pennies. Are they not reimbursed for lost stock?

    The land management should make it easier for people to adopt. You would rather see these horses slaughtered then to allow canadians to adopt as well as american citizens.. Are they not North American wild horses as well ???

    I cried when I became aware of the bad news for these magnificient creations of God for man ( general use here. Do we wait until they are endangerd like the eagle (in some states )? Do we protect them s their keepers and help as God intended. Reintroduce the wolf, God made all creatures for a reason. Man is the worst enenmy of the wild horse.
    I love you Madeleine, you are a Beautiful Soul.
    Horse Lover,
    Edna LaBonte.
    A canuck

  13. That is just amazing… i wish i had the money to do something as good as what she does… She is an incredible person…
    Thank You!

  14. It is nice to know that even in a harsh world; goodness can still be seen!

  15. I agree this is a wonderful act of generosity, however, don’t you think we should be helping people who have come upon adverse situations in their lives? Wouldn’t this be a better application of Mrs. Pickens’ vast wealth?

    Mrs. Pickens, you are an incredible person for doing what you did to save those horses. Please consider broadening your spectrum of the aid you give. i.e. helping people rather than animals. Once the people are taken care of then, I believe, we can start intervening in matters of animal crises.

  16. To think that our government would slaughter 30,000 wild mustang because they cannot afford to feed them @ $1500 a year is awful. It’s ok to build earth-destroying weapons, but not ok to preserve a living national treasure. Unbelievable. Thank you Mrs. Billionaire.

  17. No I don’t think so..It is her money to spend as she sees fit…Rather than buy another villa, jet or yacht, Mrs. Pickens has helped animals who cannot fend for themselves. There are social programs to help people in need. There are no such programs for these wild horses. It is a wonderful caring thing she has done. But there will always be someone who questions any act of kindness. Oh and by the way, people are animals (supposedly higher evolved than the others)

  18. What a wonderful unselfish thing to do. You must be a beautiful person to do such a great thing for thes magestic animals. Thank you

  19. I was in tears reading this, what a beautiful, wonderful , selfless thing to do for these defenseless animals. God bless you Mrs.Pickens, and thank you so much.

  20. I operate a small animal sanctuary and have rescued many dogs and cats, including a horse destined to be euthanized. I felt privileged to perform such an act of mercy. Multiply that times 33,000 and now you’re really up there with Mother Theresa. You’ve been blessed with great wealth and a generous, caring heart…a wonderful combination. In my small way, I feel I know how you feel when you close your eyes at night, knowing you are not the problem…but the solution. I hope your action will set an example for others who also have the potential to do something to help those less fortunate, be it human or animal.

  21. I am glad to see that a problem is being addressed, but I have some heartfelt concern. The West is not an entity that is frozen in time, it is evolving and modernizing just like the rest of the world, but it is still special, it is still the west. I worry that in an attempt to save the heritage of the west, the current west that is part of my heart will be lost. In her KUSI interview Madeleine referred to the current cattleman in terms of a welfare cowboy. This is not true. The current cattleman is one of the last true champions of the land. We live the west, we don’t just want to eco-visit here. I agree that a solution must be found for the wild horse problem, but before this decision is finalized, I think that the people that live in the land where she is attempting to form her refuge should be part ofthe decision making process.

  22. i LOVE HORSES and it is just soooooooooooooo amazing that you can do all this with HORSES!! you are sooooooooo cool!!!! i think it is sooooooooo cool,amazing, and wonderful that you do what you for HORSES!!!!!! i wish some day i can be like you, doing all that just for and with the HORSES!!!!!!!!!! really you do not know how much i LOVE HORSES!!!!!!!!! i will do anything to just own a HORSE. but you get to be with HORSES like all the time! do you know how cool that is?! you save sooooo many horses lives! that is what i want to do when i’m older. but i’m only 10 right now so i guess i have to wait a long time.but yah. i just wanted to say you are the coolest!

  23. It is a blessing and This women is their gaurdian angel!!

  24. Wow! that is cool that those horses were saved!
    I love those BEAUTIFUL pictures of the horses!!!!!

  25. How wonderful! Your story enriched my heart!

  26. God Bless the wife of T.Boone Pickens.
    Now the nightmares can stop.
    They will be safe.

  27. On March 23, 2009 at 2:10 pm Madeleine Pickens sent the following comment and request:

    Can you help us stop the mass murder and imprisonment of 33,000 wild horses and burros! The Wild Horse Foundation has a plan that offers a solution, but we need your help! Please stop this trail of carnage and public waste by contacting Ken Salazar at the Bureau of Land Management at the link below:




  28. I think what you did was amazing and from your heart. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful and thankful that there are people like you (angels really) out there that care that much for the wild mustangs.

  29. It was good to know that she saved the wild horses!Now lets see if someione can make the necessary changes to alow them to be adopted,(without restrictions that are sio strict that few people can afford to do it.There are lots of horse lovers out there,many willing to give a home and take care of these wild bueaties!I callenge someone to do something about the law governing this.

  30. Kuddos to Mrs. Pickens, I love it when wealthy people use their money in such a compassionate way.
    There is something really wrong in this country when we will go to extreme measures to save an endangered insect but consider slaughtering these beautiful mustangs, which have just as much right to be here as we do,they were here first just like the Indians.

  31. This is an amazing thing you did.
    You are treasured by many.

    I’m sure eveyone appreciates your

  32. God bless her. She is right about man kind being their only predetor and protector


    Bureau of Land Management on Rampage to Destroy Famous Wild Horse Herd
    For Immediate Release August 10, 2009

    Cloud and the wild horses of Montana’s PryorMountains are world famous but fame it appears is not going to protect the herd from a drastic government round up planned to begin September 1st in their spectacular wilderness home.

    There are currently only 190 wild horses (one year and older) living in the PryorMountains. The BLM plans to remove 70 of them, plus foals. According to the foremost equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran, 150-200 adult horses are needed in the herd to ensure their genetic diversity, which is vital to their long term survival.

    These 70 horses would be placed in jeopardy. Any horses over 10 years of age can be bought directly by killer buyers and transported over the Northern border to Canadian slaughterhouses or south into Mexico. Younger horses not adopted would be put into government holding with 33,000 others that the BLM has removed from the wild and has proposed killing because they can no longer afford to feed them.

    BLM cites poor range condition as the reason to remove the horses but abundant snow and rain for the past two and a half years has produced wonderful range conditions according to all who have visited Cloud and his herd. The Agency is not listening to anyone. They want this herd gutted. Nearly all the mares returned to the range would be given an experimental two-year infertility drug, PZP-22.

    This helicopter round up is just one among many that the BLM is trying to complete, perhaps before the Obama Administration can catch up with what is going on.

    The PryorMountain wild horses are descendants of the Lewis and Clark horses who were stolen by the Crow Indians in the early 1800’s. They can be traced further back to the horses brought over with the Spanish Conquistadors in 1500 making them one of the most Spanish of all wild horse herds in North America.

    Please contact The Cloud Foundation for more information

    http://www.thecloudfoundation.org, info@thecloudfoundation.org, 719-633-3842

  34. compatriots!
    Status Update Wednesday, 02 September 2009 16:48

    The DC District Court Judge denied our request for a Temporary Restraining Order. We are not giving up on these horses though– KEEP CALLING YOUR SENATORS and CONGRESS PEOPLE, All MEDIA OUTLETS and tell your friends– this is another treasure being destroyed if we can’t stop this unneccessary, callous and massive roundup.

    We will do our best to keep you updated- the round up is scheduled to begin tomorrow, Thursday Sept. 3 and over the next few days or week the BLM plans to remove over 70 horses– from older mares and stallions to young foals. Don’t give up.
    Who Has Been Hired to Round Up Cloud’s Herd? Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:28

    Dave Cattoor is a contractor hired by the BLM to perform wild horse round-ups. He and his wife and son run a business largely funded by the American taxpayer to harass and remove wild horses and burros. He was indicted by a federal grand jury and pled guilty to illegally hunting wild horses, aiding and abetting in 1992. He rounded up protected American mustangs, corralled into pens, loaded them into trucks, and hauled them to a slaughter house in Texas where they lost their lives. It was government theft and animal abuse. Among wild horse and burro advocates, he has a reputation of being cruel and inhumane. Photographs of newborn foals run to exhaustion, found hog tied on the range, horses and burros bleeding from their nostrils, broken legs and injured during exhausting gallops to captured pens are displayed on many wild horse and burro web sites.

    He is currently being investigated by the Department of Interior Inspector General for procurement fraud. It is known from federal contracting web sites that he has earned 13 million dollars since 2000 for which records are available. It is believed he has earned more than 21 million dollars since his conviction. Both he and his wife spoke separately before the Wild Horse and Advisory Board in 2009 and advocated for the continued use of helicopter round ups in an attempt to influence the boards recommendation to continue their lucrative contracting business. Federal law prohibits the use of contractors that have been convicted of a crime. Generally, a indictment would eliminate a contractor from consideration. However, Mr. Cattoor has been rewarded and made a millionaire many times over by the BLM despite the public outrage.

    Fully knowing the public’s concern about Mr. Dave Cattoor ‘s inhumane practices, the BLM Billings, Montana office have denied humane groups request to placed humane observers on the ground with full access during the Pryor round to ensure animals are treated humanely. Wild horses advocates have advised the BLM Billlings office as well as BLM officials in Washington DC that foals only day old and heavily pregnant mares are among those the contractor plans to run long distances for captured.

    Click Here for more information about Dave Cattoor

    Click Here to see a Helicopter Removal Pictorial
    Article from Honoring Freedom: The Ride to Save America’s Wild Horses Wednesday, 02 September 2009 14:18

    American Indian Leaders and others concerned about BLM’s wild horse management gather for Ceremony to honor the land and pray for the safety of the horses

    Download PDF Here
    Legal Battle to Save Clouds herd Wednesday, 02 September 2009 12:37

    See Documents Who Has Been Hired to Round Up Cloud’s Herd Tuesday, 01 September 2009 15:02

    Click Here to visit The Cloud Foundations YouTube page.
    Congressman Raul Grijalva calls for BLM to stop Roundup Friday, 28 August 2009 00:00

    Congressman Raul Grijalva calls for BLM to stop Roundup not only of Cloud’s Herd but of all Wild Horses and Burros

    Download full PDF here!
    Crow Elder & Historian Speaks Against Roundup Tuesday, 01 September 2009 00:00

    Howard Boggess, Member of the Crow Tribe of Indians, Elder and Historian talks about the Pryor Wild Horses he’s known all his life. Mr. Boggess discusses what could happen if the roundup of Cloud’s herd goes forward on Sept. 4th. Everything that is against the law for me they are planning to do to these horses. This is a very sad thing as far as I’m concerned. The horses have lived here for over 200 years. Even under the harassment of the BLM they’ve survived since 1971.
    Keep calling Secretary of Interior Salazar, BLM Director Bob Abbey, the Billings BLM Office and President Obama.


  35. i hope she can adopt and save the mustangs like cloud and the other ones featured in the pbs video cloud – but the blm might not let her

  36. I am SO HAPPY that the horses are still alive. I just wish it hadn’t come to needing a sanctuary for them and that they could still be truley wild. But this is still better than nothing:)

  37. The BLM can conduct roundups on private land too.

    • I call for war with the BLM. This is just to damn much to stomach. Tell me just what are you going to do with 19 million acres, build a condo or another damn military base?

  38. Thank you!!!!! I do not have the available funds that you have, but I did adopt the one I have and I love him to death. I can not imagine 30,000 more like him being euthanized. We (and the wild horses) need more people like you.

  39. did she really get to adopt them – last thing i heard was blm had turned her down twice – and probably since the blm has had these horses over a year – all the males have been gelded and mares might have been sterlized thus eliminating any breeding gene pool

  40. it’s great that so much can be done..i wish help like this could come for the Australian Brumby

  41. I think that wild mustangs are a beautiful site to see because they are all different colors and can be as silky as rib en, smooth, soft or fuzzy when their new born foals. I know that there are many types of horses, but I think wild mustangs are the best and most beautiful types of horses there are on the Planet Earth.

  42. To all who care about animals, hats off to you for saving them. Everything has a right to life. We dont put humans to death just because we cant feed them or it is too expensive so stop killing helpless horses. Every voice who cares get on the wagen an put some law into effect to stop the killing. Write anyone and everyone who listens and keep writing.

    Madeliine Pickens has gone far beyond any expectations of a human being with her works on saving horses and animals of all kinds.

  43. I am so relieved that so many people care about wild horses! Where I live some people didnt even know there was such a thing as wild horses! Saving 30,000 wild mustangs and burros is something to be reconized nation wide. I plan on adopting one in the next year or so…My friend has a grey mustang that was captured by the BLM. Whipser (the mustang) was one of the most talented, sweet, pretty, and smart horses that I ever met! It pains me to think that 30,000 like her can be killed for meat. What right do we humans have to do that to a creature that has done us so much help? If it wernt for horses (exspecially the mustangs!) where would we be today? Theres so many people who want to help the mustangs I hope everyone who wants to help them gets reconized sometime! Two thumbs up for Mrs.Pickens!

  44. I cried half way through this when those women started to help these horses. I wish I could do the same to protect our wild horses. My entire dream since I was little was to do this same thing. Thank you ladies for helping to save these horses which were doomed for death. Our government should be trying to save these animals instead of trying to destroy them.

  45. Thank you Mrs.Pickens and everyone for saving our Country’s Wild Horses and Burro’S .The Government needs to wake up and realize they need to save these Icon’s of this Country.They are a Big part of this country’s History and Heritage.If I had the money to help I would.I love the wild horses and burro’s,they should be treated with respect.The BLM.’S are wasting the taxpayers money,by their round-ups that shouldn’t have ever happened.These magnificent beautiful animals deserve to ROAM FREE as GOD so intended them to.All they want to do is be left alone to live their lives and raise and take care of their families.Man (BLM) do nothing but destroy everything they touch.Thank you again Madeline Pickins,you and Ginger K.I am so glad these wild horses and burro’s are going to be saved.

  46. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you i can’t say it enough, you are a savior to those horses and truly an angle from above. You saved the horses and burros that nobody else could and for that Mrs. Pickens i am grateful. Thank you a million times over i wish i could do the same.


  48. 30 000 wild horses this is stunning, I wish to can just come visit that place, i really like the work that you are doing.

  49. I agree with you,Mrs.M.Pickens is an Angel and a Savior,for our Wild Horses and Burro’s.She has done so much for them,I wish the Blm would learn they need to leave these beautiful Wild Mustangs and Burro’s alone.They are managed by the weather and the preditors that God has made to manage all wild animals.Mrs.Pickens you are a God send to these wild horses and burro’s,The BLM says they can’t afford to feed the wild horses and burro’s they have in holding pens,Do they need a rock to hit them in the head to know they release all Gods wild horses and burro’s they will survive,Put them back on the ranges they took them from and let them roam free forever.As God so intended them to do,thats why Mrs.Pickens is in their lives making a difference in the lives of Wild Horses and Burro’s.I thank you so much Mrs.Pickens may God Bless you always.

  50. THANK YOU Mrs. Pickens…What a miracle story. YOU are a true HERO. Now if only that could be done at the slaughter houses by
    some one that has a big enough heart and the money to do it! As Mrs. Pickens has done for those Mustangs. THANK YOU is not enough.

    • Yes Dawn Madeline Pickens is such an Angel for all she does for the Wild Mustangs.I wish I could do more then signing petitions and sending e-mails to people that could and can save our Wild Mustangs.I send to Senators and Rep.’s and different animal associations,what ever I am able to do for our Magnificent beautiful Wild mustangs.

  51. Oh my god, brought Tears reading this story, I really did not think there was no out there anymore to care for these wild horses and burros, Madeline, you are a TRUE ANGEL!!!!!!!!!!!! I always have promised that if I had so much money, it would go to save animals, for THEY DO NOT HAVE NO VOICE!!! I cannot thank-you enough for what you are doing for the horses, burros and all the dogs and cats that you have rescued, you must have such a peace in your heart. you are one REMARKABLE PERSON, AND ANIMAL LOVER, I am the same way, all the way.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    thank-you again

  52. i am catching up on your blog. who wouldn’t be touched by this story?!

    • we’ve got to save our wild horses and burro’s from extinction,thats whats going to happen if the BLM’S and cattlemen,sheepmen,and oil people have their way.All our wild horses and burro’s they want gonee off the public lands that belong to the wild horses and burro’s way back when with the Free Roaming Act 71.We can’t let these people take over and destroy our wild horses and burro’s that have every right to be on public lands to raise their families and multiply and LIVE forever WILD and FREE!!

  53. Thank god for Mrs. Pickens. It is a wonderful thing that she did. I can’t believe that those beautiful horses were about to be slaughtered.

  54. I heard about this last night and had to look it up. It breaks my heart that this was happening again. This was not the first time. I am so grateful for those who are participating to help save the animals that were given us to take proper care of regardless of how they came to us in the U.S.
    Your a blessing!

  55. It is good to know that, some people go the whole way to help these horses, or other animals too, because there is always other people whom think the only answer is slaughter, God Bless you Mrs Pickens,

    To stay wild & free is the best thing ever.

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