We educate the public about native wild horses, protect and research them on the range and help those who have lost their freedom. We are based in California with national and international outreach.
Anne Novak ~ Executive Director
Anne Novak is a leader in the grassroots movement to stop the roundups and protect America’s native wild horses. She is a voice for the more than 50,000 at-risk wild horses who have lost their freedom and families as well as the 18,000 mustangs left on the range.
Her passion for justice ignited while working as a White House intern in the Office of Cabinet Affairs during the end of the Reagan Administration. She became hopeful for social change through the arts after witnessing politics up close.
Several years ago she befriended an adopted American wild horse named Carson and became a wild horse advocate. Novak knows deep in her soul how uniquely wonderful the indigenous horses are and supports their future as living symbols of history, freedom and the American West.
Since 2009 she turned the national wild horse campaign around working with The Cloud Foundation as their Director of Public Relations. Wild horse advocates’ points of view and concerns were heard in the media around the world. Her signature “links of interest” on more than 100 press releases she co-wrote brought credibility to wild horse advocacy. She created an issue archive in the foundation’s press room. She was the brainchild for many campaigns and actions during her two years with The Foundation.
July 15, 2010
“According to Hope Ryden (Honorary Board Member of the Cloud Foundation and the person most responsible for saving Cloud’s herd from complete destruction in the late 1960’s) there has been more media attention and public outcry to save the wild horses and burros over the last nine months than there was over 40 years ago when the Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed by a unanimous Congress. Anne has been key to ramping up this effort and tireless in her work for the wild herds. Using her gifts of strategy and investigative research, Anne has found the stories that need to be told and connected us with other key advocates across the country. As the driving force behind our press releases, Anne has revolutionized the collective fight to save the wild horses and burros of the American West,“ explains Ginger Kathrens, volunteer executive director of The Cloud Foundation and Emmy® award winning filmmaker.
By creating a dynamic press campaign, Novak took The Foundation’s social media recognition from a low of a few Facebook fans to more than 32,000 followers. She branded Cloud Foundation’s Executive Director, Ginger Kathrens as “the Jane Goodall for wild horses.” Through research Novak discovered the Ruby Pipeline was proposed where a flurry of roundups were slated to occur and brought the story to the national media. She co-produced a film shoot on the issue for French TV in Nevada. Novak brought in music star Sheryl Crow, as “Messenger of the Mustangs”, for the White House and the international press as well as bringing in Michael Blake and other celebrities.
Novak launched the Hearts for Horses campaign with author Terri Farley, created Mustang Monday™ (#MM & #MustangMonday) and Wild Horse Wednesday™ (#WildHorseWednesday) as call to action days used widely on social media, hashtagged #WildHorses, #SaveMustangs, #ProtectMustangs. She publicized the Disappointment Valley (now Wild Horses and Renegades) film screening in conjunction with her brainchild–the March for Mustangs–in Washington, fundraised for the Triple B lawsuit and created the Cloud Foundation’s Save the Mustang Fund.
She found plaintiffs for court actions to uphold the spirit of the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act, conceived of and organized nationwide rallies and press conferences, and served as spokesperson for the issue to the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and others while breaking weekly stories to the Associated Press, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and many other national and international news venues.
Novak grew up in the West and enjoys the great outdoors. She fell in love with horses at 2 1/2 after her first ride in the Sierras.
She does field work before and after roundups on various federal and state owned ranges. She attended the Twin Peaks roundup near Susanville, California and adopted two wild horses from the roundup for the Discover Mustangs project.
Feeling all wild horse herds in the West needed a new wave of conservation–Novak founded the California-based group Protect Mustangs in 2011. She and her team work to educate the public about the American mustang, protect and research wild horses on the western range and help those who have lost their freedom.
In her first year as Executive Director for Protect Mustangs Novak championed the public’s right to be heard through public process, advocated for wild horses before, during and after roundups, conceived of and organized the Rally to Stop the Roundups in Sacramento and Oakland, worked with elected officials regarding wild horses, conducted field research, served as spokesperson on the wild horse crisis, lead national and international outreach campaigns for many wild horse issues during 2012 including the Calico Campaign, 3-Strikes to Slaughter Campaign, Virginia Range Mustang Campaign, and the Native Wild Horse Campaign.
Novak has helped save more than 100 Virginia Range wild horses from probable slaughter working with Shannon Windle at Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund. She has found homes for several of these historic wild horses. Novak lead a successful international media and outreach campaign to bring awareness to the Nevada state mustang crisis–focusing on the wild horses near Reno, Nevada.
She’s determined to protect native wild horses throughout the West and is calling for Nevada’s Governor Sandoval to step in and stop the Nevada Department of Agriculture from sending wild horses to auction where kill-buyers buy horses for slaughter.
She created the Defund and Stop the Roundups Petition to Congress that is currently circulating on the internet. Novak has lead successful education campaigns for Protect Mustangs using social media and video as well.
She believes Holistic Management and Range Design are sustainable management methods that will support native wild horses to heal the land and create biodiversity. Novak wants to find the win-win for native wild horses to thrive with multiple use on public lands–because sadly multiple use is key on the New Energy Frontier.
She is against roundups and wants to know why the government agency never proves there is overpopulation on various Herd Management Areas. She knows indigenous wild horses foster the thriving natural ecological balance. Aware of the dangers in giving non-viable herds PZP and other contraceptives, she prefers Holistic Management and Range Design.
She visits short term holding facilities to document captive wild horses, advocate for their safety and find adoptive homes for them.
Training and rehabbing horses is one of her passions. She is grateful to gentle some at-risk wild horses with other board members so they can be placed in forever homes. She has placed many at-risk wild horses in adoptive homes–some as far as Hawaii.
Novak is working on Music4Mustangs (concerts to save the mustangs) as well as directing a short film about wild horses while continuing her work as Executive Director.
Kerry Becklund ~ Director of Outreach
Kerry Becklund fell in love with America’s native, wild horses on a trip to meet the Little Colorado Herd on federally-owned land in Wyoming. “Experiencing herds of wild horses grazing freely on almost 9 million acres of open land changed my life forever.”
Kerry grew up in the golden rolling hills of Sonoma County at a time when pasture fences were only for the animals, when children were free to cut through any field on the way to their next adventure. It was up to the kids to know which bulls and rams were mean and which trees could be climbed fast enough for a quick escape; a time when neighbors let kids ride their horses out of generosity and without signing “my parents promise not to sue you” papers.
That kind of freedom has disappeared from the lives of most Americans. But that freedom lives, breathes, walks, trots and gallops across millions of acres, at least for now.
For Becklund, America’s wild horses represent not only the freedom lost to so many in this country. She believes that the horses continue to protect the public’s right to freedom itself. While the horses remain protected on public land, the public is protected from the monopolization of that land by the energy and mining industries amongst others. The air is protected. The water is protected because the horses are protected.
“The fight for America’s native, wild horses is about so much more than the horses. It is about the fight for open space where people are free, truly free, where children can run as far as they can see and experience the freedom that made this country great. With wild herds of horses, native vegetation, clean air, and clean rivers. This is a fight about who controls the land, the air and the water. We have so few areas left for the public to enjoy and immerse themselves in the natural world.”
Becklund feels there is no better way to experience native, raw America than to see a herd of wild horses galloping across unfenced land as far as the eye can see.
“This is a nation for the many not the few,” states Becklund. “I will feel successful in this campaign when I’ve brought people from all different backgrounds – political, racial, and social-economic – to fight for our nation’s horses.”
You may contact her at Kerry@ProtectMustangs.org
Irma Novak ~ Director of Youth Programs and the Discover Mustangs Project
Bio coming soon
Barbara Ramel ~ European Outreach Coordinator
Bio coming soon
Tami Hottes ~ Outreach Coordinator for Midwest and Southern regions
Bio coming soon
Contact her at Tami@ProtectMustangs.org
Catherine Hastings ~ Assistant to the Executive Director
Bio coming soon
List coming soon
Advisory Board Members
Michael Blake, Author Dances with Wolves
Rachel Fazio, Attorney at Law
Craig Downer, Wildlife Biologist, Wild Horse and Andean Tapir Expert