Truckers to the rescue! Hay sustains wild mustangs during drought

| 3/25/2003

Thanks to three North Dakota owner-operators, two rare wild horse herds have received a month's supply of free hay hauled to drought-stricken central South Dakota, where the herds reside.

OOIDA members Rick Slama and Kenny Gross, along with owner-operator Paul Peterson, all of North Dakota, volunteered their trucks to haul hay 600 miles from their home state to two wild horse ranches in South Dakota. After an organized effort to find ranchers to donate hay, Slama, Gross and Peterson picked up all the hay at different ranches and organized it onto their three trucks.

Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, the recipient of the good-will truckers' hay, said, "We are overjoyed at the miracles that continue to come our way here. We know fuel prices are up, and this makes this response to our needs even more meaningful."

In addition to their trucks and fuel, Gross and Peterson also donated hay. The Grosses donated 40 large bales of alfalfa to the wild horse project. Jerry Lykken, who drove Gross' truck, volunteered on his own time. The Petersons donated 10 large square bales of alfalfa, the use of their truck and fuel.

"These miracle workers stayed long enough to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a tour of the wild horse facility," Sussman added. "They are back on the road again, traveling the country."

Sussman and her organization began its conservation program in 1999 to save two endangered, rare herds of wild horses in South Dakota.

"The drought hit South Dakota hard this past year, and they expect another hard year," Sussman said. "Grazing is minimal if any at all."

Truckers and donors from all over the country have come to their rescue. Sussman says they are still in need of trucks to haul hay from donation sites across the United States. At presstime, hay is awaiting transit to the ranch from Kentucky, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The group expects to be out of hay by April, well before the next cuttings of fresh hay.

If you can assist this group by hauling or organizing a hay drive, please call Karen Sussman at (605) 964-6866.