A village of caring, compassionate and concerned citizens.

Ruidoso is a popular destination for weekend road trips, family vacations, events, conferences and so much more. This travel writer has been visiting Ruidoso for more than thirty years.

Ruidoso has been in the press numerous times. Probably most noteworthy, the village was named “Prettiest Small Town in New Mexico” by USA Today in 2014.

Also, American Cowboy magazine listed Ruidoso as one of the 12 Western Gateways in 2014. The Hubbard Museum of the American West is featured in the article, which ties into the topic of this article.

Ruidoso has a population of 7,770 (2016 United States Census Bureau)…(777!!! Lucky, lucky lucky!!!) According to an article by Dallas News, the visitor population bolts up to about 35,000 in the summer months, probably thanks to the cool, mountain air and Texans who are looking to escape the heat.

Ruidoso appreciates the many visitors but it’s the locals that keep this town grounded and humble. It is a village of big hearted givers. Two words that are frequently used when talking, or writing, about the community are charity and change.

The community could not survive without the contributions of the thousands of visitors, each year. However, the excitement and dedication of the residents is the primary reason for the sense of unity and generosity in Ruidoso.

The Ruidoso Chamber of Commerce website contains a vast list of charitable organizations and nonprofit groups. All of them are an extremely important piece of the puzzle that is Ruidoso…and Lincoln County.

The following is a short list of some local government, community and civic organizations:

  • Hubbard Museum of the American West
  • Humane Society of Lincoln County
  • Ruidoso Midtown Association
  • Little Bear Forest Reform Coalition
  • Ruidoso Valley Greeters
  • Ski Apache Adaptive Sports
  • Spencer Theater
  • Ruidoso Trails Coalition

Wild, Wild Horses

Wild Horses RuidosoThe Wild Horses of Lincoln County (WHOLC) is a nonprofit organization that has been fighting to protect (and keep the wild horses free) in Lincoln County. This organization, along with the Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) has been battling the court systems for years, to assure the wild horses remain free.

According to the Wild Horses of Lincoln County Facebook page, for the last year and a half as court battles raged on, the Alto wild horses were corralled. Then came a positive turn, just a month ago. The herd was released on a 2,000 acre ranch, thanks to the kindness of a Lincoln County rancher. Although two of the fifteen horses were moved back to the Enchanted Forest (their home territory with stallion, Blaze).

The following is from an article posted by Ruidoso News on August 27, 2016:

About a dozen “wild” mares and their foals were hauled away from the Alto area Friday in response to a complaint lodged by a resident of Enchanted Forest, who contended they were a nuisance, posed a danger to traffic and were damaging property. Upset neighbors and advocates for the herd gathered outside the area where Caroline McCoy and her adjoining property owner had corralled the horses and wanted to work out a solution to her problem and halt the removal of the herd, but the process continued.
The stallion of the herd…was not among the horses corralled and removed because McCoy said she was unable to secure him on her property, a requirement of the process. Those watching the removal said he was “going crazy” nearby as his mares and foals were loaded and hauled away.

The article also states that the herd was taken to a facility in Santa Fe. There they were to be examined by a veterinarian and put up for auction. WHOA won a temporary restraining order in September, 2016 which stopped the auctioning of the wild horses.

  • August, 2017, Blaze goes to court. – Restraining order will stay in place – NO ADOPTIONS. Blaze has waited for the release of his wild horse family for 11 months.
  • November, 2017, the New Mexico Livestock Board’s Motion to Dismiss this case for Lack of Standing was DENIED.
  • 94,000 people signed the petition to keep the Alto horses free.
  • May, 2018, next court date for the permanent freedom of the herd.

What’s Next?

wild horses ruidosoFor the next year, while they wait for their final day of freedom, the horses will be able to roam on the ranch. After which these horses plan to work for Alto/Ruidoso Tourism as they always have. I’m sure that Blaze will be so happy to see his long lost family.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with legal fees and feed for the herd in the meantime.

-Jamye Gilbreath

Texas Writer