Serving the High Plains

Mesalands to offer courses revolving around wild horses

Mesalands Community College likely will offer classes this fall revolving around the care of several wild horses from Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico.

Paul Leonard, farrier science faculty member, and Manny Encinias, animal sciences faculty member, gave an update during the board of trustees meeting March 16 about the college’s efforts in launching a wild horse program so the animals eventually can be adopted out. Fees to adopt the horses currently are $125.

Mesalands officials first revealed the possibility of a partnership with Carson National Forest regarding its wild horses in September.

Leonard said the U.S. Forest Service will give the college about $40,000, plus internships and other services. He said he would use that money to build or renovate corrals, a round pen, alleys and watering systems for the animals west of the college’s horseshoeing arena.

He said he expected the horses would be at Mesalands by August.

Leonard said Mesalands probably would start with four to five horses and expand that number in the future. He said the Forest Service is willing to assist in that expansion.

Leonard said the horsemanship, once offered as a class at Mesalands, can be incorporated into current animal science programs.

Encinias said he expects the horses would “recruit a new type of student to Mesalands” and be “a tremendous opportunity” for the college.

Acting Mesalands President Natalie Gillard said Leonard and Encinias “make a great team” with the wild horse endeavor and said forthcoming programs with the animals create “a win-win” situation.

A 2004 environmental assessment determined Carson National Forest could support 50 to 105 horses, depending on environmental conditions. Its population last was estimated at more than 300.

In other business:

• The board tabled action on new uniform guidance policies that would be added to the college’s administrative affairs handbook until they are reviewed by a lawyer. Mesalands auditor Martin Mathisen requested the new policies.

The guidelines deal with allowability of costs for federal grants, time and effort standards, cash drawdowns of those grant funds and reporting suspected fraud.

Amanda Hammer, vice president of administrative affairs, told the board Mathisen sent sample policies or she discussed them over the phone with him. She said she also used a similar policy from another university in one section.

Board Chairman Jim Streetman suggested approval of the policies be delayed until after a lawyer reviews them. After that, the matter would be placed on the agenda for the board’s April meeting.

• The board approved a title change for director of public relations Josh McVey, who now will be known as chief marketing officer. Gillard said the change better reflects his duties at the college.

• The board approved an annual purchase requisition of $39,196 to Jenzabar Inc. of Boston, which provides maintenance to computerized student-information programs for the college.

• The board approved a total of $63,050 in Mesalands Community College Foundation property and equipment leases, backdated to July 1. The leases include five tracts and two trailers. The action took place after a 25-minute closed executive session.

• Gillard recognized new Mesalands employees Kyeli Collins, who is educational service center facilitator; and Sabrea Skinner, enrollment secretary.

• The board approved its annual calendar of events, with no changes from the previous year.

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