This month we asked Cathy Cottrill some questions about the many, many ways she volunteers her time for the Virginia Range horses. Cathy has served on the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Preservation League, she is a certified darter for American Wild Horse Campaign, a certified responder for LRTC’s Technical Large Animal Rescue team, and also a volunteer with Wild Horse Connection. Who said retirement was boring?!
How did you get involved in wild horses?
I got involved with the wild horses the day BLM did a roundup of what they considered to be nuisance horses in my neighborhood. I had no clue about BLM, NDA or what the issues were about wild horses. I had moved to Nevada 3 months earlier. Well, I found out quickly and I’m glad I did.
What is your favorite part of volunteering?
My favorite part of volunteering is knowing I can, and am, making a difference in the lives of these horses. I also can educate others on how to help them and the issues that we all need to know in order to keep these horses wild, free and safe.
Why are wild horses special to you? What do they represent to you?
Wild horses are special to me because they are special in history, what they represent and what they teach me about them.
What is/was your day job?
My husband John, who is also a volunteer, and I owned and drove an 18-wheel truck for about 26 years. We hauled specialty vehicles for commercial and vehicle testing. We hauled boats too. Also, I worked in the veterinary field for 17 years. Customer service, Maintenance Coordinator, and IT. I loved it. I am currently and finally retired but put in more time volunteering than I did doing a paid job. I am also a volunteer technician for LRTC’s Technical Large Animal Rescue Team
Do you have a favorite memory from the range that you can share with us?
One of my favorite memories on the range was reuniting a lost 3-month-old foal with her mother. This was in Iron Mountain. I noticed a foal with a bachelor stallion and no other horses around. That’s not right! Earlier, I had seen a band resting in the same area. Apparently, the band moved on but the foal was sleeping and did not notice them leaving. I called the rescue team and they were able to sneak up on this foal and capture her hand no less. Thanks to Willis Lamm and Tracy Wilson. Tracy had the foal in the backseat on her lap while we drove around looking for the band. When we found them, Tracy released the foal. The foal cried out and mama cried out. All the mares plus mom came to get her. I told mom she needed to pay better attention! Horse hugs and kisses were passed from mom to baby and of course, she nursed. Such a beautiful moment. The bachelor stallion she was with did not want to give her up. This could have ended in a much different way.
What other animals have you seen on the range?
The Nevada range has so many different animals which I have been lucky to see. Bighorn Sheep, Mule deer, owls, rabbits, Coyote, scorpions, antelope and donkeys.
Okay, aside from horses, what is your favorite animal?
My favorite animal is a toss-up between a cat and a dog. Growing up I always had both and still do.
If a theme song played every time you go out on the range, what would your theme song be? My theme song would be “The Horse Nobody Could Ride” It's about a wild mustang that would not trust just anyone until a man showed compassion and kindness.
Which horse has been your toughest to dart/photograph. Why?
The hardest horse to dart for me was Lora from Steener's band. It's like she knew. She would position herself behind other horses all the while giving you that side look! Oh and any horse in Shaggy’s band. He would move them all away anytime he saw us.
Does pineapple belong on pizza?
Not on mine but I do know some people like it. I love pepperoni and mushrooms.
I never knew I could be this happy and knowing what I do makes a difference. I love these horses. We have a family in our volunteer group. We all work together for the same goal. The horses. For their safety and freedom.