Signs such as the one posted on this gate can be found throughout the North Mesa Stables area. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Louis Schulte, president of the Los Alamos Stable Owners Association, sprays his horse Saturday morning at North Mesa Stables. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Two friendly creatures at the North Mesa Stables Saturday morning. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Chasing and or scaring animals and horseplay have the potential to injure both people and animals at the North Mesa Stables recently, according to Louis Schulte, president of the Los Alamos Stable Owners Association.
“I’ve seen several frightened horses at the stables that were injured by running into a fence, including two that were fatally injured,” Schulte said. “Practical jokes, such as moving or scrambling animals to other pens, can also do serious harm.”
Schulte’s comments were prompted by a recent incident where horse were removed from one stable lot and placed on another.
Schulte said people should not approach animals in lots at North Mesa Stables without the permission and presence of the owner. He said even activities that might seem harmless can have serious consequences. He noted that some horses, for example will bite a person trying to feed them by hand. Many animals have diet restrictions or limitations that can be compromised by hand-feeding. Some animals can choke on inappropriate food. Several licensees of stable lots have installed cameras to observe visitors to the area.
All that said, taking children to visit the stables is a popular activity in the community. They are likely to see not only horses, but goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. The public is welcome to stroll through the North Mesa Stables but reminded to be considerate of both the animals and property they observe there.
It is recommended never to feed animals unless instructed to do so by the owners. Despite common images of apples being fed to horses, apples can actually cause colic and make the horse pretty miserable. Also grass and weeds growing outside a corral can sicken animals so visitors should never pull them and present them to animals to eat. Shouting and climbing on fences should also be avoided.
The Los Alamos Stable Owners Association annually hosts a Christmas event for the public which draws a large crowd. Stable owners chat with the public and provide refreshments. LASOA is sponsoring its first annual “Stroll the Stables” event August 11 in conjunction with the final day of the Los Alamos Rodeo. The goals for the event are to contribute to the community, educate people about the animals and help them understand why certain rules are in effect for visitors to the stables.
The stables are operated by the Los Alamos County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division. There are a total of 122 lots ranging in size from a large lot at one-quarter acre to a small lot at one-eighth acre. Lots are available only to Los Alamos County residents who are required to sign a license agreement and a licensing fee applies. Improvements to a lot such as structures or fencing are individually owned by the current licensee occupying the lot and whenever a licensee vacates a lot, the improvements are available for purchase.