Saturday, February 18, 2017

‘Unbranded’ character responds to accusation of ‘mustang neglect’ - Full Article

Ben Masters rebukes a recent opinion piece on his 2015 documentary.

Ben Masters OPINION
Feb. 10, 2017

Ben Masters is a filmmaker, writer, and horse hand who splits his time between Bozeman, Montana, and Austin, Texas. Masters studied wildlife management at Texas A&M University and serves as wildlife management chair for the volunteer BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Follow him on Twitter @bencmasters

Last week High Country News released an opinion article by Libby Blanchard that portrayed the film Unbranded, in which I am a character, in a scathing manner that ultimately called for wild horse lovers to “stay away” from the film. I was shocked to hear about the criticism of a film that resulted in hundreds of wild horse adoptions, raised nearly $100,000 for the Mustang Heritage Foundation, and had an entire theatrical release centered around fundraising and press to increase wild horse adoptions.

In addition to calling for a boycott of the film, Blanchard wrote: “As wrong as it was for these young men to treat their mustangs neglectfully, it is also unfortunate for the public to accept this behavior.” While I don’t profess to be a saint by any means, the accusation that we treated our mustangs neglectfully is a remark that stings especially deep, as I spend huge amounts of time and money trying to take care of my horses as properly as possible. Did we make mistakes? Yes. Could we have done better? Yes. But hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t know anyone who’s spent a long time around horses who hasn’t experienced a horse injury, despite their best efforts, of some kind...

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