Don Juan is handsome all white stallion, observed in the Placitas area since the late 1990s. Don is a diligent steward of his band, and works hard to keep them away from Captain Midnight, the other dominant stallion of the area. Interestingly, Don Juan adopted Captain Midnight when he as a juvenile after his family was rounded up and taken away for slaughter in 2001.
Don Juan and his herd was rounded up by Al Baca from his gravel mine last summer and taken to Dennis Chavez’s facility where he was gelded, His family was then bought by a kill-buyer. Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) found the buyer and asked Placitas Wild members to help buy them back. Five thousand dollars was raised to ransom Don Juan’s band, and now they live free and safe from capture on the San Felipe Wild Horse Preserve.
Don Juan, mane and tail flowing in the wind against the purple Sandia mountains, is the horse in David Cramer’s photograph seen all over Albuquerque. Don Juan is also the subject of the international prize-winning photograph, “Stallion Chase” also by Davis Cramer. He was also on the cover of the February-March 2012 Santa Fean in a photo taken by Lynn Pomeranz. In addition, he was the poster-boy for the New Mexico state law declaring that the Placitas wild horses are protected under the 1971 Wild Horse and Burrow Act discounting the BLM claim that they were not counted so they could not be protected under the law.
You can always pick out Don Juan when you see the small band of mostly white horses grazing at the preserve north of Placitas. He’ll be standing apart from the others, a bit wary, but always watchful for threats against his herd.