(In my own words) by Terry Fitch, updated forward by R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
“Yesterday, 7/8/2014, Debbie Coffey shared information on this blog about one of the BLM’s long term holding contractors who, regardless of their wealth and TV personality status, abused their equine charges by holding a devastating fireworks display over the very area that we, the taxpayers, are paying to warehouse our splintered remnants of captured wild horses. This report from Debbie, which only shared posted information from Ree Drummond‘s publicly published blog, set loose a fire-storm of misinformation and attacks from a serious group of internet trolls who thought they were coming to the aide of their beloved multimillionaires ‘Pioneer Woman’ and her husband who is nicknamed after a cigarette.
As usual, anything that comes close to the BLM and/or grazing interests, the attacks were full of misinformation and blatant lies regarding the property where the horses are kept…”the area is full of valley’s, hills, forests, etc. so the horses never saw a thing.” Sorry trolls, we know different, we have someone who has been there under the watchful eye of the BLM during a sanctioned tour and that someone is my wife and co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Terry Fitch…and it was all caught on camera and published, here, on November 12th, 2010.
Granted, the Drummond property is expansive and not all of it is legally designated as holding for the horses but one of it’s unique characteristics is that, outside of the eastern and north east corner, it is wide open prairie land. Not a tree to be seen and the “valleys” are nothing more than gentle rolling hills making it very easy for humans or horses to easily view overhead pyrotechnics. It’s wide open folks with only a gentle hill barely obscuring the Drummond compound to the major state road to the south.
Debbie has reported the facts, these people use your money given from the BLM to warehouse horses that should never have had their freedom and families destroyed in the first place and their abuse of your trust should be exposed.
Please take a few moments and read Debbie’s report, if you have not, and read the report written by Terry back in 2010; one who rarely speaks and never writes.
There is truth in the words of both these brave and outstanding women.
Thank you Deb and Terry.
Keep the faith!” ~ R.T.
Pretty to the Eye – Sterile to the Soul
Tulsa, OK Nov 11, 2010 – (SFTHH) The much anticipated “press day” for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Long Term Holding Tour started out by meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel (Airport) at 8:00 am in Tulsa, OK. Debbie Collins, National WH&B Marketing Specialist; Lili Thomas,Wild Horse & Burro Program Specialist; Pat Williams, WH&B Facility Manager; Art from the Media Division of the BLM; Janet Jankura, Public Interest Representative from the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board; two gentlemen reporters from Tulsa World and me.
We drove for about an hour and a half where we stopped and picked up 3 more people along with a local film crew (Channel 6). We continued on our journey until about 10:45 when we got to our first destination. The ranch was located out in the middle of virtually nowhere. We could see herds of wild horses before we even entered the ranch. I must admit, it was very picturesque; like something out of a movie. We were greeted by Ladd Drummond of Drummond Land & Cattle Co., a fourth generation rancher. The Drummond family (according to The Land Report) owns approximately 120,000 acres which, according to Debbie Collins of the BLM, 24,292 of those acres are dedicated to the approximately 3400 wild horses living out their lives on this land.
If I didn’t know the first thing about wild horses, I would say that this is a paradise for the horses; however, I do know a little something about wild horses. The BLM attempts to portray this living arrangement as a paradise for the horses with their videos of the horses frolicking through the pastures. If these were domestic horses, it would be a perfect environment; but, they’re not. They are wild horses that belong in the wild. I guess; however, it is better than the alternative feed lots and 3-strikes $25.00 sales to kill buyers.
While all looks completely natural to a non-horse person, you soon realize that the mares and geldings are living in separate facilities; hence, no family units. The reason, according to the BLM, is that some of the geldings could still reproduce due to Cryptorchidism and other such oddities; therefore, foals were being born, adding to the alleged problem.
The ranchers, per Ms. Collins, are paid $1.35 to $1.50 per head, per day. For these 3400 horses, that equals to $4590-$5100 per day or $1,675,3500-$1,861,500 per year. Out of these moneys, the ranchers are required to pay for everything from feed, hay, pasture maintenance, fencing, vet care, etc. In addition, they are required to provide chutes to unload the horses and small corrals to acclimate them to their new environment. From there, they are moved to a paddock and then to their final pasture.
The horses are vaccinated, only once, when ‘processed’. After that, they virtually live out their lives as ‘wild’ horses. Once the horses are at the long term facility, there is no hoof care nor vaccinations. The BLM does, however, require there to be adequate amounts of rocks in the pastures so that the horses wear their hooves down naturally. A potential long term facility must add rocks to their pastures in order to be accepted into the program. At the two facilities we visited, both had rocks in the pastures and, from what I could tell, their hooves looked naturally worn. There were natural water sources such as ponds and creeks, along with water troughs.
The ranchers seed and fertilize the pastures along with ‘managed burns’, if necessary. And, to help them sustain in the winter months, the horses are supplementally fed pellets along with hay. Of course, being in captivity, it doesn’t take them long to recognize the feed truck and chase it, which they did in our presence.
All in all, it’s the perfect place for domestic horses not wild horses that are ripped from their family bands, separated by gender, and living their days out. The horses do live longer in captivity.
There are 16 such long term facilities; 10 of which are in Oklahoma. The BLM plans to add 4 more next year for a total of 20 facilities in 5 states.
The second facility was a reiteration of the first facility; only there were 2500 horses on 19,295 acres.