by George Knapp
As 8 News Now reported days ago, mustang advocates cheered the stallion as it struggled to escape a corral where it was being held with a group of mares.
Ecologist Craig Downer snapped photos as the horse did its best to break free. It fell on its back while trying to jump a fence but finally succeeded. The horse then smashed thru barbed wire and raced away across the range.
Ever since this happened in early January, horse watchers have been looking for the stallion they nicknamed Freedom, and the horse became a heroic figure all across the country to those who oppose these roundups.
During a recent trip up to Calico Hills, the I-Team learned that Freedom was back in the control of BLM. The information was given to us by BLM sources, but not for attribution.
For the record though, BLM says, “During the Calico Complex Wild Horse Gather on the Black Rock East Herd Management Area, a black stallion was gathered and brought into the capture site/holding facility. The day this happened was on January 2, 2010. The said stallion jumped the temporary corrals and ran through a barbed wire fence back onto BLM administered lands on the Black Rock East HMA. The wild horse advocates have named this horse “Freedom”.
“There has been no confirmation by BLM staff of Freedom being re-gathered and/or shipped to the Fallon Facility. Freedom was not injured during the self release from the holding facility at Paiute Meadows. Freedom was not lame, had no broken legs, and did not exhibit any side affects from the escape.”
The statement that Freedom was “not lame, had no broken legs, and did not exhibit any side affects from the escape,” is very odd, unless the BLM had seen the horse again and had been able to inspect it.
The Calico Gather has already captured more than 900 mustangs since it began, many black stallions among them, so BLM wouldn’t necessarily be able to identify every one of them. It is understandable why it might be reluctant to confirm the recapture since that might tend to fire up the mustang advocates who’ve been at the roundup off and on since it started.
However, our source of this information is a solid one. Freedom, we are told, is back in BLM hands.