Horse News

Opinion: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse

a commentary by R.T. Fitch, author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Tighten up your Cinch as our Ride is not over, yet!

R.T. Fitch with Family Members - Photo by Terry Fitch

The frustration mounts and the tension increases as each day the news is worse than the day before.  Almost on a daily basis we hear of damaged wild horses dying during and/or after being chased through the Calico mountains by the BLM chartered Cattoor choppers.

As advocates we attempt to stay the course as our cries, pleas, emails and calls appear to go unanswered or unheeded.  Terry and I are in there with you folks; she almost hates to walk into my office in the morning and hear the latest bad news, but we plod forward.

You have read the recent news about the dead colt, the shot mare and the past others that have succumbed during the Calico roundup while the BLM insists it is doing the humane thing by putting these “suffering” animals down.

What pops to mind?

“If you weren’t conducting this roundup they wouldn’t be suffering!” 

Sorry for the outburst, I just don’t do stupid well.

So what do we do and where do we go from here?  Publicly, I do have a few recommendations:

1.)     Work well amongst ourselves.  We all come from very diversified backgrounds and callings hence our collective power is fueled through this great intellectual dexterity.  But don’t allow our individual differences to become lightning rods for internal discontent, the dark side feeds on any weakness that we may portray.  For them it’s easy as they do stupid very well.  It’s just a matter of reciting misinformation mixed with junk science over and over again.  Non human life forms can do that.  But for us, we are constantly seeking the truth with our eyes wide open.  Stick together, bond like glue and learn from your neighboring advocate.  We are a team and we are in this for the long haul so I, for one, celebrate your uniqueness while appreciating our collective perspective.

2.)    Keep the calls and emails coming into the President, I firmly believe that sooner or later one of his aides or confidants is going to say, “Hey, Mr. President, these people are not going away, we have to do something.”  And it is that office that is going to have to call for the moratorium and Congressional hearing into the BLM and their blatant misconduct and twisting of the Federal law.  Keep up the calls, don’t relent.  Be polite, show respect for the office and keep calling.  Remember, we are the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves.

3.)    Pray.  Not trying to be religious, here, but pray to whatever deities or spirit that moves your heart and empowers your spirit.  Pray to all that is good, all that cares and all that loves for a stop to this senseless slaughter and abuse of our gentlest neighbors upon this planet.  Pray to our collective power to make a positive difference and ask that we center ourselves so that we may have the strength to continue, just pray your personal and unique prayer and it will make a difference if not to the whole, it will speak to you.

When I was younger, what seems like many centuries ago, I wondered about what it would be like if and/or when we made contact with intelligent life from an interstellar lifeform.  What would it be like to commune with a sentient race of beings with a different take on life, love and the spiritual well being of the universe as a whole.

But as I have aged and become a tad more jaded I have looked around and realized that we do have the opportunity to commune with alien and different sentient beings.  That we have not only allowed the opportunity to learn from them  slip through our fingers we have bastardized and reduced their significance to nothing but garbage by hunting them down and even slaughtering them for food.

The list of these thinking, alien beings is a long one starting with the Cetaceans, the whales and the dolphins and for the sake of what we are speaking of, today, Equus the Horse.

Why would an advanced society of any life form, circling our little planet want to make an effort to contact us as they are fully aware that we cannot communicate nor live in peace with other life forms on earth let alone ourselves.  It’s bad enough that we hunt down and eat all that is beautiful, here, but we cannot even keep ourselves from hunting down, killing and destroying the souls of our brother man.  Why would any “intelligent” life form think that we would treat them any differently?  To think differently would make them less than intelligent.

It’s a lonely place we have built for ourselves, here, on planet earth.  It’s time to do some cleaning up and rearranging and it is the horse that is leading us in that very direction.

Keep the faith, make the calls and stay the course.  Our future depends on you, all that you are and everything  that you have the potential to be.

May the Force of the Horse© be with you.

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49 replies »

  1. RT, Working among ourselves is going to get results of all kinds from the protests to volunteers gearing up to watch every move BLM makes around our wild herds. The press and the pro horse groups are producing much information and we are learning again, rapidly, about what we are up against and facts that bolster our campaign and bring new folks into the fray. I feel so much for all who are upset and who have been filled with what the horrors can do to tender hearted individuals. My anger burns lower and steadier now as I try to focus and getting beyond the violence that BLM has refused to end. It will end. We will stop it because we are not going away. That aide should just step up and tell Obama that so we all stop wasting time and lives. mar


  2. R.T. your above piece found me at the exact place you describe. I am to the point where I cringe when I go to my email page , this blog and TCF’s blog. The tears and pain won’t stop , and I get to the point where I feel “why am I doing this?”
    Your words help me know why; that I have to stand up for the wild ones in our land, not just the horses, but the wolves, lions and others that are consisdered by many to be nothing more than vermin to be eradicated from this country.
    There is a hatred towards these animals that underlies all the actions towards them. The people who go after them are righteous in their role in their destruction.
    I don’t understand where this hatred comes from, and I pity them that this is the emotion that drives their path in life.
    I pray every day for the moratorium to end these roundups, the blessing that will open minds to a better solution for the ones left in the wild and the ones already imprisoned.
    Thank you for bringing me back to the right place, the brave place, even though it’s a hard, hurting place, to stand strong for these animals who need MY voice to sing their message to America and the World.


  3. After reading Mar’s comment my reply was going to be just as yours was RT “AMEN” I cant say any more than both Mar and Jan and You have said, I dread looking at my e-mail every day, I live and dream with those terrible pictures in my head every day, I shed a lot of tears for them every single day, it is soul destroying and sometimes unrelenting but I will continue to do my bit no matter how small it is, collectively it all adds up to a bigger picture. Thanks for all that you do.


  4. Amen to what all 3 of you have written especially about any intelligent beings from another planet wanting to come here after seeing what a mess we have made of everything. Mother Earth is very angry too and is trying to tell us we’d better straighten up before it’s too late by sending all the abnormal weather lately.
    Yes,the stress is getting to us all and some of us have been at this for years. We will keep on though until we win for the horses . Many thanks for your inspiration, R.T.


  5. My grandchildren “forced” me to see Avatar last weekend, in 3D no less. What a movie that has reached so many with the same message that I see here day after day. Let’s just hope and pray that this message will strike the hearts and minds of those who are just learning of this carnage on the natural world by uncaring humans.


  6. Yes, R.T. it does get very hard indeed. Every evening I say to myself, I’m not going to do this tomorrow. But, every morning I turn on the computer and check on what’s been happening. That little baby was just about too much.

    Carrol Able has an eXaminer column about the deaths in this roundup, and that the BLM is only listing ONE as being caused by “gather activities” – doesn’t say which one. I’ve already left my comment that it seems to me that ALL the deaths were caused by the “gather.” And they were. Carrol also has some excellent quotes from Willis Lamm.

    I’m blogging the Cloud Foundation Newsletter about Conquistador and the other rescued horses in the hope that it cheers others up as much as it does me. I just put on my Conquistador T, make some coffee in my Conquistador mug and look at those incredible pictures. It helps a lot.


    • I hope you don’t mind my bringing this here so you can all see the REAL figures and get the insights from Willis;
      Carrol Abel, LA Equine Policy Examiner; Wild Horse News Update, 9 Dead At Calico
      Current mood: pirate
      Category: News and Politics
      Wild Horse news update: 9 dead in Calico roundup
      January 21, 4:49 PMLA Equine Policy Examiner Carrol Abel

      20 year old mare euthanized at roundup
      Nine wild horses have died in BLM’s highly publicized Calico Complex roundup in Nevada. The roundup, arguably the most widely scrutinized in history, has had comparatively more details made available to the public. Gather activity updates from the BLM web site report:
      Dec. 30 – 20 year old + mare euthanized: poor condition.
      Jan 10 – Colt dies as it was being brought in: necropsy shows pre-existing pulmonary condition.
      Jan 7 – 20 year old + mare put down on site: poor body condition.
      Jan 11 – mare found dead at Fallon facility: dietary feed change.
      Jan 13 – 12 year old mare found dead at Fallon Facility: arrived four days prior in poor condition.
      Jan 14 – Observer notified BLM of downed mare in transport truck. Driver corrected the situation.
      – Two mares found dead a Fallon Facility: dietary feed change.
      Jan 21 – Mare that was downed in transport truck euthanized at Fallon facility: weak on arrival & did not recover.
      – Colt with multiple hoof sloughs from capture euthanized at Fallon facility.
      – 20-25 horses at Fallon facility have received treatment for various injuries.
      Though one could reasonably accept the deaths of the older mares as an act of mercy ( Lisa Ross, BLM public affairs specialist, understood one to be a 30year+ male with worn out teeth), their advanced age brings other thoughts to those who are watching this roundup closely. Willis Lamm, Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates, states,” BLM says that the range can’t ‘survive’ a roundup moratorium until a more practical horse management strategy is worked out… The presence of elder horses indicates that in fact there is enough forage to go around. While it still may be arguable that range populations need to be regulated, it doesn’t seem to be the dire situation that BLM is portraying.”
      Of the four found dead at the Fallon facility from the inability to adjust to an oat / grass hay diet, Lamm said,
      Finding four horses dead in a BLM contract facility is an ominous sign. clearly the ‘observation strategy’ for horses making the transition from the range to holding facility conditions warrants improvement. If a horse starts to colic, it’s promptly reported and the veterinarian tries and fails to resolve the problem, then the contractor and BLM did try to take the appropriate action. Yet it seems contradictory for BLM to euthanize horses on the range that they deem to be in mortal condition while a contractor lets horses colic and die in his corrals. If BLM is going to bring in these horses, the responsibility for mitigating the risks associated with gathering must extend through BLM to its contractors.
      The standard format in BLM gather statistic reports classify deaths in two categories: those due to gather activities and those not due to gather activities. The higher echelons of BLM management have recently stated that the number of deaths involved in the gathers is less than 1%. It has not been confirmed which of the figures management is quoting. Heather Emmonds, BLM public relations for the Calico gather, confirmed that, of the 9 deaths reported at the Calico roundup, only one will be considered as ” due to gather activities”. John Neill, BLM facility manager at Fallon, confirmed that deaths due to feed change are not considered to be unusual, however the percentage of deaths is very low. It is uncertain if deaths at holding facilities such as the Fallon facility are logged in standard gather statistics.
      A curiosity in the gather update page is the apparent loss of 82 horses. Of the 1,195 horses reported as gathered, only 1,113 are accounted for.
      Notes of interest:
      Emmonds reports a handful of albinos have been captured in addition to some rare “curly” horses.


  7. Thanks for all you do, R.T. You and all the other wild horse defenders are such an inspiration, and I learn so much every time I read your editorials and everyone’s comments.
    Every time the BLM has updated Calico since the capture began, I have sent emails with all the newest figures, descriptions of deaths, injuries, and other information (all in “direct quotes” from the BLM), along with my own comments. I email the President (both addresses), Vice President, the ENTIRE Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources (Committee Chair Tom Udall is my Senator), my other members of Congress, and the BLM. I’ve tried to email Mr. Salazar, but the DOI “Contact” link never works for me. Wonder why?
    I start each email with a salutation that includes EVERYONE I’m contacting. I’ve received on-topic replies from Senator Udall, Senator Jeff Bingaman, and Representative Manuel Lujan, one stock “Thank you for contacting” message from the BLM, and nothing from anyone else, but I won’t stop trying.
    I’ve also contacted ABC News and Good Morning America several times about their crews’ observation and (I hope) filming on January 14th. I’ve asked them to let me know if and when the story will air, but have yet to receive a reply.
    I’ve seen wild horses shortly after they have been kidnapped from the Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory, and also on Adoption Days. They’re held at the Browning Ranch in Farmington, NM. It’s a terrible experience witnessing their trauma, both mental and physical, even after volunteers have worked with them. It’s especially hard to see Adoption Day ads (with photos) in American Classifieds. So many are older stallions and mares, still proud and defiant, and we all know where they’ll likely end up. Unfortunately, a lot of other people don’t.
    Most of these horses are solid colors, with strong, hooves. Shortly after last year’s captures, I attended a meeting that included a representative from NM Fish and Wildlife, the agency in charge. Someone asked about the horses they do turn back to the range, and he stated that they mostly choose flashy colors, especially paints, which they consider will breed more adoptable horses in the future (if there is a future). When asked about genetic weakening of the herds, he just shrugged.
    There are two NM captures (BLM/Bordo/June 1-10, and US Fish & Wildlife/NM Fish & Game/Jicarilla/Date not released) on the BLM 2010 Schedule, which will pretty much zero out those herds or take them below viability. I’m currently gathering info and more contacts – national, state, and local.
    Like all of you, I will not stop working for the welfare of horses, whether wild or otherwise imperiled.


  8. Linda, I have visited Browning Ranch and also posted an entry at Cloud blog from Patricia who gentles horses there. She watched 4 of the horses she had trained (and had been there over 90 days) be loaded by a man who bought them and asked no questions. Then she realized where they were going and felt betrayed. She knew this was a kill buyer and the horses were tied in too close to each other and upset. She was proud of these horses she had named and what they had overcome. Now they would never have people to care for them and show them what she taught them.

    The Jicarilla horses are brought in as the others are adopted and sold. This has been going on since last spring or longer. 15 to 24 at a time. Mostly adopted by Navajo who I have seen with them in the mountains. Good little horses.

    Bordo Roundup, June 1st to 10th, is near Socorro and East of San Antonio. It does appear they will zero out this herd. They have been there since horses from the Bosque del Apache moved there in the 50s. It is BLM land but they are likely not “protected” excuse the term. As the Jicarilla horses are not. I will be at Bordo in June, and visiting the Jicarilla capture area as well as Farmington in the Spring. mar


    • Thanks for the info, Mar. I went to Browning’s after large, publicized captures, and didn’t realized they are still taking horses fro the Jicarilla in smaller numbers.

      I’ve never met Patricia, but have been in touch with her through my publicity work for the local rescue where I volunteer. I heard about what happened to the horses she had been working with, and how understandably upset she was. I searched the Cloud Blog, but didn’t find your post. Maybe you can lead me to it.

      I don’t know what to think about the Browning operation. I recently attended a meeting about starting an equine rehabilitation program for the disabled, and Bob has offered to host it at his ranch. I know he works with the horses, but I don’t know how much say he has over those that go out through NM Fish & Game. It was my understanding that guy took 10 horses, but I could be wrong.

      Our local newspaper is no help. They’ve published a couple of “feel good” stories about people working with wild horses that come in, but I don’t think they want to upset the locals by exposing the other side. It’s tough for me to go too public. The paper gives a lot of support to the rescue, and I don’t want to jeopardize that. Walking this fine line really tears me apart.

      I’m going to email Patricia and offer whatever comfort I can. I don’t know what else to do except try and keep a closer eye on things around here. I certainly understand and share her feeling of betrayal.


      • Linda, you know a great deal more than I do. this is from Mustang Camp, Patricia’s blog,It was November? You can check…
        No Tears in Horse Heaven
        I have not been keeping up with this blog for months now, but that doesn’t mean things weren’t happening. Lately it’s been crazy evil things where I cried to see Thor and Jacob loaded onto a truck that my gut instinct told me was a kill buyer. Suddenly I find out who is honest and who is not. Who cares and who does not. And I find out that there is no way to stop it from happening. I would have adopted them myself rather than let them go like that, but by the time I knew what was afoot, it was too late.

        Maybe it wasn’t a kill buyer. Maybe it was a loving adopter who just took the horses without looking at them, without being interested in what they were trained to do, without caring that they were crammed too tightly in the back of a giant stock trailer and were fighting. Anthony doesn’t want me to be blogging about USFS mustangs being sent to slaughter, so I am not. I am blogging about wishing my gut instincts were wrong and hoping that pregnant Angelina is going to have her foal out in her new home. That Jacob will be like a giant teddy bear under saddle. Maybe where they went to will be like horse heaven.

        This is so sad and upsetting. Some of these were horses I saw and talked to her about.


    • Hi, mar,

      I still haven’t been able to get in touch with Patricia. Any ideas on how I might reach her?

      Saw her idea on the DOI website, but they took it down. Don’t know why. I think it was a good post. It’s still in the “Off-topic” section.


      • Linda, at her blog, ‘Mustang Camp’ which you can google, she has an application for calling her and you may be able to email the blog. I could not get signed in for some reason. I hope I can drive down there again later in March. mar


    • Hi, Mar & everyone. Don’t know who I’ll be this time – Linda or lindahorn. I may be lost in the WordPress jungle. Be assured I’m the same person, not some weird clone. I’m repeating a lot of my Cloud Foundation post, in case it disappears.

      Googled (not Binged) “Mustang Camp”, and had a great conversation with Patricia. She thinks she chose the wrong category for “Mustang Training”. It’s in “Off-topic”, and I highly recommend reading it. She’s still got a contract with the USFS, although she’s walking a fine line with Anthony.

      Her “Project Planning and the Use of Money” is still up. DOI implementation would obviously apply to all bureaus, including the BLM & USFS.

      FYI: The three horses at the top of her website were adopted (just in time!) by the same person. The little herd is still together in what Patricia considers a great new home.

      Patricia has so much first-hand knowledge about gentling wild horses. She works with as many as she can from the time they come in through the 90 days allowed. If they’re adopted before 90 days, she takes on some more. As you can see from “No Tears in Horse Heaven”, after 90 days things can go bad. She still has no idea what happened to the horses she worked so hard to save.

      No horses at Browning’s now. They’ll be taken off the Jicarilla this spring.
      Patricia’s expecting them in March, though that doesn’t square with the USFS language. They’re quality horses, so if you know anyone who wants to adopt and isn’t too far away, I suggest they come and take a look.

      I wish I COULD clone myself, so I’d be able to work with her AND at Four Corners Equine Rescue. We have so many it’s hard to keep up with their basic needs. They get great care, but there’s not much time for training.

      Here’s the Farmington “Success Story” I promised. I saw this beautiful boy in the 2004 Adoption Day ad and hoped he’d find a home. Many others were older (especially the stallions), and I shudder to think what probably happened to them. Renzo tends toward old “cowboy” methods, but maybe he’s beginning to see value in changing his ways. At least he takes good care of his horses.

      Anyway, say hello to “Curly” & his “herd”:


    • Hi, mar. I’ve been in touch with David Cramer about the Bordo horses.

      On 3/1 he said, “I spoke with Socorro office of the BLM this afternoon. They plan on taking 40-60 horses off the Bordo, which means 50-60 may be left. So they’re not zeroing it out, and were surprised to learn that 147 was the reported tentative number on the national BLM website.”

      Next day he said Dr. Cothran (Cothron?) had tested the Bordo horses a few years ago, and didn’t think they had much Spanish blood (no help there), but comment that the BLM certainly knows taking that many horses from the herd will leave it below recommended genetic viablity.

      He asked for permission to witness the capture, but was denied. He wondered if there was a more formal channel (maybe higher up than Socorro?) he could go through to try to get permission. Have you contacted anyone yet? Maybe you can give him some advice on how to proceed.

      Here’s his web address with his email link:

      For anyone who hasn’t already seen David’s wonderful photos, please take a look, especially at his images of wild horses. ENJOY!


      • Hey Linda, What is with New Mexico BLM? I have not heard anything about Placitas and other people were supposed to be contacting WHOANM and I have not heard from them either. Have you heard anything about Placitas?? I was hoping it would earn a post so people would know what went on there.

        I will contact them about observing at Bordo. I am not sure if what David was told was true. If BLM inflates a number then they will likely do what they did at Calico and take all they catch. Will that really leave any left behind?? They have played with all the numbers on the new roundup schedule and I will look at it… so it may be they are still in danger of being zeroed out. We will see unless there is a moratorium and it includes All wild horses. Thanks for this..


    • P.S – This is the link to his report on the Placitas Wild Horses. They seem safe for now, but who knows when the BLM may launch a sneak attack.

      The locals were up in arms. The horses are a real tourist draw for the area. I think the underlying issue is developers want to put 2,300 NEW HOMES in and around Placitas. YIKES!!! I bet that property is worth a fortune and lots of folks are eager to sell. Placitas was having dry well problems when we left ABQ 10 years ago. Guess they’ll want more San Juan Basin water.


      • Thanks again, Linda. The burro roundups are either off the schedule (Alamo, Arizona or Hickison, Nevada) or in May; Cibola and Black MTN.
        I do not trust BLM and fear there will be stealth roundups while we are in DC. People out here near Herd Areas must stay aware. mar


  9. Sue Cattor promised that this would not happen, that the helicopters walked the horses until they got within sight of the chut. It was on the Cattor site along with an open invition from her to ride along on the helicopter to see what wonderful, caring and humane people she and her organization are.

    Anyway I’ll be at the Phoenix protest Jan. 30, and anyone that cares to stop and listen will hear this question:

    “I don’t know, perhaps that little baby could have lost its hooves from a very long WALK in front of a helicopter?”

    And then they will hear R.T.s response, in a whisper “If they weren’t conducting these roundups these horses wouldn’t be suffering!”


    • Hey, Roxy – couldn’t find your back-and-forths on cheatgrass, but I did post what I remembered on the DOI Ideas site. “Wild Horses Eating Cheatgrass – A Wildfire Mitigation Study”. I’m beginning to think that linking wild horses & burros to other issues like water and wildfires may get more attention and possible action. We’ve tried direct appeals, maybe it’s time for an end run.

      I’m posting the DOI link again. At least 61 folks have been to the site ’cause spotts has that many plus votes re: ending BLM secrecy, and Laura’s got +57 for webcams on the horses. The ideas are already out there, but maybe you think it’s a bad idea to vote. As always, your choice.


      • Linda, I have voted thumbs up for every one.

        Here is a little of what I found on Cheatgrass. Just parts – the whole web site is facinating. I can’t remember where I posted here – it was a response to David, whom we have not heard from since, at least up to today. Yes, I think no stone should be left unturned in this battle – wildfire, tourist attraction (Did you see today’s post about the Placitas horses and David Cramer?). What do you have in mind for water? Many will support that I’m sure, I will.


        Live cheatgrass plants are susceptible to heat kill, as with a flame thrower or handled propane torch, though they are difficult to burn when green. When cheatgrass plants are dry enough to burn, they are already dead, and have already set seed. Fire will then reduce cheatgrass plants to ash.

        Nonnative, invasive grasses generally benefit from fire and promote recurrent fire.

        Recurrent fires also tend to enhance cheatgrass dominance because native species cannot usually persist under a regime of frequent fires. Native plant assemblages are thus converted to nonnative annual grasslands. Frequency and size of fires is then further increased

        Historic fire regimes did not occur in the presence of many invasive plants that are currently widespread, and the use of fire may not be a feasible or appropriate management action if fire-tolerant invasive plants are present. For example, while fire may be an important natural component of the Great Basin ecosystem, its reintroduction by land mangers is complicated by the presence of invasive plants such as cheatgrass.


  10. Holy Wow RT! This one hit the perviable nail right smack on the head! Never in a hundred billion years could I have said it better.


  11. Thank you RT, what you said is the truth, I am so furious over this, my family and friends will say, why do you look at these emails, why do you watch those video’s and I tell them I have to. I took a vow to myself and the innocents I fight for. We will stick together and we will save our horses.


  12. A little bit of good news. I actually talked to a guy on the white house comment line and he seemed to care. He said more and more people had been calling about the wild horses plight. Why don’t we coordinate a day when we all call in between certain hours, maybe that would make some more impact?


  13. What is your opinion about this: What if there was (or will be) a species which was smarter and more powerful than we are, and they would treat us in the same way that we treat those species below us. Would we call them civilized??

    Please read the value of compassion, which is my response to compassion fatigue.
    Never ever give up. The longing for justice is the sword we carry.


  14. Thanks, R.T., and others, and as they have said, just what I needed to hear right now. I personally don’t think the White House will pay attention to much until the health care issue is resolved one way or the other. I know it’s a waste of time contacting my senators (McCain and Kyl) and representative Giffords, but you have convinced me to keep doing it anyway. And I am praying to St. Francis, even though I’m not Catholic.


  15. Thank youm R.T., for your words of encouragement. The news of the colt just about did it for me, but then how could I not continue the fight in its memory. The people we are dealing with here, the BLM, the Catoors, the veterinarians….their hearts are just completely devoid of compassion. Unfortunately, there is an increasing number of their ilk, guided by a remorseless pursuit of money and power and obviously pleasure in watching the pain and suffering of those who have no voice. We must continue to be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves until someone who can help finally listens.


  16. I think that person is Rosemary Collier, United States District Judge, we should all write her and plead with her to help us. I just wrote to her and I am mailing it tomarrow. She stopped the Colorado round up, maybe she can stop this. On grounds of animal abuse, because that’s what it is.


  17. Just the words I needed to hear, really. God bless all of you that have been fighting for the horse for years. I do not know how you can go on and on, seeing the horrendous suffering everyday. Sometimes I feel like I am banging my head against the wall, just to do something besides go crazy. I can only look at so many pictures. Some it makes them angry and stirs up the will to fight. I have only been fighting for two years and right now I needed to back off, take a break (and yet here I am reading and posting) because I felt like I could not endure one more report of horses dying. I have been wandering in the my wilderness, praying and trying to make some sense of this all. How long? God where are you? Please… And I realized reading this, He is. He is working through all of you who have posted here.


  18. Marilyn Wargo :Thanks, Linda. Great you got through… mar

    I’m just halfway back. I don’t get the little check boxes under my comments, and my emails are down to a trickle when I know I should be getting a flood. I’m still doing something wrong. HELP!


  19. Hello,
    I work for the BLM in New Mexico. We appreciate the opportunity to dispel the persistent rumor that we are planning to eliminate the Bordo Atravesado Wild Horse herd. This is false and possibly based on a tentative 2010 gather schedule that does not accurately reflect our plan for the herd (the gather schedule on our national website was updated this morning to reflect the numbers in our Environmental Assessment)

    The EA for the proposed gather can be found at:

    This long file name seems to be causing some problems so here are a few other ways to reach the same document:

    Follow this link to our Planning page then scroll down to our Socorro Field Office area.

    Or, you can start on our homepage ( and click on the map at Socorro. You’ll then need to follow the link under Planning that states ” All other planning projects for Socorro Field Office”

    In this document you will find the alternatives we considered for this gather. Our preferred alternative is to gather approximately 107 horses, remove 40-60 of them, and leave the remainder on the range.

    Comments on the EA are due by COB this Friday, May 14th.

    Thank you.


  20. Hello Donna, I want to thank you for communicating with us. This is so very refreshing. And I hope you are not sorry from a flurry of replys and questions.

    Couple of questions – 1. Is the number targeted for gather the number of horses in the HMA? It would be helpful to provide this informatino in these reports. It often appears that areas are being zeroed out when possibly only a percentage of estimated horses are being gathered in the first place. 2. If the 100 some horses are the total in the HMA how does BLM justify reducing to a number below genetic viability (that would be in accordance with BLM geneticist Gus Gothran that 120 is on the brink, 200 plus is genetically viable)? 3. Why is Alternative number 1 not in accordance with the Acts listed? I had contacted BLM once on this issue and was told the 1971 Act had been revised several times – when I asked how I could see the original and subsequest revisions I was told that was not available to the public. Perhaps the person was not knowledgable to all information available – but I did not persue it.

    Maybe the answers are not that easy to answer in a blog, so I understand if that is the case. Are there links to more information on how these are determined?


  21. Hi Roxy, I work with Donna at the BLM. I hope these answer your questions.

    1. The target gather of 107 horses is the number of horses in the HMA. The national gather schedule had incorrect information and has been changed to reflect current BLM targets for gather and removal. Again, the proposed action is to gather the 107 and remove 40-60 which will keep the herd closer to its appropriate management level.

    2. We are aware of the genetic viability of this herd and our Herd Management plan states the objective of introducing outside stock to maintain a viable healthy herd and a balanced sex ratio. The herd management plan was approved in August of 1991.

    3. Alternative 1 (No Action Alternative) of the Bordo Atravesado Wild Horse Gather Environmental Assessment would not be in accordance with the Socorro Resource Management Plan. Increased numbers of horses would not allow the range to be maintained or improved due to grazing pressure. Allowing numbers of horses to increase will deteriorate the rangeland which in turn will cause a decline in herd health.

    The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 is posted on the WHB page of the BLM’s national website ( The 2008 Government Accountability Office’s report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program can be found here:


    • Thank you. Can you please provide the science behind taking out wild horses and replacing them with new stocks of horses?

      What is the benefit? What will be the breed of the new horses? They must be domestic horses and not wild horses? Perhaps they will all be sterilized? Is this a breed that eats less, corrupts less forage, displaces less other wildlife, and does not compete with cattle grazing? Or will you be taking wild horses out of holding for this purpose? Or will wild horses be purchased from some breeders who have created a business of breeding and selling wild horses? At what cost per horse? And same questions as above, what are the benefits to the taxpayer for this management tool?

      And this is good for the wild horses? Good for the ecology and other wildlife? And this according to who, what published and peer reviewed scientific paper?

      How much will it cost to place these new horses? Since this is not a gather, what contractors will be doing this? Or will it be gather contractors? What will this event be called?

      Really, I am very serious in wanting answers to these legitimate questions about this management practice.


  22. Here are the untrue statements that Steven Baker has posted in his email above.
    “Increased numbers of horses would not allow the range to be maintained or improved due to grazing pressure. Allowing numbers of horses to increase will deteriorate the rangeland which in turn will cause a decline in herd health.”
    This is the same propaganda that the BLM has been putting out since before Wild Horse Annie got the 1971 WFRH&B Act passed. He fails to tell that the 1990-91 GAO study proved these statements false and that cattle–NOT WILD HORSES–destroy the range and riparian ares. Annie used the testimonies of ranchers to prove this also and that wild horses actually benefit the range by spreading seeds and benefit riparian areas by enlarging waterholes and jkeeping them open by pawing. They do not defecate in them like cattle do which pollutes the water with E.Coli and causes algae. Wild Horses are symbiotic to the ecosystems and to other wildlife. They are outnumbered on this HMA by cattle (always the case it seems) which is in violation of the 1971 Wild Horse Act since wild horses are to have preference. If Baker really wants to improve the range he needs to decrease or remove the cattle.
    I am veryangry that this kind of misinformation is still being given out to the public.


    • Yes, this statement (““Increased numbers of horses would not allow the range to be maintained or improved due to grazing pressure…”) makes clear the BLM definition of primary use of the land as cattle.

      The issues remain confusing. IDA and some other legal eagles who have posted here have indicated that the original legislation has been amended and revised so many times that not only are BLM actions not illegal, but they may be illegal NOT to commit them. However, I have only seen what I perceive as opinion as to scope of operations, and that doing gathers as they are in accomplishing legalities is not “mandated”, as BLM has stated.

      I had asked BLM for this history of revisions and was told that was not available. If Wikipedia can provide a fairly complete history of the Consumer Reinvestment Act, surely someone can do the same for the wild horse legislation and corresponding cattle grazing and mineral rights affecting wild horses. CATO has an excellent report on cattle grazing, but it is dated 1995 (+/_), and really lengthy and difficult to wade through.


  23. Hello. I work for the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management with Donna. I wanted to take the opportunity to respond to a recent request to allow observers during the horse gather. For the record, this gather will not be open to the public. As of now, there is no legal requirement to allow public observers at horse gathers. We want to minimize the stress on the horses and provide for the safety of BLM employees during the gather. Thank you.


    • hello, then please set-up webcams and let the public watch the mustangs 24/7 . In aditton please set-up webcams on every BLM facility and on the helicoptors. With Fallon there’s a window in that close house, please place a webcam on the computer and face it towards the pens. The federal Gov. has cameras you can use, similar to the cameras used by the Park service. We want to see the wild horses and their ‘management’ 24/7 Thank you.


    • Mr. Baker;

      We are glad to see you here and equally pleased that you are paying attention to the opinions of the voting American public.

      But I cannot help but express both my concern and disappointment at the BLM’s ‘behind closed gates” approach to these unnecessary round-ups. You and your associates continually point your fingers at the “public” being a threat to the safety and well-being of our horses, when in reality it is the continual harassment and capture of these horses that is the real threat to their lives and it is you, yourself, who is violating our own laws by doing so.

      How are Humane Observers a risk to the safety and well being of the horses after they have been stampeded over rock, snow and/or ice in excess of 10 miles? What does a person with a camera do that is so scary to a wild horse that is already out of it’s mind with panic that you feel observers should be excluded.

      Please visit and hear the very words of your own Director, Don Glenn, ensuring the public that you would be transparent and open with these contentious round-ups. Are you telling us that Don Glenn is a liar, will you go on record stating such?

      You leave us very confused as to what the “BLM Truth” really is!


    • Thank you for taing time to reply. Please provide us with the link to the law(s) and/or legilsation/acts/rules that cause you to prohibit public observation of the gatthers and the history of these laws, legislation, rules, etc. (i.e. documented number of people and or horses harmed by public observers at a gather).

      Apparently Cattoor, one of BLM gather contractors, is not knowledgeable as they have on thier web page an open invitation to join then to observe gathers. Nor is BLM itself aware of the dangers as they allowed small children within the gather operations at the Pryor event. I must assume at this time that they have both broken some law or rule.


  24. Stephen from the BLM here. We had a question about how exactly the water trapping gather will be conducted. Here’s how it works: The contractor shields himself from view of the horses at existing livestock waters located inside of existing corrals. The contractor waits for horses to come to the water as part of their daily routine. When the horses enter the corral, the contractor shuts the gate behind the horses. The gates are set up on a pulley system where the contractor just pulls a rope to close the gates. The horses are then moved to adjacent pens where they have access to water and will be fed twice a day until the gather is complete, at which time 40-60 horses will be removed and the rest released. This safe and humane gathering method is used to minimize the stress on the horses and allows us to keep the bands together.


    • Hi Stephen, Thank you for this info.

      And this is certainly a better way than those helicopter gathers. A recent research article indicates that disrupting bands may contribute to overbreeding. Based on that, again, this is becomes a very important way, if a gather has to be conducted.

      Is it possible to provide us with a cost comparison to helicopter gathers?

      Some areas though, like Pryor, are so pristine that the water holes are not fenced and it appears the bait trapping has not been very effective either. One one had I would hate to see those water holes with fences around them, but hate more the helicopters. I wonder if the horses that have already endured helicopter chases into fenced chutes and those baggies waving around, have learned to be afraid of fences in general? One wild horse biologist has suggested building environmentally integrated fencing with rock formations, etc where needed.

      Maybe someone will come up with a better way to process the horses also. They are literally frightened to death in that lineup, some have harmed themselves so badly struggling that they had to be euthanized. Seems they could be darted with a tranquilizer or something.

      It has been reported that one bait trap did not go so well, that the horses were forgotten about. And I think we all must understand that everything is subject to fault once in a while. Hopefully this will never happen again.

      I do hope your contractors as selected from a bid process, unlike the only 2 helicopter companies.

      I can’t thank you enough for taking your time to communicate with us. I know we have some hard questions.

      PS still not understanding why so few are allowed in this HMA or the idea of adding other horses. I don’t mean because some report says so, but what is the basis of the report and is it publised and peer reviewed? Maybe this is not answerable for some reason.


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