The Force of the Horse

The Theft of an American Icon

by Monica Courtney

In this land of wide open spaces, lush forests and mystic canyon lands… war has begun.

From freedom to this... exhausted, confused, trapped, lost, separated. This filly was forced down the mountains for 12 miles at 92.F, running under a hovering helicopter, to keep up with his terrified mother, only to collapse and go lame the next day. - Photo by Terry Fitch

Where once peace and serenity were our inspiration to appreciate the sacred gifts who live in these lands… a battle of destruction has intruded, a merciless aircraft has caused a panic mode and havoc to set in, the peace is shattered, the strength of family bonds destroyed.

An operation has begun, under the false facade and guise of a propaganda called management. A merciless hunt that reflects the greed of a corrupt government is at work again. This calls any freedom-loving American to duty now. The very freedom of our legacy, the American Mustang, is stolen as I type this. The symbol of Freedom is hunted under aircraft, pushed off their homes, separated from their bands, forced down the mountain range for 12 miles to exhaustion…to the point of no return, where a Judas horse, symbolically called this for betrayal, is sent out by BLM to lead the confused, exhausted and terrified mustangs into their dead end corrals… the trap.

The sound of despair fills the air. The clouds of dust from panicked horses settles, yet the spirit does not. The mustangs desperately whinny for their band, their families, their security, their instinct to protect them from harm…. the aircraft is still hovering, the noisy darkness has overshadowed the victims of the hunt…. trapped by an agency who deceives not only the public with false statements, lies and misleading information… but the very ones they were ordered to protect many years ago. The wild mustangs.

The BLM is not the agency body to protect the West anymore. They have risen above their own law to destruct what is rightfully ours, what is rightfully the horses’…. our future generations might never see a wild horse again as the master plan of BLM is to wipe them out. The spirit of America is stolen, caged up and sold off at auction.

The viability of herds is seriously at risk and the BLM’s statements of their “management” plan untrue, full of lies hiding an ulterior motive. Despite all common sense and evidence presented, our government chooses to ignore the public’s outcry and more pressure is needed NOW.

Wild mustangs… dispatched into unknown futures, ripped away from their homes and families, stolen off the range that is legally theirs… forced into corrals,  getting marked with numbered collars, strained by devastation and fear…. degraded to objects in pens, to be adopted out as stolen property of the American public.

Moncia Courtney and Susan Sutherland during Pryor Mt. Roundup - Photo by Terry Fitch

The prospect of losing freedom is unimaginable to Americans. Yet this dark movement conducted by an agency with a plan of destruction is guaranteed the future of the wild mustangs to be lost, and to become an exhibit in the wax museum for your grandchildren to see, an only reminder of what once was and should have been preserved.

America, Land of lost Freedom. We defend our freedom. At any cost. We must rise above tolerating such heinous acts inflicted by our very own government agency, BLM. We must fight the battle right here in our own backyard…. to protect the very ones whose lives, spirits, families, and existence has been stolen.

This is a call to anyone with a sense of duty and responsibility to preserve this American Icon. I am reaching out to your conscience to speak up and represent what America is supposed to be, for all: A Land of the Free, where the mustangs roam – let’s prevent the BLM from gathering more trophies for their morally depraved and sick plan – This is much deeper than a love affair for horses….. It is about defending Freedom.

With my own eyes I saw the theft of freedom, inflicted on innocents on the Pryor Range. The dead spirit, confused and hurt minds, the betrayed look in their eyes…the panicked cries…  is something I will never forget.

Stories always end. May those be cut down that inflict this unforgiving harm to our legacy and heritage of Cloud’s herd and other wild horses doomed by BLM in this land.

Exploit me not. I was once a horse on the Pryor Mt. Range in Montana.

This is my tale. What can be worse than freedom lost ?

You decide!

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24 replies »



  2. This is all to much to handle. I don’t understand how we turned into a country that abuses and kills God’s creatures, with little or no thought at all. I really could puke.


    • That is how I felt. I drove up there not knowing what I will see. I drove home with a brick in my stomach that I still have not digested.
      When greed and arrogance rule and the fate of these creatures is sealed by their outrageous and callous actions – we all must stand up – they only have us. I adore RT and his wife and this website and the many people I have met since joining this campaign. We all make a small impact somewhere… so dont’ give up and keep up your fight… every little thing matters – share the word – organize a protest – no matter how small… you are THEIR only voice.


  3. Thank you for your wonderful article and thank you to R.T. for posting this article. Why have generations in this country been duped into thinking “God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world.”

    If this weren’t the BLM doing this, it would be someone else. . .as history has shown; horses originally existed in what is now The United States long before the first settlers — the horses numbering in vast herds across Texas, and up to Oregon and elsewhere. People in big or small groups, representing families and others (including U.S. taxpayers) have trapped, trucked, sold, slaughtered, run-to-death, maimed, harrassed, hounded, butchered, eaten as well as idolized them. From early Spanish ranchers, Indians, government groups, not-for-profits, privately funded study groups and others have had their hand in what we see today on American soil. This is result, what we see today, of hundreds of years of co-existence with these horses. Federal protection was just another “county heard from” in the long line of their history. When my family moved to the Chicago area California in the early 50’s they were just discovering that horsemeat was a common ingredient of the hamburgers sold on the streets of Chicago! This was just after (gulp) World War II.


  4. I was born in Africa in a small country called Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia as it was then) and have always had a passion for horses. One of my first horse memories apart from living for my weekly riding lesson at the local riding school, was that when I rode my bicycle around the neighborhood to visit friends (yes we could still do that then without fear of being kidnapped or murdered) I often passed an old building that was vacated that still had a sign up advertising horse meat for sale! I remember being horrified by it and so thankful that it was closed. That is an early childhood memory and to now find out how far things have come makes me sick to my stomach every day! Education is the key and we need to keep the pressure on and the word out there.


  5. Wonderful, Monika. These stories bring tears to my eyes, both yours and R.T.’s.

    I get so sad, then I just get mad. We are holding a BLM protest in the Phoenix area. Makendra and the Cloud Foundation have been so helpful in helping us organize it. There are less than 200 wild horses left here in Arizona. As the saying goes, “Don’t get mad, get even.” I will take some bail money with me!


  6. I’m not exactly sure where to post this, so I’m just putting it here.

    In tomorrow’s State of the Union Address, the President will be announcing a 3 year freeze on domestic spending, except for the military & anti-terrorism. I assume this means no increase for the BLM.

    Any thoughts on how this may impact our wild horses, especially maintaining those in holding facilities at “taxpayers’ expense”? I’m concerned the BLM will redouble efforts to remove & “dispose” of the horses ASAP.


    • The most cost effective and least friction would be to return penned horses to the wild; long and short term. I am not sure about those on grasslands and going to Ennis. If recently caught horses could go home and older horses also, then what might be left is many adoptable aged horses. I wish I knew what we can suggest that would get a response… mar


      • I couldn’t agree more with this approach. There should be a middle ground if both parties are willing to come to the table. So far, we are and the BLM is not. Their stance is so dictatorial.

        If we could reach some compromise like the one you’ve suggested, I think it should include a mandatory period to get horses ready for new homes. So many people who adopt have no idea what they’re getting in to. More gentling and training could hopefully lead to a better outcome.

        And no more “no questions asked” of those who buy 90 day horses (for as little as $25.00 in NM!) That’s a pretty obvious indication of the agency’s willingness to look the other way and the buyer’s intent.

        Time for brainstorming.


    • Heard the Prez tonite. My thoughts he prefers offshore and clean coal and nuclear. these are the ones he highlighted.

      A freeze — maybe the judge who suggested no more horses be rounded up will finally win the day — however, the freeze isn’t ’till 2011. (to begin then)

      Just some “thoughts”


      • Great, Let’s finish off the oceans, they are in bad shape; risk life as we know it with more nuclear, and there is no clean coal. The lobbyists won. I read he doesn’t want us to think they have. He better prove he hears the little people.. mar


  7. Nobody wants to see horses starve. This is why they insist on rounding them up, shooting a few unfortunates who happen to have “issues” with the roundup (by failing to thrive in BLM care) and letting a few others just die off naturally in the corrals from having been rounded up in mid winter.

    Nobody wants to see them starve, so they truck them miles and miles in bitter cold, trampled, pushed and crammed, frightened and heartsick to roundup pens where they will live as ‘bots of the BLM.

    Nobody wants to see them starve, so they allow the over 10-years-of-age survivors to be sent to auction buyers.

    Nobody wants to see them starve so they take them away from any home they have survived on, remove all their predators (because apparently nobody wants to seem them eaten by predators, either) and they go on like this for years and years! Either pre-1971 legislation or post-1971 legislation, they seem to be in a bad place (the horses).

    So, by not wanting to see them starve, they insist really on treating them like domestic livestock that shouldn’t be allowed to starve on public lands. The BLM are the ones trying to turn the horse ranges into Disneyland, not the American public!!!!


  8. My rescued wild horses have more courage, loyalty and integrity than the average human. Perhaps that is why so many people don’t seem to care about what the government is doing to our wild horses. It will be our loss if we allow the demise of American wild equids. Along with them, we will lose our very souls. Catherine Ritlaw, Journey’s End Ranch Animal Sanctuary


  9. HI Monica,

    Your prose paint the passion in your heart for the horrors of the round up and all the rest of the mismanagement of these magnificent horses. Glad I met you and hope we stay in touch. My word press is blog is new and not fully developed but I think the subscribe feature should work. Most of my subscriptions and hits are on youtube but I’m now working on transferring them over. Please subscribe or link to and let’s stay in touch.


  10. thanks for the excellent pix at the top of the page; I have been collecting “PIX OF DOWNED MUSTANGS @ Fallon and other BLM Corrals; to see a young Filly “down on the sandlot; what a pity

    but my comment is this: when a mammal is run to exhaustion like the pix at the top of this page depicts; when a mammal gets to the state where the Mammal falls and cannot get up; this is a bad sign

    see the Filly is not “just resting; as some have said to me…NO; the Filly is experiencing what is known as “Cardiac Injury…so even though this Filly and another Mustang a Mare who fell like that

    may have gotton up later and appeared to be just fine; this is not true; once a mammal “goes down like that…the animal may be having “a mini stroke or another type of caridiac injury…and imo

    unless this Filly and other mustangs who “were down at Fallon etc
    unless these animals received special minerals vitamins salt etc

    these animals like this filly could have suffered “permanent injury;

    so don’t any one say: the mustang is resting…”not even close! IMO


  11. I think writing the president daily is great, but if what he may have already seen has not stirred change, then another direction is needed. I post to outside our circle to other people not in the horse industry to educate and share more in hopes of reaching a strong source. I would love to write the president, congress, senators and tell them I am writing a book with their name in it and how after having been so grossly made aware of this loss of freedom and the destruction to the American Wild Horses and Burros, that I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to know just who changed history, why we only see these horses only in books, the greed and why they did it. How the greedy cattle and BLM management and other entities robbed us and sacrificed the horses and burros to do it. I have to stop here now as I am getting too worked up about what history they are creating and how it would be written if this does not end. Monica, I am speechless after reading your article. It was so well stated and documented. What is it going to take to stop this!!


  12. As someone who understands the Christian responsibility to share love and compassion with all creation, I am most distressed that the leaders of the major faith communities do nothing to stop the cruelty and the slaughter of our brothers and sisters of the animal kingdom. The Catholic leadership who have St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Anthony as examples do nothing on behalf of justice for our animal brethren. The apathy continues in the Jewish and Islamic faiths as well.

    This despite the lessons throughout Scriptures from Genesis to Isiaah….from Adam to Noah….this ignorance is unacceptable….Christ died on the cross to give justice to all creation and it is the duty and obligation of all faiths to work toward peace and fellowship for all species and for all nations. The Bible, The Torah and The Koran give instructions on how to treat animals, but again, believers are averting their eyes to the horrors and actually think that God is pleased by their inaction – Any faith without action is useless and dead and does nothing to honor our Father, but rather it gives all the saints of heaven sorrow and tears.

    When we fail to keep God’s standards of compassion for all creation we shouldn’t be surprised when nations across the globe fall to economic disaster and financial chaos.


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