Horse News

Reader Challenges BLM “Staged” Rancher Engagement at Twin Peaks Wild Horse Stampede

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

“He Said/She Said” ~ But We Were There!

Quiet Wild Horse Advocates Seconds Before the Arrival of the BLM "Rancher Plants" - Photo taken by R.T. Fitch's iPhone

It’s rare that I either have the time or the inclination to personally respond to individuals who take issue with what we publish and question the depth of our convictions.  Most assaults come from phony email addresses and are only meant to damage or demean with four letter words used in rants; so it goes for the opposition.  But today I received an email from a woman who claims to be the wife of one of the “ranchers” who set upon the female observers, last week, at the Twin Peaks debacle.  Being that I was there, listened, recorded, photographed and elected to disengage during the conversation I feel that it is necessary to respond to this individual, who will be known as “Linda” during this conversation.

I would like to make it perfectly clear, once again as Linda did not seem to get the point, we are not against ranching or the cattle industry in the United States.  Nor are we “anti” any agricultural business as we are horse owners and in the business of being grass farmers ourselves.  We buy our seed, fertilizer and feed at the same store and drive a yellow and green John Deere tractor while wearing a traditional straw hat.  We are just dead set against the concept of welfare ranching, (letting your cows run free on our public lands for next to nothing), while my neighbor pays taxes for and is forced to maintain his personal property where his cows reside.  It just is not fair.  Plus, the welfare ranchers should be siding with us because once the wild horses are gone, the cattle go next.  The issues are the same.

So onward with Linda’s letter regarding the magical appearance and engagement that took place during the Twin Peaks Stampede while the New York Times Reporter was present, last week.  (Linda responded to the wrong post, by the way)  Here is her letter in its entirety and I will attempt to answer from within.

Linda:  Well, I am amazed how people view events differently.

R.T.:  That’s what makes the world go around, ma’am, no insult intended.

Linda:   The “Ranchers” visit to the BLM gather was quite interesting. My husband was one of the “ranchers” and believe it or not he and the other 2 were in fact ranchers, there be no need of quotations.

R.T.:  Quotation marks in place so not to offend other ranchers as I am still not convinced that they represented the overall opinion or attitude of a broad base of law abiding American citizens.  PLUS, one of the “ranchers”, that would be at least one of 3, was confirmed to be a BLM retiree, by the BLM.

Linda:  That was the most spiteful and rude article about a serious event and well-intentioned people than I’ve ever seen.

R.T.:  There was nothing more spiteful than a handful of men going out of their way during a highly emotional experience to attempt to discredit and discount the opinion of a group of women who were off on their own, minding their own business…I have the tape.

Linda:   What is wrong with people having opinions from the other end. They went to see the gather as did you. They had every right to be there.

R.T.:  They were truly from the other “end”, alright, the business end that produces the manure, not the truth from the “horse’s mouth” end.  No problem with them being there, but their staged approach with the help of the BLM security person puts the entire scenario in doubt.  The BLM PR people and sympathizers were set up under one tree, some distance away, and the handful of quiet women trying to document the event were alone in another area, these guys came over and began with insults and engaged these women with full intention of causing a problem…again, I have the tape and you can see the pictures here.

Linda:   Yes, they may have known some of the BLM – as ranchers and BLM do talk and they have both been in this area for years. Susanville is not New York. We know people who are involved in some aspect of our business. Just as the ranchers could have been upset that you seem to know the NY Times guy.

R.T.:  I know all about small rural towns, I live in one.  Ever heard of the bustling metropolis of Magnolia, Texas?  Our main, elite hot spot is the local diner and feed store.  And for your information, I never spoke with the NYT reporter, I stayed away and not one of the women had ever met him before.  Perhaps he gravitated to them because they were professional in their demeanor and used multi-syllable words when they spoke.  No one was from NY but all of the ladies had traveled to witness this travesty at their own expense for the sake of the horses.

Linda:  Neither my husband or the other two ranchers approached the NYT journalist. They talked to the photographer as he came up to them first. I am going to make sure that people with differing opinions see this web site.

R.T.:  Where have your husband and the other boys been for all of the other days of the stampede?  Funny that they just “happened” to show up on the day, and at the appropriate time, that the big city reporter showed up.  Please, feel free to let your friends and family know about our site.  We welcome them as we speak the truth and see through the smoke.  As taxpaying American citizens we are all in this together and right now the BLM has the wool pulled over your eyes and maybe even prompted you to write this note, only you know that for sure.

Linda:   Oh, by the way I think the Ranger may have been under the tree because it was quite warm that day and he was what they call “shading up”. Your drama is disgraceful.

R.T.:  What is disgraceful is the fact that the Ranger in question sat in his air conditioned truck for days while that trap area was being used and only went down to “stand by” when he sent the “Ranchers” in.  You know, there is a lot to fear from those educated and articulate wild horse women.  Don’t want them getting the upper hand in discussion with the good ole boys, wouldn’t look correct now, would it?

A Citizen Observer challenges "Rancher" comments while BLM security observes from behind tree in background ~ Photo by R.T. Fitch

With all due respect, Linda, you only know what you were told and you obviously bought it hook, line and sinker.  That in itself speaks volumes, so when you next care to engage myself or any other advocate please ensure that you have your facts straight and being that you were not even present during this charade, your opinion carries no weight.   Your active defense of your husband on issues that you have only garnered the alleged facts from his mouth is more of a tragedy and far more drama than any article I could possibly hope to write.

Please get your house in order before you throw rocks at mine.

56 replies »

  1. I hate to jump in and comment on something that I post but I do wish to clarify one point, I am not picking on this lady…in fact, I feel for her.

    The bulk of our Wild Horse Advocates are women, strong willed and intelligent women and I hold a great deal of respect for them. And with the respect comes a degree of protectionism, from my own gender. I do not abide bullies or strong armed tactics, even in horse training the new trend towards “gentling” horses and not the “breaking” idea of men from years gone by has been bought about by women, not men.

    There were many other things going on that day that took the news away, like the Cattoors and BLM allowing the NYT reporters to be virtually IN the trap zone while the rest of us were kept almost a mile away due to “safety” reasons. But as Laura and Terry can contest to, this story about the guys coming down, on cue, and messing with these fine ladies just pissed me off to no end. So I have a personal stake in this and that’s to present the TRUTH as it happened.

    This poor woman only knows what her husband has told her and that is another tradgedy. I might be married to Terry but I sure as hell don’t tell her what her feelings should be, that is totaly independant from my opinions and one of the things that I love about all of the advocates, they have heart, soul and passion and no one should ever attempt to control or subvert those feelings.

    It’s all about respect.


    • I’m sure glad this BLM-orchestrated human “gather” was documented by Laura and witnessed by other advocates. Still waiting to read if the NYT reporter picked up on the ruse. I’m beginning to wonder if there will be any article, since the “news cycle” has pretty much passed.


    • Why send men to the roundups unless its to somehow harass the women. RT as you pointed on more than one occasion–its women who primarily observe.

      Now if the Bulls Lies and Mismanagement really want us to listen why not send ranchers wives to do their dirty work. I don’t know some man I don’t know comes up to start bullying me–I know BLM wants me to melt down but I’d have a tough time holding back a few choice 4 letter words.

      I have to hand it to you RT and the other advocates that were there–you did a fabulous job maintaining your cool under extremem duress.

      Why even bother the advocates in the first place. The only difference between feral and wild horse is in the perception and political scene. Whether Cloud (or any other wild horse) is wild or feral–they were born out there away from man. That makes them wild. Just like the foals from Calico that were born in “captivity” could always be considered domesticate by the same standards.

      Get use to it cattle people. We aren’t going away. You love cattle and happily pay your 1.35 per cow/calf combo. We don’t mind that as long as the horses are given an equal break. When Bulls Lies and Mismanagement says that there isn’t any water on the range–all the animals should be removed not just the horses.


  2. Thanks R.T. You speak the words that many of us advocates can not get out! I thank you again for standing strong for our American heritage!


  3. Everything is just so sad. Even the cattle ranchers, many of them I am sure see and saw for generations how good wild horses are for the land.

    Their cattle can only be out on much of this land a limited number of months each year. The rest of the year the horses, with their grass seed spreading digestion are so very critical to next springs growth of new grass.

    Many good ranchers who never use the internet can see what will happen to an empty range with *nothing* spreading grass seed except the empty winds.

    Will they look to doi and blm to spend more of our taxes to use machines to spread/plant grass seed when a few bands of wild horses can do this much less expensive (free).
    Already we taxpayers who pay a lot of taxes feel cheated when we can see the cost of rounding -up one horse is about 2 thousand dollars each.

    It’s a sad world and so different than even 100 years ago. And the future looks so grim..our country can’t afford to give you next years grazing grass. What will your cattle have to graze on in the years to come? Cattle can eat almost anything but they can NOT eat sand.


  4. I am beginning to think there are deeper issues than the wild horses. I agree, once the horses are gone, next the cattle will go. What exactly is the BLM and our government planning for those wide, open spaces there. When I was a child in the 50’s, there was strip mining in our area of MO. They raped the land for the coal. Of course, it was re-seeded with grass for grazing, but the precious top soil was forever destroyed. And, there were huge “hills” left by Peabody Coal Company. Hills that nature didn’t put there. The Ruby pipeline, copper mining……what else has the BLM have plans for??? What is going to happen next year or the year after that? Why has the BLM stepped up the round ups? Something is fishy, very fishy. If I were a cattleman there, I would be very worried about my future.


    • The ranchers ARE worried, Maggie. I’ve been read several articles about that lately. I think they are finally feeling a cold wind on their backs..


  5. Even without photographs revealing this as an obviously staged “set,” it doesn’t take one long to study the BLM and figure out its motives. They give new meaning to President Obama’s promise of “transparency.” In BLM’s case, transparency means anyone with half a wit can see through their actions to their intent – to destroy our American icons ASAP and the reputation of anyone who works lawfully to preserve them or spread the word. The BLM’s subterfuge and total lack of professionalism and objectivity IS transparent indeed. This was evident in the roundup of Cloud’s herd, a fiasco in spite of being a VERY carefully staged event and has been evident in their actions on public land, in the courts and with the media the past year. You can almost draw a line between any nasty trick they could think up to predict their next action or program decision. I find the nastiness displayed toward advocates very offensive; their refusal to accept the direction of Congress, emails or phone calls from the public outrageous. Put bluntly, we’re weary of supporting a “system” which takes from the working class to sustain the parasitic BLM employees and priorities of corporations and welfare ranchers on public land.


  6. to Denise I agree completely with your Sept. 3 comments– Congress sends a letter–BLM keeps on going. Why can’t Congress/Obama just shut them down?? They can end a war in Iraq but they can’t stop BLM from “gathering” (ware-housing/killing) federally protected animals. (Who’s in charge? Who funds BLM? What are the profits going to be in terms of oil/mining.) If these horses were truly treasured by the U.S. gov’t, the problem would be over by now–until the program/policies were reviewed. Our voices would be heard — and committees with horse advocates would be formed. Rotten at the top. Rotten all the way through– and the wild horses pay the price. (Like the Gulf–you don’t believe that crap that the oil is “all gone”.) Oh–don’t stop fighting– keep the pressure on!


  7. So glad the “ranchers” were shading up on this very hot day, while wild horses were being stampeded in the hot sun to tiny gather pens with no shade and off to the BLM auschwitzs with no shade or breaks from the elements anywhere in sight. Guess trying to provoke advocates so as to influence the NYT story is hot, hard work.


      • This is the best evidence of the irresponsibility and brutality of helicopter roundups I’ve recently seen. First the mustangs are practically run off a cliff. Then they’re forced directly down that extremely steep embankment at breakneck speed.

        Okay, Sue Cattor, explain your way out of this one!!!


    • That is just heartbreaking. What monsters to do this to innocent wild animals, tears again. Liars with their lying about trotting, walking them in. There is no hope with these people controlling America’s wild horses. They must be removed from oversight to our horses. They are horse haters through and through. There is simply no other description for sub-humans who could do this to wild animals and then have the gall to call it “protection” and “management”.


  8. As long as the ranchers and the advocates are going at it, the heat is off of the DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND THE BLM.


  9. The ollllllllll BLM DIRTY TRICK BAG IS REALLLLY FRIGGGGIN OLD . They always have the ex -employees -, or welfare ranchers, who better to pretend to be experts but & DRAG OUT THE SAME OLD RIDICULOUS LIES ! Oh really theres plenty of grass, water & land for MILLIONS of PRIVATE WELFARE CATTLE -BUT NONE FOR THE WILD HORSES-OK -sure BLM – but now very many people are very angry and very tired of them murdering our horses & destroying our public lands, water, wildlife and native plants so they can rip us off. And I & others are tired of their murderous lies and a bunch of us have now dedicated our lives to seek justice for Americas Wild Horses & burros & BLM ‘s dirty deeds have the same effect on many people Ive noticed. I will not do anything else till justice is done.


  10. Does anyone have the technology skills to put together a DVD of all these short clips–say 20 minutes of round-up stampedes–20 minutes of trapping in the jute and temporary holding pens–20 minutes of exhausted animals in the pens without water/shelter/vet care– death,destruction,separation,transport horror–long term pens. etc. Let it play out for about an hour. Oh leave out the happy adoption parts please— with 36,000 horses in corrals, a few adoptions are not what we want to show. BLM would probably say that’s what happens to most of them! Send the DVDs to Congress and Obama. Give one to Madeleine P to support her mission. Send them to the media–maybe Diane can make it “cute”. Send one to the NYT to supplement their report.
    I wish I could get the President’s ear– one of those garden “beer summits” where he tells people to play nice. My words would blow him away.


      • FYI – Laura put the clip together for DC for Grass Roots Horse and we ran it off with labels to match our postcard campaign for any people lobbying. I can run some off if anyone has need of them, Laura did the original for us so we have permission – that is actually how I met Laura and I am forever grateful. I know that I personally have operated under two influences, one) in my America I will tell my Senators and reps and this will change because I came with many personal letters from constituents. I had been influential in land consrvation on a large scale level and we have a good relationship so it is all good,we want the same things – ha ! two) much of my family are lawyers, federal agents or detectives – go to court, get a record, ask to hold the guilty accountable. It is an interesting mix, one hand says my governenment will handle it and equally I know it must be in juris. I still believe we need all spokes of the wheel equally strong but legal especially, now when we have such strong cases to challenge them on their science ! Now is the time for a strong, strategic, concerted effort in the courts as well as in congress.


      • Start running them off Maureen, I know I’d love to have at least 3 to leave at my 2 senators and with Duncan Hunter with whom there is nothing I agree with. If you could send me 1 with permission to copy I could burn the others.


    • that is some video…the blm states they bring the wild mustangs in at a slow trot…the blm should be indicted on making false statements; imo the best thing to do is: one each one of these videos there is a way to send the video by email to a recipient;

      what I do is “I copy and paste the link to the video; for example: I copied and pasted the video of The Downed Mare at Calico; The Calico Colt; Calico A Perspective; Litchfield Roundup; Feathres;

      then I would paste a couple of Videos on the “Contact Us ” form to my Representative in Conn. (Rep. Himes; cosponser Roam actP
      and then just mail the links to the video one by one to the US Rep.

      I know my Rep. reads my e-mails and watches the videos because he sometimes but not often responds to me via e-mail; sometimes by Postal Mail…I get postal and e-mail from my Sen.

      So I advise: send video links to the us congress of your homestate

      ps to the BLM…”a slow trot…hardy har the Moon w the BLM



    This article is from 2006 …. but you will get the idea… “welfare cattle”! In 2006 the average [private land grazing] cost was $13.20 per AUM [Animal Unit cost per Month] but the BLM only charged $1.56! And read the part about the BLM cutting the grazing fees! THEN look at the private land grazing fees in comparison! You don’t need to read the whole article to get the message: the livestock are being grazed on out public lands [where our public wild horses/burros belong] for almost nothing! Just another example of greed and the “fleecing of America”. Pass the word to your friends … every person who learns the truth about the BLM will be better off for themselves and for the wild horses/burros, plus tell your “officials” and the media about this and tell them you are sick and tired of it. Thank you. -Grandma

    Latest Grazing Rates Survey: Rates Inching Up
    Mar 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Mike Fritz

    Reflecting the impact of an expanding drought and historically low cattle numbers, grazing rates on privately owned land across the western U.S. inched up just 0.8% this year to $13.20/animal unit month (AUM). This year’s modest rise follows a 6.5% gain last year, according to the new USDA January Cattle Survey.

    The region’s firmest pasture markets are in Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming, where rates are up an average of 15.1%, 7.4% and 6.5%, respectively, over last year. Conversely, grazing rates contracted in Washington, Utah, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas.

    It’s important to note the survey rates reflect state averages. Local rental rates vary widely based on such factors as forage quality, proximity to roads, stock-water availability, acreage size and lease term.

    Another factor affecting fees are the services provided by the landowner, which can vary from no more than collecting the lease checks to taking complete care of the stock. Charges for counting, checking health and water, providing salt and minerals, and maintaining fences varies by each situation, range specialists note.

    The accompanying chart reports average grazing rates for three common pricing methods: AUM, a cow-calf basis, and per head. An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

    Drought effects
    The expanding drought across the Southwest, Plains, and in western Arkansas and southwest Missouri, has dulled landowner efforts to seek higher pasture rents. In Texas, producers report rangeland leases are mostly unchanged, even though the supply of grazing tracts continues to contract as landowners close parcels off to livestock in favor of hunting leases, which can fetch four to five times livestock grazing fees.

    “People have bought up land and high-fenced it for hunting. They don’t want to hassle with livestock for a few dollars per acre,” says David Moore, a Frio County, TX, cattleman. Moore leases 3,200 acres of pasture for his own cattle, and custom preconditions another 8,000-10,000 head annually.

    He says lack of pasture and high feed prices caused by the drought in South Texas are prompting him to send 1,000 calves to graze winter pasture in Kansas this month.

    “They were due to be sent in May,” Moore says. “Normally we would put them on pasture to hold them, but I can’t find any pasture and it’s too expensive to feed them.”

    Similarly, grazing rates are flat across Oklahoma.

    “Drought and a lack of cattle numbers means the demand for pasture hasn’t changed,” says J.C. Hobbs, an Oklahoma State University Extension economist in Enid.

    Indeed, there are 6.4 million fewer cattle competing for pasture today than a decade ago. But high cattle prices have prompted producers to expand the breeding herd.

    Beef cow numbers are up 1% for the 12 months ended Jan. 1; beef replacement heifer numbers are 4% higher. The number of all cattle stands at 97.1 million, a 2% increase over last year. This expansion — which began in 2004 — could continue for five or more years.

    The recently ended eight-year decline in cattle numbers helps explain why pasture rents haven’t kept pace with land values. There have been fewer cattle to compete for pasture.

    But there are pockets of strength. In some regions of eastern Montana and into the Dakotas, lease rates have risen faster than land values in recent years, says George Luther, a Miles City, MT, appraiser who also manages ranch tracts.

    “There is just a big demand for pasture,” Luther says. “We have a sizeable waiting list for people who would like to lease property for grazing.”

    Base rates on new leases are running $15-$20/head/month, up from $12-$16, he reports.

    Federal fees cut
    The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service are cutting the federal grazing fee for western pasture lands more than 12% this year. The new fee, which takes effect March 1, falls to $1.56/AUM, down from $1.79 last year. BLM says rising production costs — especially higher fuel prices — overshadowed increases in cattle prices and private lease rates. The fee applies to more than 26,000 grazing permits and leases on public land administered by the two agencies.

    At the state level, grazing fees on state-owned lands are headed up. After holding base rates unchanged last year, grazing leases with the Colorado State Land Board are increasing 5.5% in 2006, and again in 2007. This year’s rates range from $6.65/AUM to $9.68/AUM. State officials cite rising private lease rates and strong beef market prices for the increase.

    In neighboring Nebraska, grazing rates on state-owned land are also generally up — despite USDA’s reported 2.2% average decline for leases on privately owned pasture. State leases for sandy soil pasture range from $18.50/AUM in Nebraska’s southwest panhandle to $26.50/AUM in the north-central region. Hard, silt-clay pasture in the eastern third of Nebraska is priced at $22-$27.50/AUM.

    Ron Vance, field supervisor with the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds, says the agency sets grazing rates based on surveys of local private leases.

    Private leases on central Nebraska’s Sand Hills are running $24-$30/AUM, reports Lex Madden, manager of Torrington Livestock Markets, Torrington, WY.

    Though pasture lease rates will eventually trend higher as the cattle herd rebuilds, most experts agree it makes more sense for expansion-minded producers to rent pasture rather than buy.

    “If you can find good land a reasonable distance to your overall operation, lease it,” counsels Richard Sullivan, an appraiser with Farm Credit of Missouri in Springfield.

    “The consensus among producers is that land is priced too high for what a cattle herd would reasonably be expected to support,” says Matt Diersen, a South Dakota State University Extension economist in Brookings. “The cattle herd size is getting larger, which will lower returns from running cattle. You wouldn’t want to set yourself up to pay record prices for land or pasture rent as the herd starts rebuilding.”

    2006 cattle grazing rates for privately owned land Average monthly rate by payment method1
    State/Region Animal unit2 One-year change (%) Cow-calf One-year change (%) Per head One-year change (%)
    Arizona 8.00 0.0 N/A N/A 9.50 5.6
    California 15.40 6.2 20.50 5.1 17.00 9.7
    Colorado 14.50 7.4 16.00 6.7 14.30 2.1
    Idaho 12.50 2.5 14.60 2.8 13.00 3.2
    Kansas 13.50 3.8 16.50 0.0 14.00 3.7
    Montana 16.20 1.9 18.70 7.5 17.30 6.8
    Nebraska 22.50 -2.2 27.50 0.0 25.00 -0.8
    Nevada 12.20 15.1 12.50 4.2 12.50 4.2
    New Mexico 9.50 -2.1 11.50 -3.4 10.80 -1.8
    North Dakota 13.70 5.4 16.00 12.7 14.50 7.4
    Oklahoma 8.00 0.0 10.00 0.0 8.00 -5.9
    Oregon 13.00 0.0 15.70 4.0 12.80 2.4
    South Dakota 18.40 4.5 21.90 1.9 19.50 1.6
    Texas 9.40 -6.0 9.00 -16.7 9.90 1.0
    Utah 11.60 -1.7 13.60 -1.4 13.00 -0.8
    Washington 9.70 -10.2 12.50 0.0 12.20 13.0
    Wyoming 14.80 6.5 17.00 6.3 15.50 8.4
    17 Western states average 13.20 0.8 15.20 -0.7 14.00 2.2
    16 Western states (excluding Texas) 14.60 2.1 17.60 2.9 15.60 2.6
    11 Western states3 13.70 3.0 16.20 4.5 14.60 5.8
    9 High Plains states4 13.00 0.0 14.80 -2.0 13.80 1.5
    1Average rates based on January Cattle Survey indications of monthly lease rates for private, non-irrigated grazing land. Rates over $10 are rounded to the nearest dime. 2Includes animal unit plus cow-calf rates. Cow-calf rate is converted to animal unit (AUM). 1 AUM = cow-calf rate(0.833). 3Eleven Western states are AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY. 4Nine High Plains states are CO, KS, NE, NM, ND, OK, SD, TX, WY. N/A indicates insufficient data. Source: USDA


  12. Ms. Pickens certainly has handlers. I wonder if they tried to get Ms. Pickens booked at the National Press Club when she goes to deliver those “Pony Express” letters. They should try. The NPC frequently gets national media coverage, especially on C-SPAN and in the Wash Post.

    She must certainly have contacts that could facilitate a presentation at NPC.

    I can’t remember…is she giving those letters to DOI/BLM or going to the White House? I wouldn’t bother with Slaughterczar. Someone like Ms. Pickens could secure an appointment at the White House and I’d start with the President’s Chief of Staff.

    On another note, remember that grazing rights secure monies for loans for private individuals and are calculated into the value of their private property.


  13. Read the book about Wild Horse Annie (Velma Johnson). You will find so much insight and history there. The book can be purchased through ISPMB and the proceeds go to help fund the sanctuary. The dust bowl of the 30’s was caused by overgrazing. Grazing on public lands was cheap and there was no incentive for those that used it to take care of it. This battle has played out before. The Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was just a start to protecting them. We must take it the rest of the way.


      • I saw that movie many years ago and I don’t think I could watch it again. It was horribly depressing. Perhaps it planted the seed and it blossomed into becoming a horse warrior. It does not surprise me that this was MM’s last movie before her death. Perhaps if she had lived she would have been able to funnel her energy into working for the horses. We’ll never know.


    • Yes, Louie…one time and that was enough for me. Wonder if that didn’t give Annie some traction in her quest to humanely treat these American Icons.

      It is the epitome of the cruelty of man for profit…although MM wins in the end (sort of) the ignorance she finally realizes she had and shaming the killers into decency is a nice thought, but never really did happen….did it? The 1971 Act just slowed ’em down and made them more slipperier (is that a word?).

      Sad really.


    • It is shown all the time on the non-ad movie channels (TCM, FOXMovie, etc).

      But if others experience the problems that I have with recent generations (like my 4 teenagers), they don’t give a damn. Sad because it is not only good cinema (especially because it’s based on real life and done well), but because we in this country have raised generations of selfish, self-absorbed trolls that can’t think past their iPhones-Pods, facebook, etc; not all, but most. .

      There are great films out there documenting this mess (we need more). It would be great to see a remake of that film though….good luck finding the production money.


  14. Morgan, I think she might have–she did love animals. I was just reading a biography that was written in the early 90’s. She had such a mixed up childhood–passed from one family to another–nothing really to hold onto. Have you ever noticed that most of the people who fight against cruelty truly understand pain? They can’t bear to see it inflicted upon other living creatures.


    • You are so right Louie. Our best actors tend to live very painful childhoods. Also comedians tend to have a lot of pain and darkness in their lives. Even if you yourself did not experience pain there seems to be an early awareness of this in other peoples lives that you are around. I saw much pain and brutality but being born in the early 50’s my concerns were swept aside with the instructions to stay out of it, its family business. This is a boon and a burden, the BLM strictly sees numbers, we see each horse and are very keenly aware of the physical trauma and the sorrow of their being torn from their families and their open homeland ranges. We feel this just as surely as if a knife was being twisted in our hearts. If the blm and others want to accuse me of being “emotional” then I wear this badge with honor and pride. It would be a horror to me if I were anything else.


      • That’s the way I feel about it too, Morgan. I feel the horses’ pain just as if it were being inflicted on me. And it doesn’t go away. If I’m a fool for feeling this way, well as far as I’m concerned, it’s far better than being an unfeeling, soulless Zombie that is evidently unable to feel empathy at all. What must it feel like to be that way? I don’t even want to find out.


  15. Don’t ever fall for that “emotion” argument. That is just a ruse. Only cold blooded creatures show now emotion.
    Empathy, compassion, loyalty, kindness–all are components of EMOTION. That is what binds and defines humanity.


  16. This article by Marti Oakley was featured in SFTHH on July 27:

    Guest Op-Ed by Marti Oakley (c)copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

    A big Stinkfly award goes to Ken Salazar!


  17. HOT OFF THE PRESS! I believe this is the article all have been waiting for. NY Times reporter & photographer at BLM “staged” roundup with cowboys and rangers with guns. Aug. 24, Twin Peaks. It appears the reporter saw through the BLM razzle dazzle. Journalist reported both sides but definitely favored the advocates! Most importantly, the wild horses!! Hope link works. “HORSE ADVOCATES PULL FOR UNDERDOG IN ROUNDUPS,” by Jesse McKinley, September 5, 2010.


  18. hey who needs a movie? just go to the Palomino or fallon Corrals and see the Mustangs being abused: standing in the hot sun for 12 hours a day; yea; even Foals; Hay on the outside of the corrals
    boredom; listlessness; no trees or brush; fences; endless fences…

    I read the article by NYT; it was all about Dave Cattoor ! they should show a pix of Hope the Foal lying flat out in the fallon sandpit so the people get the right idea of what a roundup corral is!

    a round corral is a battleground where the injured fall down and some perish; 100 Mustang Soldiers perished at the Fallon Battle; 40+ Mustangs including atleast 6 foals perished @ Tuscaorora Battlefield; 130 perished at PVC from Samonella as P.o.w.s

    why…why does our Gov. wage war and battles agains our Equine?


  19. hey who needs a movie? just go to the Palomino or fallon Corrals and see the Mustangs being abused: standing in the hot sun for 12 hours a day; yea; even Foals; Hay on the outside of the corrals
    boredom; listlessness; no trees or brush; fences; endless fences…

    I read the article by NYT; it was all about Dave Cattoor ! they should show a pix of Hope the Foal lying flat out in the fallon sandpit so the people get the right idea of what a roundup corral is!

    a round corral is a battleground where the injured fall down and some perish; 100 Mustang Soldiers perished at the Fallon Battle; 40+ Mustangs including atleast 6 foals perished @ Tuscaorora Battlefield; 130 perished at PVC from Samonella as P.o.w.s

    why..why does our Gov. wage war and battles against our Equine?
    The wild mustangs and burros have done no wrong…not one thing!
    they never did anyting ; so why does our gov. round them up ? aw


  20. ps I shudder just thinking about how cold the mustangs and foals will be this winter in those barren fallon corrals and those windy pvc and litchfield corrals…what ? snow falls and they mustangs walk around with 3 feet of snow on their backs/ preposterous !

    this is a good video of the BLM wrecking the mustnags watersrping
    ya have to watch the end to see the tractor wreck the waterspring;

    Is that the BLM “destroying the Mustangs’ Water Hole? and then “falsely saying the Mustangs at Tuscarora are “dehydrated?

    If that is not the BLM destroying this spring culver; then who is it?

    Please Cross post this video far and near…thanks a lot; AnnaWah


  21. Well, I’m back. I am in shock. Your answer to my letter was interesting. What is strange is my husband was there, I guess you are calling him a liar, as far as his purpose for being there, and that nothing was “staged” by the guys and BLM. I did hear the phone conversations the evening before they went to the gather. They happened to be free that day. There was no talk of getting together with any BLM rangers and making a plan. I happen to beleive my husband. We have been married for 35 years, he is not a liar.. When people are tunnel-visioned and on a mission, they can’t see anything but what they want to. The strange thing is I have lived in this community all my life as has my husband, and being as you are from a small town, I am surprised that you don’t understand anything about BLM or ranchers. We do not lease public lands. We have our own cows in our own fields that we pay taxes on. Some ranchers have had problems with BLM, but here in our community they have managed to work together. My husband is the retired BLM employee. He worked on the “force” crew which developes springs and blades roads on federal lands. With the ranchers help and money from aums, they have built up springs and put in windmills on federal lands, they have seeded the ground after a burn. As for the events at the Twin Peaks gather, my husband would like to see this tape, he is a polite and respectful man. As far as any comments made, the women there wouldn’t even speak to them. Why? The only person that would talk to my husband was a gal who said she was a newbie and she said none of the other people would talk to them. What is wrong with communicating, they were not there to start any trouble. When my husband made a comment to one gal about the managment of the range, she said “mismanagment” and left. That is not acting like they are so “well educated”. Well educated people usually like to engage in polite debate. Are you married? Do you believe your spouse when she recounts an event? You must have little respect for women if you believe that I am brainless, and have no opinon of my own. As a matter fact we did go to a gather. With my 85 year old mother-in-law. We will continue to try to be a presence, we don’t want trouble, no more than you do. It is hard to find a day to travel out there as we do have a ranch to run here. Oh, by the way is the plane flying around out there in the desert checking on BLM numbers a volunteer too??? Just a rumor we heard. You seem to be very interested in any background and intentions of people who think differently than you. So I think it would be okay if I became interested in who of the activists are paid and who is running on their own dime. My husband and his friends ran on their own dime. Sorry this is so long, but I am so upset when you basically called my husband a liar and me a brainless wife, shame on you…….


  22. From one Linda to another – I want to reply to you point-by-point in a way I hope you’ll consider constructive.

    First of all, I’m not calling your husband a liar. He and the other ranchers had every right to make arrangements to come to the “gather” together, as well as to their own opinions. Whether the BLM rangers saw it as an opportunity for a discussion or even a confrontation in front of the NYT reporter only they will ever know. For good or ill, “perception is reality”. Each of us may be guilty of “misperception” to some degree. The timing and sequence of events raised suspicion among the advocates. What if the boot was on the other foot?

    Perhaps I may be guilty of “tunnel vision” at times, but I try my best to research various points of view regarding the wild horses and burros and other impacts on the land. There’s a compromise somewhere in this mess, and, ultimately, I think it will be up to people like you and me to find it and bring it to the state and federal government together. There are so many pressures on the land, and plans in the works that, when taken as a whole, may totally eat up our country, especially the West.

    I respect your life and the lives of others on the land. I’ve lived in New Mexico for about 20 years, the last 10 in San Juan County, an area where ranching without irrigation is more than a challenge, it’s a virtual impossiblity. Yet the state and feds saw fit to “remanage” the San Juan River, reducing or denying many farmers and ranchers water rights they had relied on for years. The fact that your husband helped develop water and reseeded the land is a good thing. I just hope that water and land continues to thrive and be available in the future, and isn’t gobbled up by competing interests (many foreign) with more money and influence than our country’s hard-working citizens.

    I don’t know why the advocates (except one) wouldn’t talk with your husband, because I wasn’t there. I can only imagine that, again, it had to do with “perception”, perhaps stemming from the fact that numerous past conversations where BLM representatives have been involved ranged from less than productive to downright hostile.

    You’re right that communication is key. Advocates and others, including 54 member of Congress, the HSUS and the ASPCA, have been trying to communicate with local, state, and federal agencies to no avail. I’ve sent countless letters and emails with no confirmation of receipt. I did get a single reply from my Representative. He didn’t take a position, but said he was “monitoring the situation”. Not very comforting in a state as huge as NM with fewer than 90 legally “wild” horses permitted on two tiny BLM HMAs (one only allows 12) and the “feral” horses on other lands at the mercy of the USFS/NMF&G.

    As for “mismanagement”, had the BLM been “managing” the wild horses and burros properly since the 1971 Act, I don’t believe we’d be having this conversation. But that’s in the past, and we have to find solutions for protection and management moving forward. One question – as ranchers, would you allow a herd of horses to breed over 4-5 years on a finite piece of land without thinning the herd? Just askin’.

    I’m 63, and married for 20 years (got a late start!). I believe what my husband says insofar as anyone can recall events without being influenced by their own perspective. I consider myself pretty well-educated, both formally and by life-experience. I certainly respect women, and men as well. Your comments indicate you’re definately not brainless, and you’re obviously entitled to your own opinions, as are we all.

    I hope you and your family will be able to find time to witness more roundups, and perhaps also visit holding facilities and adoption events. I’m interested in finding out what you observe, especially since you’re directly involved with caring for animals. It’s great that you’re mother-in-law is active at 85. Mine was still out and about (and volunteering!) until two years before she passed, at 97.

    I have no idea who’s flying around. Perhaps others do, but they haven’t said anything to me. I’m interested in hearing from as many people as possible on this issue, no matter their background or perspective. That’s the only way this mess will ever be resolved. I don’t know who’s getting paid and who isn’t, but I’m definately not. I spend hours doing research without any compensation, because I want not only what’s best for the wild ones, but others as well. The government talks about “balance”, but the whole public lands system has been “imbalanced” for years and it will take years to mend, if that’s even possible.

    I repeat, I’m not calling your husband a “liar” or you a “brainless wife”. I hope you’ll both continue to stay engaged with the wild horse and burro issue, but I understand why you may want to “pick your spots” for comment. If you’d like to contact me privately, my email is: Just an invitation to exchange ideas. Your choice.


  23. Well isn’t this interesting, so…ranchers just happened to stumble across this website? you googled “ranchers at roundups” and ended up here?? gosh, what isn’t fitting in this picture?? Sounds to me you were pointed in this direction.. maybe? Just curious how you knew about this blog..maybe you would like to fill in the blanks for me..I am sure you aren’t a regular over here are you? someone must have told you to look over here…who would that be?? And I would like to point put..that aum money you spoke of making all those repairs with..that $1.35 a pair, costs the taxpayer around 14.00 for the AUMs that cow is eating…that AUM money doesn’t pay for squat!


    • And by the way, I had planned to be at the roundup also, on my own dime lady, but I was here at my ranch in the high desert tending to my stock and couldn’t get free..but i would have most certainly engaged your husband and his friends in a conversation they wouldn’t soon forget..I recognise cow manure when I smell it..LOL


  24. Rangers? Rangers, would that be the “lone” ranger? I thought those were just overeaters in costumes…they have to carry guns because they can’t run to catch anyone.


  25. Wow, sandra longley, you are angry!!! Why is it so strange that I would “stumble” on this web site? It is public domain isn’t it? Don’t tell me you “stumble” on the BLM website!!! I have never seen anyone so paranoid, sorry to stress you out. I guess what you are saying about the aums is that government spends way more than that is collected by aums. Without aums then the tax payers would be paying the whole bundle. If the cows came off the range than the tax payer would have to pay the whole amount for BLM management. Unless you want the horses to starve in the winter, when fires have killed the feed, and then die of thirst in summer, when BLM keeps springs going. The Linda in the previous letter I thank you, I appreciate your demenaner and it gives me hope that not everyone in this issue is hot headed and beyond angry. I know that government no matter what part has serious problems. But here with this BLM we have had good luck with mostly good people.


  26. The anger that is expressed on this blog is there because everyone here is sick at heart and outraged over what is happening to these animals. They are being taken off of the land that was set aside for them by the very agency that is supposed to protect them. The helicopter round-up is just the beginning of the hell that is perpetrated upon them . To add insult to injury, the people who have every right to be there, are met with armed guards. Who wouldn’t be angry?


    • Right, Louie! Who indeed would not be furious over what is happening, not only to the horses but to OUR public lands. It has been documented countless times how much damage the cattle are doing to the ranges, and yet the BLM keeps adding more.

      And, Linda, as for the cost to tax payers, the entire bill for the Wild Horse & Burro program is chump change compared to the cost of the Public Lands Grazing Program. And, the cost for the horses could be MUCH less if the BLM would only use on the range management instead of these ridiculously expensive, cruel roundups.

      Check this out: Assessing the Full Cost of the Public Lands Grazing Program


  27. but I thought this post was once good. I don’t realize who you might be but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to are not already. Cheers!


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