The BLM’s “Sweet Deal”

Article by Debbie Coffey from the PPJ Gazette

“Paid for with YOUR Tax Dollars, of Course!”

While many Americans have lost their homes or worry about losing their homes, and worry about finding or keeping their jobs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seems to be spending your hard earned tax dollars like high rollers.

The BLM has its hand out at appropriations hearings asking for even more money for their mismanaged Wild Horse and Burro Program.  Where’s your money going?

Look at one example.  Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAhas the contract for theIndian Lakes Road(AKA Broken Arrow) short term wild horse and burro holding facility inFallon,NV.  How does a guy fromCalifornia, who sold a cloned cow, get enough knowledge in wild horse behavior, and enough ability in safely handling wild horses, to win a bid to manage a facility that can hold up to 3,000 of our wild horses?

Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAcontract with the BLM is for 5 years (1/01/2010 to 12/31/2015):

Base year (2010 – 2011) – $2,525,000 with an option for “additional labor” for $127,920 ($24.60 per hour, per laborer) to FREEZEBRAND, RETAG, TRIM FEET, ETC. (same tasks apply to years below)

Year 1 (2011-2012) – $3,640,875 with an option for “additional labor” for $130,468 ($25.09 per hour)

Year 2  (2012 – 2013) – $3,759,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $133,068 ($25.59 per hour)

Year 3 (2013 – 2014) – $3,832,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $135,720 ($26.10 per hour)

Year 4 (2014 – 2015) – $3,905,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $138,424 ($26.62 per hour)

So, the estimated 5 year TOTAL is $17,663,375, with optional “additional labor” adding $665,600 to that the total is ($18,328,975).  (Note: The money in this contract is based on estimated feed days.  See details of this at the end of the article.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Over $18 million in 5 years.  And since Troy Adams supplies the land, pens and corrals the first year, and it’s not an expense every year, why is there such a huge increase in the amount of money for in the remaining years of the contract?

The contractor (Troy Adams) supplies: land, pens, corrals, feed, salt, minerals, water and  personnel for general tasks.

The BLM: pays for veterinary care, a farrier, hoof care (hey, are we paying for this twice, since TRIM FEET is listed above?), the working chute (squeeze chute), and prepares the paperwork for shipment of animals to other locations, prepares all wild horses and burros prior to shipment and paperwork related to vaccination or “other action taken.”

One surprising item in this contract, on Page 5 of 15 (7 a.) is that this facility had to get permits required for a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.  So, in more ways than one, it seems that our wild horses are considered to be, and are being treated as, livestock.


In record keeping:

The contract stipulates on Page 4, (section 3 e.) that the contractor (Troy Adams/Broken Arrow USA) Provide regular observation on a daily basis of horses and burros on site and a record keeping system that documents the frequency and results of observations.”  

Note that on Page 9 G.2 – CONTRACTING OFFICER’S REPRESENTATIVE (COR) AND/OR PROJECT INSPECTOR   “The COR or PI does not have the authority to modify or in any way amend the terms of this contract.”  (The COR is John Neill, BLM manager  of Palomino Valley and the PI is BLM employee Ross Ruf.)

In a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA), I asked for records that the BLM contract with Troy Adams requires that he keep.

In a July 15, 2010 letter of response from Amy Leuders (she’s now the Acting Nevada BLM Director), she stated that “Formal records for daily observations have not been required or maintained.  Verbal communications on facility updates and animal observations are conducted daily to the COR by either the facility veterinarian, project inspector or facility contractor.”

There are veterinary reports.  But, are the only horses Sanford observes daily the sick horses in the sick pens?  Does Richard Sanford walk around the entire property every day to look at all of the horses, or does he just make a quick stop at the sick pens?  (On tours, it took us about two hours to walk around and observe about 1,900 of the horses on the property, and even then we felt rushed.)  Richard Sanford is also hired as a vet for horses at the BLM’s Palomino Valley facility, and the drive between the two locations takes about an hour each way.

To my knowledge, I haven’t received any documents with any notes or any observations by Troy Adams.  Does Troy Adams notice anything, and if so, what is it?

Page 4 of 15 (3 g.) states: “Death of animals must be recorded with each animal’s identification number and physical description, or if the brand is unreadable, a good physical description.”

Online, it  looks like the facility didn’t start recording the freezemarks of dead horses until May 28, 2010, and the veterinary reports didn’t start recording freezemarks until May 22, 2010.  Just  a gender and age doesn’t seem like a “good” description.  It doesn’t take a huge effort to add something like palomino or roan or bay.

Even if updating this information online had become too much of a task, there should have been more detailed records available for a FOIA request.

Also, Page 4 of 15 (3 f.) states that the contractor “Provide a record keeping system that identifies the pen location, sex, age group and quantity per pen of inventory animals.  The contractor will update the form on a bi-monthly basis.”

In handling and safety of the horses:

The contract stipulates:

Page 4, (3 j.) Contractor is to provide personnel that are intimately familiar with the health requirements of equines.

Page 4, (3 k.) Have personnel with knowledge, skill and ability to safely handle wild horses and burros.

Page 4 (4 a.) All horses shall be handled, treated, and maintained in a humane manner.

Over 200 horses have died at this facility in less than 14 months.  Descriptions seem vague, so it’s difficult to get exact counts of how many horses died of certain causes, but, just a quick estimate in general of some of the causes: it seems like about 40 from hyperlipemia/general metabolic failure (trouble adapting to hay) with about another 32 from poor condition/unable to maintain weight.  About 27 died from spinal/neck injuries, of which about 8 spinal/neck injuries happened IN THE SQUEEZE CHUTE.

About 15 euthanized because of leg/shoulder/pelvis fractures.  There are about 40 “unknown” causes of death.  About 9 foaling complications, about 6 gelding complications (3 of these were pulmonary hemorrhages from anesthesia) and about 5 deaths related to criptorchid (euthanized for this or after surgery for this).  Why would the BLM even geld horses with criptorchid?  (Criptorchid means the testacles haven’t descended and they don’t produce fertile sperm.)  About 12 deaths from pneumonia and respiratory infections.  About 5 were euthanized due to club foot.  About 3 with sloughed hooves.

It’s important to note that neither the BLM nor the contractor seem to keep any documentation on individual foals until they’re 4-5 months old, when the foals are given a freezemark.

There’s a small house on the front of the property at theIndian Lakes Roadfacility, and when I attended tours, it looked like this house was used to house some of the workers.  Judging by the vehicles outside, it appears they could’ve been seasonal workers or wranglers.  There’s a lot of unemployment inNevada, so were seasonal workers or out of work cowboys paid $24.60 an hour?

More importantly, seasonal workers who might’ve been living on the property, or any other people living in that house, have access to our wild horses 24/7.  Were any criminal background checks done on those seasonal workers or people living on the property?  What oversight is there by the BLM of workers who have access to our wild horses?

The online weekly facility reports stopped giving the cumulative deaths for horses around August 21, 2010, giving the reason for stopping as “due to the fact that it no longer reflects only Calico horses.”  Are they keeping track of horse deaths according to Herd Management Areas?

There is no longer any public access to this facility, even though your tax dollars are paying for it.  It seems that photographs and video documenting what the public saw on tours caused the BLM a negative “image” problem.  Troy Adams signed contract modification 0002 on 3/22/2010, for public tours for 5 years (until 2015), so was it a breach of this contract that the tours were stopped?

It seems like on most days, Troy Adams gets paid a lot of money just to (maybe) walk around and look at the horses once a day, call John Neill (unless the vet or PI call John) and maybe order hay and supplies.

Sweet.  I want his job.  How did he get so lucky?

There is little accountability by and NO public access to the Indian Lakes Roadfacility.  These issues are part of a First Amendment Rights lawsuit filed against the BLM by Laura Leigh in LEIGH v. SALAZER.  You can find out more about this at

Documents mentioned in this article are available in the “Reading Room” at

(Note: original BASE YEAR contract dated 5/27/09 was for $25,000, with a modification for base year dated 1/19/2010 for an additional $2,500,000)

The money in this contract is based on estimated feed days.  The contractor is reimbursed based on the actual number of feed days per month.  A feed day is defined as: “The price to feed one animal for one day, except mare pairs, which count as one animal feed day.” (mare pairs are a mare and her foal).  The contractor is paid for a guaranteed minimum quantity of 137,500 Animal Feed Days, and the maximum is 4,562,500 Animal Feed Days for the life of the contract.

To learn more about our wild horses:


Daily & WeeklyIndianLakesWild Horse Facility/veterinary Reports (1/26/2010 – 5/28/2010)

Indian Lakes Road Facility Weekly Updates

Broken ArrowUSAcontracts;

Contract # LO9PC00202 date issued 5/27/2009

Contract # L09PS00482 date issued 5/27/2009

Amendment/Modification No. 0001, effective 1/19/2010

Amendment/Modification No. 0002, effective 3/22/2010

29 comments on “The BLM’s “Sweet Deal”

  1. The BLM is and has been atotally corrupt agency since forever, this we all know is a fact , unless we are willing to do what needs to be done once and for all, they will continue to get away with all they are doing to Our Wild Mustangs , everyday my first thoughts have been for 8 yrs is to save these magnificent horses and each day they suffer more with no relief for them, I believe our justice system has totally ignored the importance of the Wild Mustangs, Our Pres continues to ignore all our plea’s ……. The BLM can do anything they want with no ramifications, meanwhile our Mustangs who are innocent continue to suffer………………We absolutely need a plan to stop this insanity……………………………


    • I couldn ‘t agree with you more Arlene! It seems that everyone is turning a blind eye to this and just lining their pockets with the excess while these beautiful once free horses whither away and die. This disgusts me on the disregard for human life and equine life in any compacity. We need to keep pushing for the release of these beauties!


      • Thank you Athena C , It amazes me still that after all our calls and law suits, and petitions that nothing changes for the Mustangs……………. Still they suffer! I feel very strongly that unless we make a United Stand that they will continue to suffer……I am just saying that United the Wild Mustangs stand Free , devided they will continue to suffer, what is happening to them is so wrong on all counts, i want to see a difference I and all here want them free like it is written in the Roam Act of 1971…………………………………… Geeze what is not understood by the officalsin Washington it is clear……………………………. They were granted freedom anything from that is WRONG>and must be fought for ………………..when they are not free we are not free…………………………….


  2. Gosh, this sounds like another horrible Katrina story where they hired Mr. Brown to oversee the rescuse efforts. This should be stopped! The BLM knows no bounds of government glutteny. They talk about budgeting the budget, but, yet, the excesses go on and on and destroy the lives of innocent horses. Enough!


  3. This is so SICK AND SO SAD! The BLM has used our money to torture and kill
    these poor horses. Every time I read a post it gets sicker, twisted an unfathonable.
    I sometimes feel helpless when I read all these articles regarding the Mustangs and
    Burros. Our media is so controled as well and politicians so corrupct. How in the
    hell did our country get to this point? I bet it is so hard for all you folks living in these
    areas to see this go on over and over again. I just keep calling, writing and encouraging my horse friends to do the same. Does it make a difference, I don’t
    know. I have printed off the latest material which I will pass along to my Legislators.
    I just pray for all the horses and the good people involved in all of this that are
    trying to bring justice and fairness to this issue.


    • Gail, every phone call and every letter makes a difference. Every person makes a difference. Don’t ever forget that YOU make a difference!


  4. A squeeze shoot if for cow’s not horses, This is abuse on so many levels and neglect that is a whole other issue that should have been addressed along time ago. Documentation is a must, Details are important in a clinical setting but out there should have been fallow up on the Veterinarians they must record all deaths births and complications during surgery and and solutions used to correct it not euthanasia. I’ve worked in a surgical facility for equines and never failed to document everything from new client to isolation cases. Just walking through is not enough. If you are a veterinarian you must examine every horse that remotely looks cross eyed and find out why and do something about. That is what you are getting payed to do. $26.00 and hour is a lot of money for paying some body to just feed the horses. The BLM needs to have veterinary tech’s doing the job’s of observer’s and intervene on behalf of the horse.


  5. I agree with all the postings. I wonder if there be any way to hold rallys all over the
    country in the capitals and large cities and bring this to the surface? I know that
    they did this once in Washington, D.C. a few years ago. I know this time I would
    certainly pay for an airline ticket to Washington. It brought the issue to light, but
    like everything elsle, like Katrina and the BP spill – out of sight and out of mind.
    Any suggestions?


  6. Very good article, Debbie. This is the kind of data that BLM cannot refute, and will help us help the horses, if used to ‘sell’ our points to Congress.

    It’s amazing to compare the great care goes into the management of the zoo animals in this country, with nutritionists, medical specialists, behavioral specialists, and more all going to great pains to assure that each animal is as happy, well adjusted, and comfortable as possible- while OUR treasured wild horses are treated like garbage. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. Sanitation workers are held to a higher standard when handling garbage than our wild horse management people have when caring for our wild horses.


    • Elaine, this is part of what infuriates me. If our horses were being hired by the type of people who collect garbage (outside of New York City I guess), they would be receiving more compassion than this.

      When I began volunteering at our rescue barn, we had a daily log in a notebook where we recorded the date and time we arrived, obervations of anything that might be significant to the next shift volunteers, or the barn manager. A clipboard on each horse’s stall noted the amount of water, hay, and other feed the horses were fed as well as what we could determine has been consumed. Each horse had his own diet. Weighing, measuring, and mixing different components even for the ten horses we had was time consuming. They were fed four times a day, We kept one checklist for each horse for one day–seven sheets per week. The checklist also included space for us to include whether the horse was in a corral or stall when we arrived, so that way we could make sure that all the horses had time outside. I drove 99 miles round trip to volunteer to do this job, and this guy is being paid millions and he can’t even keep cursory written records. Well, I sincerely hope that John McNeil or his compadre is keeping written records, but this is totally not acceptable.

      A tax payer funded employee who does not keep the records that he or she is being paid to keep is soon an employee no longer working for tax payers. Heck, anyone on this blog could fix this guy a checklist and buy him a few spiral notebooks.

      The BLM is so proud of their extremely well educated, well trained wild horse and burro specialists. Tell me then why our horses are still dying of metabolic disorder. There is no excuse for this. None. Nada. That’s why we keep records–to record patterns, why we write down what type of hay is fed, where it came from, what brand and type of feed is fed. It is why we are very careful to err on the side of feeding too little (hay only) when a new horse comes to the barn. I don’t know a whole lot, but if I ever lost an animal, I’d sure want to know why. I’d be looking for patterns, quantities, times of day, frequency of feeding, and other horse behavior to make sure it never happened again.



    • The ghastly treatment of Our Precious Wild Mustangs has been going on forever not just now, and you know why because they can !!!!!!! Nobody can stop the BLM,


  7. Another great article with the facts. Thanks Debbie !! I beleive the our government is corrupted and incompetent. America is in trouble. I don’t see a way out of it. I feel very hateful towards all the people involved in destoying our wild horses and burros. How do we really deal with this distruction at the highest levels? Talking isn’t enough.


  8. Once again, Debbie, you have hit the target–dead on! This has NOT EVER gone away and those of us who have been on this ride since the Calico massacre HAVE NOT forgotten who and what were responsible for the whole bloody mess and WHO benefited. THANK YOU for not letting up. That’s what we CAN do–NOT LET UP


  9. Thank you Deb for bringing all of this to light in a smashing article! Not every one looks at the death reports, or details that are available to the public. Your brilliance and work acquiring the information and condensing it in this report, is so appreciated.

    I attended 12 consecutive tours at this facility. The tours were once a week, about 3 hours long, with only 10 people per tour permitted to reserve. Dean Bolstad was the tour guide for ten of these 12 that I attended. The other two tours, were my first and last one, guided by John Neil & his assistant, Lily Thomas. He once allowed me to be number 11, when the tour was booked & I just showed up in hopes someone would cancel at the last minute. Dean would often allow the tour to go overtime by up to an hour and a half. Even at this Deb, agreed the time never seemed enough! So many horses, so little time. Dean would allow us overtime visits with the sweet fillies & foals, which was denied to us on the last tour by Lily Thomas, as she said the tour was OVER, when the fillies ran up toward the fence line, seemingly excited to see us. Also, on this last tour, it was the first time many of us had to wait for a very long time, for John and others to take a break. We were not allowed to keep moving. We had to wait in a group for the others to return before the tour continued! (Dean never halted the tour for potty or lunch breaks.) This potty/lunch break, cut off much of the LAST tour by at least an hour or more, yet we were not allowed even five minutes to say goodbye to the fillies for the last time on the way out. Lily Thomas would not allow it!

    It has always been my opinion that one Vet can never be enough to oversee all the horses in both Broken Arrow, (aka, Indian Lakes Facility) and Palomino Valley facilities. I often verbalized this to Dean, in person and in emails. It is my understanding that the vet travels to both facilities each day to check on the horses. How many horse on one day? We know for sure it was thousands then, in 2010. I suspect its the same numbers, or even higher now. If one vet is considered adequate, why then on the tours, did many of us observe sick and injured horses, which seemed to be noticed for the first time! When this occurred, Dean would write down the tag, and either call the vet or Troy to alert them of these incidents.

    BTW, I thought Troy & his family were the occupants of the house you speak of.

    Interesting about observation being allowed in the contract. Especially since ti was taken away from us. But this was not a contract between them and us, only between them. So if they, they being BLM and Troy Adams, decided to end the public observations, would it be breach or just a convenience for both contracting parties?
    Obviously the last straw of public tour documentation, were the images shared publicly of “Sorro”, aka “Little Feather”. A starved baby discovered on the tour, & subsequently then being euthanized, never makes the caregiver look good. The bad PR was stress they decided they could do without apparently.

    I do hope the contract observation language, can help us get back our observation rights! I miss visiting the horses, and seeing ALL OF THEM, is so important to me. Also, it helps promote adoptions! Some of my documenting images have gotten Calico horses adopted, even recently! Plus, it should be our right to see them, always & anywhere! They did at least feel our love for them, and many were attended to because we called attentions to them.

    Much respect & many thanks to you Deb, and also to Laura and RT of course!


    • Regarding the BLM contract, the BLM is a United States government agency and this contract represents the United States, which is supposedly the American people. So this is a contract between the people and Troy Adams. Where does the BLM get their money? From taxpayers.
      I think Troy and his family live in the house on the little hill. But, the house I was speaking of in the article was the other little house that is near the front of the property as you first pull into the driveway.


  10. Slightly off topic here BUT WHAT ABOUT SALT LAKE????? Where the blazes is/was the vet for that horse that had that big awful looking slash on its shoulder? That horse was in a filthy dirty pen–way beyond acceptable–and shouldda been isolated. It doesn’t take a vet to make that kind of decision–yet according to BLM Salt Lake they got away with it because the vet didn’t say anything.

    Even if there are no real consequences for what happened in SL–you can know that these people will know better for the future. We can only hope that they won’t close the facility off to all…

    Hay folks we need you. No matter how big or small you think your contribution is–the horses need you. The first time you stand up and say NO MORE–you will be forever changed. I am not a political person–at least I wasn’t til I saw Cloud a year and a half ago, now I try to go to rallies, call horse hater Obama in the hopes that someday he’ll listen. I write BLM–although they still don’t give a rat’s rear end about the horses. I do what I can.


  11. We are all fed up with, &, sick of our government’s corruption!! They just don’t care! Not about us, not about whether someone has a job or a home, or not, or whether we can afford health insurance, or, what we think about how they spend our money. They don’t care about our wild horses, domestic horses, other wildlife or pets, they ONLY care about themselves & money!! They don’t care who they hurt along the way. I’ve said it before, & now I’ll repeat it, the ONLY way we will ever stop these wild horse roundups, & return to freedom those already in captivity, is to do it OURSELVES!! We need an organized revolt, or revolution against our government corruption. WE are the only ones who can stop it, I don’t care how many letters, emails, calls, peaceful protests, etc., we do, &, we should continue that form of attack, but, we need to become more physical, more visible, more, “in your face”. Each day that goes by is a waste, of time, &, of a beautiful creature’s life!! America revolted in the past, she can again. This is our country as much as “their’s”, we have rights as much as “they” do, we put these idiots in office, we CAN take them out! We have the right to defend what we love, we have the right to take matters into our hands, if those “in charge” are incapable & can not, or refuse to, do their jobs correctly. “They” are NOT above the law, what works for us, also works for them. We have the right to stop wasteful government spending, especially when it involves harming another living creature or being. WE must stop them in their tracks, NOW, not tomorrow, or the next day. If money talks, WHERE are all the wealthy horse lovers/animal lovers & advocates?? There MUST be a way to stop the BLM, &, our greedy,inept government. We MUST take back OUR wild horses, for their freedom, as well as for our own freedom!


    • dear Valerie i so agree with everything you just wrote I believe at this point in time the only way to free them is to have a organize revolt , Valerie , we have tried everything else, I want for our mustangs to be free, that is the way it was intended and thats how it should be………………………….the only way is to take control from those who abuse it, i am sick of the mustangs being exploded and torn apart by evil people who have no idea of their importance……………


  12. When left in the Wild, as they SHOULD be, we can see them ANY TIME we want. Anyone willing to trek far enough out and spend the time to try to find them will be richly rewarded by seeing them IN THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT– not inconfined in pens or up to their hocks in muck and unine.


  13. The tax payers’ money is obviously being spent on lucrative contracts and administrative salaries in the BLM, which is certainly not going to “waste” that money on Range Management or care of the captives in the concentration camps.


  14. Margaret, I’m reposting this so you can see what happened to the filly with the ugly gash.
    There SHOULD be consequences and THE BUCK STOPS AT THE TOP. Good time right now for review and let your OUTRAGE be heard:

    Lisa, thanks to your story, one Filly was rescued
    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Silver Lining for a Golden Filly

    at left, March photo, Lisa Friday
    below, April photo, BLM

    Dear Readers,
    Did you see the injured buckskin filly in Lisa Ann Friday’s March 15 video of the Utah BLM corrals? The Cloud Foundation made the footage public last week and journalists worldwide recognized a story which had to be shared.


  15. If each horse has a freeze brand, they could tell which horses were from Calico, and which came from somewhere else, particularly if the horses came from different states. The symbols are supposed to represent numbers which in return represent the horse’s ID number which is somehow supposed to be related to where the horse was gathered. Having a mixed herd is absolutely no excuse for not being able to report how many of the horses that have died are from Calico or anywhere else.

    If the BLM would stop acting like they are creating purple, bomb dropping unicorns in the desert, and act like an agency of dedicated public servants doing their jobs according to current best practices of land and all that dwells thereon management, they wouldn’t have a problem with PR. They act like a group of arrogant, mystically entitled heroes of their own autobiographies who know they don’t know diddly about how to manage land and natural resources, so they create faux formulaes, a language of acronyms anyone who wants to communicate with them has to learn, talk about low body scores that none of the healthy horses they pull off the range have until after they get hold of them. They bully and try to intimidate females who carry cameras and computers. Rather than play nice with American citizens who are passionate about wild horses, BLM and DOI play political poker and fire missives at the public trying to get us to let our guard down. The tragedy is that there does not seem to be anyone in the agency who is adult enough to admit that that the the BLM does not have all the answers to the wild horse and burro issue nor many of the other management challenges before it. The key word being management.


  16. These horses should be back out in the wild where they belong, where they evolved, not in this miserable concentration camp — Broken Arrow — aptly named for the broken promises to the Indians and the Indian’s broken arrow. They are now doing the same damned thing to the wild horse. Will mankind ever learn? Well done expose, RT!


    • Thank You mr. Downer, if anything Our Mustangs should be celebrated and shown Huge thank yous everyday for their contributions to America , they Stand for Freedom, and persent it in a magnificent way always , one has but to be in their presence to FEEL FREEDOM>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> never before…..He cannot speak but delivers the message in beauty and strength…………His powerful message of FREEDOM , power strength , trust and poise ,courage is undisputed…………………


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