Horse News

Wild Horse Deaths Mount at Contested BLM Helicopter Stampede

Eyewitness report by Laura Leigh, VP of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Day Four of Bloody BLM Triple B Stampede

This is the last video that will be posted for a bit. Editing video takes an incredible amount of time. I will go back to archiving the video in case the documentation is required and posting still images. But I think this series of three days gives you an idea how frustrating this is. It will not give you a clear picture of the wear and tear on your vehicle, the damage done to your equipment or the toll it takes on your face.

Day 4 began at holding and the lame excuses about the medical treatment of these foals (that were now euthanized) set the tone. Sometimes my hands will shake from the stupidity. It is like being a teacher in Kindergarten… but the Kindergartners make the rules.

Yes, the tone of this report is terse. But being with this contractor every day but two during Antelope, and now watching this at Triple B, is like chewing on tin foil.

I am usually very patient and quiet. I do my observations and reports.This time I am trying very hard not to allow the frustration to drive me.

On another front there may be some good news soon, but that will have to wait for another day. So pray that sanity can begin to take root somewhere.

Day 4 brought with it frustration after frustration.

It began with the excuses about water and food, with no indication that anything would change. It continued with the absurd assertions about the injured foals.

At the trap the radio was again left so I could not hear anything until one time Heather Emmons left it loud enough that I could pick up a call. It was the pilot asking Alan Shepherd to glass a horse that could not keep up. I was given no further information as to the age or reason the horse could not keep up… and of course I was held to a position that did not allow me any observation.

The horses the pilot drove into the trap came in two groups.

Then 4 runners went out and the pilot. The pilot asked Shepherd the location and was told it should be “right under you.” It was apparently a bush.

I asked if I could go to the rise and look. I said that all eyes should be utilized. I was not granted permission, nor was it denied. I stayed behind the tape. It is my belief that this agency attempts to push the limits of control until we are tempted to break them… only to utilize the unreasonable restraints against us.

After almost an hour of no information, BLM personnel reading newspapers, I asked to go give my dog water and check on him. That permission was granted. I hung out in the vehicle with the dog, as it is much cooler there. I saw two runners beating it back to the trap so I went back to the observation area only to find out that the runners were coming back… not because they had found anything… but because the pilot was driving horses to the trap.

Shepherd had given the authorization for resources to abandon the search and begin operations. The other two runners also returned to the trap. I expressed my outrage in no uncertain terms. I informed personnel that I had called people from my vehicle and the public knew they had stopped looking. I informed them I was not leaving until the horse was located.

After the drive Heather was called down to speak with Alan.

Miraculously the horse that had now been missing for over an hour and a half had been found. It had “run back home” and hooked up with a stud. A trailer went down the road and in less than ten minutes came back… with a load that looked much like it did when it left.

As I am not permitted to travel the same road as the trailer it would take me about an hour longer to reach holding. I would not see this animal unload.

The animal was allegedly a 4 month old that was so deformed it couldn’t run correctly and was euthanized. The same animal that ran almost to the trap and back again… I can not confirm that there was an animal even picked up off that range.

Have you pulled out all your hair yet? Have you gritted your teeth so badly that you have broken molars? Have you bitten your lip so hard it bleeds? Have you vowed to god you will not allow this “spoiled child agency” to continue without challenge… no matter what it takes?

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35 replies »

  1. RT, I will first thank you for taking on the responsibility of such a gut wrenching task. I will not let your anguish, and frustration go unnoticed. I will be enclosing a copy of this account with future letters to who ever will listen. I am truly saddened that you had to witness such a horrific injustice, but my thoughts, and prayers are with all of you daily.


  2. My appologies, I was looking at it from my phone, and didn’t realize it until after it was posted. Thank you Laura Leigh, and the same words apply. You have my sincerest tears, and thanks.


  3. Laura – thank you so much for doing all this heart-wrenching work
    to show the world what is actually happening – we live in England
    but your work shows us the facts and reality of what really goes on – these horses are America’s heritage – a national and international treasure in every way….


  4. Laura – thank you so much for doing all this heart-wrenching work. These beautiful horses are America’s heritage – a national and international treasure to be treated with respect. We can see what is going on in England, having done lots of research, and it is all so very wrong…….


  5. Laura – thank-you so much for doing all this heart-wrenching work. These beautiful horses are America’s heritage and a national and international treasure. We live in England and want the wild horses to stay free, as they should be.


  6. This is a comment from my wife Caroline, she has been trying to post a comment but for some reason she appears to be blocked.

    (Hi – I’ve tried to post a comment for Laura twice now but it doesn’t appear. I admire what she is doing tremendously – these horses are so very special. Please tell me why I cannot post a comment? With thanks, Caroline)


  7. Nigel your wife’s post has appeared now, If it was the first time she had posted to this board then the comments are monitored, I think that could be the reason.
    Laura I dont know how you do it but I sure am grateful that you have the self control to stand as witness for our horses, you have my utmost respect and admiration. More tears for these little ones lost. 😦


  8. Hey Everyone,
    I’m kind of confused. Is there now 3 babies dead after the BLM discovered they had deformities? Deformities seem to be an epidemic out there.


  9. This is interesting:
    Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)
    County Payments and Acres
    “Payments in Lieu of Taxes” (or PILT) are Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable Federal lands within their boundaries.


  10. EVIDENCE! Where is the PROTECTION of our wild ones here? Someone is not doing their job pursuant to the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act! Get em RT!


  11. It is an ongoing travesty, with wisdom and respect for our surroundings not being an integral part anymore in this government – there are those who know, such as Laura and all of us, we recognize what there is to tell, we observe and try to protect our precious heritage – then there are those who get away with murder, blinded with greed and responsible for the upheavals around us. None within this government seem to have a clue left of the relationship between mother Earth and the creatures who inhabit her domain. The worst is how the lies and deception within BLM fall onto a path of habitual repetition – empty promises to reach their goal of close out strategy – within one century so much damage that all future generations can wonder how anyone could allow this to happen – a revolution is deemed necessary because they will never change – they have lost their awareness and touch long ago.


    • I think ultimately the problem is that man has an entitlement complex and thinks the entire earth is for us alone; everything else is secondary. Look at our inaction on climate change. I mean can one species be anymore selfish than man? Putting forests, lands, water, glaciers and all the life it supports at grave risk. Why? So we don’t have to sacrifice anything and get off fossil fuels. Anyone notice the huge increase in natural gas fracking commercials lately?


  12. The foals/young horses are not deformed when they are born–and when they are free on the range. Nature (in her wisdom) does not allow the deformed to live very long. Foals who are stampeded to the traps are suddenly “deformed”–even though they could run with their herds those many rocky hard hot miles.
    “Federally protected” is a stamp of death when interpreted by BLM– I guess we’re down to pray and fight!


    • So true….watch the Cloud series on PBS. Ginger filmed a stallion killing a foal after it couldn’t get up after several hours from birth and the herd was moving on. Tough to watch, but a display of Mother Nature at work.


  13. The standoff continues and we do all we can and more. The deception is so complete to most of our nation and the world. Because our nation is hurting we have struggled longer and harder to stop this than on anything I can remember in my life time except; Wild Horse Annie’s long fight. Our wild ones are our spirit of freedom and that is why we won’t give up on them!

    Annie’s fight was before we knew better in our halls of government. Now we fight on and we all know it is right but those in the halls have no memory of the wild ones. The powers that be do not know better than they give. You see what they do; they are merciless.


  14. Bolstad, Dean Wild Horse Mgmt Specialist (775) 861-6611

    Karla Bird, Acting Division Chief
    Wild Horse and Burro Management
    Main Contact Number: 202-912-7261


  15. Today’s BLM Gather Report for Thursday does not show another dead foal. It shows no deaths for Thursday. ? ? ?


    Acting State Director: Amy Lueders
    Acting Associate State Director: Rex McKnight
    Phone: 775-861-6590


  17. According to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971 “It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where they are presently found as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands”. BLM = Criminal Abuse!


  18. Hey All, Just a note. I’ve been going to the BLM FB page and I encourage all of you to go there. I think their PR firm is in charge of it and they are working really hard to dispel some of the things that are posted there. Its kind of fun! They do answer and they also said they will not delete the ones they don’t like. Now they are asking for it. Too much fun!!!


  19. Thanks for the phone numers….flood them with calls everyone!!! We’re sitting back watching this nightmare and it’s a tragedy beyond words! It must be horrible for you Laura, to actually be there, having to watch the horror these poor wild ones are going through. Thank you so much for your compassion and dedication to our wild ones.


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