Horse News

BLM Contractor Blasts Fireworks Near Wild Horses, Again!

SOURCE:  PPJ Gazette

by Debbie Coffey                 Copyright 2013        All Rights Reserved.

Once again, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contractor, Ladd Drummond (husband of Ree Drummond, “The Pioneer Woman”) had a big bash and fireworks show on the 4th of July, in very close proximity to the wild horses that the BLM has warehoused on 3 Long Term Holding pastures in Oklahoma.

photo of Ladd Drummond by:


In 2011 I wrote an article about Ladd & Ree Drummond and it included, among lots of other juicy tidbits, the subject of their fireworks show, and this:

“Under a photo of fireworks on her blog, Ree wrote

‘Basically, we frightened each and every one of our guests.’

Didn’t Ladd Drummond worry that the fireworks bursting in the skies or the noise from the fireworks might scare the wild horses?  The fireworks could’ve even scared the wild horses at nearby long term holding pastures, which seem to be only about 1½ miles away at one point, and only about 15 miles away at the farthest point. This is a relatively flat area with few trees.  And horses have good hearing.”

In 2012:

Last year, there were cases and cases of 500 gram fireworks, pictured on Ree Drummond’s blog along with photos of the fireworks bursting in the night sky.

I sent the following e-mail to Joan Guilfoyle, Dean Bolstad and Mike Pool of the BLM, and to Tim Harvey, who’s on the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board, and copied a few wild horse advocates like R.T. Fitch, Ginger Kathrens and Anne Novak:

“Once again, Ladd Drummond, who has a wild horse contract in Oklahoma, put on a really big 4th of July foreworks show (see Link below) on his property.  These weren’t just a few sparklers, but what seemed to be hundreds of 500 gram fireworks (there are quite a few photos of the many boxes, including a box of 9 ‘One Bad Mothers.’

His LTH pasture and another wild horse long term pasture are only a few miles apart.

How do you think the wild horses fared during the big fireworks show, with the loud noise and the fireworks bursting in the air? (The fireworks could probably be seen for miles, since Oklahoma is relatively flat).) Sure, the bar-b-q looked good, but if this is the kind of “care” the wild horses receive at this facility, I formally request that this contract be revoked.                                                                                                                                                 Do you consider a fireworks show to be in violation of the BLM contract with this long term facility?  If not, why not? We look forward to your response.”

I did not receive any response (it seems they don’t want to reply, unless hogtied).

In 2013:

This year, the Drummonds had another big 4th of July party, and although Ree didn’t post photos of the fireworks lighting up the night sky like she did last year, she did include a photo located here,

of the many empty fireworks cases, so it seems that hundreds of fireworks were set off again.

Fireworks can be from about 120 decibels to 150 decibels, which is as loud, or louder, than artillery fire.  Horses have a keener sense of hearing than humans, and “horses have a very strong emotional response to whatever sensory input they might receive.  And the emotion is fear.  Fear triggers your horse’s flight mechanism”

Do you think the wild horses were spooked when Ladd Drummond set off those “bad mothers?”  Could the excitement cause an injury?  Do you think this is “safe?”  At roundups, the BLM makes members of the public (except for their friends and family) stand far away, so a glint of sunlight off our sunglasses doesn’t spook the wild horses.

The BLM contract with Ladd Drummond states “All horses shall be handled, treated and maintained in a humane manner.”  The contractors are to maintain the facility in a safe condition.

Isn’t the grass dry in Oklahoma in the summer?  What if any of the fireworks malfunction?  Isn’t there a risk of fire?

The contract also states that “The site is not intended to be a public viewing area.  Therefore, the contractor will restrict or prohibit access onto the site by the general public.”  I guess the “general public” doesn’t include the Food Network’s film crew.

Ree Drummond has “used” the wild horses in promoting

her cooking show on the Food Network, and as subjects on her blog. The Drummonds have had the wild horses on their property since 2003, yet it doesn’t seem that Ree Drummond, with her fame and fortune, has issued one public peep against horse slaughter (especially in her home state of Oklahoma). 

This is what Ladd Drummond (Ree calls him the “Marlboro Man”) supposedly wrote about the wild horses and it was posted on Ree’s blog on May 21, 2012:

“I like having the wild horses. Besides giving us a way to diversify our cash flow, they are fun to take care of. Watching a herd of horses run across the pasture is pretty cool, even for someone like me who has grown up around animals my whole life.”

But there are disadvantages also. For one, the horses are less profitable than cattle—especially in today’s market. While you don’t have money tied up in inventory, you also aren’t seeing an appreciation of value that you get when you own the cattle. Another disadvantage is that they can be harder on the land than cattle. For me, that is the worst part.”

Yes, it would be “pretty cool” to have wild horses running across your land, like the American public used to have on their public lands.  But now, only a select chosen few (usually, wealthy individuals) have access to enjoy this public asset on their private property.  And also, Ladd, doesn’t Ree’s cooking show on the Food Network (and the sale of her cookbooks) “diversify” your “cash flow?”

The “worst part” for us is that Ladd Drummond, like many other BLM contractors, is using poor judgment on what would be best for the wild horses, but continues to operate unchecked (just like the BLM).

To learn more (and for a couple of laughs):


See the beginning of the “Horsing Around” episode:

24 replies »

  1. Dear Ladd,

    Somehow, I can’t imagine any decent human being purposely scaring his innocent, captive “guests,” much less guffawing over it.

    How positively “rugged” and “virile” of you.


  2. They sound like most of the cattle ranchers, ignorant. I may not be a horse owner anymore or own cattle, but, I been threw a part of the range area where cattle have been. Horses are not like cattle, They are not harder on the range. Shooting off fire works near the horses just goes to show you, they don’t give a damn and they are ignorant to that fact. And, I wouldn’t watch Pioneer Woman if you paid me.


  3. Truly insenseative and shame on them. I see the Mrs has a segment on the Food Channel, would be a good place to let everyone see just how little they care


  4. Asked Ree on her cooking page about the horses being so scared, this is the pic of where they set them off on their property


  5. As one of the 99% all I see is privileged elitism on the taxpayer’s dime. And they’re crying over profits not made on horses that should belong to no one! How vulgar!


  6. Oh my goodness, it just never ends does it?? I am so dismayed with all that is happening in this country, and what has happened to our western states where so called cowboys roam, have so many lost any kind of common sense ??? WHERE is Sally Jewel??? Is she still working?? Yup it continues on…. SO MANY IGNORANT PEOPLE…..


  7. It’s apparent that the Drummonds look at the horses as an asset to their ranch to make money, not living creatures who have fears and needs of their own. Last week, we were on top of Pryor Mtn., where Cloud and the herd of 150 horses live. At night, we could hear fireworks down in the valley–20 miles away–which caused the entire herd of wild horses to stampede to the far side of the mountain in fear. Apparently, the Drummonds’ social affairs take precedence over the needs of the horses they are paid to take care of.


  8. Fireworks and Horses Don’t Mix – Officials warn of dangers associated with Fourth of July celebrations By Pat Faherty

    “Some of them [horses] aren’t alarmed by the sound; others, it drives them berserk,” said Dr. Richard Dunn, a veterinarian at Countryside Animal Clinic. “They flee when they hear something that they’re not used to. It’s their primary method of defense. And the burst of light by fireworks at night could have a similar effect.” He said scared horses will sometimes run in their pasture until they’re ready to drop. He suggested if people around the county have neighbors with horses, to just BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR AND THINK of them if contemplating using fireworks.”


  9. Another fine example of how the BLM feels about the welfare of the wild ones. So much concern for them…..ha


  10. Paid to Drummond Land and Cattle for our Wild Horses:
    2003 $214,000
    2004 $971,134
    2005 $1,371,635
    2006 $1,391,175
    2007 $2,357,680
    2008 $1,349,424
    2009 $1,989,286
    2010 $3,017,231
    2011 $2,181,000
    2012 (only through the 3rd quarter) $1,811,848
    Total $16,654,412


  11. Why is when you call the white house they take a brief complaint without asking your name, number or address? Maybe they have caller id?… it’s like they hear what you say and then say “Thank you”…
    Really are you listening???


    • I experienced the same thing this morning, Robyn. A sweet elderly woman said “thank you” but didn’t ask any details.

      We already know the feds have access to our phone calls and emails and website views, so I guess they don’t want to waste our tax dollars by taking time to ask for information they already have on us!

      BTW, it sure didn’t sound like 202-456-1111 was set up specially for horse slaughter/wild horse calls, though the lady did sound familiar with the subject — thanks to all of you callers.


      • I’ll keep calling on all complaints related to our Wild Horses and Slaughter…Sick Sick Sick of it…


  12. What sick, disgusting arrogance! The poor imprisoned horses with nowhere to run; must have been as terrifying as the roundups themselves. Fireworks paid for with our tax dollars I’m sure; after all, they are ‘BLM Contractors’…yes?


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