Horse News

Exclusive Report: Where Have All the Wild Horses and Burros Gone?

Twin Peaks Report from Kathy Gregg, Environmental Researcher and Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist, A.B., M.S., Ph.D. Candidature
 Photographs by Craig Downer

There are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.

This wild horse looking across the vista appears to be wondering the same thing that continually crossed our minds during this three day journey … “Where have all the wild ones gone”?

This wild horse looking across the vista appears to be wondering the same thing that continually crossed our minds during this three day journey …
“Where have all the wild ones gone”?

Although a very few wild horses and burros were seen, the best way to describe our three days on the Herd Management Areas (HMAs) is “mile after mile and hour after hour seeing no wild horses or burros”.

During this three day ground survey there were two experienced wildlife observers with binoculars searching for wild horses and burros and other wildlife in the Twin Peaks, New Ravendale, Buckhorn and Coppersmith Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs).   We traveled approximately 160 miles over 3 days and

17 hours in the herd management areas.  We drove slowly with many stops along with some limited off-road hiking and we constantly looked for signs of wild horses and wild burros.  A total of 23 wild horses and 18 wild burros were observed. All observed horses and burros and range conditions appeared to be in excellent health – the only good news.

Near Rye Patch Road, we saw two family groups traveling together.  One family is Magic, our treasured son of the great Twin Peaks stallion BraveHeart who was captured in 2010 and Magic’s faithful mare Hope.  The other family consists of a bay stallion, charcoal colored mare, their yearling and their new foal … and a burro!  Although having been spotted earlier this year – safe and sound – these two families had been missing after the Rush fire raced through their home area last summer.  It was an inspirational moment to see them safe after having escaped the massive 2010 capture and the uncontrolled Rush wild fire – the white/appy stallion again lived up to his name, “Magic”.

This public land is set aside by Congress principally for wild horses and burros, but there are very few that remain since the roundup of 2010.  It is incredible and unbelievable when the BLM says there are 1,684 out here again…

Magic and Hope

Magic and Hope

Per the 1971 Congressional Act, the land is to be devoted PRINCIPALLY but not exclusively to the wild horses and wild burros welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands.   Definition of “principally”: First, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree, chief, mainly, largely, chiefly, especially, particularly, mostly, primarily, above all, predominantly, in the main, for the most part, first and foremost.

There are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.  The American people are being deceived by our government agencies that are mandated by Congressional Law to protect these animals.  The wild horses and burros ALREADY have a place to live and it is not in governmental corrals.    These animals and this land do NOT belong to the government … the wild horses and burros and the lands belong to you and me.

Please click (HERE) for the entire independent observers’ summary report and many photos.

More information:

See Twin Peaks Masters Thesis by Jesica Johnston:

See 2012 Rush Fire Report:

See Twin Peaks May 2013 Report:

See Twin Peaks August 2013 Report:

43 replies »

  1. It is so sad , one cannot help but sob uncontrollably !!!!!!! it saddens me to the very core of my soul !!!!! !!!! When I think of the AWESOME Thundering Herds of Mustangs thats Beauty was undeniable the most beautiful sight for the eye to see……….for the heart to feel , and every one of the senses heightened to pitch never felt before !!!!! If only there were a way to return the Mustangs to where they belong ………… and to keep them as God intended , Free to Roam !!!!!


  2. So sick of this agency and their “Wrangling Hoopla”.

    The 160 miles of land could handle thousands of horses that are
    currently in Long term holding facilities.

    This is Pathetic that all this land belongs to them having so few occupy it.

    Yet thousands upon thousands exist below par at LTC instead of living
    on that land today and saving the tax payers as well as the lives of
    our Wild Horses.

    Thank You Craig Downer for you work and update on this area.

    I am sure all the missing thousands of horses that use to occupy the area
    grazing the hazardous vegetation, over grew quick creating that
    Fire Hazard. Stupid Agency called the “BLM”.

    “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” by Craig Downer explains this in his book.


  3. Thank you, Craig and Kathy. This report needs to go viral and be sent to Congress and the media. It is proof beyond any doubt how the BLM is ” managing for extinction”


  4. One would hope Man would have learned something from Our pasted mistakes…
    We have NOT… soon they too will be gone, like the Buffalo that once roamed in the West…


  5. I did forward this on to a bunch of people. Hopefully the more who are aware the better chance the horses & burros have, right? At least that’s what I tell myself.
    I certainly appreciate the time and effort Kathy Gregg & Craig Downer put into this.
    Sure does prove just how much crap the BLM is shoveling, doesn’t it?


  6. How a country treats the animals, says everything about that country. Why is the US government involved in the business management of wild horses. I find this to be inhumane. Who is responsible for this horrific act of torture? Sad day’s for our country is running rampant lately. What are they doing to these wild horses? Is the plan to remove their reproductive organs? Looks to me like they already started. Infections will likely set in, especially with the mares. That is why they are so depressed. They are ill from the quacks that are doing the work. Contraception is the big plan I guess. Do you agree?


  7. Brilliant, Kathy and Craig; absolutely brilliant report.

    These reports are what I envision true field studies are supposed to be, with the focus on the presence or absence of wild horses and burros, not the endless anecdotal information and decade-old quotes from studies done on other HMA’s or ‘scientific’ data collected that considers these animals – not at all.

    Keep beating the drum. It’s still a sound only a few can hear, but it’s getting louder all the time.


  8. Thank you Craig and Kathy, for this important documentation.

    The question is… how to we get those with the authority this situation to:

    a.) access and understand the situation
    b.) GIVE A DAMN
    c.) make the changes the public demands

    I return to my earlier suggestion of a coordinated Town Hall Meeting to be held in EVERY STATE IN THE UNION before the 2014 mid-term elections. It would require a website host but as I envision it, it would host links and some background information, some questions as discussion prompts, and one interactive map of the U.S. which could show when a state has at least one person committed to holding such a meeting and sending their opinions to their elected representatives. Each state would change color as a commitment was made. If more than one person in a state stepped up to host a meeting, that state would simply show a number on top of the color.

    I am convinced petitions and letters are mostly being ignored, but have some hope a unified effort which encompassed EVERY STATE would garner attention in the way Wild Horse Annie was able to garner national support and unanimous action by Congress to enact the 1971 law.

    I don’t see much hope without a unified front. Ms. Jewell is apparently convinced all the WHBs will double during her tenure in office, so cannot be expected to address any biological or mathematical information to the contrary.

    We need the voice of our nation, not simply in numbers but in a unified effort from every single state.

    I can promise at least four states right now.

    Mr. Fitch, can your website host such an effort? Anyone?


    • oops, my question is missing a few words! It should read:

      The question is… how to we get those with the authority to change this situation to:


    • AWESOME Idea , I am in Ohio and will do what is needed to implement this , Knowledge is KING in this situation……. Just need direction !!!!! Unify the States individually is the Key !!! Lets face it we are running out of time , whoops the Horses are running out of time !!!!!!!! I know that we the people are strong and even tho Ohio is not the center of horse country, but those I have talked to LOVE THEM and are unaware of the Plight and how serious it is !!!! Once they are presented with the proper info !!! We have got some real Power of the People !!!!! But we must get on it !!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been racking my brain on what the best way to stop this Horror for our Mustangs and horses for years ……….and have not voiced them on here because i know they are listening … the element of Surprise has won many a war !!!!! This one is really no different !!!!! My Passion for the Mustangs and horses is undaunted , i will not ever compromise their safety or their lives, or compromise the promise they were given !!!! we need a totally secured website , !!!!!!! I am and remain all about the Horses………………….. captured me with their Haunting Beauty , when i was 5 yrs old …….


  9. My apologies for not including Kathy Gregg I was in a hurry this am when posted….
    Thank you Kathy Gregg… For being part of this helping our Wild Horses…


  10. It seems to me maybe we need to join forces with the other groups fighting for the environment. The BLM ignores science that disagrees with what they want. That includes the possible damage mining causes. So, environmental groups against that reckless mining might be inclined to join forces, since the first step for the BLM is removing the horses. It’s a red flag. The BLM should have to back ALL of its decisions in land management with scientific data. The fact that it can’t is absolutely frightening.
    It’s very ironic that we have a nation with more power to communicate than ever, yet can’t get the same aid Wild Horse Annie did. Possibly it’s just the wrong people in the wrong place, but also there is just so much information. People need to know how this affects them. And it does. If fires start because horses aren’t grazing down the forage, homes get burned. And if a government agency is that determined to ignore the will of the people, it is a danger sign for any government that is supposed to be run by the will of the people.


    • Terri, what you speak of here is how I got to the idea of a nationwide Town Hall Meeting. Folks in Connecticut, say, or Illinois who have little connection with wild equids are also owners who should have a say in what sort of future looms for them. Every state could at some level have a discussion about what matters to THEM and what their vision of the WHB future looks like. Some may not care, some may want to know their grandkids could still go see WHBs.

      I envision providing links and some questions to enable folks to have an honest discussion, and come up with a few key statements from each meeting which will be forwarded to their elected reps. Maybe all the states’ declarations could be compiled on the initial website as well?

      It’s just one idea but if Annie could do it with so few tools, surely we can at least equal her effort today? I’d be willing to bet there are folks on the WHB blogs from almost every state already.

      I also agree our government is ignoring the will of the public here, but since there is no unified definition of what the public wants, they have an easy out. Our system requires grass roots efforts to percolate upwards and lead to awareness and eventual change. It’s up to us to do that legwork to the best of our abilities, and to vote accordingly. Maybe we could get those petitions put to work bringing ballot initiatives into every state’s midterm elections next fall, for one example. We have to put our energies into strategies with at least some hope of effecting change within the system we have.


  11. Happy they found some horses and burros but the others are gone most likely, rounded up and shipped out or put in the hold pens (jails) , they will take the big move as they go along and the rest will be gotten rid of , our government hard at work the BLM . When they are all gone what will they start to round up next and get rid of?


  12. I forgot to mention in the report that these four wild horse and burro herd management areas total 940,277 acres and I estimate we saw approximately 22% of that acreage … give or take.


  13. THANK YOU, Kathy and Craig. So much for the “Thriving Ecological Balance”.
    Where do we start.

    Quick review of the Twin Peaks roundup in 2010:
    Heavy Cop Presence at Twin Peaks Keeps Contractor Hiding Place Off Limits
    Posted on August 27, 2010
    by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine
    Armed Law Enforcement Out Number 4 Credentialed Reporters at Wild Horse Stampede
    The chief of the BLM’s security detail at Twin Peaks has refused an on the record interview with Horseback regarding the reason for such a heavy police presence being paid for by the American taxpayers when there has never been an apparent threat.


    • Louie…the day we were there, every observer who wasn’t an ‘average citizen’ WAS BLM law enforcement.
      They introduced themselves and which branch they served and there were at least a dozen, on top of the BLM agents already in place. We were told they were also there to observe the procedure.
      It was, to say the least, a little intimidating.


    • Louie, I did a bit of researching today on other wildlife populations in comparison to Wild Horses and Burros. One source,The Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation. published Elk populations by state and by Canadian Provinces for 2011. Here’s an outline of what I found. Keep this in mind as part of the BLM’s mission is indeed to maintain that “thriving ecological balance.”

      I’m not trying to pit one species or human demographic against another here, just trying to gain perspective on where the numbers of wild horses and burros really fit in our western ecosystems in recent times. It’s clear they represent a fraction of another species widely appreciated and supported by government and private interests on our public lands.

      In 1984 there were just over half a million elk in N. America.
      In 2011, there are over 1.2 million (doubled in 27 years).

      The populations overall for WHBs range between 18,000 to just under 40,000 from the sources I’ve investigated. No firm numbers anywhere.

      Looking state by state below, we can see the ENTIRE WHB population is about what the Elk population is in Alberta or Arizona. Check out the other states to see the Elk Foundation’s estimates, all much larger than the combined total WHB population, and many far in excess of horse populations including the reservation populations.

      I think we need to bring this to light better; the hunters are typically anti-wild horse as we all know, and will argue these populations are so high because hunters pay for licenses etc. but we know how many MILLIONS are being spent by American taxpayers to support so few horses. To me, these numbers highlight the injustice starkly. If folks would just for a moment entertain a scenario that wild horses are native wildlife, the disparities become immediately clear. Even without hunting, and taking the BLM’s highest population numbers, or adding in the reservation horses, the numbers simply pale in comparison to just this one revered wildlife species. Food for thought. (I rounded some numbers, or took the mid-range, check the link below for specifics)

      Alberta: 33,000
      Arizona: approx. 30,000

      Colorado: 284,000
      Idaho: 103,000
      Montana: 150,000
      New Mexico: 75,000-95,000
      Oregon: 125,000
      Utah: 72,500
      Washington: 60,000
      Wyoming: 120,000



      • Thanks , Icy, very interesting. BTW weren’t the elk in Yellowstone eating all the vegetation along the river until wolves were introduced ? Then there is the mule deer pop. Of course hunters buy licenses , guns, etc. so they make money. Wild horses do also as tourists come to see what few they can find, and if there were more wh’s and burros there would be more tourists IMO.


      • Barbara, yes to your comment on Yellowstone, some very virulent arguments raging over the trophic cascades there with and without wolves.

        Read Bruce Smith’s book “Where Elk Roam” for an insider’s view of the federal expenses and public insistence on unnatural elk population densities in the Jackson, WY area. It’s a great resource from the chief wildlife biologist there for I believe it was 22 years. He’s also an engaging and talented writer.

        Elk usually only have one calf per year, though. Deer where I used to live commonly had twins, and in good years triplets (white tailed deer).

        I wish we had some good numbers on the tourist dollars generated by wild horse and burro ecotourism, but really if they are part of an entire ecosystem you are experiencing I doubt you could isolate just one species accurately. And it must be said its wonderful to see any wildlife in the wild.


    Heavy Cop Presence at Twin Peaks Keeps Contractor Hiding Place Off Limits
    Posted on August 27, 2010
    by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine
    Armed Law Enforcement Out Number 4 Credentialed Reporters at Wild Horse Stampede
    The chief of the BLM’s security detail at Twin Peaks has refused an on the record interview with Horseback regarding the reason for such a heavy police presence being paid for by the American taxpayers when there has never been an apparent threat.


  15. New York Times was there:
    BLM’s Wild Horse Stampede Contractor Exposed as Deceptive
    September 8, 2010

    BLM’s David Cattoor Plots to Subvert First Amendment Rights, Again!

    Dave Cattoor, “I’m not going to give them the one shot that they want” ~ Photo by Jim Wilson/New York Times

    It was subtle, it was sweet and done with such professional flair that most people would have missed it on the first go around but a second viewing cements the words and causes the jaws to drop. Clare Major, of the New York Times, caught on video BLM Wild Horse Stampede contractor Dave Cattoor discussing with his company and BLM personnel the process of killing a horse, that his firm would injure, and how to hide it and dispose of it in such a manner that the public and press would not see it or become aware of the incident. How sweet is that?

    There’s background as to how badly the Cattoors wanted to manipulate the press and be on the “good side” of the Times. Three days earlier, at another trap location, the Cattoors and the BLM granted NYT reporter Jessie McKinley and photographer Jim Wilson unprecedented access inside the active trap area while holding other press and public observers at bay almost a mile away. When news of this discriminatory act was exposed by this reporter on “Straight from the Horse’s Heart” close access to the traps was then denied to all press and public.

    NYT filmmaker Clare Major was kept behind a jute fence halfway up a mountain with a horrible view of the illicit operations only 48 hours after her team mates were granted unfettered filming. Along with reps from HSUS and Horseback Magazine she suffered the ire of the Cattoors for being caught using deceptive practices only days earlier.Ms. Majors contacted her editor to request another day of shooting as nothing occurred during that filming attempt. She likewise made special arrangements with Sue Cattoor to be allowed down to the trap site for interviews prior to the arrival of the correspondents from Horseback Magazine, it was during that time that Dave Cattoor was caught showing his tried and true business model. The “them” that Cattoor was referring to was the team from Horseback, including this reporter. Dave Cattoor’s comments not only back up and verify the fact that his operations harm, maim and can ultimately kill wild horses but what is hidden in his words verifies that this is a practice and process that he has used against the free press and public in the past and it has worked. Cattoor said, “If something happens we are going to correct it quickly, just like we talked about. If it’s a broken leg, we’re going to put it down, slide it on the trailer, same thing, we are going to town with it. I’m not going to give them the one shot that they want


  16. IcySpots, those who are complicit in this will probably have to be removed from decision making positions and stripped of any authority.
    You have to start somewhere. This is not going away and either are any of us. In fact, more and more are coming into it and they are as alarmed and outraged as the rest of us.
    Could that be one reason that Horses are targeted? There is just something about them that inspires so much in humans.


    • Louie, I appreciate your work and words. However, it doesn’t seem possible to just remove people from office, unless as here in Colorado people can petition and get people thrown out of office for misrepresenting their constituent’s views.

      Horses have been targeted since long before the 1970s so I doubt that’s fueling the current situation any differently. Wild Horse Annie managed to get more letters sent to Congress in her day than were sent about the Vietnam War, which is part of how we achieved the supposed protection of wild horses and burros in the first place.

      It seems to me on logical step to get a national discussion going is my proposal (above) for a nationwide series of coordinated (but not dictated) Town Hall Meetings. This method represents one of the best virtues of our country and could make some waves. I’m not sure what else could.

      What are your ideas? We need more and better ways to get American public opinion energized.


  17. I was privileged to spend two consecutive days prowling through Twin Peaks in early September. The first day there, we saw Magic’s band of several horses and one burro as well as a very wild band of four burros at a distance. The following day, we lucked into seeing horses everywhere and I have photos to prove it. Just goes to show you that just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The same thing has happened when I’ve been in Sand Wash Basin HMA … one day, you might see nothing…return the next and be over run by horses everywhere. Just saying…


    • Thanks Harriet.
      Exactly how many did you see when you saw “horses everywhere”?
      And just exactly where did you see “horses everywhere”?
      As you say, some days you see more and some days less but please read the “more information” report links for documentation of many prior visits and links to independent aerial surveys.
      Please share your specifics with us.


  18. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” …the lone wild horse looking across the vista certainly proves that to be true! It breaks my heart to see such a picture knowing there were many that once roamed in that area, wild and free. It’s imperative that we continue to observe and be their voice. Thank you Craig and Kathy for the update and sharing your experience with us.


  19. How about if all the wildlife and environmental groups joined together and sued the American Government and the BLM for breach of the Public Trust. Wolves are being slaughtered for the same reason–so ranchers, frackers and other private businesses can set up shop on our public land and steal the natural resources that belong to all of us and to future generations. They have a sense of entitlement to our public land and the treasures it contains and the Obama Administration is absolutely letting them rob us blind and destroy out land and wildlife to boot.


    • Irolf, most of the major environmental organizations, and most wolf supporters, believe horses are an invasive species and treat them with about as much respect as our government. I’d love to see The Sierra Club change position, for one example, and return horses to their rightful place in our ecosystems. As long as they are a sort of “third estate” (not considered wildlife, and not considered pets) they are vulnerable despite our protective laws.

      I can add (for everyone) one of the major arguments I run into is the widely known truth that people have abandoned domestic horses in recent years, which harms public perception of our wild horses immensely. All of us need to avoid complicity in these activities, and at a minimum inform those who turn horses loose they are writing a death sentence for all the horses out there. Abandonment is irresponsible in the highest degree, but in this case it will lead many more horses to removal and slaughter. Anyone who cares about horses should realize turning them loose is a death sentence writ large.


  20. IcySpots, as you say, it is hard to remove those that are entrenched in the bureaucracy. When things get too hot, they usually just get out….retire with full pensions and/or benefits AND go to work for a lobby firm or law firm.
    Most ideas that I could offer are not mine, but those of so many that have worked on this for so long. When you go through the archives and comments of this and other blogs, you will see lots of ideas…and they are GOOD ideas.
    Many of us continue to comment in the EAs, donate to lawsuits, and attend the RAC meetings. Some are contributing to investigative work and rescues.
    Some have gone to D.C. and many try to work with their own representatives in their districts.
    Something that might help, would be for more people to attend the RAC (Resource Advisory Council) meetings, which are held by the BLM. This is where the Resource Management Plans are developed and where our Wild Horses and Burros are often left out of the picture altogether. I don’t think that these meetings are very well attended or that most of the public is even aware of them. I wasn’t until recently.
    Something else that is needed is a centralized data base…where accurate information can be immediately accessed.
    These aren’t my ideas. They are a compilation of thoughts and ideas from ALL of the dedicated WH&B advocates who refuse to let up or go away.


    • Louie, I am digging through much information these days, hoping to find some way to make a difference. I am not aware of any RAC meetings or openings… maybe this would be one good thing to add to this website, a like about where these are and when they meet?

      That said, the public input meeting in Nevada this summer to discuss conditions in the Palomino Valley Complex resulted in at least one attendee (who had driven a long ways and invested both time and money in developing thoughtful solutions) left in despair. She believed it was a total setup, no real listening occurred or was even intended, in her opinion. So my first take on the RAC is that these are likely to be ineffective pacifiers handed to the public to divert attention from the larger, uninterrupted operations of the BLM.

      Like the much-awaited NAS report, which after two years and a much-awaited unveiling, resulted in…. nothing.


    The Bureau of Land Management formed 29 Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) in the western States to provide advice on the management of public lands and resources. These citizen-based groups provide an opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds and interests to have a voice in the management of these lands, and to help improve their health and productivity. RAC recommendations address all public land issues, including: land use planning, recreation, noxious weeds, and wild horse and burro herd management areas.

    Each RAC consists of 12 to 15 members from diverse interests in local communities, including ranchers, environmental groups, tribes, State and local government officials, academics, and other public land users. Each Council must include representatives of three broad categories:

    Commercial/commodity interests;
    Environmental/historical groups (including wild horse and burro and dispersed recreation);
    State and local government, Indian tribes, and the public at large.


  22. …..and yet another point of view from a long-time advocate.

    A Short Note to Wild Horse Herd Advocates (excerpts)

    As Advocates we have no money, and with everyone being a volunteer. This means there is no central focus, there exists no responsible party to answer to, and there is no chain of command. There are disputes, and those who start the dispute or are in the middle of such should simply step aside and let those who are working continue, and basically shut the hell up! In this Journalists mind this situation is perfect to combat a Government that is organized, but totally disorganized, shallow, and drone like.

    Here is a short-agenda to approach the BLM / DOI Drones. To start make them prove their EA’s; Demand Accurate Horse Head Counts and prove within the context of the EA; Demand and have them show “Provable Science” and “Valid Data Range Research” within the EA that shows beyond a doubt the harm done to the exact Range area discussed, supposedly by the horses, and where the correction is required (via provable range research and non-bias data).
    FAA Law can work for Advocates

    One law is FAA PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES § 91.13 – Careless or reckless operation.4 The law is quite clear, yet ignored. This Journalist says “ignored” because there exists video taped evidence, in abundance, on the Internet, which is not edited what so ever. This is a felony, and as outlined in FAA Part 91–#91.13, as well as within many state and federal jurisdictions on Vehicular Assault upon people or animals.

    False Claims Law
    Make no doubt to the seriousness of false claims as well. The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the “Lincoln Law“) is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs.

    Felonies – The short list
    Criminal Felonies each, by BLM / DOI employees and Private Contractors with an abundant explanation, as follows and predicated with . . . it appears that criminal violations of the following laws have occurred:
    1. 18 USC 641; Public money, property or records; whoever receives, cancels, or retains the same with intent to convert to use or gain . . .
    2. 18 USC 1512 (b); tampering with a witness, victim, or informant (Obstruction)
    3. 18 USC 371; Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States; conspiracy to obstruct a criminal investigation . . .
    4. 16 USC 1338 (a) (1); wild horses and burros: protection, management, and control; any person who sells, directly or indirectly, a wild free-roaming horse, or burro maintained on private or leased land. . .
    More and more outright Felony situations
    The highlights of current violation foreshadow previous investigations – ALL FELONIES:


  23. Saving America’s Wild Horses

    With drumming hooves, they come running.
    With tails flagged high, they come running,
    With flowing manes, they come running.
    With flared nostrils, they come running.

    Oh, what a glorious sight!

    Clouds of prairie dust mark their passing.
    The scent of crushed sage comes drifting.
    Glistening hides in sunlight, reflecting.
    Separated mares and exhausted foals nickering.

    Oh, what a careening flight!

    What would cause this reckless running?
    Over rocky hills, unshod hooves come crashing.
    Older horses lose their footing
    Lathered sweat whitely spraying.

    Oh, what a panicked flight!

    Exhausted, on splayed legs, with sides heaving
    Too spent to nicker at their mothers’ leaving
    Foals collapse, roiling dust enshrouding
    From the chopper blades’ wild whirling.

    Oh, what a tragic flight!

    The strong ones lead, the rest conforming
    As they heed the fences’ hazing
    Into the catch pens’ terminating
    Rails forcing a bewildered milling.

    Oh, what an end to their flight!

    Looking for lost foals, mares pacing
    Bloated bags with warm milk dripping
    A mute and painful weeping
    O’er the Truth so horrifying.

    Innocence, a victim of their flight.

    Stallions answer Nature’s calling
    Rearing, striking, biting, screaming
    Close-quarter conflicts inciting
    Instinctive challenges contesting

    The bloody purpose of their flight.

    Growing herds expanded grazing
    Might harm the desert tortoise feeding
    Politicians paid for by Big Oil, Big Mining
    Approved detailed plans for exterminating.

    Greed, the “No Exit” signage of their flight.

    Some spend months in metal pens confining
    Forgotten, rains ease their frantic thirsting
    Thousand rib and hip bones testifying
    Slow starvation caused their dying.

    Human error the Reaper’s demise of their flight.

    Too few selected for public adopting
    Wild Horse Protection Act ignoring
    Auctioned prices climbing, ever rising
    The “Killer Man” nods and ends the bidding.

    One final sorting changes the nature of their flight.

    Steel trailers travel south to border crossings
    Squeezed into plywood crates, foreboding
    Bewildered captives endure hours of flying
    No hay or water to ease their silent suffering.

    Japan’s slaughter houses, the destination of their flight.

    Electric prods keep dazed mustangs moving
    On slimy steel, hooves slipping, horses falling
    They’re lined up, wild eyed with nostrils snorting
    At the stench of filth and hot blood flowing.

    The Kill Box, the vile termination of their flight.

    Spinal cords severed by Ice-pick stabbings
    Strong legs collapse to the sounds of groaning
    Hind legs wrapped in chains are lifting
    Through cut throats, life’s blood is draining

    Can glazed eyes see their souls take flight?

    Wild burros, horses, mules trapped for Federal culling
    Race horses, ponies, trotters too old for sports or breeding
    Loyalty, trust unnoticed in the equine steaks now steaming
    As patrons of foreign dining enjoy their gourmet gorging.

    Ignorant of the bloody, heinous outcome of their flight.

    Horses carried men in battle, no beribboned medal dying,
    Pulled prairie schooners across the plains unending
    Built railroads, carried mail, plowed fields for planting
    In Arlington, proudly paraded veterans to their final resting.

    We must preserve, forever, the freedom of their flight.

    With drumming hooves, they come running.
    With tails flagged high, they come running,
    With flowing manes, they come running.
    With flared nostrils, they come running.

    Oh, what a thundering, glorious sight!
    © June 2, 2016 by Janice E. Mitich
    Picture Rock, AZ

    Wild horse and burro advocates have my permission to copy my poem for posting or sending to your state and federal elected officials, including BLM and Dept. of the Interior. Just be sur to include my copyright and information. Good Luck. We need to stop this and people need to know what is happening to our wild ones. Blessings.


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