Horse News

Counting Wild Horses: An Aerial Tour of Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Habitat

Video and Commentary by Ney Grant
Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“For several years Straight from the Horse’s Heart (SFTHH) and Wild Horse Freedom Federation have followed the struggles of the last remaining wild horses and burros on one of the largest HMAs in the United States; Twin Peaks that stretches across the state lines of both California and Nevada.  Besides personal visits of our own, several other wild equine advocates have been keeping an eye on what is left free on the open range, one of those advocates is Grandma Greg who has documented her findings and made them public here on SFTHH.  Her most recent installment was “Where Have All the Wild Horses and Burros Gone?” which is pretty much required reading for any advocate as it contains links to the full report and many of the preceding documentation that verifies that contrary to what the BLM alleges there are ‘NO Excess Wild Horses and Burros.’

Last week a group of wildlife ecologists did an aerial assessment of what is left and we are pleased to share with you their video and ask that you click on the link at the conclusion of this post to visit their site to comment directly and encourage them for more aerial surveillance of our vanishing icons of American freedom.  Thanks to Ney Grant and for making this possible.  Keep the faith!” ~ R.T.

Ney Grant:

“I did this flight over the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area for LightHawk ( and wildlife scientists and experts Craig Downer, Jesica Johnston and Cate Scott. The purpose of the flight was to assess a recent burn area, and to observe and estimate the number of wild animals. We didn’t fly over 100% of the range, but they will look at our flight map, number of observations and density of animals (scarce food and water keeps the density low and constant) and make estimates of the number.

I apologize for the length at over 5 minutes, but it is such a powerful version of that song I couldn’t get myself to cut it down.

The wide angle of the GoPro on the wing makes the horses on the ground VERY small. But if you want to see some, look carefully at 4:59 in the video on the right hand side. I even drew a circle for a few frames.”

Please Click (HERE) to Comment Directly at Ney’s Site and Support His Efforts

Click (HERE) to Learn More About the Plight of the Wild Horses and Burros at Twin Peaks HMA

34 replies »

  1. I agree, anxious for the report on what they found as Grandma Gregg, from the ground, found it difficult to come up with any numbers that could be considered “excess”.


  2. Thank You Ney Grant and all the others who helped you , to confirm what we have already surmised, I saw only a handful of Mustangs , this is the saddest truth of all !!!!!! your view of that area are stunning !!!!!!


  3. Sad. Could almost be a video of the moon, were it not for a handful of horses and burros. The few horses seen evoked a feeling of loneliness and depression in me. The only excess in this situation is political bullshit. Thankyou for your efforts, and the song, is one of my favorites.


  4. All I can say is wow… I got a lump in my throat and a knot in my gut… so much land but not very many wild horses or burros. Sad, angry, sick… thanks for showing the world what some already knew, our Wild Ones are in big jeopardy… tears…


    • My very same reaction…lump in throat…see more vast, barren land… few burros, one or two horses, tears … no large family bands, nothing living, most horses found by the very few trees…where is the water? Where is any living thing? Although I love Alicia keys, I love this version of Wild Horses by Susan Boyle better. A very courageous woman who conquered the impossible. For Alicia Keys, I would say after crying about this video, I’m gonna be playing, This Wild Horse Warrior Woman is ON FIRE!!!!


      • The music (Susan Boyle) is beautiful & the pictures are pretty – but too bad actual wild horses weren’t pictured throughout the video. I guess I would have been very impressed if I had watched this a few years ago – but not now. Its not very realistic anymore – not with the title of “wild horses”. Lots more water & grass than the land where the wild horses & burros are, huh?


      • Yes, I notice that many of the horses depicted weren’t wild ones, WHATEVER! The beauty and power of Susan Boyle’s poignant voice and any horse is very moving, especially since all horses, wild and domestic are subject to being dumped into the horse slaughter pipe line. The original Susan Boyle live World Premeire video should be more to your liking as a symbol of overpowering great odds, much like we, Wild Horse Warriors must do to gain freedom for our beloved wild horses and burros!


  5. Wonderful work……and sad news so little horses and burros… EVIDENCE is a “Powerful” thing………
    This makes me so ANGRY!


  6. This flight could not have been accomplished without the generous donation of time and plane by Rey Grant and Please thank them.

    An analysis of the flight will be done within the next few weeks but I can say now that this flight supports previous and numerous independent flight and ground surveys done since the 2010 massive Twin Peaks roundup/removal of our wild horses and burros … there are NO excess wild horses and burros.

    When watching the video, did anyone see the 1,750 wild horses and burros that BLM says are out there on this land???


      • There are supposed to be 1750 horses & burros??? Well, if they are there & not just in the BLM’s imagination they sure are good at hiding & there don’t seem to be many hiding places out there!
        In my opinion, this verifies what we all know – they are LIARS – at the least.


    • GG, I was shocked as well, but realizing the arid conditions was trying to imagine how many acres/equid are considered feasible… it’s probably a lot. Considering how many acres were flown over, I wonder how many were not, which could be where the rest are living (if they are living at all).

      That said, on reading here you said there are supposed to be over 1700 animals there, it’s pretty clear that many would not be bunched up in such large numbers other than in holding pens. Very disturbing.

      If there is any prospect of flying over the entire HMA this video should be shown to every elected official in the nation, for now they can argue what was not seen is hiding thousands of horses and burros…


  7. Before the BLM Twin Peaks roundup, when there was a massive removal of FEDERAL PROTECTED Wild Horses and Burros from their LEGAL Herd Management Area.

    Wild horses of Twin Peaks Herd Management Area


    • Doesn’t always amaze you that these horses that they “euthanized” had debilitating injuries that did NOT debilitate them when they were free – only after they had been rounded up!


      • Maggie, I don’t recall which video I saw recently in which the BLM babes (there were 3) were asked about the demise of a blind mare who they said was 15 years old. They “euthanized” her since she was going to be a safety problem in loading. Why the hell couldn’t they have let her go? She’d made it that far pretty well on her own. I suppose this was another “accidental” death of a disposable horse.


  8. Since I’m not a rocket scientist, I’m trying to understand the supposed versus witnessed density of equids on this HMA.

    Figuring 800,000 acres divided by 1700 horses is 470 acres per horse in the HMA.

    One acre is 208′ square, so figuring a straight line distance, 208′ x 470 = 97,760 feet per horse (along a 208′ wide band). 97,760 feet is just over 18 miles long.

    So for every 18 miles this plane flew in a straight line, one should expect to see 1 horse every 208 feet to the left and right along an imaginary “starting line” stretching across the entire HMA, then after 18 miles another “starting line” of horses lined up 208 feet apart.

    I saw a dozen or so burros, and maybe that many total horses in the recent video. Seems pretty empty to me.


  9. From AMERICAN HERDS/2009
    What’s Left? (excerpts)

    As the united call to stop BLMs unchecked assault on the American mustang & burro continues to gain momentum, with over 180 organizations and celebrities now supporting a moratorium to halt any further removals until key issues can be resolved, here’s one more reason to demand a “cease and desist” until a full scale investigation can be conducted on the Wild Horse & Burro Program to determine what’s really left out on the range.

    Since 2001, BLM has reported removing over 80,000 wild horses and burros at an average of 10,000 animals per year. Despite these aggressive efforts, they continue to report little to no impact has been made on reining in their “excess” populations, a nebulous term BLM continues to define and an even more elusive goal they never seem able to achieve.

    Using the same methods BLM uses to manage the Wild Horse & Burro Program, an alternative population emerged that concluded, as of February 28, 2008, BLM had already removed between 11,000 to 14,000 more animals than necessary to achieve their national population goals.

    Still, the round ups continued….

    In addition to graphically illustrating the annual population declines, at least 52 Herd Management Areas have been found to have extreme jumps in annual population reports that were key in supporting BLMs national “excess” with 25 of these occurring between 2007/2008 and 16 between 2008/2009. To learn more, Click Here.

    Until Congress demands an independent count of the populations BLM has been reporting, both on and off the range, the evidence continues to mount that “What’s Left?” has reached critical levels of concern.


  10. The analysis for this flight will be completed in a few weeks and that should help us all to understand.

    Although last week’s flight (time, flight path, # of observers, plane, pilot, etc) is different, the following link will hopefully give you some background and answer some of your questions:

    Click to access 09.24.10_twin_peaks_post_round-up_population_est.pdf

    In addition, you may wish to read:

    Twin Peaks Masters Thesis by Jesica Johnston:

    2012 Rush Fire Report:

    Twin Peaks May 2013 Report:

    Twin Peaks August 2013 Report:

    And as R.T. suggested,


  11. Dear Louie, wanted to clarify what cease and desist is for those of us who are not familiar,

    Cease and desist
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search

    A cease and desist is an order or request to halt an activity (cease) and not to take it up again later (desist) or else face legal action. The recipient of the cease-and-desist may be an individual or an organization. Cease-and-desist letters are also known as “infringement letters” or “demand letters”.[1]

    Although cease-and-desist letters are not exclusively used in the area of intellectual property, such letters “are frequently utilized in disputes concerning intellectual property and represent an important feature of the intellectual property law landscape.”[1] The holder of an intellectual property right such as a copyrighted work, a trademark, or a patent, may send the cease-and-desist letter to inform a third party “of the right holders’ rights, identity, and intentions to enforce the rights.”[1] The letter may merely contain a licensing offer, or may be an explicit threat of a lawsuit.[1] A cease-and-desist letter often triggers licensing negotiations, and is a frequent first step towards litigation.[1]

    Receiving numerous cease-and-desist letters may be very costly for the recipient. Indeed, each claim in the letters has to be evaluated, it should be decided whether to answer to the letters, “whether or not to obtain an attorney’s opinion letter, prepare for a lawsuit, and perhaps initiate [in case of letters regarding a potential patent infringement] a search for alternatives and the development of design-around technologies.”[1]

    Cease-and-desist letters are sometimes used as well to intimidate their recipients, such as for example “as an effective tool used by corporations to chill the critical speech of gripe sites operators.”[2] A company owning a trademark may send such letter to a gripe site operator alleging a trademark infringement, although the actual use of the trademark by the gripe site operator may fall under a fair use exception (in compliance with, in the U.S., the protection of free speech under the First Amendment).[2]


  12. Wonder how hard it would be to obtain a cease & desist? What kind of proof would have to be shown? Possibly this could be a question to ask the attorneys that previously have helped the wild horse & burro issues. Especially if it were possible to “do” multiple cease & desists.


  13. That land is SO WIDE OPEN and vast….there is no reason for horses to be removed!!! *OMG* there is barely a handful of them left!!! BLM have destroyed their herds and no doubt probably ruined their genetic viability!!! I HATE THE BLM!! It hurts to see this.


  14. I have a good idea that if more of the herd areas could be flown over in the spring when the grass has come back and the horses counted you would see only handfuls of scattered horses along with thousands of cattle and sheep. The mustangs are basically extinct in this huge area. It looks like the BLM is accomplishing its goal with the help of left wing judges that sides with the BLM at every turn. I don’t have a answer for this, I doubt anyone has. Even showing the film to someone at the BLM they would say the video was changed and the horse herds were erased that was on it. None of them will ever admit they did anything, not even if one of them went along for the ride and saw the few horses they would still deny all.


  15. Your video is beautiful…and heart breaking. I have been going to Twin Peaks for over 35 years….I went to 6, 2010 roundups…the amount of horses that they left is very low and remains that way…no matter what BLM says. I have gone out almost every weekend searching all over Twin Peaks…very very sad…Thank you for your time and support in this beautiful ( well to me its beautiful heart is out there ) country and what horses are left.


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