Horse News

Day One Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup

On-Site Report by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“It is just stunning and disheartening that a special interest group with only 50 members, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, has more influence on the BLM, the state of Wyoming and the courts than the tens of thousands of American people who want to see these horses remain free.”

Photography by Carol Walker, Music by Opus

As I was driving behind the BLM vehicles this morning on Bitter Creek Road I thought of the last time I was doing this, in December of last year on the coldest day of the year. I am so very tired of following the BLM out to trap sites where our beautiful, majestic wild horses are driven by helicopters into traps, separated from their families, and sent to holding pens to live out their lives. I am just sick of it, just sick.

This time, even the courts provided no remedy, even though the BLM has broken piles of rules and laws.

All I could do was to be there to witness it, once again.

It cannot be stated enough that the BLM has nowhere to put these wild horses yet they are determined to remove from their homes and their freedom. As of October 6 the Gunnison, UT facility is no longer home to 1100 wild horses.

It is just stunning and disheartening that a special interest group with only 50 members, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, has more influence on the BLM, the state of Wyoming and the courts than the tens of thousands of American people who want to see these horses remain free.

I will be updating as I can, cell service permitting.

I am at the trap site in Salt Wells Creek or should I say 1/2 mile from the trap site. The trap site is on private land, and we are placed on public land. There is a group standing right over the trap on the rocks, a fabulous view point, and I can only assume it is the landowner and family. Even my very long lens is having a hard time getting any sort of a decent shot of the horses coming in.

They are starting here in this location in Salt Wells Creek for only 20 horses, then moving the whole operation tomorrow to Great Divide Basin. No doubt a very influential land owner demanded they start here first.

The first group of wild horses driven in by helicopter today was led by spectacular and proud black and white pinto stallion who did not want to go into the trap. We heard the helicopter circling around and moving the horses for over an hour before they made it into the trap. The horses looked so tired, heads hanging low, sides heaving. Then immediately the Cattoors pushed them into a trailer, and the stallions are fighting furiously. There is dust spilling out the sides of the trailer and I see the black and white stallion go down, and get trampled in the close quarters. Why on earth did they shove them all in there together? He finally gets up.

The next group has a week old baby foal running gamely in the middle, through the dust to the trap. The whole family runs into the trap, and then they flag the baby to separate it out so he will not get trampled in the trailer. Of course he is terrified and his mother is whinnying.

The last horse they tried to bring in today was a gorgeous black stallion with a bald white face – I called him Baldy – he bumped into the Judas horse, was very clearly surprised, jumped back and decided that he wanted no part of the trap – they tried to bring him back around 3x then let him go after he faced the helicopter. Jay D’Ewart, Wild Horse and Burro Expert for Rock Springs radioed and said “let him go.” Still wild and free! We all cheered.

This day has left such a sad bitter taste in my mouth that I decide to go see some wild horses in Salt Wells Creek. The beautiful families that are simply resting together on this gorgeous fall day lift my spirits. This is the only way I or anyone else should see wild horses.

75 replies »

  1. The BLM is more disgusting then ever, it is so hard to believe that these people get away with this. Poor Carol Walker having to witness this illegal BS, I can only imagine what she had to deal with !!!!! However i know she had to go !!!!!! I am tired of this aweful senseless crap !!!!!!!


  2. Thank you for being our eyes and ears, and documenting this tragedy. Sad to see the horses are still being mishandled during round up. Thank you for being their witness.


  3. I’m so choked up, I can’t speak. I’m so angry. I cannot tolerate this. It is not better turning an unseeing eye.

    Ban public grazing. Ban all profiteering off of public lands. But ban grazing first. Take the ranchers’ righteous and smug use of the people’s land away and make BLM enforce the unlawful use provisins in tthe law.


  4. The BLMS convoluted scam needs to be exposed !!!!! and dealt with ………… This is insane and needs to be reconnded with arrests and convictions and a huge Return to Freedom for our Mustangs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lets all concenstrate on that !!!!!!


  5. OMG this is so SICKENING!!!….I called Wyoming BLM yesterday talked to Amy after being routed around to a live person who admitted the Roundups aren’t working.
    Ya Think???


    • You did better then I did after 3hours trying to get hold of someone I gave up, what they do is simply not answer the phone!!!!!!!!!!


  6. Amy also told me many would stay in LT holding there and many will go to Canyon City.. I expressed much disappointment for our Wild One’s and getting into the wrong hangs of kill buyer’s out the back door etc and being in LT Forever!!!! This makes me so ANGRY!


  7. WHY OH WHY! …. can’t somebody with some influential power to save the mustangs help out ? get the media involved, how about some of the top names actors and actresses that would be sympathetic to the cause???!!! If the BLM is blatantly committing violation, WHY ARE THEY NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE !!??!!!


  8. Soooo sad. Just returning from Wyoming where I got first-hand look and education in to the plight of the wild horses more than I knew…and am thoroughly disgusted, angry, and sad. My thought on this is that I am a taxpayer…these horses are on MY (and other American’s) land, that MY government is allowing private enterprise (the cattlemen and their groups) to USE my land to the expense of MY wild horses–the icons of America. Yes, I agree that cattle and horses are needed to co-exist from an agricultural standpoint (they both contribute equally and complimentary to the land in terms of their grazing, elimination, etc.), but it is not right to have private cattle on public lands. Why not have the BLM own cattle, have BLM horses and BLM cattle on public lands, and let the cattlemen have their own cattle on their own (private) land. Groups such as Friends of A Legacy, (F.O.A.L.) manage the public horses and cattle? They are doing a terrific job and are implementing contraception to manage the herds and are monitoring them well. I have not eaten beef since I was in high school…and I am certainly not going to evermore and contributing to this issue.


  9. This situation mirrors the way the rest of our govt. works. Money talks. Special interest groups come first, the ordinary taxpayer ‘s wishes be damned. Color me completely fed up and hopeless.


  10. Ok when are there going to sit ins and protests? You cannot let them do this. Hillbillies like Bundy protested. Wheres our side? This is a blatant hypocrisy to leave debtors on land they dont oen but removing public owned horses from public lands from public oversight. Come on! Fight! Thisbis Now when Empassioned…emblazing argument for freedoms and public rights need to occur. No put downs just an empassioned determined fight for the future ofvthe wild ones. The evidence of cattle in droves e


    • I agree. Nothing changes without civil disobedience in this country. This is a grave injustice to our wild ones, a lethal blow. We have all failed them, the laws have failed them, the courts have failed them. If you think they will live out their lives in LTH, you are naive. The majority will go to slaughter. The week old foal that Carol witnessed will probably not survive. These last genetically viable herds are the last of line folks. Extinction is near.


      • How about having them called a near extinct species that needs protection–then they would have to preserve them and their habitat.


    • I am ready , have been ready , I once said i would stand for the Mustangs any place any where , nothing has changed here !!!!!!! organize and just say where and when !!!!!


  11. This situation is emblematic of much that is awry in our country, sadly. I wish I knew how to turn the tide towards the promise this nation once held.

    Whatever your views on the rights of wild horses to live wild, in the wild, bear in mind that cattle are biologically introduced species here – they are not natives, as horses are. And whether you choose to believe this continent was empty of horses when the Spaniards arrived or not, at best this argument makes horses and cattle equally invasive. Then you must consider why public policy is protecting one for private interests and exterminating the other which is owned by the public and supposedly protected by both the intent and the letter of this 1971 law:

    “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 presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

    One has to wonder how private interests in the checkerboard are not being required to fence their own lands to keep private property private, and public property public as is the law. If we are all subsidizing private ranching interests on such a scale perhaps we should demand free beef at the groceries as a token compensation for the millions of dollars we lose annually on this coerced “investment.”

    I challenge anyone with a legal background to take on this issue and help our country regain its dignity. Right now the WY example proves what a shell game we all now suffer. Surely we can do better?


    • I understand your points, but disagree on one MAJOR point: the numbers of wild equines remaining do NOT legitimize the land devastation the USDA (Forestry) and DOI are claiming.

      Equines MOVE…daily. They do NOT remain on water and grazing sites like sheep and cattle the REQUIRE herding. It is a scientific fact.

      As to fencing, which cuts legitimate wildlife users from water sources….there is the illegal rub.

      Screw not eating meat, save for knowing responsible purveyors, not being vegan (we will all be there some day) and understanding that the land and water hogs are going to EXPORT everything.

      This is a problem of putrefying law, regulations and guidelines to help a handful of corrupt humans.

      Did a Google to find the best attorney regarding suing the Feds….know what I got outside of ads?………nothing!


      • Denise, I didn’t mention numbers at all but agree with you on that score. Fencing does constitute an unnatural situation though, and keeps wild horses more confined than their natures would choose.


  12. My heart feels like it is being squeezed so tight I can hardly breathe. I am sick body, mind and soul. I have a 4 month old foal and the very thought of doing that to her brings me to tears. Why are these people so irrational????


  13. Thank you so much for the up date as appaulling as it is. Yesterday I called the White House comment line as well as Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. I also emailed and called my US Representative Dan Lipinski. Today after I received the up date I called the Interior Appropriations subcommittee which allocates the funding for the BLM and explained my out rage that our hard earned tax dollars are being sent in this way. I also indicated we currently have 50,000 plus wild horse already on private ranches and feedlots which are already paying for. I asked them why the horses are being removed from the area that were set aside for their protection. One of the Legislators on that committee stated only the sick and old were removed. I said if this was the case why are whole family groups rounded up by helicopters and sent to these private ranches and feedlots. I told my zLegislators as an American citizen and tax payer, I am no longer requesting accountability, but DEMAND an answer to what is happening. We need the WHOLE/country to light up the switch boards in all the Legislators offices. I thank all those who are in the throws of this disaster ànd pray for your safety. How disgusting!


    • I too called the White House yesterday to Obama’s line and talked a very poised individual on the other line……SHE JUST LISTENED WITH NO COMMENT.. SAID THANK YOU….. I too am like everyone one else have hoped for something better than this and knowing at some point they will end up dead inside living in LT and or shipped off out of sight to people selling to Kill buyers. We all know how that games works and gets around the BLM stating they do no such thing…


  14. The Catoors are the devil’s right hand helpers – no conscience, no compassion. I hope karma pays them a real nice visit. This cruelty is beyond comprehension. I am ashamed to be part of the human race today…..


  15. When this all started it…..Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA)
    Ranchers, BLM settle suit over Wyoming wild horses
    U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne
    approved the settlement Wednesday. The settlement requires the BLM to round up horses to meet the new herd target numbers. Roundups will occur this year through 2015, or 2016 if the population objectives aren’t met by then.

    The association’s president (RSGA), JOHN HAY, of Rock Springs, declined to comment Thursday.

    John Hay at Rock Springs Wind Energy Forum
    John Hay of the Rock Springs Grazing Association discusses land used for wind farms. He supports Tasco Engineering’s Wyoming Wind Energy Project


    • Thank you, Louie….Mr Hay? When have wildlife become counterintuitive to “green energy”?

      What a pile of a$$holes piling manure at self service and taxpayer expense!



  16. I understand the anger and dismay. Morally and ethically all of this is so wrong on so many levels.

    BLM manages public land. It’s no secret that this administration wants fracking and solar. I’m afraid those ranchers can double down on the lands they lease. They can lease it to fracking companies.

    I have to ask a very obvious question. What good Mr. Rancher is it going to do when fracking companies come to you with a bazillion dollars? What they don’t tell you is what is in the fracking cocktail. It’s loaded with 500 very toxic chemicals. Sure those wells are suppose to be sealed–so when those cocktails are shot down into the earth at EXTREME pressure it’s knocks everything loose. Again those contracts aren’t telling you that LARGE numbers of previous wells HAVE LEAKED.

    The land is poisoned. The water is poisoned. And it’s not just YOUR water–hundreds of people have been affected by these toxic chemicals for miles surrounding these fracking wells. Are they telling you that water they use in fracking is PERMANENTLY TOXIC? No. I didn’t think so.

    Deb Coffey did a wonderful investigation into this water thing. It takes something like 4 million gallons of water to frack a well. That’s a LOT of water. And it’s now toxic–which means you can’t drink it, livestock can’t, any remaining wild animals in the area shouldn’t be allowed access.

    Air quality will sink worse than Los Angeles on a busy Friday afternoon commute gridlock.

    I have to ask without water and air how will YOU survive? On the bazillions that a fracking company gave you? No amount of money can save you when the air you breathe is toxic. No amount of money can save you when there is no food cause you poisoned all the water with those chemicals. You’ll be dead or dying.

    This is a sad day when the interests of 50 people are held in higher regard than those of thousands who signed petitions, tweeted, made calls or emailed. This is not a democracy or the country I grew up in. It’s a nightmare come to life.

    I invite one and all to join me in boycotting the Rock Springs area. Visit other parts of WY. The Tetons are magnificent. The Pryor Range is outta sight. You can visit whatever remaining horses are there are in Rock Springs–plan food and lodging elsewhere. Fill your tanks right before entering the area and again immediately after leaving Rock Springs. I invite you to join those of us who still eat meat–to boycott red meat till the ranchers learn to share.


    • Margaret, I want to add that folks who do want to eat red meat verify it came from privately owned lands, not from cattle grazing public lands. We can ask for accountability in the marketplace and support the smaller businesses who are trying to play fair while surviving themselves. Nobody will know at first (since almost all commercial beef is feedlot beef) but if you shop local and vocal, you can find people doing right by the law, the land, and their livestock.

      If you can’t get a verifiable source for any meat you want to buy, walk away and vote with your pocketbook.


  17. Thank you Carol, my heart is breaking along with your heart and along with the hearts of the wild horses who are losing their families and their land and their whole world.

    And I agree with your statement and will add that it is disgusting and frightening to see that this RSGA special interest group has not only thumbed its nose at the American public but also thumbed its nose at the United States Congress who clearly stated these animals will be protected from harassment – and what could be more harassing than losing their whole world?


    • NOPE!!!!

      The courts have and will continue to thumb their noses…screw Congress. They are worse than DOI/USDA because Congress and the Prez keep funding them.

      And that these animals (like wolves, coyotes and bison) are still being covertly thru legislative legalese are exponentially being whacked (at taxpayer expense) tells you what?????

      Uhhhh……life as we once knew it is really bad….and that includes everything, especially the middle class that floats this nation.


  18. Many CHEERS for the Black Stallion , with the white blaze, he brought himself in and then escaped , WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO ROCKY !!!!!!!!


  19. i think we need somehow to take over BLM’s job of managing public lands with horsrs, as BLM has conflict of interest, and we have interest in line with the law’s intent of preservation.


  20. I would love to just go in and steal those beautiful, wonderful horses before they get them, and secret them away somewhere. And even the ones in holding…I imagine they’re too lazy to work at night. I imagine Earth First would have some good ideas, oreven might help; also Greenpeace–I’m just mentioning well-known groups I know of–I’m sure there are many others and individuals.There must be someone with lots of land who wants to preserve nature and horses. I’m pretty sure Robert Redford, for starters. And this guy:!runningwild/c1l2s Apparently he’s already deeply involved. If he can’t help directly,he may have good suggestions.


  21. I posted Carol’s report on the Interior Face book page. Hope it’s ok w her. Figured it’s public info now and I want everyone to see this. Also wrote my congressman and senators again!


  22. Connecting the Dot$

    Rock Springs Field Office NEPA Documents

    Great Divide Basin HMA Wild Horse Gather – 12/06/13

    Click to access FONSI.pdf

    Bureau of Land Management
    Rock Springs Field Office
    Project Title: Monell-Arch Units Oil and Gas Development
    Under the Proposed Act, AP will develop up to 125 wells over 9 years: 105 oil wells, 18 carbon dioxide injector wells and 2 water injection wells.
    The total well life would be approximately 30 years. Drilling operations would utilize a combination of vertical and directional techniques, as appropriate, and all producing wells would be hydraulically fractured.
    Anadarko Petrouleum Corporation (APC) proposes to develop new oil and gas wells in the Monell and Arch units, approximately 31 miles east of Rock Springs in Sweetwater County, Wyoming.

    Click to access EA3.pdf

    Monell/Arch Units Oil and Gas Development EA

    Oil and Natural Gas. The Monell and Arch units are located in an area with abundant oil and natural gas resources. The Greater Green River Basin is estimated to contain undiscovered resources of 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 131 million barrels of oil (USGS 2002). The proposed project is located in the vicinity of several oil and gas fields, which are listed in Table 3-2.
    3.4 Water Resources
    This section addresses surface water and groundwater resources that may be affected by the proposed Monell and Arch Units Project. The assessment of potential impacts to these resources was based on desktop analyses of existing information.
    3.14.2 Wild Horse Herd Management Areas
    The portion of the project area that is within the Rock Springs Grazing Allotment ALSO OVERLAPS WITH THE SALT WELLS CREEK HERD MANAGEMENT AREA (HMA).


  23. one of you said *Nothing changes without civil disobedience* in this country.* Agreed! And IT is TIME !!!! Move the entire Equine Conference TO sit on* the trap site and the public access !


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