Horse News

BLM removes 133 West Douglas wild horses so far, and 1 horse dies while being loaded into trailer by Sun J

Apparently, in spite of a horrific death when a horse broke it’s neck while being loaded into a trailer by BLM contractor Sun J, BLM spokesman David Boyd tried to spin the “news” to say the roundup was “going well.”  It seems that the lives of wild horses mean nothing to the BLM.


EUREKA, NV - JULY 07: Two wild horses walk through a field July 7, 2005 in Eureka, Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management is gathering wild horses in the American West, where an estimated 37,000 wild horses roam free. Many of the horses that are gathered are put up for adoption while others are treated with birth control and released back to the wild. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

133 Horses Gathered In Northwest Colorado Roundup

RANGELY, Colo. (AP) – More than 100 horses have been gathered as part of a roundup in northwest Colorado’s West Douglas Herd Area.

The Bureau of Land Management says as of Sunday, 133 horses have been gathered since the roundup began on Wednesday.

The BLM also reported the first death of the operation. A horse being loaded onto a trailer to holding corrals fell and was stepped on by another horse on Sunday, breaking its neck. The BLM estimates the sorrel stud was between 10 and 12 years old.

A federal judge allowed the roundup to start following a legal challenge from horse advocates, calling potential harm from the roundup “minimal.”

The agency is working with a contractor to collect 167 horses.

47 replies »

  1. Why aren’t more people outraged by this?

    In this economy and challenging times why are our taxes going to support such an unnecessary thing when we could be supporting so many other needs in our country such as supporting children, supporting nature and the environment and our overall security so that we have a country and a legacy to leave to future generations?


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many years ago I heard someone say that BLM and their associates considered the wild horses and burros to be VERMIN and I was shocked to hear such a thing … but as the years of fighting for our wild horses and burros has shown over and over that VERMIN is exactly what they consider them to be. But I have also learned that in reality it is the BLM and associates that are the true VERMIN! One definition of vermin: if you are vermin, you do not give a shi# about anything and you do what you want and you do not care who or what it effects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree – we have an Administration who does not care about wildlife of any kind, and feels wildlife is in the way. Neither Democrat nor Republican can be counted on to protect the environment or wildlife! Perhaps we will see some change when the Obama administration leaves office, hopefully for the better and not for the worse. This is totally heartless and cruel, and speak to the ‘Nazi’ capacity of human nature. It looks like not only getting rid of the horses, but as fast as possible, is the goal – no humane treatment or due care would result in broken necks.

      What is the rush to remove horses from all over the country?


  3. A wild stud gets stuck and injured in a SUN J stock trailer packed like sardines at a roundup, and he is pried free and ordered hotshotted to make him stand without being given a chance to collect himself and stand on his own.


  4. BLM Wild Horse Stampede Contractor Violates Federal Regulations
    Debbie Coffey
    SUN J Stampede Contractor Thumbs Nose at Dept. of Transportation Regulations

    On 2/10/2011, during the Antelope wild horse roundup in Nevada, and the day before Tom Gorey of the BLM issued a press release (below) on BLM’s investigation into their contractor, Sun J Livestock, Inc., the Sun J truck was found to be in violation of several DOT regulations.

    An internal review by the Bureau of Land Management has found that SUN J Livestock, one of the BLM’s wild horse gather contractors, did not violate existing BLM policy or procedures in connection with a Jan. 27, 2011, incident involving a mare that fell, got up, and was subsequently pursued by the contractor’s helicopter during the ongoing gather of wild horses at the Antelope Complex, located in Elko and White Pine counties, Nevada. The controversial incident, captured on videotape, was widely disseminated on the Internet and through the news media.


    • It appears that Sun J Livestock does the wild horse and burro roundups EXACTLY like BLM wants it done and that is why they re-hired this contractor … as if the other contractors weren’t bad enough!


  5. How do you people at BLM sleep at night?
    You are taking away YOUR future generations wild horses. You know the ones you said you would protect? Oh that’s right you are so pathetic you allow the ranchers to dictate your grandchildren reading about wild horses rather than actually getting to see them.
    If a rancher can’t raise cows on 2 or 3 hundred or in some cases thousand of THIER own land then too bad for them. Other farmers have to do it with less. You are just like a bunch of politicians you allow power and greed get in the way of preserving a part of history.


  6. Video of foal with an injured leg taken today (?) at West Douglas extirpation. Foal was evidently hauled away then killed. If true, this is another fatality which stains the hands of Judge Cooper. RIH, sir.


  7. Interesting story here in the Grand Junction paper dates 8-30-2015 describing these horses “need to be moved for their own good.” Author: Callie Hendrickson, guest columnist. No comments are allowed. I will copy and post it here for posterity.

    West Douglas horses need to be moved for their own good

    By Guest Columnist
    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    By Callie Hendrickson

    The “wild” horses found on the west side of Colorado Highway 139 and south of Rangely, known as the West Douglas Herd Area, are being placed in the spotlight because the Bureau of Land Management is working toward complying with the White River Resource Management Plan.

    The horse is many things to many people. They are a pet, a partner, and/or a pest. The “wild” horse of today is viewed as all of the above and has many different origins which are hotly debated.

    Whatever the “debate” is, the fact is that the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 took the management of these horses from the local ranchers and communities and placed it into the hands of the federal government via BLM.

    If you visit with the families that have lived on or near the lands where “wild” horses are located, they will tell you stories of their grandparents and great grandparents raising horses on the range. Some raised horses for the Army during World War I and in later years many ranchers ran their brood mares on the range to raise saddle horses. As time went on, many of these families stopped this practice but some horses remained on the range.

    Forty years after the act was passed, the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program is in crisis. The land designated in the act (Herd Management Areas) will support a maximum of 26,700 horses and burros nationally. This is known as the Appropriate Management Level (AML). As of March 1, 2015, there are more than 58,000 on and around the HMAs. That is twice the number of horses the range will support. In many areas, these excess horses are causing significant environmental damage.

    Because horses have virtually no predators, their populations increase at a documented average rate of 20 percent per year without active management. Obviously they are not endangered and BLM is not managing them to extinction, as some claim.

    In an effort to control the populations on the range, BLM has gathered and removed many excess horses over the years. Once gathered, the horses are offered for adoption and those not adopted are placed in pens and pastures for the remainder of their lives with good care. In addition to the 58,000 on the range, there are now another 46,000 horses living in these facilities. BLM is not slaughtering horses, as some claim.

    BLM’s inability to sell the horses has led to $43 million in taxpayer dollars being spent in caring for the animals. The total 2014 program budget was $77.245 million. Large efforts have been made to adopt horses but given the economy, there are only about 2,000 adopted per year.

    Because it is so expensive to keep these horses in holding facilities and the BLM is near maximum holding capacity they are faced with leaving them on the range. Unfortunately this has led to double the population that the range will support and we are facing a natural resource disaster.

    Everyone enjoys seeing healthy horses on healthy ranges, but when there are too many horses, they become hungry horses on damaged range upon which wildlife, livestock, and recreationalists depend.

    The BLM has studied and analyzed the West Douglas area through six different planning efforts over the past 30 years. Every study has found that the west side of Highway 139 is not an appropriate location for horses. However, the east side of the highway and up through the Piceance Basin has been determined a much more suitable area. Therefore, the Piceance East-Douglas Herd Management Area was formed and the appropriate management level set between 135 and 235 horses. This number will sustain healthy horses on healthy ranges keeping with the multiple-use management concept as required by The Act and other laws.

    The west side of the highway lacks sufficient summer range, has minimal water, conflicts with other uses, and is difficult to manage for population control. Water is a primary limiting factor for all animals in the West Douglas area. In fact, the ranchers that utilize this area often times have to haul water to the cattle. They allow the horses to utilize the hauled water. The lack of water in this area was highlighted in 2013 when BLM had to conduct the 2013 emergency horse gather to prevent some horses from dying.

    When horses do not have sufficient summer or winter range they often remain in the same locations grazing all season long consuming key vegetative species repeatedly without allowing the plants the ability to recover as is happening in the West Douglas area. The repeated overgrazing causes large numbers of plants to die. As some species become completely grazed out, the plant communities transition to less desirable species that few grazers will use. Given our arid climate and relative fragile soils in this region, it is critical that BLM actively manage to ensure the plant communities remain in a healthy state. Livestock grazing and all other uses are closely monitored and managed so that they do not damage the rangeland.

    For all the above reasons, the BLM has determined, once again, it is not feasible to manage horses in the West Douglas area but there are currently an estimated 365 horses on the west side of the highway. The White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts support the BLM’s decision to remove the excess horses from the West Douglas Area and to manage the herd in the Piceance East Douglas HMA within the appropriate management level.

    We hope that the horses which are removed from the range are adopted so they will not remain in holding facilities the remainder of their lives at the expense of the American taxpayer. Anyone interested in adopting are encouraged to contact the Meeker BLM office.

    Callie Hendrickson is the executive director of the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts.
    Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


  8. Good old Callie – can always count on her to jump on the bandwagon against wild horses! After all, she did so much good on the Advisory Board when she was there.


    • I can’t seem to find it right now … but a few years ago she went to a wild horse capture and her comment was that the wild horses strolled or sauntered or ambled or moseyed or meandered or rambled or wandered (or some such wording) into the trap. Whatever her words were, she made it sound like the wild horses were going on a picnic … instead ending their lives.


  9. Didn’t I hear somewhere that because this contractor has a “questionable” history of capturing wild horses (and what capture contractor doesn’t!), that they would have to report to the judge every day? So I wonder what they reported to the judge on the day they chased the foal with the helicopter for over an hour until it broke its leg and they roped it and then killed it? Maybe they reported something like “oops … shi# happens” and the judge said, “oh, ok”???

    And yet the foal was terrorized and mortally injured thanks to the BLM (the BLM COR could have and should have stopped this!) and the contractor and their idea of “humane” treatment. When $$$ is your only priority … you live in a sad sad world.

    Everyone and everything will die some day, death is part of life, but to spend the end of your life in complete TERROR … and unnecessarily caused by humans for the sake of greed is the darkest part of what we used to call humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sad that this foal was terrorized for an hour and then suffered with a broken leg and died in pain. When will this ever end?!


    • GG, I also noticed how thin and near death from starvation the foal was (NOT!!!). It was very clear he or she was terrified and confused, though, whinnying for Mom, who was nowhere in sight.

      I guess this death won’t show up as a roundup-related fatality, either, since it’s “only” a foal.


  10. The second fatality of the gather was a sorrel colt 2 1/2 to 3 months old that was being herded into a trap in which his mother already was contained, the agency said in its Tuesday daily report.

    “In attempt to avoid mare-foal separation, the contractor successfully and gently roped the colt,” the report said. “As (the foal) was approaching the trap he bolted up onto some rocks, then he jumped down onto the road landing poorly and resulting in a fractured right front lower leg.”

    A veterinarian on the scene then concluded that the most humane action would be to euthanize the foal, the agency said.


    • Well, looking at the video again, that colt was already limping as it was roped, so unless it was roped twice (which is possible, the video doesn’t show enough to be sure) the GJ sentinel report is at best inaccurate. One also has to wonder why the foal was roped to keep it from being separated from its mother – when surely the foal knows best of all how to do this. Not to mention that there is little concern about separation once they are in the corrals where they are immediately separated intentionally.
      Sad this little horse was ripped from his life in this fashion, and so needlessly.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks Dee21701, but the agencies report is bogus (not surprised) and as I am sure you already know and can see in the above video posted by IcySpots … that is NOT what really happened. I guess we need to send the video to a bunch of BLM employees and ask them to explain the video vs their bogus explanation and also need to get the truth sent out to the judge who gave the go-ahead for this destruction and eventual killing of our wild horses and to the media … if any are willing to see and publish the truth. (I suggest that if you do send it out, that you suggest they turn down the sound because of the swearing – but if it had been me I would have yelled the same).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There is quite a bit of video footage on this website.

    SUN J chases 1 West Douglas horse for 1 1/2 hrs. in the SUN J roundup. They released the Judas horse 2X and still couldn’t get this horse into the trap. What happened to the horse? We don’t know yet, but Krisz, Toni, Patti, and other observers (whose names I don’t know yet) are there today reporting. They also told us that 31 more horses were shipped this morning, but that information was not released until noon–very secretive.

    Krisz broke her ankle while there yesterday, went to the hospital, and was back this morning on crutches to be a witness for these horses. She just sent this video. We can’t thank you enough Krisz for your dedication, for being there for the horses, and getting this video!

    Here is part of the helicopter chase of this poor horse:


  13. Colorado is the worst place ever I would never move there I just don’t understand how or why you can’t Leave these horses alone please Obama please stop this this is disgusting and sad this is happening in all states there is no reason for this let them be they keep the grass down so we don’t have wildfires what are they hurting who are they hurting


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.