Wild Horses/Mustangs


Thanks to our guest contributor, wild horse & burro advocate Bonnie Kohleriter, for writing this article.  (And, for all of the other work she has been doing for many years.)

By Bonnie Kohleriter

October, 10, 2017

They came and took 10, two year old, sale authority mare wild horses from the BLM Burns, Oregon corrals, to be sterilized and subjected to training for a year for the Snaffle Bit Futurity Event in Reno, Nevada, sponsored by Protect the Harvest and billionaire Forrest Lucas.

Horse users who appear to think only about their purse and their pleasure are delighted.  Horsemen who think not only about their own needs, but also about the needs of the horse, are disgusted.

Yes, the policy of the BLM is that, if the horse has 3 strikes against it, it can be sold as “sale authority,” which means, take the horse for $25, do with it what you want, but just don’t turn it over for commercial use, namely for slaughter.*

Some Resource Advisory Council members (RAC members) and members of the community might think colpotomies (sterilization) and two year old training for a Snaffle Bit Futurity event and purse is great.  Others think it is not so great, but why?

Surgeons in well-known, prestigious veterinarian schools appear rarely to do ovariectomies in domestic or wild horses.  Why not? Ovariectomies may cause adverse hormonal problems.  Ovariectomies can cause tubal pregnancies or fetus abortions if the mare is pregnant.  Ovariectomies are invasive surgeries so need to be done in a sterile setting, which doubtfully was done here.  Ovariectomies, including colpotomies, have “risks” of death.  Ovariectomies have risks of infections that may cause death with severe pain, so appropriate medical equipment needs to be readily available, which doubtfully was the case here.  In short, ovariectomies have “risks” associated with them, and are not to be done lightly.

Then, the 10 horses bought were “2” year olds, whose skeletons, bones, and joints are not yet mature.  Veterinarians will tell you they may be walked under saddle at 2, but they should not be cantered or galloped with weight on them until they are 4 or 5, if you want a sound horse through its long life.  Yes, race horses are run at 2, but they often are retired at 6, 7, or 8, or face death at an early age.  In spite of this knowledge and information, the 2 year old horses will be expected, between ages 2 and 3, to be ridden, to be ridden hard, to be cantered and galloped, to make angular turns, and to do herd work, rein work, and fence work.  None of these expectations are in the best interest of the horses’ health and soundness over its life, but allow only for the possibility of the purse and pleasure of the moment at the expense of the horses.

Doug Williamson and Doc At Night winners of the 2002 Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Nevada

The BLM appears to have a policy that wild horses can’t be used for rodeos as they are not rodeo stock.  Yet 2 year olds can be used for Snaffle Bit Futurity events, even though they risk soundness problems.  The 1971 Law said the wild horses and burros were to be “protected.”

A strike against a horse means it has been put up for adoption and rejected.  If done 3 times, it can be considered to be sold as “sale authority,” losing many of its protections.  It is difficult to imagine a 2 year old horse was put up for adoption three times in separate events and rejected.  Recently, the BLM at Litchfield in CA hosted a three day adoption event at its corral, after which it declared the horses to have 3 strikes against them.  This was done though the BLM rule is an event of some days is considered to be one strike.  It appears the BLM is becoming increasingly sloppy in its management of the wild horses and burros as it faces pressure from those who would simply kill them.  It appears “killing” has become fashionable in America.


10 replies »

  1. The BLM is selling wild horses to fund a horse slaughter organization. The proceeds from the sale of these wild horses are being used to fund a horse slaughter organization, towards the horrific demise of other wild horses.

    I thought the BLM had a policy of not selling wild horses to rodeos. Then I read this on the Protect the Harvest site: “We want to thank the Burns, Oregon, Wild Horse and Burro managers for working with us to present this unique opportunity benefiting horses of the American West. Ten selected fillies will be offered for sale at the 2017 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity.
    These fillies are invited back to the 2018 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity to compete in their own division for a $25 K purse.”


  2. My question is: aside from “training” 2 year olds – what exactly are they attempting to prove by sterilizing these fillies? Are these people under the impression that it makes them perform better or differently? The whole idea of putting a young horse thru a procedure like this for – what?
    Unfortunately, my next question is: did they all survive it? Would it be made public if not (I know, of course-silly question). Just more stupidity by pro-slaughter!


  3. Formerly wild, formerly fillies, formerly owned by all U.S. citizens, sold for $25 each for (what exactly?). Who paid for all these invasive and expensive spaying surgeries? Or were these former fillies practiced on by college students? What did each one cost us all in roundup, branding and processing fees for that $25 return?


  4. Ovariectomy CONS:
    – There is potential for complications due to the relatively high risk.
    – Hemorrhage
    – Intestinal damage
    – Removing Non-ovarian structures
    – Evisceration
    – Infection
    … And then add in the stress and terror these wild horses endure during these major medical procedures.


  5. Internal documents from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) shed light on the agency’s motives and plans for the wild horses and burros.
    Two reports issued by the BLM for internal use only, The Herd Management Option Plans from October 2008, and the Team Conference Calls Report from July-September 2008 contain astonishing proposals to manipulate the WFRHBA and NEPA, eliminate the wild horses and burros altogether from the wild, and until they can be euthanized or sold most likely for slaughter, sterilize them and place them in feedlots paid for by rescue organizations duped into thinking the animals are in private “preserves”.
    BLM is the agency within the U.S. Department of Interior that is tasked with PROTECTING the wild horses and burros pursuant to the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, 16 U.S.C. §1331 et seq. (WFRHBA) as free roaming animals in their historic herd areas and designated ranges. “All management activities are to be at the minimal feasible level.” 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1333. Wild horses are NOT to be subject to “capture, “harassment” or “death”. 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1331


  6. I’m all about the horse. I care less about shows, purses and all the crap for money. I don’t care about papers. Of the border had a good heart and a kind personality. I love it.


  7. Nazi mentality of human nature. I don’t like that misleading names of organizations are being used either – like Protect the Harvest.


  8. This shows only one (~30 wild horses) load that the taxpayers paid to haul a
    load of wild horses to Tom Davis. This load was shipped from
    BURNS, ORESGON to Tom Davis in Colorado. If this was about 30 horses … then you can use some math to estimate the total cost to the taxpayer for hauling about 1784 WH&B = about $267,600 total @ $150 per horse/burro. This hauling was done by multiple haulers but this one is just for J C Ourada who just happens to be the owner/contractor for the Elm Creek BLM WH&B holding facility.

    Contract Transaction #6eec157f2f0c2c8dd37a962cb1fb8055
    (FY 2000-2012)
    Award #1

    Dollars Obligated $4,520
    Current Contract Value $4,520
    Ultimate Contract Value $4,520

    Purchaser Information
    Major Agency Dept. of the Interior
    Modified Contracting Agency 1422: Bureau of Land Management
    Contracting Agency Bureau of Land Management
    Contracting Office OR020
    Major Funding Agency Dept. of the Interior
    Modified Funding Agency 1422: Bureau of Land Management
    Program / Funding Agency Bureau of Land Management
    Program / Funding Office OR020

    Contract Information
    Date Signed 02/29/2012
    Effective Date 02/29/2012
    Current Completion Date 03/07/2012


  9. Wild Horses are NOT saddle horses in waiting
    Barbara Clarke

    WILD HORSES (excerpts)
    Pete Ramey

    After all these years, my family and I made our first trip to see the wild horses of the western United States. My work has been dramatically influenced and inspired by the study of these horses and their hooves.

    So, I walked into wild horse country thinking that I was on a tourist trip; confirming what I already knew. I could not have been more blind. I could not have been more wrong. They were much, much more than I had ever imagined. What I write here, will probably sound very similar to what my predecessors have written. I don’t know if anyone’s words can get the point across to the world, but I have to try. I thought I was ready, but what I saw literally blew me away. I have worked on thousands of horses, all over the world. I spent six years of my life in the saddle from daylight till dark. I’ve had the privilege of working on some of the finest horses, for the finest horsemen in the world. Understand that after two minutes with the wild ones, I knew that I had never seen a true horse. I literally had no idea of their potential.

    How has the horse world ignored the remarkable lessons the natural horse has to offer us? Only a few people have noticed them and very little time has been spent studying them

    The true wild horse is an endangered species, because true wild horse country is almost gone. We had better learn to treat them as such and get all of the answers we can from them before it’s too late.



  10. Aside from the fact that everything that was done to this FEDERALLY PROTECTED WILD Filly was in direct violation of the Wild Horses and Burros Act….her contribution to the dwindling gene pool has also been lost.

    Human-Induced Evolution Caused by Unnatural Selection Through Harvest of Wild Animals

    The objective of this chapter is to summarize the consequences of unnatural selection and sexual selection in wild populations of animals (Fig. 7.1), outline why these consequences threaten future yield and population viability, and suggest some measures to address this problem.

    What are the possible long-term effects of reduced sexual selection that might ensue from continued exploitation? One possibility is reduced genetic quality of progeny resulting from relaxed sexual selection and reduced female mate choice [e.g., Drickamer et al. (2000) and Neff and Pitcher (2005)]. Pitcher and Neff (2007)


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