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.
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.