Wild Horses/Mustangs

Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) involved in BLM’s wild horse warehousing

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #14 – FOIA documents include a “Fact Sheet on Long Term Holding Contracts” that was sent to wild horse long term holding contractors, including Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman)

FOIA documents requested by Debbie Coffey, V.P. of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, include an email from ex-BLM employee Lili Thomas, who was the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for wild horse long term holding facilities, to the long term holding contractors.

This email included a “Fact Sheet on Long Term Holding Contracts,” which highlights some of the main requirements of wild horse long term holding facilities.  It is important to note that the land must be privately owned, or the contractor must have long term control of the offered lands.

It is also interesting that the BLM only requires fences to be a minimum of 48″ in height and “shall consist of 4 strands of barbed wire (or other acceptable fencing material).”  Do you think a 4′ high barbed wire fence is appropriate fencing material for wild horses?  Members of WHFF did not think this type of fencing was adequate  when they saw this type of fencing at the Catoosa Long Term Holding facility in Oklahoma.  This low, barbed wire fence was all that separated the wild horses from a highway that was very near to the pasture.

Also interesting is that Lili Thomas included Ree Drummond (AKA “Pioneer Woman”) and wife of BLM wild horse long term holding contractor Ladd Drummond, on this email to all long term holding contractors.  This email seems to indicate that Ree Drummond is involved with the business of the long term holding facility.  The subject of the email included the solicitation for contractors that were “up for re-bid.”

See ALL of the FOIA documents HERE.

17 replies »

  1. And just exactly WHERE are the “sale animals awaiting shipment” from the long term holding facility REALLY going? I think we all know…


  2. A four strand barbed-wire fence is not allowed for adopters to confine former wild horses, so why the double standard? I understand about costs, just not about why the rules make it hard for private citizens to adopt, but easy for contractors to take in masses of horses with lower oversight and no public access. As also noted here, even the death records are highly suspect and incomplete — including any mangled in barbed wire fences.


    • Easy to say this but not really true, as there are always SOME costs involved with fencing, keeping waterholes open, monitoring migrations and deaths, and any conflicts etc. Also any contraceptive use will require more record keeping at some amount of labor, so the costs will never be “zero.”

      Of course these are far less than any off-range costs but think we need to keep on the high road to be effective. Wild horses and burros on the range will still require some degree of paid staff and oversight.


      • IcySpots, the cost for range upkeep yes, but the cost for the WH&B would be a different matter. There is no need for hay, veterinary expenses or farriers for them on the range.
        I think the water situation might also be debated, as much of that has to do with public livestock grazing, fencing, etc. I have read quite a few articles on that and have found that much of the water situation is connected to the “multiple use” clause and that, too, is often hotly debated.
        Contraception is also another matter that requires (and has had) a great deal of discussion. That’s a topic that can go in yet another direction. As we have so often found, predators are killed in order to protect livestock…another BIG discussion. For a Foal, the range is a very dangerous place, but that is the cost of Freedom.
        I truly believe that the most pressing need for WH&B management is rather that of RANGE management.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, I will respectfully disagree. I don’t want to abandon all oversight of our wild horses and burros, and as the law still stands we have a government agency mandated to ensure they remain viable and part of “a thriving natural ecological balance.”


  3. WILD HORSES (excerpts)
    Copyright 2005
    Pete Ramey

    After all these years, my family and I made our first trip to see the wild horses of the western United States.

    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.

    The country was solid rock; mostly baseball-sized porous, volcanic rock that you could literally use as a rasp to work a hoof if you wanted to. Every foot or so, a basketball sized rock was thrown in for good measure. Horse tracks were fairly rare, because there was so little dirt between these rocks. There were a few muddy areas from the recent snow melt, but they were littered with rocks as well. The horses made no attempt to find these softer spots to walk on. They had been walking mostly on snow all winter, so if ever the hooves are soft, tender and poorly shaped, it would be this time of year. I think it was the most critical time to see the horses.

    All of them, from the foals to the aged horses moved effortlessly and efficiently across this unbelievably harsh terrain. They were doing collected, extended trots across this obstacle course that would shame the best show ring work of any dressage horse, with their tail high in the air and their heads cocked over their shoulder looking at us!!! I have never known a horse I would attempt to ride in this terrain. We had to literally watch every step. On the third day we got a half inch of snow (as if we weren’t having a difficult time already). We could barely walk at all. It was exactly like trying to walk in a slimy, rocky stream bed. The movement of the horses was not effected by the slippery dusting of snow on the rocks. In fact, they got around much better than the mule deer and the pronghorns. The only animal I saw that rivaled the pristine fluidity of their movement was a lone coyote. The entire time we were there, we did not see a limp, or even a “give” to any rock, or a single lame horse and not one chip or split in any of their hooves. It was an unbelievable sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • IcySpots, I, too, believe that we need oversight, but WH&B are being “managed” not as wildlife. They are being managed more as livestock with the name “feral” or “nuisance” tagged on to them.
      I haven’t seen that description applied to any other wildlife on public lands.
      The oversight needed is to protect their Herd Area/ Herd Management Areas. As we’ve seen from repeated roundups, they are in good condition before they are taken off the range.
      They need protection, that’s for certain, but what agency could be trusted to do it?
      That seems to be the million dollar question.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Understood — my point was just that it’s not correct to assert there is “zero” cost to managing wild horses and burros in the wild. At this time they are neither managed as livestock or wildlife, but exist in a third world limbo with fewer legal protections. This system is stacked against their very survival.


      • The worst..WORST fear a Horse has is to loose his footing.
        One can only imaging the terror these animals experience after they are captured.
        On the range, where they rightfully belong, there would no need for a farrier.

        Hoof trimming on unhandled mustangs corralled for adoption

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Mustang Hoof

        Mustangs are well known for their tough, durable hooves. Based on visual examination and X-ray radiographs, defects are uncommon. In his study of approximately 1800 mustangs from the Nevadan desert, Dr. Ric Redden, NANRIC INC., notes the complete absence of club feet, which are commonly observed in domestic light breeds (www.nanric.com/thewildhorsesfoot.asp). The most serious hoof defects in mustangs are probably eliminated by natural selection if the horse remains in the wild for a number of years.
        The Wild Mustangs of Mitchell Plain Farm, Corydon Indiana


  4. WILD HORSES (excerpts)
    Copyright 2005
    Pete Ramey

    These horses were all visions of health, but this soon after the snow melt, they should look their worse, I would think. I can’t wait to see the same horses in the summertime. I will do that, too.

    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. Yet the tiny peaks of a few people have revolutionized hoof care, taught us to cure “incurable” disease and advanced the training world by leaps and bounds. What if real scientific study was done? Who knows what we could learn. Do they deworm themselves? Do they seek minerals and medicinal plants? Do they colic? Do they founder? How old do they get? How long are they sound? How are these mares so healthy right after foaling and a harsh winter?

    What exactly wrecks their bodies so much after only six weeks of domestication?

    Liked by 1 person

    • IcySpots, they are “processed” in the same way as livestock. The Stallions are castrated and all of the captives are wormed. Farriers are brought in to trim hooves. Yet another terrifying experience for a wild animal. Can you imagine the terror they are forced to endure. It’s no wonder so many perish in holding pens. None of those things would have to be done to them on the range.
      Also, BLM decides which of them are turned back onto the range thereby selecting which of them can reproduce.

      Liked by 1 person

      • IcySpots, I might not have posted my reply in the right place.
        I was responding to our discussion on the fact that WH&B are handled more as livestock rather than wildlife.
        What a tragic irony that Mustangs, known for having such good feet (in the wild) are captured, thrust into holding pens and in so doing, end up in a process and contraption that terrifies them. Just one more of the many Hells they are forced to endure.


  5. WILD HORSES (excerpts)
    Copyright 2005
    Pete Ramey

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In 2004 I watched my first BLM round up in the Challis Herd Management area. I watched as wild stallions, mares, young foals, VERY YOUNG, were all herded into corrals TOGETHER. Stallions were fighting, it was horrific. I watched one stallion jump over a SIX FOOT PANEL from a dead standstill…..and run to freedom. These panels are meant for holding cattle, not wild animals. A few minutes later I watched another young stallion try to jump over the panel. He caught his leg in the SIX FOOT panel, broke it, and hung there until someone finally shot him. I had seen enough. I went over to the BLM personal and asked them why they don’t have plywood or something……to keep this from happening. These are the same people that, after these horses were captured, fed them PURE ALFALFA. THE BLM DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THESE ANIMALS. THEY DO NOT HIRE PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THEY WERE ENTRUSTED TO CARE ABOUT THESE WILD HORSES (1971 WILD FREE ROAMING HORSE AND BURRO ACT). And so it goes…we are dealing with a government whose agenda isn’t about following the laws….it’s about whose pocket they can line at the expense of our beautiful majestic wild ones…..thank god for people like you RT and all the other wild horse advocates that try with all their heart and souls to do what is right.

    Liked by 2 people

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