At the Temporary End of the Red Desert Complex, Wild Mars and Foals are at Rock Springs Corrals, Which are Still Closed to the Public
The Red Desert Complex Roundup in Wyoming from August 7 – 17 2018 resulted in 1442 wild horses being captured and removed from their families and their homes. 1101 were removed from Green Mountain and 341 were removed from the Stewart Creek Herd Management Area. 25 wild mares and stallions were returned to Green Mountain and 10 wild horses died during the roundup, 6 of them foals, and at least 4 of these foals were run to death.
Unfortunately the roundup is not over – it is only over for now. The goal of removing 2670 wild horses from the complex has not yet been met, and three of the Herd Management Areas targeted were not touched: Crooks Mountain, Lost Creek and Antelope Hills. The information that I have been able to learn is that the roundup was stopped because there was not enough room in BLM holding facilities to take all of the horses. The plan is for the helicopters to return in October of this year or possibly next year. Here is the BLM’s Gather Report Page: https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/wyoming/2018/red-desert/gather
Initially, the horses were to be going to the Rock Springs Corrals in Rock Springs, Wyoming and the prison facility at Canon City Colorado. This would have been (relatively) good news for the horses because both of these facilities allow public observation and adoption and both facilities I have worked with personally and had good luck in finding the BLM staff cooperative in aiding people in locating and adopting particular horses that they want to adopt. I had photographed the horses in both facilities and helped many people to adopt and also to purchase older horses. However, at the very last minute we were told that there was a “problem with the contract” at Canon City, so now the mares and foals would be sent to the Rock Springs corrals and the stallions would be sent to the private Axtell, Utah facility which does not allow public observation or adoption and only allows one 3 hour public tour once a year, and this year this occurred in July when most of the horses had already been shipped out of the facility. I had no luck in getting permission to visit the facility last year and this year in order to observe and photograph the horses there, and I fully expect this lack of access and cooperation with the public to continue. Only a handful of horses were offered online for adoption from Axtell, and all horses over 5 were shipped to long term holding where they cannot be adopted but only subject to sale by the truckload.
According the the figures on the BLM Gather Page, 744 mares and foals were sent to Rock Springs, 705 stallions were sent to Axtell and 5 were sent to the Honor Farm in Riverton, a prison facility with a training program. Some more horses have been sent from Rock Springs to the Mantle Ranch in Wheatland, WY for training.
Last week I went to the Overlook at the Rock Springs Corrals in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The facility is currently closed to the public while the horses are being processed. However from my observations, the horses already all seemed to have neck tags and brands, even the foals. So waiting to make the horses available does not make sense to me unless they are expecting to get more in in October. There was plenty of room in the huge back corral and none of the corrals were as crowded as I have seen them. I do not know when they will be available or when the public will be allowed into the facility to get a closer look at the horses. I also do not know if some or many of the horses will be shipped out before that happens.
The overlook allows a view of most of the corrals, but not all, and I did the best I could in very windy conditions to photograph as many horses as possible. Thankfully unlike last year they had not separated very young foals from their mothers – all the horses were together. It is very disturbing seeing these beautiful wild horse mares and foals now stuck in these corrals, instead of roaming free with their families. There is no shelter from the elements at this facility, and the corrals are in the windiest spot in Rock Springs. Winter is coming.
Please feel free to use these photos to identify horses and please spread the word and the photos. I would like as many of these horses to find homes as possible because the alternative for the older horses, unlimited sale in truckloads of as many as 25 per person per day, is just unthinkable.
Here is a link to the images:
To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit: www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org