Horse News

The Red Desert Complex Wild Horse Roundup – Freedom’s End

by Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats

Looking Glass, Leopard Appaloosa stallion

On Day 2 of the roundup, the wind was so severe that the helicopters could not fly. So I headed out to see the horses one last time. It was bittersweet. It was wonderful as always to see the families i knew so well. First I saw Leopard Appaloosa stallion Looking Glass and his family. I continued to a water tank, and saw blue roan stallion Blue Zeus and his family who were on the move, so it was a quick look.

Blue Zeus on the move

Then I encountered a very colorful family I had never sen before with lots of pintos including a handsome palomino pinto stallion. It was a hello and a goodbye. Then the last family I saw was a beautiful wild mare, stallion and foal. They had no idea what was coming for them.

What a time to meet a new family!
The last little family I saw

This morning when I arrived at the trap site for the second day of the round up I had thought maybe the high winds would ground the helicopters today but so far it is a go. We are in Stewart Creek this morning, about a mile from the trap.

Looking into the sun

I watched over 30 I think wild horses (I am not the best at counting) be driven by two helicopters working in coordination into the trap. The winds are pretty fierce so I was surprised that the helicopters are able to fly. They came in in several large groups. But one very colorful family with pintos and buckskins evaded the helicopters, running straight into Lost Creek and they are still running, I am not sure if they are going to go after them today, they may have won a temporary reprieve.

They got away, for now

One large group of about 40 horses ran right through the jute and away from the trap at full speed. Then another group of about 20 horses was driven into the trap. For the last hour they had been pushing the group that got away and were bringing half of them around to the trap and the horses ran away again. Once the helicopter moved off they slowed to a trot then a walk clearly exhausted, but then made their way past us into Lost Creek. Mostly bays and some grays. One stallion is lagging way behind. He stops.

Going right through the jute
The horses are so tired

They bring another group of the horses that had gone out of the jute and these horses are exhausted not moving fast, and have been running for over an hour. They brought the Judas horse way outside the trap to try to get them in. They release the Judas horse who runs toward the trap. The helicopter finally gets them on the path to go to the trap but the horses stop and the helicopter looks like it is almost sitting on them. They finally go into the trap. Meanwhile the lone stallion has disappeared we hope he did not go down. And the wind is howling making it hard to stand and hold my camera. I am hoping this is it for the day. If it is hopefully we will get to see the horses that were captured in the temporary corrals because it was impossible to identify the horses as we were shooting directly into the sun.

The helicopter is right over the horses

We got a tour of temporary holding and found out that 84 horses were captured today, 19 stallions, 27 foals and 38 mares. No injuries and no deaths. 79 wild horses including mares, foals and stallions who were captured on Saturday were sent to the BLM facility in Canon City, Colorado. There were mars and foals, mares, and stallions all separated from their families. A pinto foal was so tired that she lay down and went to sleep as we were watching.

Young horses in the pens
This little one was so tired

Once they finish capturing Stewart Creek horses they will separate 150 that they will release back into the HMA, give PZP birth control to the mares, and then they will move on to the other Herd Management Areas. This is the end of freedom for most of these wild horses.

An appaloosa stallion

4 replies »

  1. I feel so bad for all of these wild ones who have done nothing wrong other than to exist. The leopard stallions look quite a lot like my old boy who has been gone for a long time. To feel that we are unable to stop this – even though all of us at various levels have been trying for so long. The people in Washington who are just going along with this should be forced to come out & actually watch these wild animals lose their freedom and their FAMILIES! I guess maybe that isnt important enough to make them think. I realize this has gone on for many years and throughout many administrations both Ds & Rs. But right now with the people who arent even good enough to be nominated – this is worse – they really want to eradicate our wild horses so they can drill, mine & graze livestock – the same livestock that has devastated far too much of our public lands, national monuments & forests. I’ve been hoping for karma & “what goes around comes around” and all the rest – I think its time! Time for what all wild horse advocates – the ones who are on the ground & the rest of us who write & call & do what they are able to do – its time for the wild horses to have THEIR time right now. Before this entire planet is destroyed by the corporations & crooked politicians & people who just dont care!
    There! Wish I could say I feel better after that but that definitely is NOT the case.
    We just have to keep on trucking…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is the shame of the USA, other countries look on to see this abuse meted out on these wild horses, probably be many cattle on these ranges now, ripping up native plants and trampling water holes into mud. The BLM in the pockets of greedy ranchers etc. Not managing the wild horses as they should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here in Australia we also face similar situations with our Brumbies. Seeing these majestic beings and knowing that governments around the world want them all eradicated is deeply saddening. We have a large FB group now called Worlds Wild Horses in which we share your posts, along with many others regarding the Mustangs. It is really is time to raise awareness worldwide, to connect with all other groups around the globe who advocate for the survival of all wild horses.

    Liked by 1 person

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