Work to do…

So much work to do.


The Contempt case filed in reference to the events that occured at Owyhee is still sitting on the Judges desk awaiting a response from the BLM. But I’m not sitting still. Even more information is coming to light and it is being readied for presentation.

But the case still needs support and the attorney is still spending “billable hours.”

 The place to help continue that effort is

Herd Watch will have it’s own website very shortly. This should streamline the process of updating everyone and create a portal to become involved and get signed up with a Team for training and assignments. (Yes… I have actually found the time to get much of that material typed!)

If you support Herd Watch please make sure you type in Herd Watch. I have been told that the button takes you to a general donation page for Cloud.

Best Friends

General and the Boyz are in the care of Return to Freedom and we should have an update from them soon.

Calico Mares updates will come through Elyse Gardner and Dream Catchers (her project) and from what I understand there is a new baby in that group.

Me….? I’m researching and putting thousands more miles under me. Working on many fronts…

Yes, the last two months have been hectic but productive. The effects of the concussion are finally wearing off…. but I still have a lump on my face that may never go away. At least it’s not another big scar.

Say a prayer that the Judge will actually allow this case to hit the coutroom.

The time is way overdue for a forum for accountability.

Hang on… if you thought the ride got bumpy this last week, just wait… buckle up!

Don't forget Hope...

Calico Confusion

Just want to take a moment to try to sort out some of the confusion about where the Calico horses are going.

Craig Downer purchased Lightning and the old mare 0101.

Mares and fillies are going to Dream Catchers.

And Return to Freedom has taken in the stallions (General and crew).

If you want to help with expenses please now go to those websites and mark donations either calico stallions or calico mares.

There is a really nice article on the AWHPC site about the stallions.

Boyz at the pile

Together Forever…

General and Crew

Just a few photos I’ve been saving.

General, Commander and True are among the horses Return to Freedom will give sanctuary to. The boys will stay together…

My True Boy

Best Friends


I love these guys.

So much to do… so much heartache… but this makes it so much more bearable.


Palomino Valley Stallions

Today we arrived at Palomino Valley to be told we had 15 minutes. They decided without posting that they were closing early for the holiday weekend.

Lightening is keeping the other horses from the fence line. My guess, from his posture and extreme aggressive behavior, is that there is at least one mare on the other side of the fence. Problem here is that the only water source in the pen is on that side of the pen.

General tried twice to lead the group to water and both times was chased off. The second time Lightening separated General (25 years old) out of the group and became aggressive.

We have two band stallions in this group, Lightening and General. General is leading the boys around…. Lightening has chosen the horses on the other side of the fence.

A horse is now limping in that pen that was not on Wed.

Move the water tank…. or better yet move the mares.

When we tried to point it out we were told “they will work it out.”
And then they waited for us to leave. Not just leave the facility, but they waited until we left the public road the facility is on. And then the two employees present left for the holiday weekend.

These stallions have been under considerable stress. Every stress… every single one… will contribute to the potential difficulties any adopter will face. Every stress contributes to the possibility of injury.

Feel like I’m banging my head on a brick wall.

Palomino Valley Update

Stallions have been moved to the “Big Pen.”

The dynamic among the group of horses was much more relaxed than yesterday. We saw some “stud pile” socializing and witnessed no aggressive behavior today. A bit of space in a more secluded place in the facility provides a much safer environment for horses and also the handlers.

The "Big Pen"

In order to get to this larger pen you need to walk around the facility a bit. If the idea of keeping them (stallions) in the small pen was to facilitate visibility… walking visitors around to see these horses might just facilitate an adoption or two.

#6171… Sweet and actually pushy for attention.

Ready for a place to call home (Elyse Gardner)

True has been moved to a hospital pen that is off limits to public view.

The BLM staff vet finally paid him a visit.

I asked the assistant manager if he would use my camera and take a quick photo for me. He took my camera but I failed to show him how to use the zoom. He took several pics to let me see that the wound had been treated saying he got as close a pic as he could. He said the flaps of skin had been cut off to reduce proud flesh. The wound treated and bandaged. He told me that he personally had to stick his head into the chute and the blood that was visible at the fetlock was from the injury to the foreleg. I thanked him for getting the pictures for me.

True 5/25 (PVC staff)

I don’t know when they will put him back with his dad. This little guy was gathered, separated from family, then found dad, then was separated from dad and gelded, then put back with dad , then moved and injured and now separated again. Sweet True boy… you will be back with daddy soon.

Putting together more pieces of pieces… will update again tomorrow.


Want to take a moment to address several things today.

First is that I have stated repeatedly that my blog is a blog. It is a place I express thoughts, info and feelings. On this blog I have an account written in a narrative form “general’s saga.” I have artwork under the “Expressions” tab. I have dialogue that expresses my impressions.

I also have written news articles for Horseback and the Examiner. Those are articles, a few are editorial, but easily identified. (example)

These are different formats.

There is a reason this is printed as a preface today.

Now back to the “True” Issue.

The BLM transported 82 horses last Wed. to the PVC center.

Wild horses, a good percentage of which are intact stallions, were moved for the adoption event earlier than expected. During sorting and shipping a higher probability for injury would exist within the “inventory.” This inventory represents the “items” identified as having a high probability toward adoption. Many because of interest already expressed by the public.

With a higher probability of injury (and at least one witnessed “putting up a fight” and injured) it is unclear to me why a vet visit was not scheduled until six days after such an operation. It is not as if we have a horse owner here concerned about the additional expense of a house call, we have an on staff vet.

Again keep in mind that the population that was moved is considered “highly adoptable” inventory. That population, from a management perspective, has the highest probability of return. It was also a visible opportunity to demonstrate the pro-active care given… instead of the reactive approach to crisis so often witnessed. (From top to bottom in this program).

When a prospective adopter expressed concern over the wounds witnessed in the horses they were following they were not met with any reassuring dialogue toward the animals that would require considerable expense to obtain and maintain. Again… from a management perspective … why would that adopter want to adopt? “Rescue” perhaps… but “adopt?” And then recommend the facility as a place to obtain a sound healthy horse? A large opportunity, not only missed, but turned into a negative experience.

Driving into PVC I expected to find an opportunity to address a more “pro-active” organized facility. An opportunity to look for “positives.” Didn’t find it.

I often approach these issues looking for the “bright side.” Continually I find areas where an understaffed, under funded, reactionary protocol is demonstrated.

In conversation the BLM tries to separate the facilities from the policy makers. It is not what I see. I see the same thought process at work.

Salazar created a “plan.” The plan is based on fear of ROAM (expressed publically at the SRM conference last fall). The plan is based on crisis intervention to an overwhelming inventory created by a protocol that doesn’t work. It is reactionary management. It does not address the root in a proactive form.

We can use many examples of this same strategy in the facilities.

A very basic example would be the stallions at PVC are now in a pen 25% smaller or less than at the Broken Arrow. Feeders are placed on two rails that run at a 90 degree angle to each other. Instead of placing hay down both rows to allow for easier access we have intact mature stallions biting each other at the feeders because the hay was placed only in the feeders on one rail. Stallions recently transported and now under the stress of vehicles, in view of training pens and fillies should have an attempt made to reduce stress. This pen also has the horses injured during transport. This situation can easily create a “crisis” type situation that could manifest by fighting in the pen and tension that will create a more difficult dynamic for the humans that will need to treat and eventually handle these animals.

Proactive measures can create less crisis management.

Back to True boy….

This injury occurred last Wed. I received conflicting information. “Discussions” occurred that were not conducive to an environment of trust and seemed based on a more personal agenda than anything related to promoting an adoption event.

His injury occurred on Wed. I viewed it Sat. The blood trail went over his hoof. I was not viewing the wound as it occurred or even in 24 hours after it was inflicted. If there were still “profuse” bleeding the horse would have been down from blood loss. I saw a wound that had debris  in it. I saw a wound that had the skin that was peeled off the front of his leg beginning to harden leaving the wound itself open. This horse had wounds on three legs.

Another horse was not bearing weight on all fours.

If I managed this facility that adopts/sells horses to the public, a vet would have been on site asap.

The concept. to me, that these horses were not scheduled a vet visit simply related to shipment in a proactive manner toward probability, sits in bad taste. That the vet visit was not rescheduled after injuries were observed? With the animals deemed to have the highest probability of return? To the point that sale authority animals that would normally have slipped off with no recognition have a public recognition that now makes them worthy of a bidding process?

What is the common phrase?

Of yeah… head, desk… head, desk.

True Update

Saw True today.

He has still not been seen by the vet. I have been told the vet will be there tomorrow.

This is a pictire of the largest wound, taken today.

True's largest wound 5/23

His dad is taking good care of him and keeping the other horses away from him.

If this injury occurred to a horse in your care would you call a vet? Waiting six days for a vet to examine a horse with wounds on three legs? Or to examine Commander still tender on that front?

5/23 5 days after injury

My emotions are actually getting the better of me at this moment so I will update about True boy again tomorrow.

True's leg 5/23

The pen holding the stallions is less than 25% the size of the pen they were held in at the Broken Arrow. Today hay was placed in feeders along one edge of the pen. Empty feeders were on the other side. This created a dynamic where all the stallions needed to line up in close proximity to each other. We witnessed biting and aggressive behavior we did not see at the Broken Arrow among this group. Placing hay into the other feeders would allow for more spacing between these horses and lessen the likelihood that we will see a serious injury occur.

Seems like a “no brainer,” doesn’t it?

Bite inflicted at feeder 5/23

I got news about the IDA suit being dismissed on standing. Standing is a tricky thing and rather interesting when it comes to filing a suit against the government. The points raised by the suit have not been discounted… but the points and plaintiffs didn’t match. I know we will hear more about this soon. The issue of long term warehousing is valid… but not in that format. This was not a defeat… the field was never joined.

Lightning looks great…

Lightning 5/23

If you can make the advisory board meeting in Denver… please come.

True in Trouble

Most of you know that I have been following General and his buddy Commander. General’s son True has absolutely stolen my heart.

The three of them were moved to Palomino Valley for the adoption event.

Even though back in January I was told that General and Commander were “sale authority” and I would “pull up my trailer, pay $25.00 bucks and then take them home,” they have now been slated for adoption.

Because I was interested in keeping these three together (they derive great comfort from each other) they were placed into the pen with Tomahawk and Lightening… and all the other horses people had expressed an interest in.

So when I learned they had been moved earlier than expected (we were told they would be moved some time in June) I went to see them right away. (We were told they were moved mid-week, I saw them on Saturday).

Commander and True both suffered injuries in transport.

Commander has blood on his right foot and was not bearing full weight.


True has injuries to three of his legs. His left leg has a gash from getting “hung up” on an object, (or something). The wound extends from just below his knee for aprox. 6 inches. The gash has an open wound aprox. 1 1/2 inches. At observation time it had not been flushed nor treated. On his right thigh (aprox. gaskin) is a puncture wound. His rear left had blood, I could not see the wound.


I was told True put up quite a fight…

The adoption event move was scheduled for June. I expected three sound horses needing no additional care. The original plans need to be adjusted to suit the new circumstance.

I am going to see him this morning… I may need your help.

Please DO NOT call Palomino Valley, please.

I am feeling sick about this today… just need some moral support.

I will post an update this afternoon.

Again… DO NOT call Palomino Valley.

I will be out there with True soon.


Many of you have written to me asking about General.

I have not written another chapter in “General’s Saga” and I apologize. Many tasks at hand but it is a story I want to share.

I am going to be a bit self-indulgent in responding to inquiries about General and just “talk.”

I love that old horse. From the moment I saw him that day he was captured he spoke to my soul. He has a presence that others have observed since that  day.

Elyse Gardner calls me every time she leaves the Broken Arrow to let me know that she has seen him. Elyse is rather fond of him, too. She gave me this video to share (General is at the beginning and the guy with the star next to him is Commander. True is at the end of the video). She has more footage of General from last Sunday and will send when she can.

I left the voices in. This piece lets you feel what it’s like to walk the facility. So many horses to view and so many questions to ask and never enough time.

General looks good, so does Commander. General slipped his tag off. I know his number and referenced some of the horses by number in correspondence with John Neill at the facility. John responded by using General’s name and said “we know you are watching out for him.” John told me that currently there are no plans to geld any of the older horses.

True is not with dad and seems a bit lost right now. He has a very sweet disposition and really seemed to need his father. Every picture I saw had him right behind dad. I wish I could put him back with the only family he had left…

True has not been gelded yet and I have a call in to see how they are doing.

I will be able to go see them again very soon. I get a lump in my throat when I think about it.

In my heart I just wish I could see General back out on the range…

20 years of survival as a wild stallion… and now?

Thanks for letting me talk about him….

General’s Saga continued

General’s Saga Part 2

His story

She had no answers for him. She could not tell him why he was there.

Yet he knew she had heard him.

She turned to leave. He sighed. She had her freedom.

He joined the other stallions that were milling around the pen. The younger ones were attempting to gain position in the ranks and needed to be reminded that this was not the time or place. The older ones were lost in their fatigue. Many, like him, listened to the confused calls from their family members through the metal bars.

Foals at the Holding Area

View the rest of General’s Saga Here.

Calico Complex Video Essay

I apologize for the camera shake. I borrowed a camera I had never used before.

It was cold and my nose kept running.

This video is long. If you are already depressed about the actions, or lack thereof, by the current Obama administrations Bureau of Land Management, please don’t watch this.

Just the few hours that we as a group have been allowed to observe this gather we have seen so much. It boggles the mind what may have occurred when this agency was allowed to operate without witness.

Horses continue to die from the gather. The stress of the actual gather, the stress of confinement and diet change. The stress now of processing. This was a massive gather done at a very vulnerable time of year.

Now these symbols of American freedom, those that survive, face adoption, sale authority, and long term warehousing.

Note: at about 4 minutes into this video is the video of the  foal harassed by helicopter in a longer form than previously shown.

My heart aches.

Edited to add:

Yes, this video is available in HDV. The quality is “dumbed down” to cut down on render and upload time. If you need clips to send  to local media e-mail me the time code and I can burn a disc.

KEEP CALLING the White House Hotline and your local Senators! Don’t forget local media. Get the word out!


General’s Saga (Part I)

Yesterday I went to the Bureau of Land Management’s website to check the gather activity update. The list does not identify specific animals in inventory from the recent Calico Complex Herd Management Area gather, but it does list injuries and deaths. The BLM does not define individuals in inventory. They use the word to describe the entire lot. This definition makes little sense to me. (Example: A retail store orders six dresses for spring, and then they track the lot but not each piece. This would create a database that has little use).

That’s another piece, for another day.

Reviewing the BLM update my thoughts returned to an amazing horse I have met. I worried about his “status.” (His picture is the one in my header). I will share his story with you. This is Part I.

Calico Complex

General’s Saga (part I)

Today began much like any other. The sun rose from the east over the mountain, shades of yellow and red. The red meant that weather might be moving in so today he would lead his family to a sheltered place as he guided them to food and water.

He is a stallion of what man calls the Calico Complex. The Calico Complex is an area where the Bureau of Land Management combined Herd Management Areas to create a complex. The complex consists of over half a million acres. But what the stallion did not know was that this agency, tasked with the welfare of wild horses and burros for the American public, had decided that only 800 horses could remain free.

From over the ridge he began to hear an ominous sound. It increased in volume as his heartbeat increased in rhythm to match the sound. His job was to keep his family safe. The sound grew louder and louder until it’s source appeared racing through the sky. The strange object, a metallic predator, was headed directly at his family!

He cried out, “Run!”

Threat from above

The band thundered over the frozen rocky terrain. Up mountainsides and through the valleys that once provided protection to the band. Yet nothing they did could stop the relentless pursuit of this predator.

They ran and ran. They ran and ran until he could feel the sweat pour down his muscled neck. They ran and ran until his lungs began to burn from the cold air. They ran and ran until he knew his children were struggling to keep up.

Struggling Calico Foal

But the family needed to continue above all else. So he called to them “Run!”

Racing through the gully he had led his family through in an attempt to gain shelter from the threat from above, he stumbled. But he could not stop. He saw the valley open up and he increased his pace.

As he fled across the frozen valley floor another horse appeared before his band, an unfamiliar horse. But this horse was running too. Perhaps this newcomer knew the way to safety so he followed the sorrel down the corridor.

Driven into trap

Then the threat increased! Coming in from behind were screaming two-legs waving long poles! His heart thumped as he again increased his pace.

He had to pull up fast to stop from crashing into a metal gate! His family collided with each other in fear. Circling hard to address the new threat from the rear he found himself facing another set of metal bars. He could not get to his mares and foals! He could hear their cries and he answered, but he could not protect them!

In an instant he was crowded into a small area with other stallions. His colt from two springs ago appeared at his side as the screaming two-legs waved their sticks and forced them all up into a metal box.

Immediately separated and loaded

The metal box was crowded. The floor was cold under his feet. A loud bang and the light from the back of the box was gone. A hard jolt and they were moving! He was not running anymore but he was moving! The others swayed and struggled to remain standing as the box bumped up and down and continued to move forward. He knew if he fell he would not be able to regain his feet on the cold slick surface, so he fought to remain upright. The air rushing in began to freeze the sweat that moments ago poured down his neck as he raced over the rocky ground with his family… his family!

He let out a loud cry!

The box jolted once more and came to a stop. The opening at the back flew open and screaming two-legs started poking and waving their sticks through the box. The stallions rushed toward the only way out.

Down a narrow chute they went into another area enclosed by metal bars. More loud two-legs pushed some into another enclosed space. And then the two-legs stopped yelling.

The predator from above was gone. The two-legs were no longer chasing them or screaming. His family was no longer there. He had failed them.

Calico Stallions in holding pen

Calico Stallions (after gather)

He could feel the soreness begin in his body. His lungs hurt. His legs and feet throbbed.

He wandered the edges of the enclosure. There was no way out. He did not understand.


More two legs arrived. These two-legs were not screaming. One of them came very close.

He asked her, “Why?”


Part II coming soon.