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.
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 (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.