This beautiful horse broke out (jumped the panel after capture at the trap) and stood by the jute… moving forward and back… forward and back… as his family loaded.
After the trailer (with his mares) went past him he shot up the hill behind us… then eyed the trap from the other side of the hill calling to the babies… he moved off as vehicles came in but stopped as a trailer came back up the road… and called to see if his family had come back.

Off in the distance you could see a chopper… he briefly headed toward the band being chased and then so very slowly… with head down… went down the road… and over the horizon.

I have seen thousands and thousand of horses loose everything they have. I don’t normally name them.

But this horse is “Allegiance.”
It is what he demonstrated and what we owe him.

I will edit video and get images together as soon as I can… but I am exhausted… have hours of tape and pics to log of over-driving, atrocious flying, BLM admits hotshot use and more.

As well as a few tears to shed tonight.

A local auto shop fixed my truck today even though I couldn’t pay… he said to bring the money when I get it… but to get out to the range and keep an eye on “our” horses….

Tears for many reasons tonight… these people that live here love these horses… but they are not a mine or ranching interest… they are just people that read the local paper and live their lives in this hard, but beautiful place… and cherish the ideals of Freedom and survival that “our” horses represent.


Driven into the trap

Allegiance... I pledge to you...

Triple B_Quick post

Today saw 11 horses removed from the range to make a two day total of 33.

Horses were run into the trap and directly sorted into temporary. We usually do not have the ability to see the sexes of each group coming off the range as horses are captured and then sent in groups for sorting at temporary.The glare from the sun made the first group of 3 adults and one youngster hard to see.

Second group was two mature studs a mare and foal.

Third group a dry mare, wet mare and foal.

I will review tapes after I get sleep (two hours last night) but it appears the first group was much larger than four members before it hit the trap.

Do you think Sun J could possibly be repeating the same “crop dusting” patterns that broke apart bands at Antelope last winter? So far the we have every indication that the same type of flying is happening.

Will evaluate further tomorrow.

Sun J helicopter at Triple B

I will get video and real report out asap.

Literally am so tired I can’t see straight.

If you would like to help with documentation efforts go to:

Is it Bad Enough for You?

I sit here as the clock turns midnight. Today is the fortieth anniversary of the unanimous passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act.

§ 1331. Congressional findings and declaration of policy

Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.

Forty years later it appears that “mustanging” has simply become a government enterprise. Instead of humane management of herds in the wild, we now have a system where the government simply chooses the profiteers.

A complex system of mostly private contractors warehouse our National Treasure at public expense, yet off limits to public scrutiny. Roundups that occur without any meaningful access to assess the condition or actions of the contractors, at public expense. Policy that is so outrageous and contrary to the Act carried out on a daily basis.

“Have you commented on the EA(Environmental Assessment?” is a common response from BLM (Bureau of Land Management).

Well I don’t know about you, but hundreds of thousands of comments that disagree with policy are considered “of no significance.” After a while you feel like your voice as an American means nothing to the current administration.

It also appears neither does the law.

There are several lawsuits that are pushing that issue within the Judicial system. In Twin Peaks we still have a case very much alive holding feet to the fire on accountability to protocol. The West Douglas herd was saved for yet another year through litigation. The First Amendment violations very becoming very clear to a vast majority of the media as a dangerous precedent to documenting the actions of government in a “Democratic society.”

We are forced to take our government to the Courts to demand accountability within the government that supposedly holds our Constitution as it’s blueprint.

The absurdity is mind boggling.

As advocates we are now fighting to stop the spread of wild mares being given hysterectomies in the field. This is not new. It has occurred under the oversight of the Department of Interior through Fish and Wildlife. Now this butchery is attempting to make it’s way into “protocol.”

Let’s paint a clear picture. BLM manages about 252 million acres (and that depends on which website you check). Within that only about 10% are “managed” for wild equid populations. Some of those areas have AML’s (Appropriate Management Level) set ridiculously low. We even have an HMA (Herd Management Area) with an AML of 3.

Genetic bankruptcy is very real. It is happening with an animal that Congress passed an entire Act to protect. The Multiple Use Mandate has truly become “Multiple Ruse.”

We are truly in an age of Industrialization of your public land. The biggest pocket is calling the shots in the way your resources are being used. Your public resources are putting cash into the pockets of large corporations (often foreign owned). The entities that operate on public land often do so subsidized. Yes, in America we run a “welfare” program on the taxpayers back to make the rich, well, rich.

Roundups will begin again July 1 during foaling season. Just because an entity that behaves like a sociopath says something is the truth does not make it so. July 1 IS foaling season. Newborn babies and pregnant mares will be stampeded without a care for their true welfare. The concern is for convenient scheduling and budgets. The concern is to clear the land of horses, not manage the land for horses.

I will lay a flower on Velma Johnston’s grave. Known as “Wild Horse Annie” she was instrumental in passing Legislation to protect our wild herds. I wonder if she knows that what she fought for has not come to reality?

But we go on. We are getting faster. we are not reporting what happened yesterday, but we are uncovering what is planned for tomorrow. We are also getting better at the tools we have: litigation, media and the great mover of mountains, public pressure.

Stay strong, stay smart and watch the “dark side, Luke.”

After 40 years it’s long overdue to have our wild herds protected in the spirit of the Act.

Many of the horses in this video died. I can’t show you those mages because documentation is not allowed. Music Courtesy of the Amazing Maria Daines:

Dignity Returned

As I followed a semi-load of wild horses on Route 80 we made the familiar turn off into Wells, Nevada. As we passed the Loves gas station, where we met the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) in the bitter cold of dawn during the Antelope roundup, I was flooded with memories of all that was seen. Each trap site with it’s intricacies of “access no access,”  each conversation, each band that was fractured, each face came back to me in detail.

The cargo

The semi turned down a dusty dirt road. This time the driver came to a slow stop. I could hear the animals settle. He then proceeded down the graded dirt path at a crawl, mindful of the precious load he carried. I began to cry.

My experience has been to drive roads in much worse shape at speeds that make you hold your breath for the safety of the lives inside the container.

Yet the horses onboard were headed to Mustang Monument, Madeleine Picken’s Mustang Sanctuary run through her organization Saving America’s Mustangs.

That sanctuary has raised no less controversy than the Wild Horse issue itself. But that was not what today was “all about.”

This face says so much...

For the last two weeks I rose in the middle of the night to meet the driver at a “feedlot turned way station” in Fallon. Each dawn I documented the loading of animals that had been saved from certain death. My lens captured the faces of the mares and their babies as they left the confines of that dusty old feedlot and boarded the truck.

The faces belonged to Pauite horses that had gone to a slaughter auction last Christmas. If wild horses are prejudicially referred to as “desert rats,” the Pauite horses are considered no more than fleas on those rats. These reservation horses are regularly sent to kill with little to no hope. They are not managed under the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, but are legally shipped off under the jurisdiction of tribal authority.

Wearing the auction tag

The truck slowly backed up to a chute at the makeshift roundpen of hay bales.

An excited woman met me and crawled with me to the top of the pen to document the off loading of these horses headed home.

The woman was Madeleine Pickens. In her hand she held a small camcorder. She observed the offloading of each horse that warily left that metal container. Her voice into her camera demonstrated concern as she made sure that each mare matched up with each foal. Foals that had been born in a dusty feedlot that would soon run in the open range for the first time.

Madeleine Pickens documents her horses

The last few horses were reluctant to leave the container. The others began to munch on the bales of hay that made up the pen. Laughter and pleasant conversation filled the air and joined the sounds of the horses calling to those already home in the field beyond the gate.

Where am I?

The moment had arrived. The moment of “Freedom.” The moment the “fleas on rats” are given the greatest kindness a human could show them. A chance to run in the open range. A chance to live as bands. A chance to live and die with freedom and dignity in the normal course of what they are.

Ranch manager, Clay Nannini, walked to the gate and removed the chain. The gates opened…

It took but a brief moment for the horses to recognize the opportunity.

I cannot describe in words the sensation of “wrong turned right” that flooded my senses. The emaciated, abused, disregarded souls ran to join the others. The babies that I had seen born in that feedlot ran free. The beautiful Spruce Mountain in the background bore witness with us of what I can only describe as “dignity returned.”

Ms. Pickens climbed the rail, opened her arms and declared “I own you now, no one will ever hurt you again.”

That familiar promise. How many horse owners have made that promise as they bring home a horse from auction or one they found in a bad situation? The scale was much bigger, yet the promise hung in the air with undeniable truth.


After checking in to the roadside Motel I laid down on the bed, still in my clothing. My life still an uncertain path, roundups beginning again in mere days. The Court case still dominating my life. The issues surrounding our horses still unresolved. But I slept.

I slept like I haven’t slept in months.

Beyond words....

To learn more about Mustang Monument go to:

Press Release Wild Horse Education: Broken Arrow

Looks like this horse tried to get the tag off_Broken Arrow 6-3-2011

On June 3, 2011 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gave the public an hour and a half wagon ride through the Broken Arrow (aka Indian Lakes facility) in Fallon Nevada. Closed for about a year, this is the first glimpse the public has had behind these walls since the BLM claimed the facility was never intended to be open to the public. Then they closed the doors after public outrage over images taken at the facility caused an influx of calls and emails.

In an email dated 5/25/2011 requesting that the doors of the facility be closed to the public Dean Bolstad of the BLM Reno office writes:

We now have a favorable Calico Court decision and we need to seriously consider the toll that these tours are taking on our employees, our resources and the damage that is being done to BLMs image as a result of the tours.”

The facility was not closed because it can not be open to the public. The facility was closed because they did not like the publics response. Further investigation also has revealed that the contract for the facility actually allows for weekly public tours.

This past winter horses died in that facility. Horses continue to die. Respiratory infection ran rampant in the facility this past winter as horses were stockpiled behind the iron bars out of sight of a public that would have seen the results of roundups that occur in sub-zero temperatures.

During the tour you saw a facility that was well prepared for the “tour.” A wagon pulled by a pick-up truck where a representative of the BLM sat in the cab, available only at brief intervals for questions. Hospital pens were off limits. Horses from various roundups were mixed and no individuals could be identified as the tour did not stop long enough and visitors were not allowed to walk through the facility.

“Content control” was an effective, if illegal, tool to keep the public uneducated about the realities of the mis-management of America’s National Treasure.

A lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Laura Leigh has gone to the Ninth Circuit Court. The suit filed by attorney Gordon Cowan of Reno deals with the issues of “content control” as a violation of First Amendment Rights guaranteed by the Constitution of The United States. The suit directly deals with this issue in the management of wild herds from range through their ultimate disposition.

The suit is supported by Wild Horse Education, a registered non-profit in the state of Nevada. All documents mentioned are viewable on the website:

More on Broken Arrow

Deb Coffey has given us more on her investigation into the Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) Facility in Fallon Nevada. Her entire article can be viewed here:


BLM’s sweet deal (paid for with your tax dollars, of course!)

April 17, 2011 by ppjg

Debbie Coffey   Copyright 2011  All Rights Reserved

Investigative reporter/PPJ


While many Americans have lost their homes or worry about losing their homes, and worry about finding or keeping their jobs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seems to be spending your hard earned tax dollars like high rollers. 

The BLM has its hand out at appropriations hearings asking for even more money for their mismanaged Wild Horse and Burro Program.  Where’s your money going?   

Look at one example.  Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAhas the contract for theIndian Lakes Road(AKA Broken Arrow) short term wild horse and burro holding facility inFallon,NV.  How does a guy fromCalifornia, who sold a cloned cow, get enough knowledge in wild horse behavior, and enough ability in safely handling wild horses, to win a bid to manage a facility that can hold up to 3,000 of our wild horses?

Troy Adams/Broken ArrowUSAcontract with the BLM is for 5 years (1/01/2010 to 12/31/2015):

Base year (2010 – 2011) – $2,525,000 with an option for “additional labor” for $127,920 ($24.60 per hour, per laborer) to FREEZEBRAND, RETAG, TRIM FEET, ETC. (same tasks apply to years below)

Year 1 (2011-2012) – $3,640,875 with an option for “additional labor” for $130,468 ($25.09 per hour)

Year 2  (2012 – 2013) – $3,759,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $133,068 ($25.59 per hour)  

Year 3 (2013 – 2014) – $3,832,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $135,720 ($26.10 per hour)

Year 4 (2014 – 2015) – $3,905,500 with an option for “additional labor” for $138,424 ($26.62 per hour)

So, the estimated 5 year TOTAL is $17,663,375, with optional “additional labor” adding $665,600 to that the total is ($18,328,975).  (Note: The money in this contract is based on estimated feed days.  See details of this at the end of the article.)

READ entire article att PPJ Gazette.

NOTE: My attorney and I must now craft a complete appeal to the Ninth circuit Court on the case that addresses the lack of transparency. We had applied for permission to appeal based on the lack of action in our emergency relief motion filed over six months ago. Well… Judge Larry Hicks of Nevada district Federal Court has now denied my emergency motion. Basically that now gives me the right to file a full appeal in the Ninth. But that will require significant work on both the attorneys part and mine… as well as create a need for another filing fee. Please support this suit if you can. Without your help it can’t be filed.

Donate toward the case to get these closed facilities open to the public.  Thank you.

BLM “News Release” Fraud?

Sharing an article written by Deb Coffey. This Issue is part of the First Amendment case I filed, months ago. When we filed the case the memo (at the time I was working as Herd Watch, operating in conjunction with the Cloud Foundation and was having meetings with Bolstad, Neil and Seidlitz) and a few other documents were in public hands and have been included in the case. Coffey’s FOIA request has gleaned a much larger picture. Please support the lawsuit at WILD HORSE EDUCATION if you can. WE are very fortunate to have an attorney that understands both the need for absolute persitance and the fact that there is hardly any support.
This case has the potential to go to the Supreme Court. We need your help to get it there.
This article is the first of three in a series.
Debbie Coffey   Copyright   2011    All Rights Reserved


“Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them. ”



A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) News Release (the BLM seems to be using the word “news” loosely here) dated 5/28/10 with Lisa Reid and Dean Bolstad listed as contacts, was a BLM announcement of the final public tours at Indian Lakes Wild Horse Facility.   

This BLM release states: “Indian Lakes is a privately-owned and operated  facility, was never intended as a public facility and isn’t staffed to serve the public.  As a result, staff from other offices have been taken away from priority work and unplanned costs have been incurred.”

Foal dying Broken Arrow (Laura Leigh)

The most important question is “WHY would a government agency use OUR money to put something publicly owned (OUR wild horses) on PRIVATE PROPERTY, where we can NEVER HAVE ACCESS to them again?”  Isn’t this like stealing?

I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and asked for a list of staff taken from other offices, for a list of the priority work they were taken away from and for a list of and the amount of money spent on the “unplanned costs.”  I received a letter from Paulette L. Sanford of the Department of the Interior dated 10/6/2010, and was told “There is no itemized list or record of the amount of money spent on the unplanned cost” and “there is no list or record of staff who were detailed to work at the Indian Lakes Facility away from their priority work.”   

I also asked for any prior meeting notes and telephone conversation notes regarding the statement that Indian Lakes Road was “never intended as a public facility.” 

I received a contract modification for the Indian Lakes Road facility (AKA Broken Arrow USA) dated 3/22/2010 and signed by Troy Adams, for two hour public tours to be held once a week for the period of 1/01/2010 – 12/31/2015!  So apparently, 5 days before the “news release,” and only 3 days before the e-mail below, a contract was signed for future public tours of the Indian Lakes Road facility for the next 5 years.  Why would the BLM prepare and have a contract signed for something that they never intended to happen?


Getting it together

Launching a new project today:

Take a peek and feedback is welcome. Content is being edited and added… and a free booklet is in the works.

For those of you that followed my artwork and have sat silently but learned an awful lot watching my “wild horse” travels you will be glad to know I have been painting… hope to have my hands in clay some day soon. New works will be available and showcased shortly.

Thank you all for your patience… it has been a long, dusty,  lonely road and the love and respect I have for our wild herds has grown so much…

I have been asked for my report on Antelope to include with public comments and to fax. Here is the report in the version I wrote:  use it … fax it…

What does America stand for?

Our founding fathers made an incredibly brave stand and wrote the Declaration of Independence. They knew by making a stand for what they believed in that they would not win an across the board popularity contest.

Next came the great Constitution of the United States.

The premises within that document began to build the consciousness of a nation. When I walk through the law libraries and touch the pages (yes, I feel books give a sense that the electronic age desensitizes) you literally feel the development of the identity of this nation.

Case law that demonstrates the evolution of the premises within the Constitution can literally remind you of the pride that is “America.” Sometimes it appears this occurs in spite of ourselves. Civil and human rights cases exist that when you read the cases themselves there is shame that what seems like a “no brainer” in current times was actually an issue that had to be decided within the judicial system. The pages are filled with “bad children” being given rules filtered through the guidelines our “founding fathers” left for us.

Within the Bill of Rights a concept was so important to our “fathers” that it was listed first. (The right to bear arms was second).

“The founding fathers gave the press the mission to inform the people and promote the free flow of facts and ideas, however untimely or challenging or disagreeable those facts and ideas may be.” — Katharine Graham, publisher, The Washington Post, 1973

The concept of a free press is to allow the public an opportunity to investigate and report on the activities of it’s government without fear of reprisal and censorship. The intention is that the true power of decision making in a Democratic society comes from an educated public conveying ideas to a representative that then advocates those positions in debate within a Senate and House toward shaping our nation.

Within the dialogue of “Wild Horse and Burro Program” implemented by the BLM we have a serious breakdown of this process. Plain and simple the public, Congress and often BLM employess themselves are seriously uninformed.

There is currently a lawsuit that has been patiently waiting to actually be heard within the judicial system. A synopsis of the case can (and should) be read at this is an article written by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Congress asks for information and the BLM will chose an “independent” organization (read “pro-slaughter”) to do an investigation or an investigation occurs in house. The reports are continually bias or outright filled with ommisions and inaccuracies. Would we allow the tobacco industry to self-police? Would we make an appointment before showing up to do a search of a crime scene with a suspected perpetrator?

It appears yet again that an “independent” review is being prepared for the BLM by those chosen by the BLM. Those doing the review were suposedly on site Wednesday and Thursday of last week. I was not given the same access to the trap that they were. Activity at holding was very different when the government observers showed up with BLM public relations.

Last week Representative Burton made these statements to the House as a proposal to cut the BLM’s budget in a “slap on the wrist” gesture was made: “It seems to me that we ought to be frugal with the public’s money. We ought to cut the Bureau of Land Management’s budget so that we can save the money and save the mustangs.”

The wild horse advocate community has expressed sincere gratitude toward Burton. He has demonstrated bravery displayed by our founding fathers in bringing this dialogue into a forum that has the power to effect the change needed.

But in all honesty how can any dialogue be effective if that dialogue addresses symptoms of a long standing problem without taking the time to look for the root cause? Any symptomatic reaction has the potential to create a reality that has consequense worse than the current situation. A full investigation of the program and the consequence of placing the implementation of the 1971 Legislation into the hands of an agency with an apparent conflict of interest and often literally “inbred” with those that perpetrated the actions that spurred the need to pass the 71 Act in the first place is sorely absent. Why would any “change” be expected to be implemented any differently? It’s like changing the product you put in a meat grinder… it still comes out in the same fashion.

Until a dialogue actually begins to exist that addresses the root causes, arbitrary boundaries and policy that caters to special interests, the change needed to protect the “living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the west” will not happen.

If the information about the hands on care being done “humanely,” the most basic premise of the 71 Act, remains in the realm of “content control” … how can dialogue in any real fashion exist?

The first step in acheiving that dialogue are independent observations that can only occur when the rights of the public to investigate and formulate opinion is protected. The closed door facilities must be open. Records must be made available in a timely manner for review without the need to file Freedom of Information Act requests. The ability to independently observe the hands on actions of contractors and government employees must occur on an extended basis and not in “periodic windows” at the discretion of those under scrutiny.

“I have taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States more times than I can count,” said attorney Gordon Cowan, “that’s what this case is all about.”



2/9/2011 (horses dying from pneumonia from treatment similiar)


2/2/2011 Antelope Roundup

As photos get out access gets worse. I have not been able to get a respiration rate in over a year.

Can you see condition of any horses from here?

*******note: posts containing certain uses of profanity go into a folder that WordPress set up as a filter. Any posts that are profane attacks and not an attempt at dialogue go into a spam folder. Also be aware that if you posts alot of links you also get tagged as spam by WordPress………

New Video from 2/9

The “relentlessness” (only word I can think of) of the outrageous conduct at the Antelope gather continues.

The issues are so many and range from actually having to notify official personel that there was only one 50 gallon water trough for 10-30 horses (do the math… 15 gallons each day per horse) to the conduct that demonstrates the pilot repeatedly flying dangerously close to horses (despite the BLM press release… c’mon!).

Have we learned nothing? Has our government become a dense faction of ostriches and cowards?

We have horses dying behind the “Iron Curtain” of Broken Arrow(aka Indian Lakes) of pneumonia. I warned them at Eagle and Callaghan that these horses are vulnerable to respiratory illness. Because there is no “temperature rule” we will have the same vulnerable population entering the warehouse system from Antelope.

Is America a leader in humane treatment or are we a “sell-out” nation?

****Note about 2/3 of the way through Is that Sun-J wrangler beating a horse in the face with his “baggie” and then turning the whip around to hit him with the stick end?

Antelope photographs

I take about 1000 frames each day plus hours of video.

I have been doing a video of each roundup with a voiceover that describes the area and AML, etc. This one I just put to music… cause it has taken too long. Articles coming soon…. Interesting article for Horseback very soon…

It’s been snowing all day… maybe the helicopter wont fly in the am? I have seen so many bands broken up by this pilot… He starts with a larger group and only a few come in… or he has to let a band go. Many of the horses are lathered… really lathered. The layout of each trap does not make sense. I am worried about what he has left on the range in his wake.

When we get to the point in time when a roundup takes place the time for policy talk ends… it becomes an issue of literally life and death for these animals. A dialogue needs to take place to evolve the methodology used to stampede horses and treat them like pests… This is the only animal in our history to have an entire act of Congress devoted to it….

President Obama… are we a civilized nation? Do we as Americans still value compassion? Or have we sold that off to the highest bidder?

I’m tired… goodnight.

Eagle day 5 part 1

Editing footage and going through photos.

The distance I am kept to and the inability to view the trap or horses in holding creates the need to enlarge each frame to see any detail.

The number of pregnant mares is actually painful to see. These mares are all being shipped to Broken Arrow that BLM now calls Indian Lakes. We all remember the Calico roundup last year at this same time and all of the spontaneous abortions… that we only knew about because we could go in once a week. BLM keeps no statistics…

This facility is closed to the public… not because they can’t open it (because they did)… but because they do not want to deal with the publics response to what happens behind those closed gates…

How many will die this time that we will never know about? How many under 5 months old… because they are not old enough to count? How many of these unborn will never take breath? How many will be born in that … place? How many will never be given an opportunity for adoption and will ship unseen into the black hole of long-term holding?

What is the purpose of this program? Pest control at the highest cost possible? Or the management of the “living symbol of the pioneer spirit of the west?”

It is absolutely unacceptable that those doors remain closed.

Our horses, our money…

Is this the transparent BLM Bob Abbey spoke of in Vegas?

Dean Bolstad… open Broken Arrow.

Beautiful stallion and his pregnant mares

This stallion will go to Gunnison prison at dawn and his pregnant mares will travel all the way from near Caliente to Fallon, about 8-9 hours.

I will add more after I rest…

Eagle 1/9/2011


BLM says stampede is a “dirty” word

New Article from Horseback

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Officials of the federal Bureau of Land Management have become increasingly sensitive to the media’s frequent use of a common English word. Horseback Online and many other news sites have used the word “stampede” to describe what BLM bureaucrats in Washington routinely describe as a “gather.”

In a note to Horseback on the first Monday of the year, BLM’s chief Washington spokesman Tom Gorey said, “Wild horses and burros are not stampeded during gathers. Go observe one for yourself. Stampede is an anti-BLM propaganda term, pure and simple.”

Horseback responded.

“Tom, stampede is a word common to the English language. Your response drove me to my copy of the 2,129 page Webster’s Universal Dictionary,” said Horseback Magazine Editor Steven Long. “The definition I quote in the first reference is ‘A sudden headlong running away of a group of frightened animals, especially horses or cattle.’ That seems to fit perfectly what I have seen in every video of the BLM roundups. I don’t view it as a propaganda term whatsoever, and I’m certainly not anti-BLM as you well know. It is simply a term which best describes for my reader, in common language he will understand, what is going on. While I’m certain BLM would prefer me to call these things a gentle trot down the trail, that doesn’t seem to be fitting considering hundreds of horses have died in the process.

Horseback has also learned that controversial BLM chase contractors, Cattoor Livestock Roundups have been awarded a new five year contract.

“October 1, started a new contract for the wild horses roundups and CLR, and another company, Sun J, received the two awards for the next 5 years,” Sue Cattoor told Horseback Magazine last week. We asked Ms. Cattoor about the new firm.

“They are not based out of Nephi, but out of Vernal, Utah, and they are not related to us,” she said.  

Asked if the BLM had used any new criteria in awarding the contracts to Cattoor in light of the unprecedented number of wild horse deaths in 2010, Gory said it was business as usual.

“The Cattoors have demonstrated an ability to conduct safe and humane roundups, so that’s why their contract was renewed,” Gorey said. 

Today, CNN ran a story critical of BLM’s wild horse roundups showing a helicopter flipping a donkey with its skid. The news network didn’t identify the company chasing the burro. 

Horseback asked Gorey if pilots actually touching animals with the skids of their helicopters was taken into consideration in awarding contracts.

“Regarding the new footage concerning the burro, I’m trying to get the specifics of where and when this happened,” Gorey said.

Read the rest of the article on Horsebacks Online site:

Reminder that BLM changed “Roundup” to “gather” and then tried “harvest” on for size… propaganda?

The photos are from Twin Peaks 2010, Cattoor Contractor.

They "trot" horses, don't they?




Twin Peaks

A New Year?

It’s a New Year?

Another HMA awaiting roundup. Many HMA’s awaiting roundup as “Multiple Ruse” continues.

Clan Alpine scheduled for February

Sanctuary proposals never answered by BLM. Significant public interest in wild herds on public land continually overlooked and minimized.

A so-called “Summit” to discuss with “multiple public interests” the welfare of American Equines begins in Vegas tomorrow. Yet missing from the table is any representation of actual equine welfare. A farce, a circus, an abomination of dialogue is given the label of “public forum.” A forum where even audience members (that have to pay significant cash) are denied access by the king and queen of slaughter-world. It is disgusting that members of a branch of our government are slated to not only attend, but speak. As no advocate voice sits as a speaker… not one.

The BLM ran a “public forum” for dialogue on wild herds in Denver last year. The king and queen of slaughter were significantly out numbered and out documented. Not a single concrete outcome from that workshop. Each advocate that attended was asked if they would volunteer for solution based action… not a single one of us has been contacted.

Yet Bob Abbey, the head honcho at the BLM, is slated to speak at this (cough, gag) public forum. 

However last year he was slated to speak at the Society for Range Management “summit” that was another push by the “red handed” to reinstitute the slaughter of wild horses. He bailed ten minutes before showtime. The objective of that show was to give BLM employees continuing education credits (I’m not kidding) and endorse Salazars proposal.

That “fun time” included the panel (including Bud Cribley, BLM) making fun of Congress, blaming wild horses for decrease in Salmon populations (I swear to you) and Sue Wallis, their Ethics speaker, regurgitating her “poetry.”

Needless to say I aint going to this one.

Instead I will go and sit yet again on the range and see no activity of our governments contractor at the trap. I will again be denied access to watch horses captured. I will yet again be denied the ability to view the horses in holding facilities where they are shipped.

"Silver King" HMA

I sat in Silver King today… where Galahad fought for his family, Silver King and so many others lost their Freedom, and Braveheart broke his neck. Where all activity at the moment of capture and any significant ability to observe the condition of our horses was obstructed. I saw no horses today.

Yesterday I sat with the Silver King horses that Return to Freedom is trying to reunite with their families… I sat with Bravehearts mare and youngster… it hurt.

Galahad and Mare

Single horse chased at Silver King

Single horse... just one

 We have two suits right now in Federal court. From what I understand Bob claims not to know about anything that has been happening out here and when he was told said “we need to change that.” Months ago… that conversation actually did occur with an advocate… in a closed meeting… months ago.

But this week will be the same old same old… the “Summit” will be the same old same old…

Hey Salazar… do you and Bob know what “New Direction” means?

And for all of you that asked about General and Crew…

General... I love that old man

Ranger and Commander

True.... kept getting too close for camera

Oh yeah… one year ago…  the only “new direction” is that they try to stop us from seeing it.

I saw him…

Silver King

It was dark when he offloaded from the trailer with his companion Galahad after their long journey back to Nevada from Gunnison prison in Utah. I could see him but not capture any clear photos. It had been months since that day we followed him from the range in Nevada to Utah. Months since I left all my cameras and phone (and everything else) to go see him at Gunnison. I have thought about him every day since…

But he has now joined the others in Return to Freedom’s effort to establish a National Wild Horse Preserve in Calico.

September 30th at Dawn

December 29th at Dawn

I don’t know if words can do the emotion justice? I laughed and cried. I talked to him and he responded just as he did when I met him… I think he likes my voice.

His companion on his trip was Galahad. The stallion that fought for his mare in that alley for five hours. His mare was the one that had her face ripped open during the roundup. His mare and son have been at temporary with Braveheart’s family.

Galahad’s son is a doll baby. He is beautiful and curious. He is strong and healthy… and did I mention curious? He followed me around the pen as we waited for the stallions to come down the alley to meet the Calico boys.

Galahad's baby ( by Deniz Bolbol)

Galahad’s mare recognized him right away. From their pens they can see each other again. They are surprisingly calm…. almost as if they know it’s going to be ok and they will be together soon.

After the initial posturing the stallions settled in… I can’t tell you how it felt.

I know many of you are concerned that I spent Christmas and now New Year “alone.” I am not alone. You are all with me always… and so are these horses. The gift I carry in my heart every time I see General and Commander and the beautiful three year old True… and now these wonderful Silver King horses… I remember our small “miracles” in this convoluted mess…. it gives me “Hope.”

Maybe we will hear from Judge Hicks soon and the doors to the facilities that house our horses will finally open? Each life matters…

Happy New Year.

Tomahawk and True give King the "sniff" test

The Calico bunch +2

Silver King and Galahad

A roll in the "boy" pen

They have not joined the "missing"

Catching up…


December 16, 2010



Two briefs were recently filed in the ongoing lawsuit brought by journalist Laura Leigh against the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Interior. The briefs are in connection with the Silver King wild horse roundups conducted in Nevada this past September. The case pursues the public‟s ongoing right to accountability on the whereabouts of these horses after capture.

Leigh‟s suit champions the public‟s and her own right to reasonable access to observe all aspects of the government‟s handling of the wild horses taken from the Silver King herd management area near Ely, Nevada. This lawsuit is based 100% on violations to First Amendment rights. It directly challenges, the Defendants‟ unconstitutional prior restraints on the Plaintiff‟s First Amendment rights by denying her reasonable access to wild horse roundups and related activities, to observe and report on all activities from capture, removal, processing, shipping, transportation, housing, and ultimate disposition of wild horses taken during the Silver King wild horse roundup operations (which the BLM euphemistically refers to as a “gather”).

Following hours of testimony November 16 when Judge Hicks heard Leigh‟s evidence against the BLM and Dept. of Interior, the judge agreed to allow the parties to submit additional briefs including a supplemental brief from the plaintiff as an offer of proof of the testimony and other evidence the judge refused from evidence at the hearing.

Justice Department attorneys for the BLM argued that since the roundup had already occurred, the case was mooted. Leigh‟s attorney, Gordon Cowan, argued, “[the mere cessation of illegal activity in response to pending litigation does not moot a case, unless the party alleging mootness can show that the „allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.‟” Much case law was cited where other courts upheld Cowan‟s argument. One court concluded that, without such an exception to „mootness‟ the courts would be compelled to leave the, “defendant … free to return to his old ways.”

Conduct by the BLM at the Twin Peaks roundup in Twin Peaks CA was cited. On August 24, 2010 a New York Times reporter and photographer were allowed directly into the horse capture trap during the moment of wild horse captures. At that exact same time, Laura Leigh‟s press credentials were not being recognized by the defendants‟ officials there; and she was precluded from having access to the trap area and held back nearly a half-mile from the trap. On this same day, Laura Leigh was not allowed to walk on public land to a public road to photograph horses leaving the traps after they had been captured and loaded onto a trailer. When standing in the identical area where other members of the public were allowed to freely pass to and from their cars to the viewing area, Ms. Leigh was instructed to move and go back to the viewing area; that if she refused, it could elevate to the “next level,” which she was advised by defendants, meant she could be arrested. Many almost identical scenarios are repeated at previous and subsequent roundups attended by Laura Leigh and her press credentials from Horseback Magazine for whom she reports, are routinely denied.

Cowan‟s brief also contends the complaint is not moot where it seeks Injunctive relief to gain immediate access to horses being warehoused in facilities closed to the public, and to have the public and press observe these horses not just during their capture, but at all stages of their journey through the BLM‟s wild horse removal program.

Leigh was precluded from providing evidence that mootness didn‟t apply. The judge would not allow evidence of the BLM‟s conduct occurring elsewhere such as the closing to the public of the Indian Lakes horse holding facility. Prior to Indian Lakes‟ closure (in June) public tours of the facility were given weekly. Leigh and colleagues photographed and videoed difficult images from these tours, including images of a foal nearly starved to death, an eight month old colt dying because his feet were damaged from a recent roundup, horses with abscesses apparently suffering from pigeon fever, and other tough images. BLM‟s Dean Bolstad, according to the brief, complained to Leigh over the barrage of emails he received from displeased citizens who viewed the published Indian Lakes images.

Injured baby at PVC (how many at Broken Arrow?)

BLM‟s Bolstad sent an email to superiors arguing that “Indian Lakes” should close to the public because of the, “damage that is being done to BLM‟s image as a result of the tours.” This offensive email is attached to Leigh‟s brief. The brief also conveys that Bolstad at one point called Ms. Leigh a terrorist simply because she published her photos taken at Indian Lakes.

All subsequent requests to reopen the facility to the public have since been denied, according to Leigh‟s court filing. Since then no horses removed from Silver King who were taken to “Indian Lakes” facility were seen by the public since before their capture on the range. Even members of the public interested in adopting a Silver King horse from “Indian Lakes” would be denied access to view the horse. Horses are moved from “Indian Lakes” to long term holding and the public never has a chance to view them again.

On December 11, 2010 Leigh‟s counsel filed a brief responsive to the Defendant‟s brief that sought to strike or limit the testimony accepted in evidence at the November hearing. The defendants complained they were prejudiced when not notified that the hearing would be evidentiary in nature. The BLM also claimed to have experienced difficulty obtaining copies of Leigh‟s filed witness list from the court‟s electronic document management system. The defendants sought to have all testimony stricken.

Following a thorough brow-beating over the defendants‟ contended “surprise” that evidence would be received at a scheduled hearing, Cowan added, “To claim surprise or prejudice because the defendants were not prepared for an evidentiary Rule 65 hearing, under these circumstances, is entertaining at best.”

The BLM added a new argument to their existing repertoire of “mootness,” now claiming the complaint was somehow “vague”. Cowan argued, “this new „vagueness‟ argument seeks to steer the court astray into thinking the case should be embroiled in administrative proceedings or records which discuss challenges to the inhumanity of the defendants‟ wild horse removal and warehousing process.”

Wont forget you

Cowan in our estimation, “nailed it” when asserting the following:

Although the BLM and Interior Department‟s Wild Horse and Burro removal and warehousing process is one of America‟s greater embarrassing atrocities, this issue is not the focal point of the case. “Inhumanity” is, although ongoing with the BLM‟s “management” of America‟s wild horses, unfortunately, secondary. The case clearly seeks to challenge the defendants‟

continuing removal of interested citizens (not horses) from observing the defendants‟ handling of America‟s wild horses, particularly those horses that entered the defendants‟ process from Silver King.” These horses (Silver King horses in this instance) are being handled, processed, and/or disposed of, or moved, or “lost,” or warehoused even as of this writing. The process doesn‟t come to a halt just because the defendants completed their roundup. The process is ongoing. The roundup is only the beginning of the defendants‟ process. In this instance the defendants‟ process remains entirely secretive and hidden from the public‟s eye. In this instance, Silver King horses entered the process at the front end, beginning with the roundup. They (Silver King horses) are still there, somewhere, within the process, within the Defendants‟ wild horse handling system. There is not one document or notice from the defendants indicating that

all handling of Silver King horses has been concluded. Only the roundup stopped. No document or record of the defendants states or even implies that they (the defendants) have concluded all handling, processing and warehousing of Silver King horses. These First Amendment violations occur and are repeated each and every time Ms. Leigh or citizens are turned away, or refused access, or are kept back, or are denied appropriate observation, entrance or access to any portion of the defendants‟ processes. The most outrageous part of it all, is that the defendants continue on the same secretive, private course as if citizens possessed no right at all to observe the government in action. This is shameful.”

Trying to see Broken Arrow (film students)

Laura Leigh‟s legal actions are supported by Grass Roots Horse, Inc. an equine welfare and mustang advocacy group. The legal actions can be viewed at Field Reports on wild horse roundups and related information can be read at

*********Please be aware that “Indian Lakes” used to be called “Broken Arrow.” At first it was called “Fallon facilty.” This creates an issue where search engines do not pick up full history. It also creates an impression that there are more facilities.

Horses are dying there every week… that we will never see… Silver King, Twin Peaks, Callaghan…


Injured mare left for 5 hours in alley

Here we go again… just because Abbey and his PRO-SLAUGHTER BLM say it is so…

AWHPC response posted first.

Hope Calico baby whose feet sloughed off

Interior Department Criticized for Biased, Whitewash Report on Treatment of Wild Horses During Government Roundups

Government Agency Issues Report to Mislead Congress as FY2011 Budget Process Moves Forward

 December 3, 2010 – Washington, DC – Today, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) – a coalition of 40 leading public interest, environmental, and humane organizations – criticized and labeled as “biased and politically motivated” the issuance of an Interior Department-Bureau of Land Management (BLM) report on the treatment of wild horses in government roundups. Its release coincides with Congress finalizing of 2011 fiscal legislation in which BLM’s wild horse budget will be allocated.  

The report (“Independent Designated Observer Pilot Program, October 2010”) glosses over the humane issues that have triggered Congressional concern. It was created by a hand-picked organization, the American Horse Preservation Association which is led by BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s chair Robyn Lohnes. The four individuals employed to write the report have backgrounds in agriculture and domestic horses, but lack hands on wild horse experience. The majority have been vocal advocates of horse slaughter.  

“This biased report is an attempt to deflect increased scrutiny on and public opposition to the BLM’s inhumane wild horse roundups,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC Campaign Director. “The report’s authors do not have any wild horse handling experience and its conclusions are not credible and lack scientific validity.”


She noted that in July, more than 54 members of Congresses wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressing their concerns and calling for a halt to the round ups. Department spokespersons have admitted (video available here) that they have a difficult time explaining the agency’s treatment of wild horses to the public, and as a result, the BLM has severely restricted public observation at most roundups this year. 

“The Interior Department’s decision to work with one organization rather than with the diverse and numerous organizations that have hands-on experience with wild horses, outlines the intention behind and problems with the report,” Roy continued. “We find it highly objectionable and offensive that the agency is using one organization as a voice for ‘humane observation’ when there are other organizations and individuals better qualified to address this issue.”

 Many findings in the report defy credibility, including:

  • The helicopters used to stampede horses into BLM trap pens are “reasonably quiet, no louder than a riding mower.”

  • BLM and contractors “showed ability to review, assess and adapt procedures to ensure the care and well being of animals to the best of their ability” with regard to the water intoxication deaths of 13 wild horses, who had been stampeded in summer desert heat in Nevada. By contrast, an equine veterinarian with 24 years experience reviewed the circumstances of that situation and concluded that the BLM’s actions constituted, “negligent management” and a “lapse of professional judgment.”


Experts with wild horse experience have reached a different conclusion regarding BLM wild horse roundups. One of them, Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, director of science and conservation biology at ZooMontana, in Billings, Montana told National Geographic in 2009  

“I’m not a bunny hugger, but I’ll never attend another gather as long as I live. They’re flat-out inhumane.”

 Kirkpatrick has spent more than 30 years studying wild horses and developing successful fertility control programs for the animals. 

In addition, the Internet is populated with video, photographs and eyewitness accounts of the trauma, injury and suffering wild horses are subjected to during the course of roundups and capture.  A few such incidents include: 


  • Owyhee roundup: the government contractor shot a mare and foal on the range without reporting these deaths until after public member found the dead bodies
  • Silver King roundup: contractor actions caused stallion death. After the contractor tied a saddle horse to the pen where a stallion and his mare were held; the stallion broke his neck when charging the pen where the saddle horse was tied
  • Calico roundup: foals were chased by helicopters for so long, their hooves were destroyed (hoof slough) and the foals were killed

Injured face

Injured face

 The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Supported by a coalition of over 40 organizations, its grassroots campaign seeks:     * A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;    * Higher Appropriate Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on those rangelands designated for them;    * Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.


 In response to this:

Bureau of Land Management
For release: Friday, December 3, 2010
Contact: Tom Gorey (202-912-7420)
  BLM Releases Report by Independent Observers on Handling of Animals at
                        Three Wild Horse Gathers

The Bureau of Land Management today released a report prepared by four
independent, credentialed equine professionals concerning the care and
handling of wild horses and burros at three major gathers or round-ups held
over the summer.  The full report, accessible at the BLM’s national Website
(, made several observations and findings, including the
observation that, in general, “horses did not exhibit undue stress or show
signs of extreme sweating or duress due to the helicopter portion of the
gather, maintaining a trot or canter gait only as they entered the wings of
the trap.  Rather[,] horses showed more anxiety once they were closed in
the pens in close quarters; however, given time to settle, most of the
horses engaged in normal behavior….”  The report also favorably noted the
helicopter’s “precision” in gathering horses and burros, comparing it to “a
dog working sheep.”

The four professionals who prepared the report, each of whom is an
academia-based equine veterinarian or equine specialist, are Camie Heleski,
Ph.D., from Michigan State University; Betsy Greene, Ph.D., from the
University of Vermont; Sarah Ralston, VMD, Ph.D., from Rutgers University;
and Carolyn Stull, Ph.D., from the University of California at Davis.
These four observers were selected by the Washington, D.C.-based American
Horse Protection Association, whose mission is to protect and preserve wild
horses and burros on U.S. public rangelands.

Other findings by the equine professionals, who observed gathers at the
Owyhee Herd Management Area (Nevada), Stinking Waters Herd Management Area
(Oregon), and Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (California), include:

·    contractor and BLM personnel appeared to be gentle and knowledgeable,
using acceptable methods for moving horses forward at the trap sites and
the temporary holding facilities;
·    chutes and pens were set up in a manner that reflected recommended
handling practices for reducing animal stress in traps;
·    horses were sorted appropriately at temporary holding facilities;
·    horses were assessed by Federal veterinarians (from the Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS) to be capable of travel before
transport to BLM holding facilities;
·    APHIS veterinarians were open and candid regarding protocols for
treating injured or ill horses.  In the case of euthanasia or injuries,
there was no attempt to minimize or hide any information or details related
to the injuries or euthanasia procedures; and
·    when faced with unexpected and extraordinary circumstances (such as
water toxemia at the Owyhee gather), BLM, APHIS, and contractor personnel
demonstrated the ability to review, assess, and adapt procedures to ensure
the care and well being of the animals to the best of their ability.

The independent observers also made a number of recommendations to the BLM,
which can be found in the full report posted on the BLM’s Website.  The
Bureau will review and respond to each recommendation.  The BLM will use
the observations and findings of this report as it considers development of
an independent observer program as part of the agency’s ongoing effort to
put the Wild Horse and Burro Program on a sustainable track.

The BLM manages more land – more than 245 million acres – than any other
Federal agency.  This land, known as the National System of Public Lands,
is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The Bureau,
with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of
sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  The BLM’s multiple-use
mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for
the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  The Bureau
accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation,
livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by
conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public

“Special” Treatment

Reprint from Horseback magazine

I have spent literally thousands of hours on the road trying to document the hands-on care of America’s National Treasure, the wild horse by the agency tasked by Congress to manage these beings “humanely.”

My travels have included documenting wild horses on the range, at roundups and holding facilities.

I do this work because I am passionate about the subject. These animals speak to my soul. The convoluted process that has them literally trapped both fascinates and disgusts me.

When I am at roundups, or facilities that house our horses, I may express my opinions but I am never “out-of-line.” I obey rules, no matter how ridiculous.

At the Silver King roundup I was “grabbed” hard by a beautiful Albino stallion. His gaze was riveting. When he shipped we followed him from Pioche, Nevada all the way to Gunnison Prison in Utah.

As I inquired about his adoption, to go to sanctuary with some of the others, I exchanged emails with a woman I met once.

Dona Bastian runs the BLM facility at Gunnison.

In the course of her emails to me she told me I had to make sure to tell them when I was coming to pick up the stallion. She informed me that they needed to notify SWAT.

I’m not kidding.

Here is the email:

I need a application for adoption and also payment before the animals are
picked up. Do you have an approved adoption application? I know you said
you was working on it with John Neil. Also, the pickup is by appointment
only. We have to have a clearance, and also SWAT notified in advance.
Let me know!
~* Dona *~

Dona A. Bastian
Wildhorse & Burro Specialist
Gunnison Prison Facility Manager
Utah State Office

To view entire article go to:

Silver King 2010

Warm Springs

2010 November 5



Meet 4:30 am BLM office Burns
Drive like a bat out of hell in the pitch dark on rocky roads
thank god tires not flat
arrive at trap site  in the ptch dark
sat in car for over an hour waiting for sunrise

Sun J chopper refueling for the fourth time

got to observation location around 7:30
contractor shows up 9:20
helicopter fuels 10:06
refuels around noon…
refuels around 2…
BLM PR asks if horses today
contractor confirms there will be horses coming in
refuels at 3:30
Deb Coffey blows a gasket and wants to know just how far those horses are being run in a day and isn’t time to call this off
BLM PR goes to trap to talk to contractor
BLM “decides” it is time to call it off to rest horses.

note: single trap location chosen for entire HMA

Temporary Holding

Go to temp holding
denied accesss to view mares and foals because contractor has their two year old playing by pens

New contractor
“Sun J”
Vernal Utah
All nice new EXPENSIVE equipment, lots of it.

Only two observation days offered, no reschedule, no return

No horses rounded up today.

But who knows what happened with the ones run that we did not see.


Another day in Court

Judge Hicks has finally set a date for hearing on the emergency TRO filed over a month ago for access to the hands on management of our wild herds. The Contempt motion will also be heard on the same day.

 Say a prayer for Democracy

Two important lawsuits will be heard by Judge Larry Hicks in Reno, Nevada on November 16, 2010.One of the hearings will be on the Motion for Temporary and Injunctive Relief in the Silver King, NV wild horse round up filed by the Plaintiff, Laura Leigh against the Bureau of Land Management, Interior Dept. and the Nevada State Director of the BLM. The Plaintiff‟s Response to the court on BLM‟s responses to the Motion was filed on October 12, 2010.
This lawsuit is based 100% on violations to First Amendment rights. It directly challenges, the Defendants‟ unconstitutional prior restraints on the Plaintiff‟s First Amendment rights by denying her reasonable access to wild horse roundups and related activities, to observe and report on all activities from capture, removal, processing, shipping, transportation, housing, and ultimate disposition of wild horses taken during the Silver King wild horse roundup operations (which the BLM euphemistically refers to as “gathers”). Laura Leigh, is a journalist and videographer whose work on wild horse issues has garnered her international attention.
“All I am trying to do is bring to the public a comprehensive story on the hands-on management of this National Treasure,” says Leigh “The difficulties I have had are absurd in a Democratic society.”

The government is basically controlling the content of what information reaches the public by precluding journalists who may portray them in an unflattering light.

The Second hearing will be on the (filed) August 11, 2010 Motion on Contempt of Court charges levied against the BLM which cites evidence of the Defendants‟ violation of the court‟s previous order to uphold the plaintiff‟s First Amendment Rights to observe and report on the Bureau of Land Management in regard to the “gather” and removal of wild horses in Owyhee Herd Management Area. When Laura Leigh arrived in Owyhee, accompanied by two individuals, they were barred entrance to the roundup site, stopped by armed personnel on public land, and given the literal run around.

The Contempt of Court Motion also addresses the Defendants‟ sworn testimony in open court that a „water emergency‟ existed and that an „emergency‟ roundup had to happen immediately, or horses would die. This testimony resulted in Judge Larry Hicks lifting the Temporary Restraining Order he had put in place to halt the Owyhee gather until he could hear legal arguments in the case.

Photos and documentation of the area have been filed showing that in fact the range appears exactly the same as it normally does this time of year, and nothing out of the ordinary was found by independent observation.

“Federal Judges have a tough job and a tight schedule,” said  council Gordon Cowan, “Our country is based on very sound principals that ensure democracy continues and our case will be heard.”


Action for Augusta

Augusta HMA 10/27/2010

I recently went to the Augusta HMA to learn what I could and bring you some photos. If you have not submitted comment please read below and follow the link to the AWHPC action page.

Augusta Stallion

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting comments on its “Wild Horse Gather Plan” for the Augusta Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) in Nevada. The plan entails the helicopter roundup of 334 wild horses during January 2011 in order to administer the PZP anti-fertility drug to the mares and to remove approximately 50 horses who live outside the invisible HMA boundaries.

The proposed treat-and-release plan is a step in the right direction toward managing horses on the range and eliminating or reducing the need for future removals. We remain concerned, however, about the dangerous winter timing of the proposed roundup, as well as the roundup method, which will destroy wild horse family bands. We also oppose the plan to permanently remove 50 horses living outside the HMA. We need to urge the agency to begin to address the longer-term flaws of the wild horse program, including artificially low Appropriate Management Levels, unfair allocation of resources within designated wild horse and burro areas, and destruction of predators that provide natural population control. Finally we must urge the agency to ensure transparency by providing public access to observe all all aspects of the proposed roundup.

If you have not taken action go to AWHPC page for quick “click and send” option.

Augusta Family

Faces of PVC October 2010

Editing tons of footage and reviewing still images.

What sticks in my mind this am are the thousands of faces in holding I have seen. These are just a few from one day at Palomino Valley. Horses are from Tuscarora and Twin Peaks…

Second video of Tonopah and videos from Silver King coming soon… heading out to check on some horses first…

Edited to Add stills from today

Stallion PVC

Stallion (Big Pen)

Twin Peaks Stallion (Broken Family)

Twin Peaks Stallion

Mares (PVC)

Mares (PVC)



It has been a bit of a “rough trek” trying to report to all of you the treatment of our horses as they are rounded up and handled by the BLM. I am still trying to get a report on the actual trap for Horseback.

In Tonopah we had an AML of 3 at Paymaster because they didn’t want to list as a “zero out” and to allow a horse or two to cross the border on occasion.

Observation was discriminatory, again.

It has taken me some time to edit the footage together that I have to give you all a “taste” of the frustration. It is frustrating to view the tapes and review the documentation.

Gather reports:

Field office data… Please note the number of “Fast tracked” projects and that so many use WATER. Also note how proud the district is of how much gold and silver come from the land (we all know about mining and what it does to WATER):

Note the date on this project that utilizes heliostats (water) in the federal registry, Sept. 3, 2010 with expected approval of Dec. 2010:

Warning in New York Times article: 

“The Nevada controversy highlights the emerging conflict between the Obama administration’s plans to greatly expand the use of renewable energy and the concerns of those who fear solar arrays, wind farms and geothermal plants could disrupt or destroy wildlife habitat and soak up precious water supplies in the arid West.”

But OUR horses are just about gone now in this area and the main reason given is lack of water… but we can bend over (literally) to create avenues to “fast track” projects, yet can’t find a way to make sure horses can get water.

Silver King video soon… Just need to push through the frustration. 

Edited to add stills.

We watched loading only after Horseback called DC


Paymaster AML of 3



Tonopah's one day of Observation



Each and every life

Father and son for the last time (Twin Peaks)

Today I am working on more paperwork… answering the BLM’s convoluted logic to why observers can’t be allowed to witness what is happening to OUR horses. They talk about policy that gives them the right to roundup, they talk about safety protocols that did not exist in the past… they do everything they can to try to justify outdated brutality being utilized by an agency tasked to protect an animal so important to the American people it has an entire act of Congress devoted to it.

Freedom and Family (American values?)

That act has been undercut by corporate/special interests to continue to rape our country at no benefit to you or I… as our rights and interests are ignored repeatedly under “Multiple Ruse.”

But within the confines of my lawsuit all of it is irrelevant.

I want to SEE what you are doing with America’s horses. Why… WHY wont you let me?

When will Congress and the judicial system wake up and recognize how vitally important this animal is to the history and spirit of the American people?

6171 found a home (photo Elyse Gardner)

EACH and EVERY life that lived peacefully and FREE before a chopper cut it’s world to shreds continues to matter to us. These are OUR horses.

Hope dying of hoof slough (Indian Lakes/Broken Arrow)

Each set of eyes I see before they disappear into the black hole that has become the Wild Horse and Burro program speaks of the freedoms we are loosing daily. Each set of eyes burns deep into our hearts… and we will NOT forget them as they disappear into a system that has become a closed door funnel for tax-payer dollars as it ignores the right of the people to know what happens to our horses.

Sorro euthanized at the Broken Arrow/ Indian Lakes

This agency is notorious for misinformation as basic as where a truck has it’s final destination… we want to SEE our horses.

This IS an American Tragedy…

Our Horses…

Silver King Mare Left 5 hours in Alley

caught in jute (Twin Peaks)

PVC cutie from Tuscarora

PVC mare Tuscarora

PVC mares Tuscarora

Tonopah face lacerations

Trap visibility Tonopah

Back to work… will edit Tonopah and Silver King… after I answer the BLM… again.

BraveHearts Last Stand

Repost from AWHPC

by Suzanne Roy, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

In the early morning of Wednesday, October 6, 2010, amid the vast landscape of the Silver King Herd Management Area in southeastern Nevada, a mustang family lost everything in a BLM helicopter roundup.

I looked down from a hill above the entrance to the capture site to see a striking white mare, running at full speed, with her young foal at her heels. Galloping just ahead of the helicopter was a beautiful sorrel stallion, forehead lined with a wide white blaze. He lagged behind his family, torn between making a run for freedom and protecting his mare and foal, even if that meant following them into the jaws of the trap. The stallion, who we have named Braveheart, chose family over freedom, and it cost him his life.

Not long after his decision, Braveheart charged the bars of the trap pen, defending his mare and foal against an enemy he recognized: another horse. Though the BLM contractor clearly observed that his saddle horse was causing Braveheart’s agitation, he tied his mount just outside the stallion’s pen. To Braveheart, the saddle horse appeared to be within striking range. Braveheart didn’t know know men and their metal fences wouldn’t give way to his charge. And, slamming himself against the metal fences, he went down.

BLM often claims that horses with broken necks die instantly. They don’t.

Braveheart fell down after sustaining a mortal injury, but then he struggled to his feet. Head hanging down, he searched for his family. Could he see them nearby? Could he hear or smell them as he lifted his great red-gold head one final time?

As Braveheart lay dying or dead, the BLM wranglers loaded his white mare into a trailer. Dazed by defeat, she no longer struggled. Her stallion was dead, her foal forcibly taken from her.

Next the wranglers dragged the stallion’s body, covered by a tarp, onto the same trailer, forcing the pale mare to stand over her dead mate.

An endless 40 minutes later, the truck drove off, leaving the small foal, who looked just like his father, alone in the trap pen, never to see his mother or sire again.

At the holding site, dirt was piled atop the stallion next to mounds containing the bodies of numerous other victims of this roundup. Our requests to film the body were denied; when we filmed the backhoe and the stallion’s body awaiting burial from the distance, the government-contracted wrangler drove the truck and trailer around to block our view.

Ben Noyes, the BLM wild horse and burro specialist, refused our request to speak to him to get information about Braveheart’s death. Throughout the two days that we attended the roundup, Mr. Noyes refused to speak with the public and answer questions. The PR person charged with being the spokesperson often was unable to answer basic questions about the Silver King capture operation.

My colleague Deniz Bolbol and I captured the whole scene on video, despite the best efforts of the BLM to prevent us from doing so. We participated in two days of “public observation” at Silver King, during which the BLM’s main objective was to prevent us from capturing and exposing the images that convey the anguish, the trauma and the suffering wild horses endure in the BLM roundups.

BLM observation rules prevented us from observing and videotaping all aspects of the roundup including when the horses enter the trap. That is the moment they realize there is no escape, and the full impact of their capture is visible as they struggle mightily to kick down or climb fences. BLM also prevented us from filming the actual sorting of horses, when foals are wrenched from their mothers, and mares are taken from their stallions.

In previous roundups advocates have been allowed to get close enough to the trap and holding facility so that wounds could be seen – now the BLM keeps the public at such a distance that makes observation nearly impossible. It was only because we stood firm on our rights to travel the public roads in this public lands complex that we captured Braveheart’s final moments.

Sadly, this rainbow, which greeted us as we arrived at the trap site on Tuesday morning, brought no luck to the Silver King mustangs. Our wild horses aren’t looking for a pot of gold; they just want their freedom. It’s up to us to be their rainbow.

Braveheart standing guard over his mare moments before he broke his neck by charging the fence.

In Braveheart’s memory, we will continue the fight. Meanwhile, we have told BLM that we would like to adopt Braveheart’s mare and foal. After this ordeal, this pair must be reunited. It’s the least we and the BLM can do for these brave survivors.

Note: Return to Freedom is taking this mare and foal and attempting to reunite Silver King with his family. Visit Return to Freedom for more info.

Wont forget you

Pre-existing injuries…


One of the three I weas actually able to see the first day prior to loading…

post sorting/loading/handling

Note BLM’s update page

September 27
Gather operations resumed this morning.  The BLM gathered 29 wild horses, 12 mares, nine studs and eight foals. 
Gather related animal deaths: 0Non-gather related animal deaths: 4 – The BLM today euthanized four horses.  Three of the horses were blind in one eye from previous injuries.  The fourth horse suffered with a severe sway back

Also note that NO shipments to Gunnison are listed at all. Even the load that I followed to Gunnison where I was told the horses in the next pen were there from Silver King in an earlier shipment. (printed it out and took a screen shot… so go ahead and change it… again. It has already been changed after I told them the numbers in the field did not match the numbers on the site).

ASK Tim O’Harvey the new BLM appointed spokesman  (edited to retract: new Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board member) about the facial injuries and his experience at Twin Peaks as he told me advocates need to “give” more… and retract a statement they felt was false… as I stood there with Sue Cattoor the woman that in print blamed me for the deaths in Owyhee and I held it up for “days.” (If y’all remember the delay was created when BLM called a halt to activities because of the need to create an “emergency” plan. Injunction held a day…)

Hey Tim… you understand NOW what I was trying to tell you?

Without meaningful access to activity there will never be any accountability… NONE.

Last shot for today…

They "trot" horses, don't they?

Last dawn at “home”

Yesterday I arrived at holding to watch the horse I have expressed interest in adopting be shipped to the furthest facility from my home that they were shipping to that day, Gunnison State Prison in Utah.

Even though a load was heading to Fallon Nevada, I was told that during a “conference call” it was decided to ship him to Utah.

Last Dawn "home"

It was so hard to watch these horses say goodbye to everything they have ever known, including their families.

America's Living Symbol of "Spirit"

I cannot share any pictures with you from Gunnison. My cameras and even cell phone were considered “contraband” in the state prison that houses a wild horse and burro center. But I can tell you he knew I was there… they all know WE are there… and our love for them will NOT go away.

I have little time to write… much happening.

on the road…

Been at Tonopah…

Amazing horses with such a will to be free in an openly hostile environment for wild horses… not the landscape but the human element that is actually vocally hostile. Beyond sad.

Access games Tonopah

The same old access games were played with a real twist that kept obsertvers from viewing any activity as horses are brought in. Enough time transpired to “load ‘em on the truck and take ‘em to town” before we ever got a glimpse.

I’ll edit video and post pics soon. Writing a long piece for Horseback and working in several directions… you will hear all about it very soon.


Back on the road….


Why are we here?

I was asked that question by the New York Times videographer Clare Major as she was held back at the “public observation” area and not given the same access as her colleagues just days before.

I let her know that even though I had submitted press credentials prior to the gather, and was present the day her colleagues were there, yet I was NOT allowed access. That on the day she was there my editor, Steven Long of Horseback, had resubmitted what BLM now called credentials and if she got access… so would the Team from Horseback.

That day only two horses were gathered. Two geldings from a supposed previous gather that I have not seen since.

Here is the NYTimes video:

Here is mine.

I finally did get access. But it took me 12 days and an awful lot of gymnastics. I still have not been allowed to approach the gather pens that the Times footage shows they did. 12 day… it took the NYTimes 24 hours.

During that twelve days Jeff Fontana (BLM) and I had a dialogue that began every morning that started like this… “So Jeff, let’s start the dance.” I have to say that Jeff was in a tough spot. He had pressure from every side, but he continued to try. That’s more than I can say for most Field Offices.

This week we are back in Nevada… no more California.

Tom Gorey of the BLM has been out here. He said he is going to work on a National observation protocol and try to use California as a model. Yet of course he added the “disclaimer” that it “will take time.”

Time we don’t have. Not with the current “I know the brakes don’t work but I’m hitting the gas anyway” mentality in the bureau right now. If this years gather schedule completes and what we see shaping up for 2011… Salazar will have pushed his “few treasured herds” proposal through without Congressional approval.

We NEED this protocol to STOP. A Moratorium MUST accompany any study done on a 30 year old program based on guesswork that has flawed data plugged in to create irreversible damage to our symbol of American Freedom.