Remember Me…

Today I announced the dismissal of the lawsuit I filed last fall against the Department of Interior and Sheldon NWR. The dismissal came after conversations with BLM staff and Paul Steblein of Sheldon NWR.

The dialogue about the Tri-state MegaPlex has been confirmed. It will happen.

I have stated before that historically the concept “complex” in BLM speak is simply another tool utilized to reduce AML.

However the possibility actually exists that new concepts for management can extend into the forum for change. In the spirit of supporting the idea that cooperative efforts among government agencies (and the public) can lead to solutions I have dismissed the suit.

We have all been witnessing the actions of the BLM at Calico. We all watched as Cloud’s family was driven into the trap by the helicopter.We all have the BLM clearly under scrutiny.

But I want to take a minute to remember the history of Sheldon.

AWHPC photo Sheldon 2006

Remember me? Perhaps just days old and forced to flee from my home in the heat of summer.

AWHPC Sheldon dead foal

Remember Me? I am one of the ones that couldn’t keep up and was left to die.

AWHPC 2006

Remember me?

Read more on the AWHPC site.

Sheldon NWR has no infrastructure to handle processing or adoption as these horses come off the range. I have written several papers about it in the past. Here is one. These horses historically have been vulnerable to the slaughter pipeline.

With dialogue on the table, in the works, however it is phrased… toward changing current protocol within the structures that manage wild horse populations I say “it’s about damn time.”

But I don’t want to hear the same old song.

This MegaPlex will happen.

But perhaps it can “really” happen. Perhaps it can create a change in protocol.

Put the damn breaks on. STOP.

Do the appropriate surveys in cooperation with each other.

Watch and track the horses as they move as you would with any wild population.

Then make a plan based on the data gathered over one year.

Create real cores that are balanced eco-systems. Protect them for the vanishing American treasure they truly are. These wild places represent the very soul of what it once meant to “be” American.

Steblein said to me “It’s time to stop pointing fingers and figure out how to solve this.”

I agree with that statement… but I will not forget.

AWHPC Sheldon 2006

*note: Sheldon is not BLM. They are Department of Interior, but USFWS.


23 thoughts on “Remember Me…

  1. None of us should forget a thing and be wary all the way. It would be more prudent to have an actual 10 year wildlife based moratorium where, within that time; roundups as we all know them would end, studies that are needed would be put in place, and new management grow out of real science, and the test of the management by being put in motion, observed. This is only for one, be it large and interconnected, region. Right? This does not apply to all the herds.. but it could be a trial run for all. mar

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Yes! Exactly…
      This is a chance to create the opportunity for that “trial run.” For cooperative efforts for ALL our horses no matter what side of the fence they are on.

      After one year they would understand how the bands move. Core zones could be mapped in one year.
      A 5 year transitional strategy put in place.

      This could be a real chance here…

      I wonder if Boxer and Landrieu know? I wonder what they think?

  2. You can call Landrieu’s office. She has a law student working on the horse issues I have heard. They want to know what is going on… mar

  3. R.T. Fitch says:

    …and forget we will NOT!!!

  4. Anne says:

    hi my comment is:

    Concerning the little foal jumping way high from the ground;

    the story I read about this foal (story with pix of the foal is

    the foal “sprained her neck; and ended up with a great hugh

    Neck cast….for a few weeks; AND THEN THIS FOAL DIED…

    I wouldn’t trust those people if my Life depended on it…

    the Tri state mega complex is just a MAP OF LAND

    its not acutally A PRESERVE OR A RESERVATION




    good you got “that monkey off your back…

    you have a living to make with your drawings and ornament

  5. Anne says:

    ps I had not seen the pix of the Little Foal trying to reach Hay thru the railings at Sheldon and finding no hay; perished; either due to exhaustion stress hunger or thirst; PRETTY BAD!

    • Laura Leigh says:

      That baby in the picture above… I think it is the one you are referring to… was trampled at the trap site.
      Go to the AWHPC link and you can read an extended story there.

      That 2006 “gather” is often referred to as “The Sheldon Massacre.”

      • Anne says:

        hi Laura:

        oh…sounds wonderful…NOT !

        either way; the foal perished FOR NO CAUSE

        except the green dollar sign…they smell money from miles away…

        just like a wild mustang stallion can smell a female phermone (hormone) from 10 miles away (PBS TV);

        I shudder worrying about the Stallions getting gelded beginning today by Richard “Sandpit” Sandford; looks like such a nice guy too;

        I can’t believe Sanford was @ Fallon on Easter Sun.

        “destroying a 5 yo Stallion; (source daily updates…

        while everyone else was eating Easter Sun. dinner…
        was Sanford alone @ Fallon on Easter Sun afternoon;
        what else did he do while no one was looking? Anne

        ps now they say Pigeon Fever is from faulty feeders !
        (let me know when its safe to “get out of the water !

  6. Anne says:

    PS I shudder to think of how many of America’s Wild Mustangs have perished @ the hands of the Bureau of Land Management in the past 40 years;

    must be in the thousands ! literally ? leaves foals in sand pits!





    laura watch out for a trap like snare BLM tri state complex!


    Remember Faith; the Mare; Hope the Foal; Love lil oneday and I named another downed exhausted Mare “charity…for she showed charity to her offspring and her herd; but the BLM did not show Charity for a Mare; and ran her to her end
    “how’s sandford the bottomless sandpit doing ? just a joke !
    don’t take every word I write so seriously ; just writing words

  7. Anne says:

    summary: as an american citizen who had not watched the day to day BLM Round up until Fallon…

    I can say for sure: Something is not right !



    WHY DO THEY SAY Mustangs do not have natural predators

    when bob cats; big cats wolves coyotes will attack a Foal ?

    why do they say things with no basis of truth whatsoever? A

    • Laura Leigh says:

      They often say there are no predators because the predators that should exist in those areas have already been killed off by man’s “management” strategy.
      We create an imbalance… and then push until it topples… and then call it management.

      We wont stop until there is change.

  8. Jan Eaker says:

    The hunters want the big predators gone so there is more big game animals for them to hunt, it’s all about what man wants, not about what is best or balanced in the wild. We ARE trying to make this difference and we WON’T give up. I will be very interested to hear how your dialogue about this complex transpires.

  9. Over the years I have watched the courses in universities alter to suit the availability of government jobs; range science, recreation, wildlife management. If you want to learn and know from the best you must enter an international community. None the less, studies are to find real knowledge and statistics. The lack of BLM field studies that include horse sampling and their non use of independent studies has become the crisis point here in decisions from the big suits directing land management a la political and big business directives. Government run by corporate power. Within this we want our island of sanity and balance. Then a few more until there are places intertwined for the wild herds and their fellow wildlife to live. This is a big deal, we know it. mar

  10. Jan Eaker says:

    Mar, yes, this IS a big deal, if we don’t get this right, and save the wild ones, and the wild places, we are done for as a planet, WE know this, we know how important the decisions that will be made in the next years are as they effect the way we keep this world. the corporate ones who actually run this country, I don’t think they care, it’s all about money and the bottom line for them, WE must be strong and continue in this fight, and see these horses truly protected.

  11. sandra longley says:

    So is this to be a cooperative operation between the NFS and BLM to manage the horses? such as this set up:

    Territory management plans for joint FS/BLM management and monitoring of the wild horse resource are nonexistent or outdated.”
    Battle Mountain Field Office and Tonopah Field Station, Wild Horse and Burro Population Tables
    *The 11 WHTs that are affected by this proposed action are located in the Monitor, Hot Creek, & Toquima Mountain Ranges. Because these WHTs are adjacent to BLM administered public lands in these areas, BLM and FS would collaborate on proposed actions regarding wild horses and burros affected. Within the eleven WHTs, there are 21 cattle allotments administered by the FS (14 active and 7 vacant). (See pdf document, page 6, Table 1 for grazing information.) Monitor Wild Horse Territory – History & Info from USFS.”

    a couple of months ago we did the scoping comments for the planned gather there..BLM had the winter grazing land in the low country and the FS had the high mountain lands and water needed for summer grazing, they are now being set to manage as a combined unit, some vital areas were excluded for allotments and blm handles the gather activities and adoptions..none of the end results changed, however it appeared benificial to the remaining horses to be managed for is a meta complex different from say the calico complex, which appears to be a meta plex in reality..What differences are being proposed that will be of a benifit to the horses..The calico complex also benifits the horses by supposedly allowing for migrations necessary to find forage, yet little by little areas have been fenced off for allotments, more winter grazing allowed for cattle-which degrades the land for spring grazing..altho, what we all want is a better situation and undisturbed life for the horses-what is going to make this proposal any different?

  12. sandra longley says:

    When you remember the Sheldon horses, also remember the Jackson Mt. HMA horses that suffered an even more horrific fate because 700 sheldon horses migrated out of Sheldon and the slowness to act on the part of BLM..Those pictures are haunting and worse than Sheldon..Anyone that thinks that starvation and/or dying of thirst is an act of mother nature should remind themselves mankind is interfereing with mother nature when he creates artificial boundries for these horses, erects fencing and cattle gaurds to limit their range, and can’t seem to get into areas to check on the horses on a regular basis.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Hi Sandra…

      The reason I say “remember me” is that so often people focus on the BLM and forget that horses fall under other jurisdictions.

      I have photographed Virginia Range horses, for example, and spoken about how it is legal protocol for them to be sold to kill-buyers. People will then write to the BLM angry at what happened… and not see that I have written that those horses are controlled under the jurisdiction of the Nevada Dept. of Agriculture.

      The 1971 WH&B act was a great law that has since been gutted by several pieces of legislation brought forth in various forms that have been passed without much public knowledge.

      Horses under the control of BLM and USFS appeared to be the only horses recognized under that process (1971 legislation) and are still the only ones recognized as dialogue toward ROAM moved forward.

      Remember me… a plea that we begin to clean up the jurisdictional nightmare created by not having wild herds truly recognized as what they are.

      “Wild free roaming horses and burros.”

      The current realization by the branch of government tasked with the care of these animals for over 30 years that they (herds) actually move…. is a statement that directly reflects the attention paid to the mandates of Congress in favor of creating a system of contracts that perpetuates historical prejudice against these animals.

      Dialogue MUST begin between government agencies that manage our herds. Dialogue MUST begin toward managing our public lands as “public lands” and not a resource that benefits a select few.

      Remember me… the ones that get lost as people (press, general public) define wild horse populations as BLM.

  13. Anne says:

    very interesting post; Laura; I watched the new video; about the taxpayers that is fantastic ! I did not know this was out !

    thanks for the other comments; I know there are “big cats in some areas; however; Mustangs do have natural predators;
    besides man; prob. not many in the Calico mts.; in colorado they do; source cloud ginger K. pbs series…

    yeah; wipe out the big predators; then they don’t have to fear any big critters when they lease or sell gov. land;

    ques: did the 700 migrate due to previous roundups scaring them ? if so: BLM is responsible; as they were @ 3X

    these pens/ corrals are like little mini 3 strikes ranch;imo

  14. sandra longley says:

    The USFS seems to be zeroing out HMAs on a regular basis-two here in oregon, areas that have had small herds for years and years-yet don’t seem to be subject to the 71 law at all-it appears they just do not want the hassle of managing them as small as they are, we have been discussing the fact that the USFS seems to set their own rules, its just that some are better at it than others

    • Laura Leigh says:

      That’s why I believe that it is VITAL that we bring back discussion about ROAM… amended… to include ALL of our horses.
      If they fear it, as I believe they do, perhaps we will see an attempt at real dialogue.

      This gives us one “language” to speak and one law.

      But that is my personal opinion.

  15. I agree, and after recent events in CO we know that even thriving herds exist and have no real protection except from private land owners, if that. mar

  16. mousemistresz says:

    Laura, I wish you the best success in your endeavor to negotiate with the USFWS on behalf of the wild horses. Thank you for doing this, for having the courage to stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We are all behind you, 100%. 🙂

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