Gelding at Calico

This is just a quick post about the uproar beginning to occur about the gelding taking place at Calico of stallions under 4.  (BLM update page here)

Young Stud (holding area)

My inbox is beginning to receive a flood of mail. So I decided to post a response on the blog.

In order to actually understand this process the language within the lawsuits must be looked at. I have stated several times that terminology and definition will become increasingly important.

It is my understanding that the IDA (In Defense of Animals) suit deals with the issue of long-term holding.

An adoption event would not be in contradiction to any issue that deals with older horses heading to long-term holding.

Calico horses 4 and under are heading to an adoption event in July (rescheduled from May 15&16) regardless of the outcome of the suit.
In an email today from William Spriggs, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC, he confirmed my understanding.

I am not privy to the specifics of the “no geld” conversation.

Something else to think about…

If the suit wins on long-term holding? The next step is not necessarily freedom.

IDA will need to first argue that long term holding violates current law. Then they will have to argue that returning the horses is not a violation of law. Then they will have to prove that it can be done and dispute the arguments from BLM that it was a necessary action to remove them (horses). So even if they win on long term as illegal, they may not win on the second part of the argument.

Language (specific, concise) is going to become very important.


19 thoughts on “Gelding at Calico

  1. Thanks Laura, This is so important for all of us to think about and not get our hopes up. A victory now is very special and will carry into the future but will not solve all related issues. All other issues are still out there. Many and new roundups. The best way to deal with all of this would be for the White House to grant the moratorium and order studies and for all the problems to be addressed and funds to be rechanneled away from the disaster of holding and get those horses onto natural range; former range made to refuge or sanctuary for geldings and older mares. mar

    • Laura Leigh says:

      A Moratorium and look at the protocol that actually created the crisis would be such a logical step.

      But I “ain’t holdin’ my breath.”

      Hopefully IDA will address the specifics about the gelding in relation to the court case.

  2. “A Moratorium and look at the protocol that actually created the crisis would be such a logical step.”

    Maybe that’s the problem – too logical.

  3. Jan Eaker says:

    It seems to me that calling for a moratorium would be so easy to do, yet no one that can do it will step up and do so; I do understand about “language.” Thank you Laura, again, for explaining so we all can understand what is happening. My concern with the gelding is the additional stress to these already overstressed animals and the fact that their free lives are definitely over. I am hoping, though, as was the case with the Cloud horses and recently in WY, that there is so much interest in and concern for these horses that all will find good homes, and that there is a positive outcome for many of the older horses.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      I know that the INet adoption will feature both regular adoption and “sale” horses.
      I am not sure exactly how the older ones will be offered yet. John Neill said he will keep me posted.

      yes… I am also worried about the compounding stress. This gather was so large.

      I am worried about the horses at Palomino Valley that were listed in the last adoption that had so few bids. Beautiful youngsters… featured scared and muddy in the pictures… now have one strike in a system that barely did anything to promote the horses.

      It seems the only real promo the BLM has for adoption events come from the advocates and high profile gathers. The small funding for makeover events, etc. is pathetic in comparison to the budget spent on gathers. The system is so badly broken.

      Wish we could find the politician, executive, staff member… anybody within the system to actually have the spine to stand up.

  4. Anne says:

    hello everyone: my worry about the Geldings under the hands of Sanford is extreme…I read in the HSUS report:

    a. Sanford uses not one; not two; but three types of “knock out chemicals: when he gelds the Innocent Magnificent stallions…and get this…

    Sanford admits some of these Mustangs may “perish during Gelding…



    (that’s the sound of a weapon Sanford used on Easter Sun.; when Sanford went out alone to Fallon + shot a stallion..: (

    hey that ryhmes; SANFORD SHOT A STALLION @ FALLON

    ps its ironic; in 1970 friends of mine and I were traveling down the hiway…my friend was “pregnant and suddenly decided time to give birth…so we pulled into a motel to get a room; and guess what; the owner of the motel in Fallon in 197? said: There ain’t no room @ the Inn Buddy…

    (this because my friends hubbie had shoulder length hair…
    (like willie nelson does…)
    so the lady gave birth to her 2nd son on the side of a road in Fallon NV…

    just a coincidink ? how about a cosmic coincidence ?

    my friend gave birth on the side of the road @fallon in Van

    the equine give birth on the side of Sand Pit @Fallon in Pen
    small world; isn’t it ? Anne 1951 usa Vegetarian long term
    (since 1969)

  5. Anne says:

    ps i think there was already an Internet Auction for the Fallon Mustangs last month…

    the auction was on line and only a few people knew about it;

    ask the BLM NV and see if I am right…I did go to the Adoption page myself and did see the Fallon NV Mustangs…

    I do not know if any were adopted though; pretty sad eh?

    to think the BLM can have an on line adoption “privately…A.

  6. Anne says:

    pps the way the Calico Mountain roundup should have been run is:

    Each Mustang gets their own pix taken upon arrival @ Fallon
    Each Mustang gets their own medical file @ Fallon…
    this way; we the people; can see pix of The Fallon Mustangs…aka the Fallen Mustangs; those who fell @ the BLM

    for example; we will not know for sure; which ones perished; because they did not take of pix of the sick ones; etc.

    IMO; Fallon is basically a “concentration camp for Equine…
    all the markings are there:

    a. fake hay feeding b. puts hay on outside of fence not in pen
    c. doens’t give a high caloric hay; gives a low caloric hay; Orchard grass does not have enough viable calories…


    they “concentrate the equine into small corrals and pens;

    they crap and pee over their straw on the ground;

    this combination of “pee and wet straw and wet hay: (some of the sick pens do not have feeders; just HAY ON SAND..: (

    the combo of “pee and wet straw creates a type of

    toxic ammonia chemical blend; which can literally

    dissolve the hoof right off the Mustangs hoof wall; because

    pee and straw mixed creates a type of acid corrosion

    which literally peels the outer shell right from the mustang hooves

    and this acid corrosion of “hay and straw on sand; mixed with pee; literally creates “cracks and sores on the mustangs;

    so my questions are:

    1. why did the contractor put STRAW in the Fallon pens; knowing when the snow and rain hits; the straw turns into a “toxic messs of ammonia and acidic undersirable chemicals


    To leave Mustangs standing in wet straw manure is bad…


    2. WHY DO THEY GIVE ONE TYPE OF HAY? instead of a Mix?

  7. Anne says:

    Hi anyone:


    a. what is the point of Gelding a Mustang…

    1. to return to the range or
    2. to make the Mustang have a better chance @ Adoption

    b. Will they return Gelded Mustangs to the Range @ Calico?
    and if not…why not ?

    The BLM BREEDS Wild Mustangs in the Wild by leaving unfixed Stallions in the herd AND the BLM also PUTS UNFIXED STALLIONS BACK INTO THE HERD…

    then they breed them in the wild this way…then say there are too many…The Dept. of Interior’s Wild Mustang and Burro Program is

    a, where they breed mustangs in the wild (covertly ); then round them up and adopt some out and sell the rest !

    This is called a “breed ’em; round ’em up; sell ’em Scheme!
    (i read once; the BLM put 40 unfixed young Stallions back into a herd: THATS’ SOME POPULATION CONTROL FELLAS !
    “not…) so in other words; BLM BREEDS MUSTANGS by putting 40 unfixed stallions BACK INTO THE HERD…

    then they wait about 5 years; then they do a survey; then they throw up their hands and the BLM says

    oh my goodness; look @ those wild horses out there; geeze I wonder how there got to be so many…we better go round ’em up and sell them and or adopt them out…

    “Gee i wonder how the herd got so big w/ only 40 UNFIXED YOUNG STALLIONS

    gee maybe I better see if i can contact Eienstien over this !
    to the BLM: did you know unfixed stallions produce Foals ?

    So why do they put unfixed stallions back into the herd IF the goal of the BLM is to REDUCE the Mustang population?

    (of course famous Mustangs like Cloud should live free…

    A Big preservation has to be set up; like Madeline envisions
    The BLM does not have the knowledge to set this up

    because like they say: THEY MANAGE LAND NOT MUSTANG

  8. Anne says:

    PS “and by the same token:

    I am not in favor of Sanford Gelding these Mustangs either…

    I don’t think Sanford knows “what the freak he is doing ! ! !

    79 perished (including 2 foals); about 40 miscarriages; about 30 preg. mares were “shot in cold blood by Sanford ! !
    (that means 30 preg. mares = 60 mustangs died; (w/foal)
    that’s about 130 Mustangs; that’s about 20 less than Meduna!

    see it’s my opinion the name 3 strikes ranch was thought of by the BLM

    what the 3 strikes ranch means is:

    ‘IF a mustang does not get adopted in 3 tries (3 strikes…

    then the BLM sends those Mustangs up to the 3 strikes Ranch

    where they “starve ’em; because “3 strikes and yer out ! imo

  9. Anne says:

    ppps and then finally; i wont’ be online til tommorow Mon so I say what I want to say today…

    and then finally…IMO

    my opinion is:

    the covert hidden secret between Sanford and the BLM Staff is

    “their goal is to “erradicate as many Mustangs as possible @ the round up; and in the pens…

    this way they have less Mustangs they have to adopt or sell!(so in no way does Sanford try to “save mustang’s lives..: (

    see when a Vet. openly admits…

    there may be some Stallions who perish during the gelding process (said to the HsUS vet…

    when a person says that; you know they are “off base ! my 2c

  10. Jan Eaker says:

    Anne, the Internet Adoption last month had horses from Palomino Valley, NV, as Laura has already stated, Laura, I watched that too, it seems to me, especially in the internet adoptions, the horses with training, even just minimal halter training, have a much better chance of being adopted that the ones that don’t. I’ve contacted a couple of the offices trying to find out what happens to those that are not adopted( are they offered on the next internet adoption, are they moved to another place) with no response. Also, the horses that go to training facilities, such as Canon City, CO and the Mantle racnh in WY, have a far better chance than the others. One of the horses from CO had been on their site for at least a year, she was offered in this internet adoption and was adopted. All but 2 of the Mantle horses were adopted and they took those 2 back to the ranch to get them more training. Mantle is also having an adoption event at their ranch June 26th.
    I do know that after last 9-26 big adoption day, the 2-3 horses(bays) not adopted at the Mequon WI adoption site were moved to the next Eastern States adoption site, I don’t know what happened to them after that.
    I also know that a foster home in IN that takes 4-5 mustangs a year from Ewing IL returned her unadopted ones back to Ewing last fall, I have not seen those horses’ numbers on any site since then, and those fillies had been halter trained and taught to lead.
    Laura, what does happen to the 3-strikes horses, even the young ones?

    Anne, other vets and other knowledgable people have already commented about the hay, as to its condition and how it is introduced to the mustangs.
    Please show me the report that says that the vet shot 30 pregnant mares, as I missed that one.
    Watching the videos on the “processing” I actually thought the vet was very efficient in drawing blood, he did it very quickly, as stressful as it was to watch, and as stressful as it was on those horses, the processing is done as quickly as possible. That’s about the best I can say for it.
    I have watched many horses gelded in my years; some done well and some very poorly. If the horses are anesthesized sufficiently, the pain should be minimal, older stallions, which they are not doing, as of yet, usually have the most difficulties with the surgeries, cryptochords, because it is an invasive surgery, also have more of a chance of infection following castration.
    It is the aftercare that would worry me in this situation. The blowing sand getting into the wound is a surety. Will they administer antibiotics, how will they deal with acute swelling, pain, etc. that’s what I worry about. I know what I had to do with my geldings to ease their pain, is this going to be possible in this setting?
    I did notice that the young horses listed on the Mantle ranch site are still studs, so why are these young horses being gelded? Is it an arbitrary thing with BLM? some of the PV horses were studs, too. Just curious as to why BLM gelds some and leaves others intact.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Jan… thank you for taking the time to craft a comprehensive response.

      I have been rather focused on the adoption process at the moment. With all of the attention on Calico it seems like a great opportunity to start getting the “public” to ask the “right” questions.

      As far as I know this IS a three strike system, literally. It does not matter if you are young, old, trained or not. For example the young ones offered at PVC now have “one strike.” It doesn’t matter that the adoption was hardly publicized. It doesn’t matter that the photos were taken during a time of year that has horses at their “least attractive.” It doesn’t matter that the photos are taken in a manner that has many of them appearing chased around the pen, afraid…

      I also agree that as far as processing wild… and I stress wild… population the equipment and procedure is designed to minimize risk. There is room for improvement, but the basics exist.

      This system is lopsided. You hear higher level BLM employees state things like “We need to get AML to levels balanced by the adoption program.” Yet if you look at outlay of resource the system is clearly unbalanced.

      Perhaps they need to flip the budget and use the amount of funds used in a gather year on adoption programs and the amount of money spent on adoptions on gather… that might also bring the adoption program into balance with AML.
      : )

      They will respond that they are mandated to gather… using the same logic they are mandated to have an adoption program.

      Can you imagine the horses coming out of an adoption program that had sufficient funding?

  11. Jan Eaker says:

    laura, I too would really like to see the $1.7 million paid to the roundup contractors spent on training, good photograghy, great advertising, even offering transportation help to people that are far away from adoption sites. What a difference that would make, is there anyone in BLM that would or is listening to this? Spend more money on on-range management, supplemental feeding in bad times, increased water supply for horses AND wildlife, not cows.
    Look into on range birth control, bait trapping if necessary for the younger horses that are more adoptable, there are so many ways that this could be done, without certain people (read Cattoors and Cooks ) making tons of money terrorizing horses. I’m hoping that more people are becoming aware of what is going on, and if they don’t know what to ask and HOW to ask it, will find out how to be a great advocate. Sending rambling messages to BLM is not going to help and will only reinforce their perception of us as “wild horse crazy people.”
    I’m hoping that the conversations you will be having about this new complex will be a turning point for the horses,

  12. Jan Eaker says:

    If you want some really good information about stress and what it causes to happen in wild horses, please check out the following website:
    go to announcements, it says that Bruce has been asked to give his opinion on stress-related problems in wild horses, go to and blick on the link: read Bruce’s reply.
    he also calls on his and my generation to stand up and change the way these horses are treated,

  13. equus5 says:

    I know that many, if not all, of the wild horses captured from the Pryor Mountains were not gelded. Ember and Image from Cloud’s family were adopted and Image was left intact. What if the new guardian of an adopted wild horse doesn’t want them gelded so as to preserve their gentic viability? Are the BLM now deciding to castrate all the younger males without the adopters having anything to say about it?

  14. Jan Eaker says:

    equus5, it doesn’t seem that BLM is gelding ALL the younger males, many of the young horses at Mantle ranch are young stud colts, there were also stud colts on the recent internet adoption; it would be interesting to know why they are gelding all the young Calico horses, if it were possible to get a straight answer from them, maybe that is one of the questions Laura sent today out to Calico, also, it is a good question to ask of the BLM,

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