End of Visitation

photos by me unless otherwise noted on this site

Today is the day the doors close at the BLM facility, “The Broken Arrow,” in Fallon, NV.

Because the BLM privately contracted the facility the public will no longer be able to bear witness to the lives within those walls.

Row of mares that have babies at the Broken Arrow

Personally I find this distressing.

The intellectual in me finds it outrageous.

A contract by a government agency that manages American horses in trust for the people did not make arrangements (as it awarded a lucrative no-bid contract to, I am told, a personal friend) to allow visitation by the public. That contract (in my opinion) by it’s very nature should have included the stipulation that public visitation be standard in operation as it made it’s monetary “reward.” “Services rendered” at that facility should include the public the agency is tasked to serve.

Mare and foal Broken Arrow

The human being in me is literally in pain.

I have seen these horses run free.

Peaceful Freedom

General and his band captured (True is with him)

Actions of Salazar's BLM

Actions of Salazar's BLM

Soldier Meadows temporary holding

I watched them loose their freedom in a gather that looked like a gushing wound as band after band poured down those mountains. I looked into confused eyes as they stood in those pens after gather. I walked the hospital pens and agonized over little Hope… I looked in his pain filled eyes, too… helpless to help him as he died of hoof slough most likely due to roundup trauma (noted in the BLM, incomplete, vet report).

Calico Foal

Hope Springs Eternal

I saw them standing in the bitter cold in January at the Broken Arrow. A facility that was still under construction as almost 2000 horses entered it’s gates. Almost 3000 was the projected number for that facility. I shudder to think of 1000 more horses in that incomplete facility as this administration runs full steam ahead furthering an agenda instead of putting the breaks on as it claims a “new direction.”

Scar face Mare Broken Arrow January 2010

Youngsters January 2010

I got to know so many of those horses as individuals that have left a lasting imprint on my soul. The sense of responsibility to these amazing beings has grown… it is incomprehensible to me the lack of recognition these animals have as individual beings. They are not just “inventory.”

Calico Filly (photo Elyse Gardner)

Calico Filly (photo Elyse Gardner

My last visit to the facility brought instant recognition of many of these horses. Not only did I remember them… but I know some remember me. So many of the younger ones have grown into young adults, smart and curious. The older horses attempting to adjust to a life that will never resemble anything they were born to be. Many of them will now be shipped out of sight to die in long term holding, also off limits to public view.

Huge old stallion at Broken Arrow

Mare and foals Broken Arrow 2010

Medicine Hat

Young Sabino

Mare and foal Broken Arrow

My heart aches… just aches.

Instead of recognizing the value of the free, volunteer eyes at it’s disposal the BLM claims the observers place a “burden” on staff as the public is offered a tour comprising a few hours each Sunday. Each Sunday it seems the observers point out apparently overlooked issues within the facility. Orphaned foals, the Pigeon Fever/not pigeon fever abscesses still appearing in the population, injuries and the critical condition of the foal we now know as “Sorro,” are all issues brought to the attention of “staff” by the “burden” of public eyes.

Perhaps in this “dialogue of new direction,” and all the supposed areas for cooperative effort, perhaps the public actually needs to be involved? What a concept…

Sorro euthanized at the Broken Arrow

This “new direction” is a public relations campaign. The 2010 gather schedule stands. The “dispute resolution firm” is a hired gun to create a support document for placation of the public. Salazar’s plan to decimate our wild herds runs pedal to the floor. The “new direction” is just a short cut to “Salazoo.”

5/31 Wild Horses

Free Wild Horses

Free band stallion

My heart aches… just aches.


28 thoughts on “End of Visitation

  1. Morgan Griffith says:

    My heart aches right along with you. This is devastating.

  2. Barbara Warner says:

    Thank you , Laura, for all you have done. This is devastating to you and the others who have gotten to know these horses as well as to all of us who relied on your reports on them for what was happening . We got to know them too though your pictures, and reports along with Elyse’s and Craig’s. It is evident the closure is out of spite. So what can we do now? Will objections be met with further reprisals? What other devious plans does the BLM have with its new direction? So far it has shown us nothing but how heartless and cruel it really is.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      It is not my intention to minimize any of the intimate feelings that anyone has for these horses. I know how much so many people care that have become familiar with these horses through photo and commentary. I know how deeply many care that have never seen, nor ever will see, a mustang.

      I just am trying to prep for another meeting where we will be “told” what “is” and how willing BLM is to listen… as we know damn well there will be no dialogue in Denver but a PR campaign designed to cover up a protocol operating full steam ahead…

      …and inside it hurts. That place where you feel ill when you see injustice and abuse of power.

      Have we learned nothing from the gulf?

      This administration is doing the same to our last wild places…

      • savewildhorses says:

        The DOI has 2 very cozy, corrupt, renegade agencies. These are the MMS (see what they did to the Gulf) and the BLM. If the BLM were smart, which they are not, they would see which way the wind was blowing with Salazar and the public’s diminished tolerance for whitewash, corruption and abuse of power benefitting monied interests. But, like I said, I don’t think they are too bright a bunch.

  3. If you are in California or Nevada, please try to attend the Twin Peaks Tour this coming Monday to see the wild horses and Burros who will be captured off that range. This is CA last viable wild burro herd. This is not acceptable.

    For all of us who are willing to continue; please contact the White House and continue to demand an end to roundups, removals and the secrecy surrounding all our captive wild horses and burros. Support the efforts of the Tri-State Megaplex. mar

  4. Linda says:

    Laura, thanks for bringing so many of these wild horses into our lives.

    I once thought “personalizing” wild ones by giving them names and telling their stories was a good idea. Now I think calling attention to any living horse opens the door for ramping up the bidding. That nasty business has another name, and proof would make it a prosecutable offence.

    It will be sad if, for their own protection, we can only name and celebrate the wild ones in death. And from this day, the Calico horses will be born, live, and die out of the view of those who love them most, without names or recognition they ever graced our planet.

    We can only do what our government cannot yet prevent us from doing … sending our prayers.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Naming them does give the BLM opportunity to squeeze those vulnerable because they love.
      But naming them also encourages the recognition of the individual… something sadly missing.
      If giving a horse that otherwise has no value… value in this screwed up world simply by giving them a name man can speak… it is the least we can do.
      Even if it is at our own expense.
      (Yes, through a process that could appear to be prosecutable if done by private business).

  5. Jo De George says:

    All of us ache with you, Laura. :((((

  6. Laura says:

    The WHOLE WORLD is falling apart and under the controls of the most evil we have ever seen in our lifetime. Next, our government is pushing another attack or war on Iran. Truly, our WILD HORSES are symbolic of the utter despair that will be thrust on our country. Sadly and desperately, we feel the same. I wish I could release these horses into the homes they lost. I wish I could hold the lost fillies and colts, the mares who are sad, and the stallions who have no way now. The meanness and cruelty is beyond belief. I am so ashamed of our species, so ashamed for we are weak, very weak, those of us who have allowed the evil to take over our wild horses, and the evil to take over our world. There is much unrest now~~

  7. savewildhorses says:

    “My last visit to the facility brought instant recognition of many of these horses. Not only did I remember them… but I know some remember me.” – Laura

    Laura, I would say every horse there knows who you are. They sense your good, kind and courageous spirit the moment you arrive. Trust me. They do.

    Your ♡ will survive. The horses need you.


  8. savewildhorses says:

    Wait a minute. Are you telling me that the public is also barred from visiting longterm holding facilities? How can that be? On what grounds are they basing that? Private property?

    • Laura Leigh says:

      We are not allowed into long term…. never have been.
      When asked about numbers at specific facilities we are often told the system is “down.”
      Long term holding is warehousing out of sight… always has been.

      • savewildhorses says:

        Wow. On what grounds?

      • Morgan Griffith says:

        Well, the old WHIMS tracking system was pulled but they supposedly have a new tracking system up and running. I think I will make an inquiry into that. I was told by a blm person on another board that the new tracking system is not available to the public due to privacy issues but if you have the horses brand # they can run a check on the individual horse. Is there any other instance where Federally owned property as in “we the people” are held out of site. I think I will check into whether federal prisons are privately or federal owned and operated and see if I can get a head count there. Bet you I have much less trouble with that.

        • Morgan Griffith says:

          Yep, I just went online and found list of prisons, addresses and phone #’s and looked up 3 prisoners whereabout in the space of just a few minutes time. Why can I find out everything I want to know about a person (ever heard of People Finders) and not find out anything about a horses without relying on some unmotivated blm employee???

          • Laura Leigh says:

            I know… this whole thing is NOT run in with any semblance of “people friendly.”
            It appears that the law passed in 1971 was handed over to those entrenched in historical prejudice against wild herds to implement.
            The protocol does not appear to reflect the overwhelming public support the original act was passed with.
            Private livestock is how this system looks…

  9. jan eaker says:

    I believe most long term holding pens are private facilities and therefore are not open for public viewing. i think many attempts have been made to just get addresses, to no avail. we know the towns they are near(some of them) but cannot get exact addresses. there is no way of knowing how many horses are anywhere, except in the herds that are closely monitored, like Cloud’s.

    Laura, I don’t know what to say. this would be like if someone came and told me I couldn’t see my horses anymore, only magnified 1,000 fold. I am so sorry. I pray for the Mega plex. I pray they listen to the comments, and that they listen and HEAR in CO; and I pray, ceaselessly, for a moratorium.

  10. Jodi says:

    This makes me so damned sick!!! The greed and extreme of power. This administration has disappointed me to no end as well. I fear for these horses. As the doors close, they can now “mysteriously” get sick and die or just disappear!!!!!! I wish we could all storm in by force and tear down the walls and set them free the way radical animal rights groups do to laboratories!! I understand why those kinds of groups have such deep passion and no remorse for setting innocent animals free while destroying labs! It’s because force is all that works! Justice certainly doesn’t, our govt. certainly does not listen to the people. We are forced to pay for this crap with our tax dollars!!! It is the exact same way with the oil volcano in the Gulf! BP gets awarded contracts from our govt. our tax money pays for! If they can shut down Acorn with legislative act to not award them any more contracts even though they never KILLED any one like BP has (11 on this rig and 15 in 2005 pipeline explosion Texas city, TX.) why the hell can they not shut down BP? We the people get screwed every which way! I am so pissed!!!!!!!!!!! ARGGGGGGGG!!!!!

    • savewildhorses says:

      Now, that’s a vision I will fall asleep to tonight. Folks tiptoeing to Fallon in the moonlight and opening up all the gates. Imagine all those horses running like the wind for the hills. Sweet dreams, indeed.

    • Laura Houston says:

      I know what you mean. I’m not a violent person, nor have I ever chained myself to a tree or anything like that. This time though, I feel like chaining cars to that helicopter, letting the horses free AND getting those federal employees charged with treason and canned!

  11. Anna says:

    thanks for the retrospect…my question is:

    How do the Foals of weeks to just months old; how do they find the Hay on the outside of the pens through the railings?

    what if they cannot find the hay; do these Foals “starve?

    like Feathers the emacitated foal; cuz she couldn’t find hay

    illegal to trap a mammal in a pen and not put hay in pen !

    • Laura Houston says:

      what’s even worse than hard to reach hay- is there are not enough seperate watering spots. Some more dominate horses ‘guard’ the water and then other horses stand thirsty.

      It makes me so angry at the blm! , Simple things like plenty of easy hay and water-they don’t do! Its worse than a lazy person and downright cruel treatment to those horses. They are not horsemen at all and should be ashamed. By their hiding, looks like they know they are wrong.

      • Morgan Griffith says:

        Heck yes. I have rescued finches and the same thing happened with the more dominant birds–even tho I had never raised birds it took me 2 seconds to figure out just put out more water dishes than there were dominant birds DOH

      • savewildhorses says:

        There was the instance I think Laura reported on where a more dominant stallion was keeping the rest of the horses away from the one water trough. The staff, rather then just intall an additional water source or 2 in the pen, decided to field phone calls from people concerned about this, video tape the pens to see that this wasn’t the case and then laugh at people on the phone when they called up about it. It would have taken them 15 minutes to just fix the issue, which they eventually did. But not without being completely obstinate and once again treating the public in a disdainful manner. This is why they closed Fallon to the public-it bothers them that they have to answer to the American people.

  12. Anna says:

    ps Foals do not live on Mothers Milk alone; source: U of Conn

  13. Anne-Marie says:

    Go* Damn the BLM and God them ALL that have stone for heart! We the People of the USA must join forces and FREE OUR HORSES, OUR SYMBOLS OF FREEDOM!!! It absolutely despicable how these Noble Animals are treated. I was out there twice; there is Pigeon fever rampant, and they are not isolating the ones that have it! I bet they are castrating them without anesthetic! The whole internet adoption is crooked. They want you to tell them, which horse you like, then they’ll Posted on the internet! They just want to explout people’s feelings!

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