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

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24 thoughts on “BraveHearts Last Stand

  1. Barbara says:

    This is one of the most heartless things I have ever read. This tragedy could have easily been avoided . The BLM agents are nothing but cold-bloodied killers.
    The families should never be seperated , especially the mares and foals.

  2. […] BraveHearts Last Stand Laura Leigh 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.   CALICO   […]

  3. Elizabeth LaRoche says:

    I have followed this since the beginning and am at a loss on how to wrap my mind around the cruelty of humans to one of the most loyal and noble of God’s creatures. Civilization would NOT have come this far without them helping us to build it. I simply cannot weep day after day anymore for my equine brothers and don’t know what to do to help. I pray and than pray again for them hoping they have gone to a better place and am glad I have no grandkids to leave this sick inheritance to. I There is a book out there that somehow explains our condition and I am grateful to have been privileged to read it and have some sort of explanation for it. It is called The Borderlanders and I wish to thank its author for giving me some semblance of reason to all of this. Bless you for trying to help those wonderful animals in their ordeal.

  4. delphine sutherland says:

    There are times when human beings really disgust me and I am ashamed to call myself one of them. These time are getting more frequent as i get older. This is one of them.

  5. Tara Bruning says:

    These roundups should be referred to as “THE 2010 MUSTANG MURDERS”. All of this to round up 3 innocent mustangs!!! This is animal cruelty at its worst. These wranglers are sicko’s. They do not understand how to handle the horses properly. Wow! What will our government be up to next? Thanks a lot for ignoring our plea’s to stop the roundups – OBAMA. WE will remember what you did not do.

  6. Mar Wargo says:

    He was a strong horse and hitting the panels was more than he could take. With no field exam we do not know the extent of this stallion’s injuries. It was almost easy for him to do mortal damage. When a wild horse meets an immovable object he most often loses.

    There is no deal to end this. We have to make our own and those who allow this and support it are guilty as hell.

    They had a man in Maroon Coat also filming this at the pen. Was he Cattoor’s or BLM? mar

  7. equus5 says:

    Heartless, soulless monsters. I wonder if they know exactly what they are doing when they tie up a horse next to a stallion — maybe this is not the first time. Forcing his mare to watch over Braveheart’s body is sadistic and why did they take the foal’s mother from him? Portrait of the destruction of a family. This is an American tragedy and the BLM are evil incarnate.

    • Mar Wargo says:

      The Portrait Of A Protected American Family’s Destruction By The Protectors.

      When it comes to cruelty and death, these people know their business.
      mar

    • Laura Leigh says:

      They almost always tie the saddle horses at the pen.
      Out there you see SOOOOO much that if you saw anyone doing to a domestic you would wonder if they lived in 1880 or were just plain clueless… and then you would call animal control.

  8. Mar Wargo says:

    Was he killed? They are on him when he is down. mar

  9. elliroo says:

    Very late to this thred but could not watch another death by stupid! As said above have watched/read way to many accounts of deliberate cruelty committed by the BLM. All we can do is pick up the battle ax and keep fighting for Braveheart , Freedom and Cloud all their splintered familes. But in my dark heart I’d love to put a little sugar in that copters gas tank…. I hate that sound!

  10. Morgan Griffith says:

    What complete and utter imbeciles. What crass and callous buffoons.

  11. sandra longley says:

    A true lack of horsemanship and ordinary common sense is what caused this tragedy..and the same thing happens over and over again…all for 3 horses? thousands of dollars for those 3 and you killed one??and left a foal alone in the pen as you drove off..its as likely that foal would throw himself against the bars killing himself as well..leaving him completely without company..a greater group of morons would be hard to find.

  12. Anna says:

    Hello; the idea that a mustangs throws himself against a fence and dies of a broken neck is abusrd; when an animal gets a spinal injury or a broken neck the animals can be alive;

    sure; the animal looks like it is not alive because the animal is motionless; acutally; what might have happened is:

    The Stallion might have hit his head on the fences and maybe the Stallion “just knocked himself Out; and was lying there passed out; trying to regain his abilities to stand

    THE BLM says animals “die instantly of a broken neck? or a spinal injury…not even close; animals can live for days…

    my opinion is the blm “buries Mustnags while they are alive!

    like i watched a video of a downed mare at PVC; being hoisted up by a HUGE fork lift; and then the BLM.gov “dropped the Foal into dumpster from about 50′;

    they have no proof the Foal was not alive! hey; just because a foal or adult mustang lies out flat in the concentratiion camps

    does not mean the foal or adult mustang is dead ! whether the foal at PVC the BLM “plunked in a dumpster was alive or not will not be known; however I know to drop a foal from “a fork lift 50 ‘ in the air into a dumpster; I know this “breaks most of the bones in the foals body; NEVER SEEN SUCH EVIL !

  13. Anna says:

    Wow I cannot beleive how many blm abuse videos I have sent to my Congressman; I hope others are doing the same;

    because if no one sees the abuse; the abuse will go on…and on…and on…until someday someone in their right mind stops this; WHY does our Gov. abuse America’s Mustangs ?

    just for the few dollars they collect for each Mustang counted

    • Robynne Catheron says:

      Anna, I read somewhere that the pilot gets $600 for every horse he runs in. I’d love to send videos as well, where can I find them? I’ve emailed and called until I’m blue in the face, maybe folks need to actually SEE what’s going on!

  14. elliroo says:

    As you send videos etc to Congress send to every media outlet you can! CNN has at least responded with some stories! If enough interest in generated by us the stories will get closer and closer to the ” Front ” page!

  15. Luanne says:

    Evil beyond belief. Spread this story. Please post it out far and wide!

  16. Pat Goldberg says:

    Cry as usual when I see all this horror. Hate our government for being so heartless. Will send to congress. With the financial problems today the government seems to even care less about other life on this planet. I love these horses. And admire the warriors out there fighting for them. Thanku

  17. elliroo says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYUmcgXAt8Q&feature=related Robynne this is one of so many but his explainations are the bedrock of the fight.

  18. […] BraveHearts Last Stand (artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com) […]

  19. Nancy Duncan says:

    I am appalled. The treatment of our national treasure… Wild Horses… the symbol of our freedom is unconscionable. Wasn’t this the way slaves were treated? I am heartbroken at such cruelty in the name of beef and greed!!! Aren’t the American people fat enough with the consumption of beef and never mind horse… Would you eat your pet? There is an Act that guaranteed the land and freedom of these horses which was put aside during Bush’s administration… It should be re-instates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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