I am getting some responses from “our day in Court” that say “I’m sorry.”

I don’t feel that way, truly. Because so much ground was gained. I did not get the “miracle,” but my path has been cleared of some very major obstacles.

Cowan, myself and RT (photo by Elyse Gardner)

This has been a roller coaster month with the Year beginning back at Calico, then off to the Ninth Circuit and Flanigan. Flanigan had within it’s weather delays and the Washoe fire. An emotional roller coaster of a month.

I am also a bit “under the weather.” My efforts involve dealing with resource I have just about exhausted. My vehicle is now like the “Millenium Falcon,” it’s a bucket of bolts that needs a layover. Finances are tight. Paperwork has turned into mountain ranges. I have sold everything I have that was of any value to supplement the effort.

And if you look closely at the picture… see my right cheek? You can still see the bruising from almost two years ago after Elyse and I were rear ended by that drunk driver. I went into the Owyhee with concussion syndrome to meet that roadblock and have been on a non-stop marathon ever since… and my face still hurts.

Changing this program is like digging a path through Everest with a spoon. I tried to use some dynamite and was told to keep using my spoon… but that my spoon is valid.

This IS what happened in Court.

We have an attorney that had agreed to do this case for a reduced flat fee. The case was the original Complaint that lead to the TRO on pilot conduct. However in Court for that hearing we learned a lot from the Judge. So we took what we learned and amended that Complaint, Supplemented the motion and the Judge allowed the Injunctive Relief portion to move forward.

That action (regardless of what anyone else says) was recognized as a driving force to get BLM to do the review in a manner “different” from past action and was recognized by McKibben as “his fire” under BLM.

Now keep in mind that McKibben refused to allow that motion to be Supplemented after that. That means both BLM and myself could NOT give McKibben any new information until the day of the hearing.

At a hearing you NEVER know what BLM will do. (Remember at Owyhee they pulled that water emergency doc out of the air that was prepped the day of Court and NOTHING we wanted to address could be?) So we had to prep several documents without knowing if they would even be allowed in the Court.

Almost at the last moment the hearing was bumped from 4 o’clock to 2. Yes, we had an attorney but the second leg of this action was done as a piece of the first and we only had him for a short time… and just lost two hours.

What the amended complaint attempted to do was create a challenge to “conduct” and not simply associate with a single roundup. Even though existing precedent made the likelihood very slim of success… with all I see we had to try. That portion of the suit failed. That action is for Congress to take. So when I tell you writing to Congress is important, I mean it.

However we did not play the “game.”

BLM wanted this to be a conversation about how “good” they are and how “hard” they are trying.

Would you want me to “play?”

So when asked to recognize BLM’s improvement we said “No.”

Would you expect me to answer any other way?

The judge was given several documents in response to BLM handing him the review (that BLM claims is still online but you all know that link was changed and the actual review is gone). I gave McKibben the analysis of the report and I gave him observation statements and noted in the report that on the very same day as the report was made public Ginger and TCF documented burros excessively hotshot. I told him about the multiple runs that even had a horse tie up as the chopper ran the group multiple times at the trap and the baby in that group is now lame in holding. I told him about that horse that got stuck in the trailer and was then hotshot to get him to rise. Elyse Gardner made a great contrast report from Pryors 09 to Calico just weeks ago. Mike Lorden (a very level headed observer and a man very familiar flight protocol) wrote about his observations.

McKibben may not have read everything in that moment, but he will.

BLM then tried to pass off (by omission of language) a talking point list as a “policy.” I handed him emails from Leslie Peeples, Deborah Hurley and others (that they had with DC BLM)  that show clearly that there is no intention of a clear protocol.

McKibben may not have gone through that list (that Petersen, BLM’s Attorney objected to authenticity) but he will remember that conversation when we are back in Court.

I will publish that statement in it’s entirety later in pdf so you all can download it.

So in essence even though we do not have a policy McKibben has seen this supposed “list” they are going to follow. I can tell you the things on the list are NOT being done.

McKibben wanted me to say that improvement was made. I can’t because it hasn’t.He needs to also be “educated” that this “talk” cycle leads nowhere… we have been in it for a long time. We will show McKibben…. because he opened the door for me to go back.

My standing is recognized. The validity of this documentation was recognized. The concern and importance of the issue was recognized. The fact that this is not moot was recognized.

Do you realize what a “win” that is?

If I bring it like I did at Triple B… in the “hard road”… he will stop the roundup.

This is not cause for “I’m sorry,” this is “huddle” time. We need to get that ball down field because we can score that touchdown. The end zone has been defined…

Write Congress… FAX and call.

I will get back in this broken truck and do my best.

Roundups end March 1 and we have major access issues… but they start again in July… and we wont stop until there is a care standard and protocol for violation… but the path has just been cleared of some really big boulders.



10 thoughts on “Forward

  1. conniej947 says:

    clarification… is appreciated

  2. Lisa LeBlanc says:

    I think we’ve all become a little jaded; we forget it’s not all about the destination, but the journey to get there.
    We’re hoping for instant and clearly defined gratification, not the tasty little treats on the side.
    Between your cases and the Twin Peaks decision, we’re seeing progress but not perfection. And patience is not exactly in Wild Equine Advocacy’s repetoire, is it?
    And that smile, in the pic above, is anything but disenchanted.
    Ya done good, Cap’n!

  3. Christie says:

    I hoped this was the case. You did an article once where you explained that changes like we are asking for took time because people needed a chance to become educated and aware that change is truly needed.

    Historically, this has been true of all big social changes such as the reform of child labor laws, getting the right to vote for women, and the whole history of extending full human rights to slaves and their descendants took almost 100 years.

    I think one of them,ost difficult things aboutnthemwild horaemand burro situation is that the horse community has embraced, to varying degrees, the principles of natural horsemanship advocated by Monty Roberts, Pat And Linda Parelli, Clinton Anderson, Buck Brannaman, and many others who have encouraged the idea that we work in partnership with our horses. There are many others such as Gawani Pony Boy, Linda Tellington Jones, all teaching us various ways of communicating with our horses. These principles are based on the nature of the horse considering characteristics such as: being a large, strong, curious, social, flight or fight herd prey animal with a very complex language, mostly silent.

    The BLM and their puppeteers (the PLC, NCA, and to a much lesser extent, the NCBA [most of whom either own or lease land at a much higher rate the public lands ranchers]) are decades behind the way most of the rest of Americans regard horses. They are still stuck in the hard scrabble mentality of stockman. There are so many forces in play now that underscore the need for serious re-evaluation of this agency’s role and approach to managing any of our national resources, let alone our wild horses, that they can no longer be ignored.

    Defensiveness, arrogance, and the transparency of black swamp mud do not suggest the workings of an agency whose actions are above board.

    When I taught school, my classroom door was always open to parents, administrators, or anyone else who might have has a reason to observe or evaluate what I was teaching or how I was teaching. I had a rationale for everything I did if I were ever questioned. As long as there is a rationale that is based on what currently understood to be best practices, there is no reason a public servant and an agency that does public’s business to hide what they are doing from the public. The problem is that the BLM does not use best practices nor does it want to. Best practices would require the BLM to manage our resources in ways that would serve the nation, not just Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana.

    Thank you for your many sacrifices. The needs of those in my community have been great these past few months, but I hope to be able to contribute to your work as I get the opportunity.

    • polopaula says:

      Excellent evaluation of the situation.. I hadn’t thought of it as the best for those 3 or 4 states against the rest of the nation. But that rings true..except for the energy thing.. I noticed that during the President SOU speech, the only time that both Republicans and Democrats stood and clapped was when he said that more off-shore land would be open to drilling. It is going to be top priority everywhere, I guess. I believe we must advocate for peaceful coexistence between the new energy companies and the horses…and for the cattle to give up some of the land that they now graze… Old Farts’ must not be allowed to stay in control forever.
      And I’m writing cards, emails and making calls this week.

  4. arlene says:

    Thank You Laura , I understand more headway has been found and the path to the destination on the horizon, just tell us what to do and you got it…………………………. We want to stop these useless and unnecessary horrors for the Mustangs…………… Laura just want to say that we all know you are doing awesome ,sometimes we want an end so badly that we lose it……………..The Mustangs need help yesterday….they need Freedom yesterday, they need peace yesterday………..Time is the Mustangs real enemy………..and the BLM knows that !!!!

  5. arlene says:

    The BLM is Managing straight to extinction, that is very clear , they are handed every means to accomplish this ,( AND USE ARE MONEY TO DO IT) so far we are not a threat to them, we are only a thorn in their side, we need to become a real threat then we are accomplishing something !!!!! They know that time is on their side !!!!! Meanwhile the Mustangs suffer needless atrocities that are totally unnecessary ……………….

  6. polopaula says:

    I’m not sorry about everything, Laura. But I am sorry that the dynamite did not work. You guys are doing great, and the tide is turning, and I’m hoping that the dribble becomes a flood. My legislators from Texas are so useless. But I will try reaching them, and talk with some of the ones that could possibly be one our side.

  7. KerryKerry says:

    Last fall there was a link going around (I think I saw it on FB) about donations being asked to buy you a new truck. What ever happened to that? (I gave a few $$). Surely there are enough small and large doners that we can put together enough to get you a better vehicle.

    Oh, and don’t forget to take plenty of Vitamin C so you don’t run yourself to exhaustion….

  8. They try to win by wearing you down. Your efforts have not been in vain. You are a hero in my eyes and all who support your cause. I have been sending letters and making calls to the State Reps and Congressmen here in FL. I will continue to do so. You are one heck of a warrior and you have fought this battle with your head held high. Thank you for all your efforts. For now, rest your weary soul.

  9. Kate Bremer says:

    Thanks Laura: Love your spoon analogy.

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