Personal message for the “blog”

Jackson Mountain stallion watches his mares after arrival at PVC. They will be separated here, he will go to the stud pens and they with the mares.

Jackson Mountain stallion watches his mares after arrival at PVC. They will be separated here, he will go to the stud pens and they with the mares.

from the desk of Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education (follow ongoing work at wild horse education website)

It is very hard to describe the personal experience of the current state of the issues that Wild Horse Education is addressing for our herds.

On one hand this has been an extraordinary physical marathon of range work, in all kinds of weather, under all kinds of physical extremes. Dust, mud, blistering heat and frigid temperatures take a toll on equipment and ones physical body. Files are massive and the quantity of documentation fills drive after drive and causes laptops to choke. The vehicle makes new sounds every time it is shaken, bounced, bumped and run in sub freezing temperatures or high heat, your physical body begins to mirror the creaks and groans. The very real need to expand this aspect of the work is apparent. This aspect of the work is what gives us the ability to demonstrate a first hand knowledge of the range and present accurate information toward gaining real changes as we try to bring an honest conversation to the management of wild horses and burros to the agency itself, the public, legislature and if needed, the Federal courts. You make this part of the journey looking like a character out of “Mad Max,” or other post apocalyptic film, half the time. You forget to brush your hair, have no time to clean your clothes and your equipment is a mishmash of devices pieced together that looks like it shouldn’t even run but is a powerful editing tool.

On the other hand this work requires diligent research and organization. Thousands of hours of video footage, hundreds of thousands of still photographs, assessment documents and grids, reference material and the hundreds of documents filed in court. You have to focus, wear the right glasses to read,  remember to shower, and raise your vocabulary above the guttural sounds that your dog finds acceptable as conversation on the road.

Then there is another aspect, communication with the public. Somewhere between being a “range rat” and an “accountant” you need to remember the social skills to engage the public in a conversation that relays what you “gained” on the range, digested in the “library,” in a manner that speaks to the daily lives of “normal.”

Many of you have written wondering what it is like to do this work… the best way I can describe it… it is like carrying a bag filled with “hats.” Some of the hats you have worn before and they fit well, others don’t fit quite right but when you wear them in enough storms they shrink and mold and become familiar.

Today I sit at the computer organizing three active cases against the Federal government. Two of them speak to the objective of gaining a humane handling policy for wild horses and burros, one of them speaks to access to animals from range “through ultimate disposition, adoption, sale or death.” I am organizing depositions, documents and editing video footage for various purposes.

High Rock, 10-30 (Leigh) 6 escape the trap

High Rock, 10-30 (Leigh) 6 escape the trap

I wanted to “touch base” with the followers of the blog and say “whew” as we gain the first step in the conversation at Owyhee toward gaining a “humane” objective in the ten year plan and “where’s the #@*! coffee?” as we start to compile and hone the effort on access. The work we are doing on land use plans and investigations such as the slaughter issue are also still in progress AND I have to get back out on the range.

Yes, there is an extraordinary amount of work that needs done YESTERDAY. There are tools that as an advocacy we do not have and must literally build. But this is not without hope… we are building the tools and creating the language for conversations based on first hand observation… we are gaining a conversation that can lead to changes… that can grow to more changes. It IS movement.

As a MOVEMENT we must recognize that fact and gain momentum. If there is an opportunity, no matter how small, if it is not seized the moment passes. The road to change leads to change as the road of apathy leads to apathy, the road of depression leads to depression. We are on the road to change…. it may be a two track in the dessert but eventually (even if you have to travel off-road a bit) it leads to a highway.

Best to you.



10 thoughts on “Personal message for the “blog”

  1. akacheshire says:

    but you do it so well.we the people and animals make a diffrence!im still waiting on the word from winnemucca.nv blm about funds for the hourse n burro ranch we plan to build.havent got the go ahead no news good news or bad news,i keep getting run arround.aplied for the grant months ago.but until please look and share my link ok thanks laura peace n reading all i can and keeping informed.thanks for all you do!

  2. Sonora Winds says:

    Bless you Laura-just took in another half starved foster horse-we are aq small but dedicated horse rescue in WV.I read your messages and bump around with you and your canine companion in my heart.Iw ish often that I could hand you a warm meal or drink of coffee or cold water-or a new wheel drive loaded with equipment so badly needed.Wish I could be there to help you.What you do is not easy-I admire your self control with the BLM-not sure I could maintain-I know it is necessary.My old mustang mare is safe with me after nearly starving to death before her rescue and her daughter is beautiful and smart .But she would rather be free I know and it makes me sad .I make no demands on her-and slowly I have earned her trust.Keep up the good work and know you are in our prayers and we do advocate for you and our mustangs every opportunity we get.Will send more $ when I can.

    • Julie Smith says:

      Sonora Winds, you took almost all of the words right outta my mouth. I echo all the things you said about Laura and her efforts. I, too, have 2 rescued mustangs that I feel the same about. You said it all so well.

  3. HoofHugs says:


    I find it amazing that the DOI BLM does not have standards of humane care. Are you aware that state 4-H horse programs have instructions for basic horse care. These ultimately come from states Departments of Agriculture. Furthermore, states departments of agriculture produce horse care standards for first time horse owners. Since the DOI and the USDA are intergovernmental agencies, I find it virtually impossible to believe that the BLM has had no access to standards of humane care recommended for equines. Both DOI and the USDA share research and information. I encourage you and Gordon or someone you are working with to see what kinds of information the BLM has had available, but has suppressed or simply chosen not to follow.

    Also, I would caution you to be careful who you trust. Hold back information that might indicate where your investigation is. I believe it is possible that you were approached earlier this year by a reporter sent with the primary purpose to figure out where you were in your work, if you had found anything that might incriminate someone in power, and to prevent evidence being gathered that would incriminate people at the top of the food chain. I am 97% positive this was the case. I could explain to how I have come to tis conclusion, but it is one a reasonable person could come to. I do not think it is necessarily reasonable to expect you to have known this or to have been able to have figured it out—

    I am not walking in your boots and I do not know the people that you know in the ways that you know them. You have been dedicated, and if we are able to stop the wild horse halocaust, you and Gordon will have played an important role. Remember to hold the most important information back—give crumbs about any other investigations or suspicions you have about the “big boys”.

    Good luck to you.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      I discuss everything I know is a “truth” openly and freely, even with BLM and gov agencies. I am not “007.”

      However if it is something I suspect, but cannot prove, I wait until I can prove it.

      Yes, there are those pretending to be things they are not… in so many places. But those people can not change a truth. They can spin it, whitewash it and convolute it. But they can not change a truth.

      There is a great Pulitzer prize nominee JOURNALIST (not advocate) that has (and is) doing some real investigative journalism on public land issues and is doing a few stories on wild horses. He is also not “007.”

      Changes are coming… we are on the road and like you said… look for the snakes in the grass or wear really high boots… but keep moving.

      I am really happy to hear about your mare. Each wild one that actually lands safe is such fuel for my heart. thank you for caring and keeping my dog and I in your thoughts.

  4. Leslie Peeples says:

    The life of a multifaceted warrior, brilliantly described. We need to clone you 5 times to get all the work done. Thank you for your tenacity although I am sure it is taking it’s toll on your health.
    Join us in this good battle folks, We need more boots on the ground, Laura can’t do it all, she has been for 3 years now, but as we build we need your help.
    Thank you Laura, and thank you everyone for your continuing support. Lets keep on the road to change! Leslie, Co-director of Wild Horse Education

  5. Stephanie says:

    I can only imagine the strife you feel and have felt over the years while documenting the treatment of our wild horses and burros by the Bureau of Land Management and their contractors. Bless you and bless anyone who sees the light and takes action

  6. Laura, your determination & dedication are an inspiration to me, has always been since the 1st day I came upon your website. That was over 10 years ago & I am very sad for you that it has taken so long, for you to go through so much, to watch all you have watched & seen & to still have to fight for the rights of our wonderful horses & burros. You are always & forever in my prayers to be able to come to an end to this battle & have a solid resolution to this. It breaks my heart to know this struggle you endure every minute of every day is so hard on you & am praying for you to receive much more help with your tireless effort. Your my hero Laura, please know I have shared all your information & your website to the whole world to let them know of the sacrifice’s you make just to do this in the hope you may receive more funding, help, support & whatever else you may need. GOD BLESS YOU LAURA & ALL WHO HELP YOU!

  7. cssssswv says:

    Laura, your POWERFUL photo & words here — STOPPED me //cold\\ … I could n0t “finish” reading YouR thoughts …. unTil – I went back to ‘jot down’ this magnificent Stallion’s ~thoughts~ «–pouring from his Face, Ears, Eyes, Stance … {as “I” read it } : “Jackson Mountain stallion watches* his mares {his loves} after arrival at PVC. They WILL be Separated here, he will GO to the stud pens – and They will GO aWay – with the {0ther 1000’s of} mares” ….

    • confusion • calculation / reconsideration • determination • possibility of defeat [does n0t compute] • incomprehensible challenge • power • utter disregard for personal fate • utter immersion in concern & loyalty for the loves & lives of his life’s ‘charges’ • calculation of his role • strength & stamina • stubbornness, born of adhesion to his leadership • recognized, earned status • glimpse of unknown future • unfaced, incalculable predicament • incarceration without charge, reason, answer • miSunderstanding • what should I be Doing • how can I accomplish it • why did we end up here • shouldn’t I have Kn0wn better • have I totally failed you all • exhaustion – is n0t a choice • where are you going • why aren’t you listening to me (not total strangers) • please stay together • can you come to me • how can you help us all • I will never leave you, I never have • I cann0t fathom losing you • I cann0t lose • I do n0t have an answer – yet • do any of you kn0w an answer • does any0ne kn0w what happened • what’s happening now • remember what I’ve always told you • please do n0t give up on me • I love you – more than life • n0 way to kn0w what’s coming next • this cann0t be the last time we see each other • do n0t worry for me • take care of each other • I’ll always be right here beside you • I’ll figure s0mething out, … I always have • we’ve got to go home • we will stick to our kn0wn safety places • it has to be alright • I’ll do better for you • why are you looking behind me (is it these 0ther guys) • I’ll take care of them • I’ll take care of you • please try to stay in my sight • please do n0t let me lose you • this is n0t what I planned • what will I do now • I love you – more than life • you are so Beautiful – to me • I can do this •• please do n0t give up on me • • • • • • I’m t r y i n g • • why can’t I do this • I’m t r y i n g • so hard • I will always be here for you • I promised you • possibility of defeat ~still does n0t ‘compute’ • •• do n0t give Up on me • • • I . p. r. o. m. i. s. e. d . . . • I L O V E y o U • have I totally failed you • the world is e n d i n g • WHY ? • ~~ηєνєя ƒσяgєт тнαт ℓ̓є–Χ α мιяα¢ℓє~~ • “our government” certainly Has – forGotten ;”{ • WHY ?

    [from yoUr* loyal “fan”, cssssswv; YES – YoU still MOVE us, by yoUr inexhaustible documentary words & photos! ] :”(
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

  8. cssssswv says:

    And this* 1, 0ne, ONE photo – of your millions – SPEAKS well 0ver 1,000 words ! (although I only bored you with ~1/2 of mine) ….
    Just my humble ‘Sunday afternoon’ musings. :}
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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