The beat goes on

Been on the road and have a minute to try to catch up. I have received a ton of email in the last week. Some of it I have responded to, some not. It’s hard to dig through. If you have sent something urgent that I did not respond to, please send it again… and accept my apology.

So much is happening right now.

People keep asking me “what can I do?”

We had the meeting in Denver. It was honestly filled with promising dialogue. But it is just dialogue at this point. The report wont go to Congress until the fall. Who knows if anything will come after that.

But for now we hear the same beat of the same old song.

More meetings where we will be told not heard.

A very suspicious gather of horses deemed “estray” by the BLM to be turned over to the NV Dept. of Ag. They go to slaughter… legally under current law. But the timing and the area make you go hmmm… for many reasons.

Rental rates for Solar energy developers are announced. But there is no cost comparison for you to see… for that to be known you need to dig.

Horses continue to die from the Calico roundup. Observers denied an ability to witness the gelding of older horses… told “you have seen all there is to see.”

Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district doing quite the sidestep after talking about cooperative monitoring.

And the beat of helicopters …

Change in this issue will only come when we have a full cost recovery system on public land. When lease holders actually get off the welfare line. But that action will only come through Congress. On all public land, not just places where horses are being forced off through manipulations of the multiple use mandate, lease holders are being allowed to reap private profit off of the taxpayer. Each lease requires an environmental impact statement that BLM field offices can’t perform in the manner truly needed to determine what those leases will do to our land. Ongoing effects to our wild resources can not be monitored as they should because the “powers that be” (in each field office) are not accountable to anyone but themselves. Conflicts of interest within our BLM/DOI are overwhelming and if they existed in the private sector would find themselves wrapped up in our judicial system in a manner that does not require the public to privately attempt to bring suit.

Write your Congressional representatives.

Write your newspapers.

Write your President.

The issues we are dealing with attempting to gain protections for our wild herds are identical to issues faced with any group looking for reform. In many respects our country is not regulated by our government… our government is regulated by special interests. The “checks and balances” have been removed through the lobby efforts of “industrializing” public land (not just on public land, everywhere)… on the back of a rapidly decreasing middle America.

But the symbol of the spirit of “freedom” is paying a great price.

I do not understand why in this time when America herself stands at this cross road we do not find it inside of ourselves to hold the symbol of the American Mustang high? We need all the reminders we can find of what it once meant to be resilient, brave, free…

not this…


So much for talking…

While we were in Denver listening to BLM’s hired gun Michael Harty act as if his meeting actually meant something … the stallions at Fallon have been castrated. I wonder how many of those smiling faces at that  meeting knew what was happening?

Gelding of the five years and older stallions took place this week.  During gelding, one stallion was noted with two cryptorchid testicles and was euthanized, one stallion suffered a spinal injury while in the chute and died on his own and one gelding was found dead in the pen.

The letters I have written (we all have written) go unanswered. Instead Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district replied to Craig Downers letter and cc’d us all.

That is not a reply to MY letter.

He addressed Craig’s fly over… never my questions directly… NOT EVEN CLOSE.

He never responded to my last letter. He has never sent me the schedule for data collection that he invited me to participate in… that started today. He is side stepping and squirming instead of simply answering. Does someone behave that way when they have legs to stand on? Or when they are acting like someone with something to be ashamed of?

A proposal sits unanswered that would have taken in all of these horses at a savings to the tax=payer that would not have required gelding!!!!!!

Does our president care that his BLM… yes Obama’s BLM… behaves in such a manner? A manner that only deserves the label “sociopathic.”

How can anyone go to work in the morning for the BLM and look their children in the eye at night?

Before I left for Denver I said to watch them… best face, big hit.

Watch them now while they close air space and deny me access to observe data collection…. what are they really doing?

I am in the desert and rather beside myself at the moment…. we will NEVER even be permitted to see these older stallions that the BLM has castrated… who died? Does the BLM even care?

I will write more later… I need to walk or something.

How can anyone go to work in the morning for the BLM and look their children in the eye at night?

SaveWildHorses posted this in comments. I think this is a great idea…. start cc ing the White House, Senators on your emails to the BLM.

Yes! And on every correspondence with any BLM official please make sure they see your cc: to the following

Your Senators
Barbara Boxer
all the chain of command in the WH&B and BLM (Don Glenn, Bob Abbey, Ken Salazar)
and the President

Soon, I think we may need to start contacting the Justice Department

Disposition of Inventory?

Many of you sent letters to Gene Seidlitz of the BLM’s Winnemucca district in reference to the “Disposition of Inventory” at the Broken Arrow.

Gene’s response (he chose to respond to the group using Craig’s letter as the one to respond to. He did NOT respond to my request) :

Thanks for your continued interest in the Calico Complex. This note serves
as a response back to all of you regarding the recent flight by Mr. Craig
Downer which indicated only 50 wild horses and 350 livestock within
portions of the Complex.

As stated during the Calico Complex Gather, we have been planning for the
post gather population survey for this area and/or areas within the Tri
State area. Based on the significant amount of wild horse movement in and
outside of the HMA’s in this general area (northwest portion of Nevada)
this is the first time we will count the NW corner of the state to get a
comprehensive inventory. We intend to implement the Simultaneous
Double-Count with Sightability Bias Correction method. This methodology is
outlined in IM 2010-057. This method should yield the most accurate counts
possible. The BLM considers the methodology a valid tool for developing
estimates of horses (wild and feral) populations. It is a peer-reviewed
methodology, recommended by the USGS and BLM National Horse and Burro
Program research coordinator and tested on some BLM HMA’s and National
Wildlife Refuges.

This flight is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2010 with a
certified pilot and three crew members. Although we have had offers from
some of you to fly with the BLM, regulations, policy and protocols that
address both safety and liability issues are grounds to deny your requests.
Once the population survey is completed, the data will have to be compiled,
analyzed and then presented. At this time, I can not provide you with an
exact date for this data to be available to you and others.

Thanks for your continued interest in the WH/B program and the Calico

775-623-1503 (fax)

My response to Gene:

I thank you for responding. However your response is not a response to the requests.

The requests were directed, not at the survey that we all know is going to be done this summer, but to the disposition of inventory at the Broken Arrow. The disposition of that inventory is premature until the survey is complete using the parameters of current knowledge.

1. BLM has identified “new” knowledge based on movement among the various jurisdictions involved in the planning for the new complex.

2. A gather was conducted where insufficient numbers to complete the contract were found.

3. A new protocol has been outlined, but not implemented, for data collection within that complex.

Based on these three issues alone, any disposition of inventory is premature and borders on irresponsibility to the mandate to protect these horses as well as to the mission statement of the new complex.

Exclusion of interested participants in the actual “count” protocol creates the need for a project to be designed by the interested party that uses the same protocol, yet is executed independently. This will create the very situation you claimed you wanted to avoid at our meeting. We will then have the “us and them” battle with data obtained in an identical manner, instead of a “we” approach to “moving forward” in the “new direction” claimed in DC.

I realize the microcosm management issues at the district level yet feel strongly that the need exists to follow the intention of cooperation as promised during such “productions” as the meeting I just attended.

I hope to hear a response from you that is directed at the core request in each letter you received.

Thank you,

Laura Leigh
Project Manager
Herd Watch


Act on this information at your own discretion (courtsey of


–noun 1.
the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice: It is entirely within my discretion whether I will go or stay.


the quality of being discreet, esp. with reference to one’s own actions or speech; prudence or decorum: Throwing all discretion to the winds, he blurted out the truth.

—Idiom 3.

at discretion, at one’s option or pleasure: They were allowed to work overtime at discretion.


I have been told by someone that my last post is “over my head.” So here is a basic example… back to the Broken Arrow… those analogies have been relatively easy to speak to a greater protocol issue.

Definition (


[ob-zur-vey-shuhn]  Show IPA

1. an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.

2. an act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.

3. the faculty or habit of observing or noticing.

4. notice: to escape a person’s observation. act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrencefor some scientific    or other special purpose: the observation of blood pressure under stress.

Pick one BLM. Which one applies to daily observations by the BLM vet and onsite staff?

Foal pic dated 6/3/2010  Cat Kindsfather

Foal pic dated 6/3/2010 (Cat Kindsfather)

Email Dean Bolstad referencing this foal:

Examiner article here

“One foal had a cough and nasal discharge and was not feeling well. The veterinarian had administered antibiotics to this foal early Thursday morning before the tour started at 10 AM. Today,  (Friday) at 5 AM this foal was found in his pen deceased.”

Foal pic dated 6/10/2010

Foal pic dated 6/10/2010 (Elyse Gardner)

BTW this baby now has a name “Resurrection.”

Please remember Little Hope.

OBSERVATION by the BLM vet occurs daily… of what? Obviously the communication of specifics gets lost in this food chain.

OBSERVATION occurs on the range to create AML… oh yeah?

When your own internal reports say you can’t keep up and many districts can’t even get to the landscape! If the base of the “tower” is broken you need to fix the foundation first.

TOP to BOTTOM… broken, broken broken. Because the start point for policy sets the shape.

MORATORIUM before ANY dialogue of “New Direction.”

A Request in Good Faith

Several Advocates have made requests toward the release of the Calico Complex horses.

Gene Seidlitz of the Winnemucca district is the man with final authority.

RT’s blog has Craig Downers letter. Here is mine.

Write him… cc anyone you think might care.

Wild Horse and Burro Division
Bureau of Land Management
Winnemucca, NV

Dear Sir:

At this time I would like to officially request that the disposition of horses currently held at the BLM facility named the Broken Arrow in Fallon, NV be postponed until such time as the range data collected confirms inventory left within the complex. No data has been collected or supplied to the public to confirm populations within the Complex since the gather took place. As the gather was called off early due to insufficient numbers to complete the contract, any other action would be premature.

As the survey is to begin shortly within the Complex the delay would pose minimal inconvenience.

With the Tri-state Mega Complex still in the planning stages, with an announced mission of managing wild populations across the landscape, this seems like an opportunity to create public confidence in such a statement.

If data comes back from the two week survey that would support the return of horses to the range we also have a unique opportunity to further the mission stated. Some of the horses gathered this past winter had been gathered previously in California. These horses now have blood draws and observation time at this holding facility, as well as the information collected in California. Including these horses in the potential release would give an opportunity to further the database on migratory patterns within the Complex.

If the mission statement is actually to reflect practices within the complex this request is made in good faith and with reasonable expectation.

Thank you.
Laura Leigh
Project Manager Herd Watch

Yearlings in Holding

BLM Adoption Program?

As the adoption event of the Calico Complex horses draws closer I want to take a moment to begin discussing the concepts of bringing a wild horse into your life and what BLM adoptions/sale policy represents.

Last week Rob Pliskin sent me an article he wrote in honor of a horse named “Tobey.” Tobey was one of our wild ones that had a sad story that turned into a “happy ending” because humans stepped up to the plate at their own expense. Tobey was abused. He ended his life with hands that cared around him. He was one of the lucky ones.

Tobey (photo courtesy Denstar)

Kiva is the name of a BLM mustang that did not end his life with such fortune. Kiva was BLM branded. It was reported he worked as a camp horse with kids. I know he ended his life at the slaughter house. I tried to help Kiva. He had a home that I could have taken him to. A woman that would have tried her best to give him dignity and recognition of the service he gave after he left his life of freedom was hoping to give Kiva retirement. The packing plant owner needed to “make weight” on his shipment. Another so-called “unwanted horse” shipped to slaughter in a business that has more to do with supply and demand than any assertion that it is a “humane solution” toward solving a “problem.”

All that having been said what is “BLM adoption?”

Here is a link to the BLM page about adoptions.

If you can get past the reasons (spin) that these horses need to be adopted (removed from the range in such large numbers)  there is some good information there.

You must provide a minimum of 400 square feet (20 feet x 20 feet) for each animal adopted. Until fence broken, adult horses need to be maintained in an enclosure at least six feet high; burros in an enclosure at least 4.5 feet high; and horses less than 18 months old in an enclosure at least five feet high.

Other facility requirements are listed on the site.

It also lists the coding system for BLM freezebrands.

The BLM uses freezemarking to identify captured wild horses and burros, which is a permanent, unalterable, painless way to identify each horse or burro. The freezemark is applied on the left side of the animal’s neck and uses the International Alpha Angle System, which is a series of angles and alpha symbols. The mark contains the registering organization (U.S. Government), year of birth, and registration number.

There are many ways to obtain a mustang, not only from the BLM. There are several organizations that have given sanctuary to mustangs and adopt out horses that have already been “titled” and gentled to halter and handling. For some of you this may be a better option. A quick search on the Internet can pull up options, many you may find in your immediate area so you can visit and meet the horses available. By adopting from one of these places you free up a spot for another horse and help to keep these facilities in operation. And help keep a “safety net” in place for horses like Tobey and Kiva. BLM has no program that protects these horses after they are titled. That net is left to the private sector to maintain.

The BLM also has training programs at several Correctional facilities. More information can be found here. Many really wonderful horses have come out of these programs. ABC News clip from a program segment of the Outsiders here.

If you decide you want to bring in a horse and do all the training yourself this is a link to the adoption schedule for 2010.

You will not find the Calico adoption listed on the schedule. At this time the horses from the Calico round-up will be offered via Internet adoption in July. Further information will be forthcoming.

The horses currently at the Palomino Valley Facility in Nevada are being “moved” to make room for the horses coming in for the adoption event that will, at this time, include approximately 100 horses from the Calico gather.

Recently the horses at PVC were offered for adoption via the internet. I urge you to take a peek at the page before it gets pulled.

What I would like you to notice are the number of horses that had no bids. Many of these horses now have “one strike” in a “three strike” system that moves them closer to long term holding. It doesn’t matter that the event was held with virtually no publicity, photographs that have many of these horses looking afraid and dirty. The effort involved in placement has nothing to do with the individual life moving towards a life sentence.

Photo taken from BLM INet site

Sex: Filly Age: 1 Years   Height (in hands): 12.2

Necktag #: 6017   Date Captured: 04/01/09

Color: Brown   Captured: Born in a Holding Facility

#6017 – 1 yr old brown filly, born in a holding facility, NV, in Apr 09

She is available at PVC. Please note she was born in captivity. NO bids.

Photo taken from BLM INet site

Sex: Gelding Age: 1 Years   Height (in hands): 12.2

Necktag #: 6106   Date Captured: 01/01/09

Color: Bay   Captured: Born in a Holding Facility

#6106 – 1 yr old bay gelding, born in a holding facility, NV, in Jan 09.

He is available at PVC. Please note he was born in captivity. NO bids.

Photo taken from BLM INet site

Sex: Filly Age: 1 Years   Height (in hands): 12

Necktag #: 6149   Date Captured: 09/18/09

Color: Sorrel   Captured: Beatys Butte (OR)

#6149 – 1 yr old sorrel filly, captured Sep 09, from Beatys Butte HMA, Oregon.

She is at PVC. NO bids.

Photo taken from BLM INet site

Sex: Mare Age: 3 Years   Height (in hands): 13.3

Necktag #: 6953   Date Captured: 10/31/09

Color: Palomino   Captured: Tobin Range (NV)

#6953 – 3 yr old palomino mare, captured Oct 09, from Tobin Range HMA, Nevada.

She is available at PVC. NO bids.

Notes on the availability of the above horses from BLM site:

This horse is currently located in Palomino Valley, NV. For more information, call 775-475-2222 or email or

Pick up options (by appt): Palomino Valley, NV; Litchfield, CA; Burns, OR; Elm Creek, NE; Pauls Valley, OK; Ewing, IL.

Other pick up options: Marshall, TX (4/15-noon-2pm); Asheville, NC (4/16); Springfield, OH (4/16); Midland, MI (5/7); Marshfield, WI (5/21); Kenansville, NC (5/21).

Now I have a few questions for y’all:

While national attention focuses on the round-up that the BLM spent considerable taxpayer resources on, while the court case from IDA moves forward that the BLM is spending considerable taxpayer resources on, did any of you see a public campaign that reflects considerable resources mounted toward an adoption program? I’m not talking about a few hundred thousand spent on an “Extreme Mustang Makeover” event or a few thousand spent on a small adoption event… but anything that reflects a balanced program?

It almost seems as if the BLM relies on the public to not only attempt to create a safety net for these horses vulnerable to abuse and slaughter, but to do the majority of publicity toward adoption, like with the Pryor horses and Calico.

“We need to get AML down to a level that supports the adoption program.” Gene Seidlitz, Winnemucca district manager BLM.

Maybe getting your act together on resource management on the range, bringing the adoption program up to support current populations, creating a management strategy that stops destabilizing populations that increase reproduction, utilizing birth control in existing populations, etc. etc. etc. might possibly represent the concept “management” in a more productive fashion? Instead of keeping the “full steam ahead” approach on a management strategy that clearly DOES NOT WORK?

Second Cup Chatter…

Ok, had my second cup and cleared some work from my desk. Now for some more “chatter.”

Carol Abel wrote in a piece in the Examiner about a possible “Mega Complex.”

* Need to add a note that this is a dialogue ONLY about horses in that area, not a “solution discussion” about the wild horses in every area. (again rumor gets rough.)

AWHPC photo Sheldon 2006 *Does that helicopter look familiar? You bet, same contractor at Calico.

She writes: Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) California, Oregon and Nevada District Offices along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife are in the conceptual stages of creating a two million acre management complex for wild horses in Southeast Oregon, Northeast California, Northwest Nevada and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge also in Northeast Nevada.  The concept involves a management shift from individual Herd Management Areas ( HMA’s) and smaller HMA complexes to an aggregate of HMA’s called the Tri-State Complex.

She adds: BLM’s Winnemucca District Office manager, Gene Seidlitz says, ” We’re just in the initial discussion stages of developing that sort of strategy of treating all of those areas as one big complex based on what we’ve been finding recently which is a significant amount of movement between HMA’s and outside HMA’s into other areas.”

OK if you can get beyond the “duh factor” about “significant movement” and begin to dissect this concept it is either a good sign or a really bad one.

Let’s do “bad” first so I can end on a “good” note.

“Complex” in BLM speak has often meant combining HMA’s (Herd Management Area, that is a reduced # of acreage from the Herd Area designation in 1971) to reduce the AML (Appropriate Management Level, number of horses BLM claims the land can sustain).

Example of typical BLM math. If I have 5 jars and each jar contains 5 marbles and I put them in a container equal in mass to the five jars my new jar can hold 15 marbles! Aren’t you happy we had the foresight to do this for you!

We need to watch this part of the equation closely.

This will also need watching.

They may very well decide that “showcase” populations are all that is needed in the area. Just look at the “Salazoo” plan and the reiteration in articles mentioning eight showcase herds. Could someone please remind him how many HMA’s still have horses left? He hasn’t zeroed them down to eight… yet.

AWHPC photo Sheldon 2006

However on a positive note the horses at Sheldon NWR have historically been the “poster child” for disastrous gathers and horrific stories about horses once they leave the range. Even with all the BLM “issues,” for these horses (Sheldon) to be processed in an agreement with BLM it would be an improvement. Sheldon NWR has no infrastructure to process horses as they come off that range.

AWHPC Sheldon dead foal

I spoke with Gene Seidlitz about this “Mega Complex” yesterday. He was emphatic that this was a “discussion” and that nothing solid has been decided.

Gene and I have talked in the past about creating a dialogue for change. Now would be the time to actually have that discussion… not an Advisory Board meeting or public comment period… but to invite the advocates to the table and take a look at the tools in a different toolbox.

Gene seemed intrigued… we will see.