Palomino Valley Update

Stallions have been moved to the “Big Pen.”

The dynamic among the group of horses was much more relaxed than yesterday. We saw some “stud pile” socializing and witnessed no aggressive behavior today. A bit of space in a more secluded place in the facility provides a much safer environment for horses and also the handlers.

The "Big Pen"

In order to get to this larger pen you need to walk around the facility a bit. If the idea of keeping them (stallions) in the small pen was to facilitate visibility… walking visitors around to see these horses might just facilitate an adoption or two.

#6171… Sweet and actually pushy for attention.

Ready for a place to call home (Elyse Gardner)

True has been moved to a hospital pen that is off limits to public view.

The BLM staff vet finally paid him a visit.

I asked the assistant manager if he would use my camera and take a quick photo for me. He took my camera but I failed to show him how to use the zoom. He took several pics to let me see that the wound had been treated saying he got as close a pic as he could. He said the flaps of skin had been cut off to reduce proud flesh. The wound treated and bandaged. He told me that he personally had to stick his head into the chute and the blood that was visible at the fetlock was from the injury to the foreleg. I thanked him for getting the pictures for me.

True 5/25 (PVC staff)

I don’t know when they will put him back with his dad. This little guy was gathered, separated from family, then found dad, then was separated from dad and gelded, then put back with dad , then moved and injured and now separated again. Sweet True boy… you will be back with daddy soon.

Putting together more pieces of pieces… will update again tomorrow.

More about the foal “Sorro”

Going to add a quick post to give y’all some more info on the foal that died at the Broken Arrow last weekend.

Examiner Article Here

I’m out collecting range data… I will report on those findings soon.

“Sorro,” as Elyse named the baby, was overlooked at the Broken Arrow. We were told by Dean Bolstad that the vet is out daily.

A “triage” of sorts was done and three foals given to a wild horse group. The foals given to that group all came from the pen that the weekend observers raised a stink about the weeks prior.

Sorro was not in that pen.

Sorro was in the pen at the rear of the facility. The last pens you see as you go on the tour.

No determination of intervention had been made on that mare/foal pair, none. (After supposedly witnessing that foal for days). The vet came to treat that foal AFTER advocates left that day. By that time it was too late to do anything.

When asked if the vet noted any anomalies (after death) that could have led to the issue, ie. parrot mouth or  other dental or structural issue Dean replied… “I don’t think so, nothing in the memo.” But he was unsure if anything was even looked for.

I’m sure he will answer questions on Sunday.

Discussing the issues at the Broken Arrow is not distraction from the main issue. The main issue is competent management of our wild herds… top to bottom. Any agency or piece of the protocol that fails in that mandate should fall under scrutiny. Just because a horse leaves the range does not decrease the scrutiny needed by the advocate community toward the welfare of that life.

I see faulty practices top to bottom.

A massive gather was done in the harshest portion of the winter. Almost 2000 horses were then trucked to a facility that was still under construction. Hospital pens in January and February did not have wind breaks.

A reported 300 births now brings that total to over 2000 horses. Wooden barriers have been placed to keep the hay near the pens. A piece of wood that forms a 45 degree angle is inserted to keep the hay close to the pen after we were told the abscesses were due to pushing against the fence in order to get hay.

However the 45 degree angle piece that keep that hay close to the animals is missing from the pens that contain the animals with the greatest nutritional needs. No slanted pieces are in place for the mares nursing foals…. but the stallion pen that holds the horses the advocates have named…. has one.

So what exactly is motivating change over there? It is not a “thinking” toward the horses. It is a reactionary response to the “aggravation” of actually allowing the public an opportunity to react to what they see.

If they want to dismiss it by calling it “daily snivel” it shows the continued use of dismissive, derogatory dialogue.

Think back to grammar school… a bully locks a nerd in the locker. When the kid is found by the janitor crying the bully makes fun of him. But the bully is wrong.

Issues that deal with health of the range, viability of herds, numbers of lease holders, adherence to law…. and the life of an overlooked foal… ALL OF IT MATTERS.

Not only the continued smoke screen of “multiple use.” The BLM manages over 262 million acres of land. Horses currently occupy about 10% of that land…. by definition that IS multiple use.

I’m sure when we flood the faxes in DC they have a cute derogatory term for it, too.

And if that means we turn the “daily snivel” into a tidal wave…. good. Maybe then the concept of how much American’s care about EACH LIFE  that is born of a wild horse will finally sink in.

Another Foal dies

Euthanized at the Broken Arrow

I was able to visit the horses at the Broken Arrow again. Many of these horses I have not seen in months.

I wanted to write to you about the experience of seeing these horses again. I entered the facility and expressed a desire to write about the adoption event… and one of the first horses I saw was wearing a tag on his head. Almost a gesture representing a “hey… get me out of here.”

"Get me outta here!"

I had an amazing reunion with some of the younger horses… that have grown so much since I saw them last. One by one a small group came up to say hello and I even got my head nibbled….

"Hello" (Elyse Gardner)

I had an amazing moment seeing General, Commander and True… I will save that for another day.

But instead I get to share that yet another foal has died.

At the end of the tour we observed an emaciated foal. The little thing appeared dehydrated and weak. The mare was present and attentive. She appeared to have very little milk.

She was also one of the mares that had been treated with PZP and released in CA.

The baby was euthanized after we left.

Mare and foal, foal euthanized (Craig Downer)

I spoke with Dean Bolstad today and he was genuinely concerned that this foal was allowed to get to the state it was in before intervention. We discussed the many “reasons” that this could have happened but he was in agreement that it shouldn’t have happened at all.

However we now have another birth and death that will not appear in any record.

So I leave with more questions…

Is PZP associated with a higher incidence of spontaneous abortion? Is it associated with a higher mortality rate to foals?

We will be told “no.” But the truth is that there is no statistical record kept. Studies on “sanctuary” horses are not studies on wild bands. Wild bands that deal with compound stress issues such as those that occur during round up are NOT the same as a controlled group in sanctuary… so don’t even try to convince me.

We are still waiting for the basic numbers of age, sex, etc. on this gather. Apparently the guy that enters the data needed help…. and then the help needs to be checked…. and then….

We are promised the data this week.

The vet at the Broken Arrow has appeared to need an assistant or two since day one. Why are these missed issues still occurring? Are there too many horses at the facility? Too little staff? Too hot to walk the pens?

I am very tired and have much to accomplish in the next few days. I will post more tomorrow.

Sue Wallis horse-meat side dish

Stuffed with panic stricken propaganda

Sue Wallis appears to be in a bit of an uproar over the fact that the public refuses to swallow the bloody side dish she keeps trying to force down our throats. Her lies are being met with facts. Facts she can no longer hide under her 501 charitable organization that she claims promotes horse welfare, while it spills it’s trail of ill conceived contrivances to support an industry with a notorious past of horror.

The facts that speak of peddling a poisonous product to an unsuspecting public as it pollutes the environment and creates profit for foreign investments.

American’s want nothing to do with inhumanely slaughtering our horses. American’s are not a stupid group easily led by a sick vision of “wind and horses, cattle and horses, now we owe it to the horse to torture and kill it.” (The previous is a paraphrase of a poem Sue read at the Society for Range Management conference last fall. It was enough to make me leave the room).

Sue… leave our horses alone. Go back to Recluse and stay there.

You write that you need new voices because you have become an “easy target.” Sue… it is because what comes out of your mouth is already full of holes.

Read her latest mailing to her following” at your own risk.

WARNING: Reading Sue Wallis can cause vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, fits of rage and uncontrollable laughter.

gov football a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation registered in Wyoming – IRS 501(c)(6) status pending

gov football
an IRS 501(c)(3) educational & charitable organization

Contact Us


1902 Thomes, Suite 202B
Cheyenne, WY 82001

Sue Wallis
United Orgs of the Horse (UOH)
Executive Director
307 680 8515 cell
307 685 8248 ranch

Dave Duquette
United Horsemen’s Front (UHF)
Executive Director
541 571 7588

Krissa Thom
Operations Manager
307 689 8536

Yet another blast from the press. No matter where you live you are probably seeing this kind of thing every day. We are seeing a real upsurge right now in Wyoming because of our press releases about the Unified Equine Programs, but if you live in Missouri, or Tennesse, or Montana, or anywhere else where horse people are trying to find a good solution…you are no doubt seeing far too much. The press loves a controversy, and we are an easy, dramatic story. We need every one of you to stand up, speak out, and counter these attacks.

We cannot let this (or any public expression of misinformation, outright lies, and exaggerations) go unanswered. We must speak with many voices. I have become too much of an easy target, and while I’m happy to share talking points, etc., it will be much better and more effective if it comes from other voices. We really need mainstream agriculture and horse people who understand to tell your story. You all understand that if we lose this battle over the hearts and minds of the pet owning public, that our entire animal agriculture and horse based livelihoods are lost.

Please share with all of your contacts, your email lists, your agriculture organizations, your friends and your neighbors and ask them to take action. If you want to know more about the system that we are putting together in Wyoming, please visit our website at For those of you who haven’t visited for awhile, you will find a clean, new look that is very focused on exactly what we are trying to accomplish.

If you want to drive change, you have to get out of the back of the truck. That is what we are trying to do. Animal rights organizations like HSUS/PETA create problems, inflame problems, and make money off of problems…we solve problems, and create value out of good solutions.

Be brief, be polite, and make sure you stand on the moral high ground. Become an advocate for animal agriculture and for the rightful place of horses within that framework. Show your passion. Don’t let misinformation go unchecked. Stay on top of what is going on. Understand the other side, most of these people are true horse lovers who consider their horses as pets, and who are being emotionally manipulated by animal rights ideologues who have a much darker agenda. Pick out three or four points that you need to get across, and tell your story.

Here are some points:

1.       We, the horse owners and people who make all or part of our living with horses, are the people who care. We are the people who clean the stalls, pay the feed bills every day, are responsible for the care of our animals, and make the hard decisions when necessary.

2.       There are fates far, far worse than slaughter. A quick, painless death in a slaughter plant is far preferable to a slow and agonizing death of starvation. Nature is cruel. Death in the wild is often brutal, prolonged, and horrific. Imagine being eaten while still alive as is the fate of many horses turned out to fend for themselves.

3.       Without the option of slaughter, and using the meat to feed hungry animals or hungry people, those who can no longer afford to keep a horse, and cannot sell it, have literally no option…you can’t bury a 1,000 lb horse in the back yard like a cat or a dog.

4.       Some Americans always have and always will eat horse meat. It is what filled the bellies of our soldiers who won World War II, and kept the families here at home fed throughout the 1940s when there was a shortage of all other meat. You could find it on the menu at the dining room at Harvard until the late 1980s, you can still find horse sausage in Scandinavian butcher shops in the upper mid-West. We have been contacted by gourmet chefs, and local food aficionados who want access to a high quality meat, that is very nutritious (50% higher in protein, 40% lower in fat than beef), from well cared for animals that have no disease concerns like mad cow. You can find horse meat on the menus of our closest neighbors in French Canada, and Mexico, and many people have taken the opportunity to enjoy it while traveling abroad. 72% of world cultures consider it just another protein source. China consumes the most, followed by Mexico, then Italy, Belgium, France, all the Scandinavian countries, Russia, Japan, Korea, Tonga, Mongolia, Canada-and since the U.S. is full of people from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa, there are quite a few people who would welcome the availability of a good wholesome meat at an affordable price. While considered a gourmet dish in some parts of Europe where the best cuts are expensive, in by far the majority of markets around the world, with Iceland being a perfect example, horse meat is affordable and about half the price of beef.

5.       All animals, including horses, take nature that we cannot use and turn it into nature that we can use. Try drinking the water that a pig drinks, or surviving on the food that a cow or horse eats.

6.       It is our core belief that people have a right to use animals, and a responsibility to do so humanely. We subscribe to the same moral and ethical foundation as our Native American friends, that all animals are sacred and must be harvested with dignity and gratitude, but that the most horrific crime is to waste their sacrifice. Contrast that viewpoint with the total waste of at least 200,000 horse carcasses per year which, if euthanized with lethal drugs, become no more than a colossal disposal problem with toxic carcasses that cannot even be buried because of fear that it will leach into groundwater.

7.       One billion people on the planet today rarely get enough to eat, and another billion do not get enough protein and nutrients for health. Ten million children a year die of starvation. From a moral standpoint, can we afford to put any viable protein source off limits?

8.       The system being proposed in Wyoming will guarantee every horse a good life, and where appropriate, guarantee them a decent and humane death. Once dead, what happens to the carcass is no longer an issue of animal welfare.

9.       Under the current situation, the only horses that have any value whatsoever are those that are big enough, healthy enough, and close enough to a border to be worth the trucking to Canada and Mexico where they are slaughtered under systems and circumstances we cannot control or regulate. We feel it is far better to do this under US regulation, and in situations where we can monitor it.

10.   The system being proposed in Wyoming is being designed by world renowned scientist, Dr. Temple Grandin, who has transformed the beef and pork slaughter industry from a humane standpoint. We will do it right, under regulated and inspected circumstances, and it will be continuously monitored by a third-party video audit system to ensure that no horse is abused and that all guidelines for the correct and proper handling of horses are always complied with. This will be an open and transparent process that anyone who chooses to do so, can see exactly what we are doing.

11.   Because of the closure of the US slaughter plants in the US in 2007 by state action in Illinois and Texas, the entire horse industry from top to bottom has been deeply affected. What was a 1.2 Billion dollar industry supporting 460,000 full-time direct jobs, and another 1.6 million indirect jobs has been cut in half. There has been a loss of a minimum of 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, and horses that were worth $1,000 are now worthless, horses once worth $2,500 are lucky to bring $750, horses that would have sold for $85,000 to $100,000 are now being liquidated for $10,000 each. These hard, cold facts all have a very human face in livelihoods lost, in families no longer able to raise their children in a horseback culture, in diminished tax bases for communities.

12.   The animal rights radical agenda (NOT to be confused with legitimate and responsible animal welfare proponents, which we all are) offers no solution except pushing for what is essentially a welfare entitlement program for animals-Medicaid and food stamps for horses so that every old, dangerous, unsound, unusable horse is maintained at public expense for the rest of their 25 to 30 year average life span. What they propose will create a mechanism to shovel taxpayer dollars directly into the pockets of animal rights organizations (HSUS/PETA) so they can continue to pay six figure salaries and put more of their budget into pension plans than to actually help any animals. Last year HSUS spent less than 1/2 of 1% of their almost $100 Million dollar budget on direct animal care. See

13.   Remember, animal consumption is socially legitimate. Only 2% of the population are true vegetarians, another maybe 5% think they ought to be but don’t manage to do it…that is only 7% of the population at most. If we allow the animal rights argument to prevail, than there really is no difference between the heinous and awful crime of killing a horse to use for animal food, (as will be the main use of horses harvested in Wyoming), or human food…and the heinous crime of killing a cow, a pig, or a chicken. The ultimate goal of animal rightists, which is a very, very radical and idealogic agenda, is to end all human use of animals and to eliminate all domestic animals which is to many of us a gross perversion of the moral and ethical underpinnings of our society, not to mention a dangerous, unhealthy, and unnatural way of being.

14.   Those who oppose the eating of horses have never been hungry. Hungry people don’t care where their meat comes from, they just want to survive.

15.  Claims that horse meat is full of drugs that cannot be detected is nothing more than a red herring. The same kind of controls, safe guards, and testing protocols used to ensure that our beef, pork, and chicken is safe and residue free can be applied to horse meat…if it is produced and processed here in the U.S. where we have the ability to regulate and inspect it.

So, get out your pens, rev up your computers, respond, respond, respond. We must not rest. We must remain ever vigilant. Our culture and our way of being depends on it.

Sue Wallis

New Article (Gelding)

I have a new article on my Examiner page and a new video to illustrate the gelding process at the Broken Arrow.

Give me a “click” I need the gas $ to keep working. (Examiner works off clicks)

Sue Wallis anounces Feedlot

Got this from “United Organizations of the Horse.” Looks like dear Sue is preparing to open a feedlot under her 501 and she’s found a way to possibly get governmental funding under the guise of “horse welfare” to do it.

Almost every feedlot owner will sell horses to the public. They can get more money from you than they can in Canada and Mexico. Some feedlot owners actually “hook-up” with rescues and prey upon those of us that recognize the last chance a horse has to escape the ride to hell.

So Sue’s amazing plan is no “original” thinking to “solve a problem.” Her plan already exists in our world but without the sick sales pitch in Sue’s proposal.

US horse slaughter 2005 (Animals' Angels)

And it is a “ride to hell.” Any doubters out there I urge to show up unannounced at a facility and act like a pro-slaughter person either looking for meat or to turn over horses. You will NEVER support equine slaughter, ever. Even if you have no issue with the slaughter of  food animals equine slaughter (horses are NOT a regulated agricultural product in the US) will give you a knot in your gut that will never fade.

See GAIA video here. (Warning: GRAPHIC)

Animals Angels horse slaughter investigations here.

So Sue Wallis has figured out how to spin into a convoluted paper whirlwind to deceive the public and legislators and open a feedlot in the name of welfare.

It’s beyond “sick.”

Here is her press release.


April 24, 2010


Sue Wallis

307 680 8515 cell

307 685 8248 ranch

Unified Equine Programs Implementation Progresses

A suite of programs to facilitate the rescue of horses with any potential, rejuvenation of horses in poor condition, and humane slaughter for those past their useful lives, unsound, or dangerous will be starting up in the near future.

The United Organizations of the Horse and the United Horsemen’s Front are working with Wyoming state agencies, college and university equine studies programs, professional horse trainers, veterinarians, meat industry experts, potential customers, and with the guidance of Dr. Temple Grandin and her team at Grandin Livestock Systems to design and implement a humane system of horse slaughter including constant third party video auditing to ensure humane handling.

CHEYENNE – The United Organizations of the Horse held an Implementation Summit  on April 2nd that pulled together experts necessary to launch a comprehensive solution to help the horse industry start to recover, and to stop the suffering of horses. (see details in previous press release below). Now they are moving quickly to begin operations.

The organization is negotiating to take over ownership of the Cheyenne Stockyards facility which currently belongs to the Wyoming Livestock Board. This location, which was the original stockyards used to load livestock onto train cars, will be the intake and rejuvenation facility where donated horses, and abandoned horses in poor condition are provided veterinary supervised care, feeding, and supplementation to bring them back to health.

The Stockyards will also be the place where horses are individually evaluated to determine if they have any potential through extra training, or are suitable to be re-donated to youth programs, therapeutic riding programs, or similar situations. Horses with potential will be placed in appropriate training/marketing programs. The Equine Program at Laramie County Community College will be collaborating with the Unified Equine Programs, as will independent professional horse trainers, and other college programs.

Pregnant mares, mares with foals, weanlings, yearlings, and unsound horses that must be held for drug withdrawal periods before slaughter will be housed in Cheyenne until transportation to pasture is arranged.

Horses that are past their useful life, are unsound, or dangerous will be humanely slaughtered utilizing systems and procedures designed by Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University. Several existing meat processing facilities elsewhere in Wyoming are being evaluated for suitability and necessary retrofit to ensure the humane handling of horses.

“What we will be able to do,” says Dave Duquette, President & CEO of the educational and charitable nonprofit, the United Horsemen’s Front, that these programs will be housed under, “is guarantee every horse a good life. And, when appropriate, we will guarantee them a decent humane death that is quick and painless.”

Unified Equine Products – meat, hide, hair, byproducts – will be marketed through every available legal market. Under Wyoming state inspection the meat can be sold in Wyoming for human use, but cannot currently be shipped across state lines. Horse meat for pet food and zoo diets can and will be marketed nationwide under existing law.

“The horse industry nation-wide has taken a brutal hit since the closure of the U.S. horse slaughter plants,” says Ted Pierce, a Wyoming rancher, “what we are doing is coming up with a common sense solution working with veterinarians, equine professionals, and experts to the glut of unusable horses whose owners have no options.”

The horse industry was a 1.2 Billion dollar industry that employed 460,000 people working full-time with horses every day, and another 1.6 Million who worked in indirect occupations. Since 2007 when the horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. were closed, that industry has been downsized and is being liquidated to the point that it will be cut in half, a 50% downsizing, within very short order.

“At a time when many Wyoming towns and communities are experiencing 12-15% unemployment,” says Wyoming state legislator and leader of the United Organizations of the Horse, Sue Wallis, “our Unified Equine Programs will be creating new jobs and the promise of prosperity for those who make all or part of their living with horses.”

Those who are interested in helping with the implementation of the Unified Equine Programs, or donating to the cause are encouraged to contact the Cheyenne office or visiting the website.

Investment opportunities are also available to those who agree with the vision of the Unified Equine Programs.

For details please visit the website at


In Memory of Mary Dann

Born January 1, 1923

Died April 22, 2005

I was given a copy of American Outrage at Christmas time by Lacy J. Dalton. I was told “You understand but  you need to watch this as part of your understanding.”

I don’t watch much television and it’s hard for me to sit still long enough to watch a film… so the DVD went into the boxes I carry in my pick up.

I’m getting ready to hit the road again and decided I would sit still for a minute and watch the film.

This film is an amazing testimonial to the strength and spirit of the Dann sisters. Embroiled in a battle with the US government over their right to use their own land for so many years and in such an outrageous fashion, yet it never removed their humanity.

Many of us know the story. But Lacy was right… now I know the story.

If you haven’t seen the video you can order a copy at the WIN website. WIN is a non profit devoted to the “freedom, safety and well being of the WIN Western Shoshone Indian Horse Herd. You can pick up copies of Lacy’s CD in the shop at the site, too. All sales go to care for the horses.

Jean Marie of WIN is the source of my camera that covered the Calico round up. Without it I would not have captured the images I did of Little Hope, the foal whose feet sloughed off.

Considering today’s date I thought sharing this with you was important.


Many of you have written to me asking about General.

I have not written another chapter in “General’s Saga” and I apologize. Many tasks at hand but it is a story I want to share.

I am going to be a bit self-indulgent in responding to inquiries about General and just “talk.”

I love that old horse. From the moment I saw him that day he was captured he spoke to my soul. He has a presence that others have observed since that  day.

Elyse Gardner calls me every time she leaves the Broken Arrow to let me know that she has seen him. Elyse is rather fond of him, too. She gave me this video to share (General is at the beginning and the guy with the star next to him is Commander. True is at the end of the video). She has more footage of General from last Sunday and will send when she can.

I left the voices in. This piece lets you feel what it’s like to walk the facility. So many horses to view and so many questions to ask and never enough time.

General looks good, so does Commander. General slipped his tag off. I know his number and referenced some of the horses by number in correspondence with John Neill at the facility. John responded by using General’s name and said “we know you are watching out for him.” John told me that currently there are no plans to geld any of the older horses.

True is not with dad and seems a bit lost right now. He has a very sweet disposition and really seemed to need his father. Every picture I saw had him right behind dad. I wish I could put him back with the only family he had left…

True has not been gelded yet and I have a call in to see how they are doing.

I will be able to go see them again very soon. I get a lump in my throat when I think about it.

In my heart I just wish I could see General back out on the range…

20 years of survival as a wild stallion… and now?

Thanks for letting me talk about him….

Action Needed

In Defense of Animals ACTION page here.

Accused to Stand Trial for Wild Horse Shootings in Nevada

Wild Horse Advocates will bear witness at court.

Reno, NV (April 21, 2010)—The Cloud Foundation and other wild horse advocates are coming to Reno on April 27, 2010 at 3 p.m. to witness Todd Davis and Joshua Keathly make their first court appearance for allegedly harassing and killing five federally protected American wild mustangs—shot on or about November 28, 2009 in Washoe county, Nevada. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. McQuaid, Jr. will preside in Federal District Court, 400 S. Virginia Street, Reno.
Wild horse advocates find it unsettling to learn that Davis & Keathley are only charged with one count of causing the death of five wild horses for each man. Advocates are calling for charges of five counts, one for each horse as is standard with murder cases. If convicted of one count, each man will face a maximum of one year in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine.
“If convicted, the maximum penalties need to be applied to send a clear message—you kill America’s federally protected mustangs and you will pay the price,” states Emmy-Award winning filmmaker and Director of The Cloud Foundation, Ginger Kathrens.
The public is encouraged to attend the trial on behalf of the murdered horses. The Cloud Foundation joins the public in calling for increased charges in the violent deaths of five American mustangs on public land who are protected by the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.
# # #
Links of interest:

US Department of Justice Press Release
Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971
Wild Horses: Management or Stampede to Extinction? Reno Gazette Sunday Special by Frank X. Mullen.
News Story on Calico, rising death toll & skewed numbers from George Knapp (KLAS- Las Vegas):
BLM Daily Reports from Calico Roundup/Fallon Holding:
Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.  America’s Disappearing Wild Horses – A History
Frequently Asked Questions on Wild Horses

Stampede to Oblivion: An Investigate Report from Las Vegas Now (

Photos, video and interviews available from:
The Cloud Foundation

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?

New I-Team Report

I-Team: Nearly 80 Wild Horses Dead After Roundup

LAS VEGAS — The Calico Hills wild horse roundup has been characterized by the Bureau of Land Management as a huge success. But wild horse advocates say it was a disaster, and one that grows worse every day.

The roundup ended months ago, but the horses are still paying the price — many with their lives — according to animal activists.

The case for the Calico wild horse roundup continues to deteriorate months after the government spent nearly $2 million to capture every mustang it could find in the rugged and remote terrain adjacent to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

From the beginning, the BLM claimed the gather was for the good of the horses and the good of the range, but it doesn’t appear either of those justifications were on the up and up.

First, there weren’t nearly as many mustangs on the range as BLM predicted. The roundup of about 1,900 mustangs fell short of the target by about 700. Second, the vast majority of the horses gathered were in good shape — not starving or emaciated.

BLM manager Gene Seidlitz said his agency was trying to avert a disaster down the road when food might be more scarce. As it turned out, the roundup itself was a disaster for the herds.

George Knapp’s I-Team Full Report on 8 News Now

Links to Award Winning reports by George Knapp can be found under “Ways to Help” in the menu at the top of this page. It is an honor to have my footage used in these reports.

If anyone finds an embed code on Knapp’s video send it on.  : )

Calico Adoption Update

Note: Photos included in this piece were taken by Elyse Gardner. Elyse called me as soon as  she left the facility on Sunday to let me know General was doing well. His son True has been moved in with the younger horses and seems a bit “lost.”

True "on his own"

The horses gathered from the Calico Complex by the Bureau of Land Management this winter, held at the Broken Arrow facility in Fallon, will not be going to Palomino Valley for an adoption event in May as previously planned. The horses will be offered in an Internet adoption event in July.

Beautiful Girl

John Neill manager at the Broken Arrow facility has stated:

Based on National interest with Calico horses, we have decided not to host an adoption event at Palomino Valley in mid May. Instead we will be posting approx. 100 Calico’s on an internet adoption event to be held in July.

The 100 animals will be transported to Palomino Valley in early June for public viewing if persons so wish. However, adoptions /sales will take place on the I-NET adoption in July. Pictures of the animals selected for this
event will eventually be posted on our web site. This likely will not
happen until late May or early June.

Sweet Eye!

John Neill will keep me informed as the event draws closer so information can be made available to the public.

A personal note: John knows I am following specific horses. I asked about the horses by their tag numbers. John responded with General’s name.

General! Thank you, Elyse!

Lately I have focused on the Wild Horse issues facing our country. Yet there is a lot of news on the slaughter front. I want to take a minute to “catch up” on some of these issues.

Recently there has been extensive video footage released through The Canadian Horse Defense Coalition. The video can be viewed here. WARNING: Footage has been dubbed “Chambers of Carnage.” It is extremely graphic and not intended for younger viewers.

Click to go to wesite

We have been waiting for a response from United Organizations of the Horse to the new investigation and information coming in from the European Union about drug regulations in horse meat.

This organization promotes itself as a 501 for horse welfare. It is a front for fund raising for a horse slaughter lobby effort by Sue Wallis. Sue Wallis is a Representative of the state of Wyoming. Often times questions of illegal practices have come into play regarding her “.org.”

I have watched Sue speak at the Society for Range Management conference last fall in Reno. She read her poetry about horses and cows and the wind. Then she proceeded t “educate” the audience to the history of this amazing being that has gone to war and plowed our field… and then emotionally exclaimed that we owe it to the “relationship” to eat them.

I left the room about 10 minutes into her speech. I’ve heard her before. Let someone else try to sort through the convoluted workings of that mind, there would be nothing she says backed up by fact.

Sue will tell you about abandoned horses because horse slaughter plants have closed in the US. The truth is that horses are simply shipped over our borders and horse slaughter is alive and well. The only change in numbers of horses going to slaughter comes from the “supply and demand” flux of any business.

Sue will tell you that horse slaughter is “humane euthanasia” for horses old and no longer useful. First I have been to the feedlots and packing plants. I have spoken to the kill buyers. The horses that go to slaughter are the ones in the best shape the buyer can find; young, fat and healthy. It is a food industry. Second if you have the stomach for it watch the videos in the link above, this is in no way humane. The nature and structure of the horse make it impossible to slaughter in any fashion that even resembles a “humane” act.

The most outrageous claim is that horse meat is healthy. US horses are NOT an agricultural product and as such there are no regulations that track drugs routinely given to horses. Drugs that are very dangerous and proven to cause health issue, serious health issues, for humans. Basically it would be like exporting lead based painted toys to children in another country. It’s wrong.

(And just to give you an idea of the kind of “folks” that hand in her camp… Arlin of the Yakama in Wa was at the same conference. He stated that wild horses are responsible for the decreased Salmon population as he attempted to convince the audience that a horse slaughter plant (and funding) was needed by “his” people).

Here is an excerpt from Sue’s latest press release.

It is not on her website but I know folks that get these in their e-mails. I guess this is the best they can come up with to answer the new European Union regulations about drugs in horse meat. We get to “trust” the people that want to dispose of the by-products of over breeding and lack of responsible equine management.

The Equine Assurance Program is a horse meat quality and equine well-being certification program. U.S. horse owners have a long tradition of social responsibility. In order to address animal welfare concerns, as well as ensure the highest quality product from slaughter horses, the United Organizations of the Horse has developed the Equine Assurance Program as an industry driven initiative modeled after other food animal systems. The Program includes the development of certification programs to ensure that U.S. horse products are of the highest quality and safe, and that the horses processed for food are cared for in a way that ensures their well-being.

On her website she has posted a YouTube about wild horses and why we need to gather and eat them. Note the dates in the Youtube (if you can stop banging your head on your desk when you hear the music), 1993/94 is what the video claims yet never identifies the area. If you are new to wild horse issues you may think this was all over the country. These photos are constantly used; one area, grossly mis-managed, and over 15 years old.

Her .org website even has a “boycott” list. Names like Troy Aikman and Emmit Smith are on the list for supporting Madeleine Pickens sanctuary option for horses stuck in long term warehousing on the back of the US tax payer.

She needs to change the name of her organization to represent what they truly are; “”

Interesting article from a Mid-West writer about Sue’s .org

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.

Morning Coffee Chatter

It appears that there is some rather interesting “chatter” in the wild horse world today. I’ll start with this one and post again in a bit…

Maureen Harmonay wrote in an article for the Examiner about the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association reports posted on the BLM webpage about previously undisclosed deaths of Calico horses.

I wont comment to the specifics she addresses, but urge you to read the article. Instead I want to point out a bit more “food for thought” in the reports.

In the report dated Feb. 13, Dr. Davis (ASVMA), writes: “We did not see any indication of infectious disease.” He then goes on to note a horse in quarantine with an abscess that was suspected to have strangles.

comment: A horse with an abscess was in quarantine on Feb 13. A single horse with “no other signs of infectious disease” in the population. I thought we were being told horses had signs of pigeon fever and abscesses since they came in off the range?

He comments about the foals with sloughed hooves. He notes that only “verbal” information was available. He then notes that the foal was “emaciated,” and the metabolic issues associated with re-feeding may contribute to the condition causing eventual hoof slough.

comment: I will send Dr. Davis pictures of the “emaciated” foal with hoof slough.Then he will have visual confirmation that the colt was not emaciated. Perhaps he will delete the justification spin he hands the BLM in this report?

Calico Foal

Foal euthanized at Fallon Facilty

He also notes the average body score is 5 or above with a few at 3 or less. 12 horses in the hospital pen were of a 2 or less (mares).

comment: I was there at the end of January and saw a handful of 2′s, not in the hospital pens. The hospital pens held horses suffering from some form of lameness or another. I have photographs, no “2′s.”

However I agree the vast majority of horses were a 5 or better. The high percentage of older horses also refutes a claim of an unhealthy range.

I have too many comments about the reasons horses can drop weight quickly and if you read his report you will see the significant number of issues he left out.

He also notes that Dr. Sanford mentioned pregnant mares, gathered in winter, are usually in the poorest condition.

comment: So why did you do such a large gather during winter against the advice of a federal judge?

“Multiple Use” a story

I’m posting a small fiction story today. I have a few pieces that describe the principals of Reserve Design that I will be posting over the course of the week. Often times advocates get labeled as “emotional hippies that just want the horses free to over run the range.”

DC Rally (photo by Mom and Tom)

Reserve Design is a management strategy…. but it can be a bit dry. So I took a very small piece of how I see it working and created a fiction story this morning. I hope you enjoy it.


The bus from the juvenile corrections center pulled up outside the “HOPE” center near the Ely district Herd Management area in Nevada. HOPE was an acronym for “Healing of People and Equines.”

“This is stupid,” he thought “even the name is stupid. Why wasn’t it HOPAE? Because it doesn’t sell. People only do something if they can profit.”

Outside the screened window he could see the rolling mountains. He could see corrals and the buildings marked Dorm and Center.

A young woman with a blond ponytail bounced onto the bus. She was wearing a light blue t-shirt with the HOPE logo on it. Over her arm was a stack of yellow ones she began to pass out to the occupants of the bus.

“My name is Ashley,” she said with enthusiasm, “I’m here to tell you that you will never be the same after today. So say good-bye to what you think you are as you leave the bus!”

“Gag,” he muttered ” you bet I’ll never be so bored again.”

Someone like “Ashley” could never understand someone like him. His life had been filled with abuse. His father was an alcoholic and his mom was addicted to drugs. In and out of foster care he declared his independence that day he stole a rich man’s car and went for a joy ride.

Ashley led the group of 10 young people off the bus. He figured they’d head into the center, have a lecture and then meet the “shrinks.” Instead she led them toward the corrals.

They walked past a plaque that read “HOPE, built in 2013. Named after wild horse advocate Hope Ryden and new legislation that mandated multiple use to benefit the public.

They were taken to the stable and given chores.

“Now this makes sense!” he thought, “free labor.”

He couldn’t believe they had left him alone! He shirked his chores all afternoon. He scouted the area for anything of value he could smuggle under his shirt and back onto the bus.

Near sundown he could hear voices moving in his direction. So he ducked through a small door in the barn.

As his eyes adjusted to the dark he realized he was staring into a set of dark piercing eyes. Those eyes were attached to a jet black horse! The horse was much larger than he was and he had its complete attention.

Big Mare at Broken Arrow

His heart raced. His feet froze.

The horse made a deep nickering sound and took a step toward him. He thought he might pee himself.

“Oh great,” escaped his lips.

The muzzle came forward and he braced himself to be bitten. The velvet softness of the muzzle brushed his hand. That muzzle proceeded to make its way to each of his pockets and then messed his shirt. Cautiously he put his hand out to touch the horses neck. It was heavily muscled but soft. The big black horse moved into his hand and reflexively he scratched. The horses lips began to move.

He began to cry.

“Stupid,” he said.

“Shayla.” A soft voice behind him replied. It was Ashley. “Her name is Shayla, not stupid.”

The boy tried to hide his tears.

“You can’t hide anything from her,” Ashley said “and she wont hide anything from you.”

Ashley stepped forward and offered Shayla a carrot. She gently opened the boys hand and place several pieces into it. She showed him how to hold his hand to offer them to Shayla.

The big black mare munched happily. Then she made that deep sound again.

That sound brought tears again to the boys eyes.

Ashley brought her hand to his shoulder.

Yearlings at the Holding Area

She told him Shayla’s story. How Shayla had been born in the wild, taken from her family at one year old before the new management. How Shayla had gone from owner to owner that couldn’t take the time to listen to her. A graduate of the center discovered Shayla two years ago and brought her to the center.

Ashley stated, “She’s one of our best therapists.”

The boy laughed.

“I graduated a year ago from this center,” Ashley said ” you and I and Shayla have a lot in common.”

His tears came in earnest now.

“You didn’t believe me when I said you wouldn’t be the same” she laughed.

Normally that would have made him angry but he laughed, too. He felt lighter like he had shed several pounds. It was as if some internal dump truck had finally showed up and taken the trash piled at his curb.

“It’s dinner time,” she said.

He replied, “I don’t want to leave here.”

“Not for you,” she smiled “for them.”

He eagerly followed her out of the darkness into the fading sunlight.

Calico Complex

DC Rally (post 1)

So much happened in DC. meetings with Representatives, the protest, great media coverage.

But the piece that stands out the most in my mind are the advocates themselves. I have several stories I want to share with you. I will post them this afternoon.

But for now I am going to share stories written by others and a link to the wonderful coverage by CNN.

Jane Velez-Mitchell report on CNN here.

RT’s great story about the DC rally

Cloud Foundation Update

I spoke with Vicki Tobin just a minute ago and she is working on an update for Equine Welfare Alliance.

EWA photo Elyse Gardner

Here is a picture from the rally of some of the EWA folks Elyse Gardner sent to me last night. Left to right… RT Fitch, Craig Downer, John Holland, Vicki Tobin and myself… and the “support” troops standing behind us.

It says so much that when we as a nation need to make a “statement,” we send in the mounted patrol.

Need to add this release from Sen. Landrieu:

WASHINGTON. (Laudrieu) – U.S. Senator Mary , D-La., today joined the call for a better federal plan for the treatment of wild horses and an end to the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) unnecessary wild horse roundups.

The international March for Mustangs, a public protest against the inhumane treatment of wild horses, took place today in four cities across the globe: London, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Led by celebrity activist, Wendie Malick, in Washington, D.C., the protest comes in reaction to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s attempts to persuade Congress to provide more than $42 million to move animals from the West to the East.

“I have repeatedly called for an end to these inhumane roundups until a more sufficient plan is set in place by the BLM,”said Sen. Landrieu. “There is a civilized way that we can handle these horses, by providing for their adoption or their relocation to a sanctuary. But the cruel and horrific roundups, such as the recent Calico roundup that resulted in painful injury and even death for some horses, cannot continue.”

Last year, Sen. Landrieu fought to protect wild horses by championing language in the Interior Appropriations Bill to prohibit the BLM from using taxpayer dollars for the destruction of healthy, unadopted horses and burros. At Sen. Landrieu’s urging, the Senate directed BLM to develop a new comprehensive long-term plan for wild horse populations by September 30, 2010.

Sen. Landrieu also supported language that encouraged all federal agencies that use horses to acquire a wild horse from the BLM prior to seeking another supplier. In addition, Sen. Landrieu supports the BLM developing an expedited process for providing wild horses to local and state police forces.

As a result of the recent 40-day BLM Calico Roundup, at least 79 mustangs have died and nearly 40 females have aborted their late term foals in the Fallon, Nevada holding pens—where the death toll rises daily as a result of the winter roundup.

Currently, the wild horse and burro population in the United States is about 69,000, and there are 36,000 horses in short-term and long-term BLM holding facilities.

More Spin than Maytag

Wanted to add this before Horseback moves on to the next story.

If you read the other three… here’s the next soap opera installment to “How the Horse Turns…” Or “Days of the BLM.”

The Big Story

BLM Spins as More Horses Die

Photo by Laura Leigh

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Washington spokesmen, Tom Gorey, is one of the best in the business. He’s able, articulate, savvy, and to use a term often bandied about in the nation’s capital, a master of the fine art of spin. On Thursday, he spun a web worthy of the fictional Charlotte herself.

For the better part of a week, Horseback Magazine has featured a series of articles on the missing credentials of two veterinarians attending the captured horses of Nevada’s Calico Mountains. Thus far, at least 115 have died, including miscarried foals. Horseback has repeatedly asked for the credentials of the vets who have set such a dubious record of death on their watch. Gorey finally complied, albeit in a round about way, dodging five questions drafted for the magazine by a physician and academic veterinarian and submitted to the agency.

The vets in the spotlight are Dr. Richard Sanford, the vet in charge of the BLM holding and processing facility at Fallon, and Dr. Albert Kane who is not licensed in the State of Nevada.

“Between them, Drs. Kane and Sanford have more than 40 years of experience
as equine veterinarians and over 30 years of that includes working with
wild horses,” Gorey wrote. “They each have all the qualifications, credentials, and
licenses that are appropriate or required by law. The BLM is fortunate to
have such experienced and dedicated professionals working in the agency’s
Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

But you didn’t answer the questions, Tom. Medical and veterinary professionals have questioned the sudden dietary switch from sparse desert grasses to rich hay in captivity as a likely cause of the deaths. In fact, the BLM’s published reports frequently mention the gastrointestinal condition, colic.

“The diagnosis for most of the Calico mares that have died at the Indian
Lakes facility is hyperlipemia characteristic of metabolic failure
attributed to re-feeding syndrome, he continued. “This condition is a result of the very
thin body condition of some of the horses because of starvation conditions
on the range, in combination with the late-pregnancy status of some mares.”

Horses in hundreds, if not thousands of photos shot by activists show fat healthy horses, not animals on the brink of starvation as BLM continues to spin.

The pregnant mares Gorey mentioned were stampeded for miles in the dead of winter by a roaring helicopter hired from a government contractor. Two foals were put down after painfully shedding their hooves after the stampede, which Sanford earlier acknowledged was caused by the chase.

“What Tom is conveniently neglecting to recognize is how the actual stress of the helicopter roundups and subsequent confinement and change in diet, placement in truly overcrowded conditions, etc. pushed these wild horses over the edge,” said Craig Downer, a famed wild horse expert on assignment for Horseback Magazine.

“Diagnostic and other information on the horses has been posted to the BLM’s
Website at,” Gorey continued. “The BLM will continue to post updates on its Website under the Calico gather links as the horses continue to improve and
are readied for adoption.”

Never a Straight Answer

Here is a follow up article from Horseback Magazine to yesterdays story.

The Big Story

The BLM Punts

Photo by Laura Leigh (photographer note: Processing horses at Palomino Valley center. “T” is for the Tobin herd. Also note they don’t call it the “squeeze” for no reason).

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management has punted on whether it employed a veterinarian on its Calico roundup who is not licensed in the State of Nevada. Responding to a query by Horseback Magazine regarding the credentials of Dr. Albert Kane, the BLM referred questions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal, and Plant Health Inspection Service.

This far, 113 horses and miscarried foals have died after a helicopter driven stampede in Northern Nevada. The bureau’s fiercest critic in Congress, Sen. Mary Landrieu told Horseback late Tuesday that she will sit on her hands regarding the deaths.

“Sen. Landrieu will not call for an immediate hearing, but the Senator continues to be engaged on the matter and is working to find a permanent humane solution,” Landrieu spokesman Aaron Saunders said.

Late last year Landrieu called for BLM to clean up its act within a year or risk losing management responsibilities over wild horses and burros on its 260 million mostly vacant acres of federal land in the West.

The BLM responded in detail Tuesday to Horseback’s story on Kane’s lack of credentials, reveling that about another vet working the Fallon Nevada holding facility is in good standing with the state, but only mentioning Kane in a brief punt to another government spokesperson in another federal agency. The BLM cited a gap in the Nevada’s veterinary practices act which would permit an unlicensed vet to work.

Other vets and physicians find the gap in credentials troubling.

“Unlicensed vets cannot perform veterinary duties in NY (no exams no nothing and you do get fined here),” said a vet who has tangled with Kane in the past but declined to be identified.

A physician active in the movement to stop the BLM wild horse roundups was even more harsh in her criticism.

“If Kane is still there, it is possible he is helping with the “disposition” of the horses.  This is really criminal” the doctor said. “The BLM needs to hire vets who are expert at dealing with metabolic syndrome.  I bet they are colicky.  This is a travesty of the first order.  These people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a helicopter contract but then they skimp on proper care?  It is a very chilling thought that the vet used by the BLM may not have sufficient knowledge on metabolic syndrome and doesn’t know how to provide proper care to these horses.  I am very concerned about this possibility even if he is licensed elsewhere.  The BLM should have hired a vet who has extensive knowledge on metabolic syndrome so that the horses do not develop this condition.”

Medical professionals have been critical of the BLM practice of feeding wild horses rich hay immediately after their capture in a dramatic departure from their lifelong diet of sparse desert grasses.

The BLM said in exquisite bureaucratese:

“On the issue of veterinary credentials: The BLM ensures that veterinarians working within the Program (sic) have the necessary qualifications (graduate education and legal credentials) to work within each state. Private practitioners who work under contract for the BLM are required to bevlicensed by the boards of veterinary medicine in the states where theyvpractice. State veterinary medical practice acts generally exclude veterinarians in the employ of the United States Government or respective state governments such that they are not required to be licensed in each state for the performance of their official duties. In Nevada, for example, the practice act for veterinarians does not require a state license (see citation below) for Federal veterinarians performing official

NRS 638.015 Applicability. Nothing in this chapter applies:
1. To the gratuitous castrating, dehorning or vaccinating of
domesticated animals nor to the gratuitous treatment of diseased animals by friends or neighbors of the owner thereof, except that all vaccinations for zoonotic diseases must be administered by a licensed veterinarian or a
person under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
2. To debar any veterinarian in the employ of the United States
Government or the State of Nevada from performing official duties necessary for the conduct of the business of the United States Government or the
State of Nevada, or a political subdivision thereof, upon which he is assigned.

Dr. Rich Sanford is the attending veterinarian providing care for the Calico horses at the Indian Lakes Facility. Dr. Sanford’s license is NV #565. He has 25 years of experience working with wild horses.

APHIS has requested that all questions about Dr. Kane be referred to Lyndsay Cole, APHIS Public Affairs. Her email address is:

JoLynn Worley, 775-861-6515
Office of Communications
BLM Nevada State Office

Horseback has requested the USDA provide the biographical information on the veterinarian that both Kane and the BLM have refused to reveal.

Dr. Kane, BLM DVM?

Reprint from Horseback Online

The Big Story

Unlicensed Vet Working Nevada Gather Where 113 Horses Have Died or Have Been Miscarried

By Steven Long

Photo by Laura Leigh

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A government veterinarian working for the Bureau of Land Management in its Nevada office has treated horses there without a state license.

At least 113 captured horses have either died or been miscarried after a grueling chase by helicopter over rocky mountain land in the dead of winter.

Horseback Magazine confirmed late Monday in a check with the Nevada Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners that there is no record of a veterinary license for Dr. Albert Kane. Last month the magazine sought the vitae of the veterinarian but the BLM refused to supply it.

Kane is a Veterinary Medical Officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Policy and Programs staff. In this position he serves as a staff veterinarian and advisor for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, according to spokeswoman JoLynn Worley.

“Dr. Kane doesn’t have a current bio or CV available at this time and has declined to prepare one specifically at your request,” Worley said at the time.

After the refusal to respond to the magazine’s request for Kane’s credentials, a request for that information under the Freedom of Information Act was filed. Thus far there has been no BLM compliance on the FOIA.

The 113 dead horses came from BLM’s Calico Wild Horse Management Area in Northern Nevada. The “gather” was a tightly controlled operation in which press and public was held in a viewing area far from the actual roundup and helicopter driven stampede.

Horses captured in the operation are now held in the BLM’s Fallon processing facility.

Horseback Magazine has now asked the BLM if Kane is licensed elsewhere other than in Nevada.

The Fallon facility is under tight control with press and public barred from observing horse processing in other than rare and brief media days and observation opportunities.

Opponents of the gathers have charged that the government agency is rendering America’s wild horse herds genetically bankrupt on its 260 million acres of mostly vacant land.

Last year, in a 68 page document titled “Alternative Management Options” the BLM discussed killing thousands of wild horses. It also addressed the issue of neutering horses in enormous numbers.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former rancher, has proposed that thousands of horses be sent to seven holding areas in the Midwest and East as tourist attractions. The proposal has been ridiculed by equine welfare activists as “Salazoos.”

The Horses at Heart

I’d like to take some time to share with you another “voice.”

The other day I shared an essay by Monica (Monika) Courtney with you. Monika and I have been buddies through the web for some time now. I admire her bravery and commitment.

I have shared a story about Craig Downer and an amazing stallion of the Calico Complex.

Here is my story about two more amazing people that raise their voices with “horses at the heart.”

The Horses at Heart, RT and Terry Fitch

One very snowy day in Nevada the Bureau of Land Management held one of their Advisory Board Meetings. Meetings that claim to be a component of “public process.” The truth is that these meetings are simply a show. The public is told the “what is” according to “BLM Math” and convoluted logic. The advocates are given just minutes, timed, to read their pre-submitted comments into record. A record that goes into the untold gulf of comments deemed “of no significant impact.”

A winter storm had raged the night before. It dumped feet of snow. The icy roads and continued snowfall created significant, almost impossible, driving conditions. Flights were canceled and airlines were turning back many that were waiting to land.

One woman made her journey from Texas. But the need to add her voice was so important the soft-spoken woman braved that journey, alone. Her name is Terry Fitch.

It was my first time meeting Terry “face-to-face.”

When the time came to speak she was sitting behind my chair. She expressed how nervous she was and that speaking in public was not something she did often. Yet she rose as her name was called and made her way to the front of the room.

She added her voice. Her papers shook. Her voice cracked and filled with emotion. She spoke from her heart.

When she took her seat she expressed that she was afraid that her emotion got the best of her and had a negative impact on her words. It is such an odd feeling to be criticized by those that oppose the advocates that we are “emotional.” When an issue is so outrageous and dwells within the areas of your heart that truly care, of course there is emotion. The real truth of her voice showed how this gentle soul truly spoke with the integrity of who she is and the love of horses that beats in her heart.

A couple of days ago I had the honor of being welcomed into the home of that woman. Her husband, R.T. Fitch, treated me to BBQ and “Texas hospitality.”

As I drove up I actually wondered if there were a servants entrance to park my old truck.

But there was a man standing in the driveway waving me in. The man was wearing an old straw cowboy hat, shorts and muck boots. A very familiar fashion statement.

RT and Harley by Terry Fitch 2010

I pulled my truck into the drive. The man leaned in and said “Does it leak oil?” and then he laughed. The laughter was deep and pure.

We shook hands. “Hi R.T.”

He led me over to Terry who was out with their horses. I was greeted by their dogs. I met Harley, Apache, Pele and Bart. I felt truly at “home.”

The entire afternoon the feeling never changed.We shared laughter, love, and really good BBQ. The genuine nature of these two people and the love they have for their world, animals and each other truly lives at that little ranch.

When I returned home I shot a quick e-mail off to let RT know that my old truck had returned me safely to my keyboard. He answered “could have used more time.”

I shared the sentiment, but know there will be more.

Our hearts truly join together as we move past the constraints that our lives place upon us and come together in this place of “horse.” That heartbeat grows stronger and pumps all the nutrients needed to wash away the toxins of man’s world. It cleanses our lives. Our voice grows strong.

Please join that beating “heart of the horse” and raise your voice on March 25. Even if you can not make the trip to DC. Contact your local media. Set up a table outside the local grocery store, your school, your front yard and educate the public to what is happening to our wild horses.

Speak with “Horses at Heart.”

Thursday Thoughts…

Just waking up, having my coffee, gearing up for another busy day. As I sift through my e-mails there are many issues that arise to “wrap your head around.”

A few links for the day:

Continued coverage of the Jason Meduna trial and the “Three Strikes” horror. Read RT’s post on his blog here

Horseback has a story up about a rescue horse named “Cider.” This horse was featured in a Clinton Anderson TV special. Read it here (while it is up, news on this page changes every day or so).

The issue of “Horse Slaughter” in the US is a battle heating up again. It is filled with misinformation. This issue is most likely the single most important “frontline” for all of our American horses. An article on the subject here.

In reference to the horse slaughter issue I am adding a link to an article written by John Holland called “Selling the Unwanted Horse.” You all know how “words” and how they are used interest me. I suggest you give this article a read.

Now just for a moment bear with me…

The horse slaughter debate in our country centers around the term “Unwanted Horses.” The pro-slaughter folks love to banter this phrase around to support re-opening horse slaughter plants in the US. (And just an FYI folks horses go to slaughter just like they did when the US plants were open. Just because the plants in the US closed doesn’t mean that those looking to profit from the slaughter of horses can’t do it anymore. We just don’t deal with the disastrous environmental issues and property devaluation we saw with US plants… but I digress).

If the issue is “Unwanted Horse” as portrayed by the pro-slaughter folk we are talking about solving a problem. If the issue is about creating a horse meat industry in the US we are talking about supply and demand that will not decrease the so-called original issue… it has the potential to compound the problem.

There is a better way to support horse owners in these hard economic times that really begins to comprehend the heart of the issue. A better path towards healing the country…

Watch this… ‘nuf said.

More Wild Horse “Talk”

Wild Horse Processing at Palomino Valley Center

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is holding hearings that include Secretary of the Department of Interior, Ken Salazar’s budget requests for the 2011 Wild Horse and Burro program.  You can listen here to Senator Landrieu (D-LA) say in part, “we are on the verge of a disaster policy.”

On Tuesday Ken Salazar will ad his testimony. You can listen to it here streamed live. He will ask for $42.5 million to purchase the first “Salazoo,” and request an additional increase of $12 million. The last request he made for additional funds to address this program was granted. The funds were not used to change policy but to ramp up the same protocol that has created the current crisis.

In Defense of Animals (IDA) has set up an action page. The page will send letters in your name quickly and easily, but action must be taken prior to Tuesday.

On April 30th a federal court will hear the arguments from IDA that the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is violating the 1971 Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro act by currently mass warehousing wild horses on land where they did not exist in 1971. They will argue that the Act never gave authority to create the current system. A final decision is expected by May 26.

I have read several articles recently in various mainstream publications.

I find it interesting that so many of these “discussions” begin with an assumption that a protocol that was never based on fact ever functioned accurately. “Guesstimates” were used to come up with herd counts. Best “guesstimates” were used to determine where “horses were in ’71″ that never took in to account the “roaming” behavior of a “free-roaming” horse or burro. Yet we begin discussions with statements such as “Since the population count in 1971…”

In 1974 an actual ground count was done. Yet the numbers found in the ground count were never used. An “adjustment” was made to the ’71 number that employed what many of us have come to call “BLM math.” It doesn’t add up.

When asked about horses in long term warehousing we get inconsistent numbers. When asked about gather expenses we get inconsistent numbers. When we look at gather schedules that have the BLM numbers on them and apply the “BLM” mathematical equation of a 20% increase, we often see increases that would imply that even the stallions must have given birth to twins that year!

There are other areas where the information provided by the BLM is “sketchy” at best. For example requests made for vet reports have no specified intake dates nor identification marks of any kind. Treatment dates are even omitted.

When you enter into a phase of dialogue and expect improvement shouldn’t that dialogue be based on facts? If the actual agency that supplies those facts is the agency that can benefit from those “facts,” then shouldn’t the information be independently verified? In simplistic terms if I gave a 5 year old with a history of lying a bag of cookies to share… I’d look to see how many he had already eaten. I wouldn’t take his word for it.

The other part of current discussion that I find troubling is the “wild v. feral” debate. It doesn’t pertain to the current discussion. The law has BLM/USFS horses designated as “wild” under their jurisdiction. The term “feral” applies to horses under other jurisdictions. Often this makes little sense as the same horse standing on one side of the Carson River in Nevada is covered under one set of protections, yet if this same horse happens to be found on the north side of the river, those protections don’t exist and a different set of rules apply. But that debate is for another day.

The current issue is should Secretary Salazar’s request for funding of his proposal be granted? Or is it time to call for an investigation into the current practices that created this situation in the first place?

The Road to DC

On March 25 there will be a big rally for the wild horses.

The Cloud Foundation has a write up on all the details here. This sheet includes an itinerary as well as info on carpooling.

Please join if you can.

If you can’t attend use this opportunity to notify local media in your area to the march and set something up at your school, grocery store, front yard where you can pass out information on the Moratorium and the real crisis that wild horses and burros are faced with today.

Personally I am offering 50% of all sales from my online Art Gallery during the Month of March to the effort of funding observation and involvement toward protection of our wild horses and burros. This effort is being channeled through the Cloud Foundation.

Also 10% of all sales from the book “Annabelle and the Pink Slippers,” will go to the effort!

No More Money until Salazar Answers

Actions of Salazar's BLM

Actions of Salazar's BLM

Equine Welfare Alliance has just issued a press release asking that “Salazoos,” the proposed solution to the wild horse crisis by Secretary of the Department of Interior Ken Salazar, be “defunded.”

This release comes on the heels of Senator Boxer’s letter to Ken Salazar asking for answers to some hard questions.

Before Congress gives this program more of the tax-payers money to throw into the black hole that is the Wild Horse and Burro program, Salazar needs to step up to the plate and answer those questions. Then he will need to address the scrutiny that his response will deserve.

And as a side note to all of you following the United Call for Moratorium that has been sent to Congress, Salazar and Obama… there still has been no reply to the letter.

Say No to Federal Funding for Wild Horse Salazoos!

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The funding testimony for the planned sanctuaries dubbed by wild horse supporters as “Salazoos” outlined last October by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Natural resources on March 3, at 10am.
The outcome of the testimony will decide if our wild horses belong on their western public lands or in “zoos” in the East and Midwest and whether the BLM will commit millions upon millions of future dollars to warehouse wild horses and burros that would otherwise live without cost to the taxpayers in their natural habitat where they have lived for centuries.
The requested funding would increase the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) budget by $42M to purchase one of the seven planned “Salazoos.” The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and its over 100 member organizations, Animal Law Coalition, The Cloud Foundation and numerous Mustang advocate and welfare organizations are vehemently opposed to increased funding for the BLM for this incredible financial sinkhole.
America already has a management program in place for our wild equines. It’s called the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. It was inspired by a heroic Nevada woman, Velma Johnston, who as “Wild Horse Annie” gave these horses a sanctuary BLM has been trying to destroy ever since it was passed.
A management program for wild horses and burros on public land has yet to be proposed by the BLM or DOI that is compatible with current law. Their answer is to remove wild horses from the land, permit grazing by millions of cattle at below market rates and move our horses to a zoo like setting far from their home. In fact, the BLM was given appropriations to care for the wild horses in holding pens but has appeared to use the funding to round-up more horses. When citizens complained, they were denied access as armed guards prevented them from even viewing horses in captivity.
With no viable management plan in place, it is a disgrace and waste of critical tax payer dollars to increase funding to yet another mismanaged program. The 1971 law calls for wild horses and burros to be managed on their public lands – not in holding pens and not in zoos.
The BLM spent approximately $2M gathering a mere 2,000 animals at its Calico wildlife management area, a cost of $1,000 per horse. Once in holding, the animals will each cost the government approximately $500 per year to warehouse. Worse, the government charges ranchers only about 20 cents of every dollar that program costs taxpayers. “The Salazoo plan is yet another raid on the public funds by special interests”, says EWA’s John Holland.
BLM has spent more than $2 million in 2009 on a firm that stampedes wild horses with a roaring helicopter. At the Calico Nevada round-up, more than 98 have died as a result, including unborn foals and two babies who lost their hooves after a multi-mile run of terror.
The wild horses and burros represent a mere .05% of animals grazing on public lands. When the 1971 law was passed, wild horses were present on 54 million acres. Since then, over 200,000 horses have been removed along with 22 million acres of public land. Many herds have been zeroed out leaving public land available to return wild horses to their land. Congress should replace the lost acres with good grazing land for the animals BLM wants to place in its Salazoos.
The livestock grazing on public lands alone outnumber the wild horses and burros by over 200 to 1 and are subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Neither the BLM nor DOI has yet to explain how millions of privately owned livestock are sustainable or how neither agency can find room on the 262 million acres of public land it manages for less than 50,000 wild horses and burros. Neither has explained why the wild horses and burros are being blamed and removed for range degradation when the government GAO studies reflect the livestock are ruining the ranges.
The EWA and ALC call on Congress to deny additional funding and specifically defund wild horse and burro round-ups until the DOI and BLM can provide independent current range population counts, current range assessments and a viable management plan that upholds the 1971 law.
Both Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. Barbara Boxer have posed serious questions to the BLM on its management practices. Those questions should be answered immediately with facts, not spin.
Additional details on defunding the BLM for “Salazoos” can be found at Animal Law Coalition, article number 1188.

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 100 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

General’s Saga (Part I)

Yesterday I went to the Bureau of Land Management’s website to check the gather activity update. The list does not identify specific animals in inventory from the recent Calico Complex Herd Management Area gather, but it does list injuries and deaths. The BLM does not define individuals in inventory. They use the word to describe the entire lot. This definition makes little sense to me. (Example: A retail store orders six dresses for spring, and then they track the lot but not each piece. This would create a database that has little use).

That’s another piece, for another day.

Reviewing the BLM update my thoughts returned to an amazing horse I have met. I worried about his “status.” (His picture is the one in my header). I will share his story with you. This is Part I.

Calico Complex

General’s Saga (part I)

Today began much like any other. The sun rose from the east over the mountain, shades of yellow and red. The red meant that weather might be moving in so today he would lead his family to a sheltered place as he guided them to food and water.

He is a stallion of what man calls the Calico Complex. The Calico Complex is an area where the Bureau of Land Management combined Herd Management Areas to create a complex. The complex consists of over half a million acres. But what the stallion did not know was that this agency, tasked with the welfare of wild horses and burros for the American public, had decided that only 800 horses could remain free.

From over the ridge he began to hear an ominous sound. It increased in volume as his heartbeat increased in rhythm to match the sound. His job was to keep his family safe. The sound grew louder and louder until it’s source appeared racing through the sky. The strange object, a metallic predator, was headed directly at his family!

He cried out, “Run!”

Threat from above

The band thundered over the frozen rocky terrain. Up mountainsides and through the valleys that once provided protection to the band. Yet nothing they did could stop the relentless pursuit of this predator.

They ran and ran. They ran and ran until he could feel the sweat pour down his muscled neck. They ran and ran until his lungs began to burn from the cold air. They ran and ran until he knew his children were struggling to keep up.

Struggling Calico Foal

But the family needed to continue above all else. So he called to them “Run!”

Racing through the gully he had led his family through in an attempt to gain shelter from the threat from above, he stumbled. But he could not stop. He saw the valley open up and he increased his pace.

As he fled across the frozen valley floor another horse appeared before his band, an unfamiliar horse. But this horse was running too. Perhaps this newcomer knew the way to safety so he followed the sorrel down the corridor.

Driven into trap

Then the threat increased! Coming in from behind were screaming two-legs waving long poles! His heart thumped as he again increased his pace.

He had to pull up fast to stop from crashing into a metal gate! His family collided with each other in fear. Circling hard to address the new threat from the rear he found himself facing another set of metal bars. He could not get to his mares and foals! He could hear their cries and he answered, but he could not protect them!

In an instant he was crowded into a small area with other stallions. His colt from two springs ago appeared at his side as the screaming two-legs waved their sticks and forced them all up into a metal box.

Immediately separated and loaded

The metal box was crowded. The floor was cold under his feet. A loud bang and the light from the back of the box was gone. A hard jolt and they were moving! He was not running anymore but he was moving! The others swayed and struggled to remain standing as the box bumped up and down and continued to move forward. He knew if he fell he would not be able to regain his feet on the cold slick surface, so he fought to remain upright. The air rushing in began to freeze the sweat that moments ago poured down his neck as he raced over the rocky ground with his family… his family!

He let out a loud cry!

The box jolted once more and came to a stop. The opening at the back flew open and screaming two-legs started poking and waving their sticks through the box. The stallions rushed toward the only way out.

Down a narrow chute they went into another area enclosed by metal bars. More loud two-legs pushed some into another enclosed space. And then the two-legs stopped yelling.

The predator from above was gone. The two-legs were no longer chasing them or screaming. His family was no longer there. He had failed them.

Calico Stallions in holding pen

Calico Stallions (after gather)

He could feel the soreness begin in his body. His lungs hurt. His legs and feet throbbed.

He wandered the edges of the enclosure. There was no way out. He did not understand.


More two legs arrived. These two-legs were not screaming. One of them came very close.

He asked her, “Why?”


Part II coming soon.

Processing Wild Horses

Here is video of the Bureau of Land Management processing horses from the Tobin herd. (scroll down for Horseback Magazine Article)

“Processing” wild horses is a term used to encompass vaccinating, branding, aging, gelding… any procedure that prepares or separates horses out of inventory toward adoption or long-term holding.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has a protocol in place to process populations that is designed to minimize risk to both horses and people. Equipment is designed with that in mind. If you look at the video you will see the “snake” chute that is designed with no sharp curves and is narrow enough to attempt to create a single file process to prevent injury. The squeeze that restrains the horses is also designed with this in mind. There is still room for improvement, yet the basic tools required to safely process animals are in place.

This video shows that processing can be witnessed by the public close-up. These images were recorded on my cell phone. The layout and equipment being installed at the Fallon Facility is exactly the same as that at Palomino Valley. Anyone that handles horses on a regular basis and is familiar with basic veterinary procedures (not just a DVM), could participate as an observer, close by, without a major safety issue.

BLM explanation of the limited public access to processing at Fallon.

*personal note:

My brain reads  “Once preparation for adoption is completed, and the animals have fully transitioned to a diet of domestic feed and hay” as, “we have extraordinary diarrhea because we transitioned way too fast to cheap alfalfa and we don’t want you to see it until we do our Sunday muck.”

However the greater question does not involve “processing.” The greatest question is should these horses be gathered and processed at all?

Should horses be gathered when range data, lease numbers, population counts, etc. etc.  to support the round-ups in the first place are inconsistent, contradictory, or outright lies?

Go to Equine Welfare Alliance to learn about the United call for Moratorium.

Horseback online

The Big Story

Emmy Award Winners Blast BLM For “Hiding” Process From Press and Public

EWA Releases Video Inside Wild Horse Processing Center by Laura Leigh

COLORADO SPRINGS (Cloud) — The Cloud Foundation objects to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) severe limitations placed on viewing of the wild horses captured in the controversial Calico Wild Horse roundup.

Despite the enormous cost to the American taxpayers and the controversial nature of the roundup, the BLM and the Department of Interior (DOI) are denying requests for independent humane observers during the processing of nearly 1900 mustangs over the next few months in preparation for their long term holding or adoption.

During this dangerous time for the mustangs, the public will be denied an opportunity to view BLM running the animals through alleyways and into chutes where they will be freeze-branded, inoculated and neck-tagged.

“I’ve been watching the processing of mustangs on and off for 15 years. What is the big deal this time?” Asks Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, “There’s something very wrong when it’s easier to crash a party at the White House than go view our wild horses being freeze-branded in Nevada. Makes you wonder if there’s something to hide out in Fallon?”

Forty-nine horses have died as the result of the roundup. This does not include the 30 plus mares who have aborted their late-term foals in the feedlot style corrals in Fallon, Nevada. The four percent death rate is over eight times the BLM expected level for a helicopter roundup. Foals are now being born in the pens and the public is not permitted to confirm young, sick and old animals are being humanely treated in a timely fashion.

BLM says that the shut down of the facility is a safety issue due to the horses being continuously in facility alleyways during the preparation process. Given the high level of interest The Cloud Foundation asks BLM to figure out a way to safely allow the public to observe.

“Processing our wild horses in secret does nothing but promote suspicion on the part of the public who simply request to have independent representatives present to verify that our horses are being treated humanely,” said Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and Nevada wild horse advocate. “Denying American citizens the right to watch over their horses is a very disturbing trend, and simply throws fuel on a spreading fire.”

All 1922 wild horses were captured in the 40-day dead-of-winter helicopter roundup which stopped weeks early and over 600 horses short when BLM discovered fewer wild horses than anticipated in the huge 500,000 acre Calico Mountains of northwestern Nevada. The horses are now being housed at a cost to the taxpayer of approximately $75,000 per week while the death toll continues to rise. One stallion was euthanized on Monday, however, vet reports are now being withheld so the official reason for killing the stallion is unknown.

Despite Wild Horse and Burro Chief Don Glenn’s promise that the public is welcome “anytime” to view the roundups, the BLM conducted the Calico roundup with limited access.

Now BLM has repeatedly denied official requests from the Cloud Foundation and others to allow even two members of the public to be present during processing of horses which began February 15.

Ed Roberson, Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning with the DOI told The Cloud Foundation in an email last week not to worry about the horses as “we have a licensed vet on site during the prep work to ensure humane treatment.” Given BLM’s reticence to release vet reports from Fallon this is no consolation to the concerned public.

By disallowing access to any independent humane observers, BLM’s “bunker” mentality appears to have trumped any requests for transparency. “If American citizens are willing to travel to Fallon, Nevada to check on and observe wild horses that have been removed from public lands against the public will by a federal agency, why is this access being denied?” asks RT Fitch, Texas author of the popular book “Straight from the Horses Heart.”

Meanwhile the captured Calico wild horses, many still with swollen joints and injuries from being run over sharp volcanic rock by helicopters, stand in pens without windbreaks. “Topography credited by the BLM as a natural wind break is a joke. I’ve been to Fallon and I’ve seen the conditions these horses are exposed to—no cover, no windbreaks except for some of the ‘hospital’ pens”, explains Terri Farley. The celebrated children’s author of the Phantom Stallion series, based on the Calico mustangs, visited the holding facility on February 11th with a professional photographer whose photos will soon be posted at

To combat the continuing roundups of America’s wild horses and burros, Nevada is planning two protests in coming days to gain the attention of a visiting President Barack Obama.

On Thursday, February 18th, protestors will unfurl over 50 banners along Las Vegas Boulevard calling for a stop to the roundups which will remove half of Nevada’s wild horses this year. On Saturday, February 20th the public will gather in Carson City, Nevada to further protest the tax-payer funded destruction of America’s Wild Horses and Burros.

According to Wild Horse and Burro Chief, Don Glenn, the facility is charging the government around $5.75 per day/per horse. That amounts to over $10,000 taxpayer dollars per day to house the mustangs. The cost of the Calico roundup alone was at least $1 million and holding of horses will cost taxpayers additional millions.

While nearly 2,000 Calico mustangs languish and die in Fallon, thousands of privately-owned cattle still graze the Calico wild horse herd areas, bringing in revenues to the BLM of around $40,000 per year. The cost to administer the grazing program for the Calico area is six times this amount based on the national average for the program as calculated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO reported that yearly revenues from the national public lands grazing program are $21 million per year, while the costs to administer the grazing program are $144 million per year, resulting in a yearly loss to the American taxpayer of $123 million. This taxpayer subsidized grazing program is often referred to as “welfare ranching” due to the small fees charged to livestock permittees. The rate is currently the lowest allowed by law—$1.35 per cow/calf pair per month.