Wednesday, October 11, 2017

On Watch Before They Fly

All through autumn we hear a double voice:

One says everything is ripe; the other says everything is dying.

The paradox is exquisite.

We feel what the Japanese call “aware”—an almost untranslatable word meaning something like “beauty tinged with sadness.”

Gretel Ehrlich  The Solace of Open Spaces

Monday, October 9, 2017

No! Not The Curlies!


More Wild Horses Including Curlies Lose Their Freedom in Salt Wells Creek

Maestro and a yearling

Yesterday I went out to see wild horses that were still free after the horrible morning watching 167 get captured. It usually serves as a balm and helps combat the feelings of helplessness generated by watching large groups of wild horses that should never be captured rounded u with helicopters. But this time I knew that freedom was fleeting for these horses. I had heard that the BLM was going to round up horses the next day who were near the 191 highway in Salt Wells Creek because some horses had been killed on the highway and it was a hazard for public safety. We passed a game warden who told us that there was a big group at the top of the hill.


Sure enough, once we wound our way up the hill we saw a large group of wild horses grazing behind a fence on a flat area. I parked and we walked out toward them. The horses were completely unconcerned by our approach. 

Little black foal nursing Curly mare and foal

Many foals were lying down napping, and I spotted a bald faced sorrel mare who had a tiny foal nursing. He or she looked to be less than a week old. I was concerned about the little one’s ability to run from the helicopter the next day and decided to let them know about this foal so they would hopefully look out for it. As we were watching I realized that many of these horses were Curlies, with curly coats and manes. Here is a link for information on them:

Maestro chasing off another stallion

There was an impressive bay stallion with a very wavy curly mane and there was a gorgeous pinto stallion red and white, who really seemed to be the big boss, who I learned was named Maestro.

Beautiful curly mane

Beautiful curly mane

 Goliath breeding the little black foal's mom

Bay Curly stallion breeding the little black foal’s mom



We got to see Goliath breed the little foal’s mom, so I am pretty sure my guess of less than a week old was correct – the mares come into “foal heat” within a week of giving birth. It was so peaceful standing there watching the horses get up from their nap and move along and I was saddened thinking that that peace would not last for long.

Curly sorrel colt

 Two black Curlies

Two black Curlies

Mare and little foal walk together

 Mare and little foal walk together


This morning when we stopped 2 miles south of where I had seen the horses I knew I was right – they were the target today. I was glad I had had an opportunity to see them still wild and free.

On the ridge before the helicopters flew

We drove down to Maggie Springs, then followed the BLM to the site they had picked out for us to observe from on top of this hill, going up a rocky and rough two track. The wind was blasting us and we all bundled up as well as we could and held onto our cameras for dear life. We were quite a long way from the trap, but I hoped we would be able to see the horses coming toward us along the road first. I let the BLM know about the little black foal being so young.

Many horses running 


Leaping onto the road

 Suddenly someone yelled over the wind that the horses were coming. There was a huge group that met a smaller group, and the helicopter was pushing them along. There were too many directions to look. Maestro was leading one group – his distinctive markings made him stand out easily. Then I finally spotted the bald faced mare and little foal. He was keeping up! There were many other foals but he was the littlest. In all the confusion of the horses turning, jumping onto the road, then turning again I lost sight of him then saw him again and he was falling behind his mother. I began to worry a bit.


The little black foal trying to keep up with mom


The little black foal is falling behind


Two helicopters behind the huge group of horses All went into the trap


The whole group was getting closer and closer to the trap. I watched one of the helicopters get down and right up behind the horses while the other hung back. They all went in, and I cannot imagine that they would have captured less than the 60 more they planned to catch in Salt Wells Creek. We waited quite a while before we heard that that was it for the day.

The saddest sight - leaving in the trailers The saddest sight – leaving in the trailers

This evening, Jason Lutterman from the BLM who had been out there with us sent me a photo of the bald face mare and the little black foal who had been reunited at the temporary corrals. I was extremely relieved and grateful that he sent me this photo. I was told that they captured 66 wild horses today, which was 6 more than their number, so they are releasing 6 wild horses. They are keeping 46 adults and 14 foals.

  Curly mare and foal reunited at temporary holding, photo courtesy of Jason Lutterman Curly mare and foal reunited at temporary holding, photo courtesy of Jason Lutterman

I have to wonder how many Curlies are left in Salt Wells Creek? I hope that some of these beautiful and unique horses remain.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

One Last Look


Remember this family? I posted their picture a few days ago. 

Well, they deserve another look. 

Today they lost their freedom.

I just found out they got captured from their wide open prairie home and taken out by helicopters and boys who get paid for being cruel. 

This little wild family got split up. The Cremello mare with all the wisdom and character of an older and happy wild horse. Her grey stallion; an old guy, too. They’ve obviously been together for a very long time. And then there’s their little Palomino yearling....

needlessly torn apart and put into separate cramped iron pens, never to see each other again. 

The BLM is heartless. Their program is a failure. 

Today is just another sad day in America.

Freedom for the stallion
Freedom for the mare and her colt
Freedom for the baby child
Who has not grown old enough to vote

Lord, have mercy, what You gonna do
About the people who are praying to You?
They got men making laws that destroy other men
They make money, God, it's a doggone sin
Oh Lord, You got to help us find a way
~Boz Scaggs 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wyoming's Wild Horse Roundup 2017

I must share with you this account of what happened at one of the helicopter roundups this week.

<<<<====== !!!!!!!!! ======>>>>

 The Checkerboard Roundup Day 7 – Great Divide Basin by Carol J. Walker


And here are some of my pictures from last Monday, after witnessing such an atrocity one day in the American West. 


These are the faces and families of horses who did NOT get rounded up that day.

After all the helicopters shut down for the night, the jute fencing and traps removed and the last trailer they crammed with mustangs sped off in a cloud of dust, Carol and I found some WILD and FREE horses enjoying the mid-day sun. 

It was hard for me to take their pictures. My heart wasn't into it. I sat down next to some rabbit brush staring at these family bands and thought about tomorrow.

Most likely I would recognize their eyes through the bars of a trailer taking them far, far away from their home, in yet another cloud of dust.

The Bureau of Land Management just doing "business as usual" without a care in the world. 

I will be heading out to the Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek or perhaps Adobe Town in the Red Desert (they never tell us where we're going until we get there) next Sunday to photograph and document more of these unnecessary and relentless removals of America's Mustangs. 

Thank you for being here.