I'm wrapping up the summer with one more post about horses. Is that alright?
Just one more, for old times' sake.
I'm not going to drag this out any more than I have to. Long story short, exactly the day before our Landscapes With Wild Horses show, I found out that the wild horses I've been making pictures of for the past three amazing years, the wild horses who have changed my life for the better, those wild horses who give so much just by being the free spirits that they are, will be rounded up by a helicopter. First of all, they will be terrified and run ragged for miles and miles. Some will die from heart attacks. Some won't be able to run that far. The little legs of foals won't be able to keep up. Others will break legs or become lame from the erratic helicopter swooping down on them, moving and pushing them faster and faster. They will be jammed into iron corral traps. It will be cramped with horses so confused and frantic that necks will be broken in attempt to break free. They will be separated from their families, foals taken from their mothers, stallions forced together, which is a really bad idea.
Hauling them away in a livestock truck has got to be the saddest image. And one I hope I never see. Their destination will be a holding pen. A prison, you might say. All mares will be treated with PZP birth control. They will be freeze branded with a number on their necks showing that they have been treated. Another brand with big block letters HB will be visible on their left rump identifying which herd they're from. The stallions will be gelded, some will die from complications and hemorrhaging. Any horse with a deformity will be euthanized. Older horses won't have a chance to be released.
So, let's say they bring some of the horses back to the range that they came from. Let's say I finally go back out there to see what I can see. What do you suppose will happen?
Of course! They will run like hell, far, far away from me, from ANY human activity. The years of my building their trust will be futile. One step forward, two steps back. To them, I am the enemy. And THAT my friends, makes me sad.
My heart aches. No, my heart is broken. Shattered in a million fragments. Tiny pieces of my heart were left scattered on that wild horse prairie yesterday. As I was leaving, I looked back and saw the remains in company with the blue sage and yellow rabbit brush. Heart remnants in Dapple Grays, black & white Paints, Palominos, brown & black Bays, vibrant Sorrels and charcoals & blacks, and a little piece of Pony Boy Gold.
The girls and boys of summer.
*** You can read about the BLM proposal and open to the public comment page here ::