Monday, May 27, 2013

IN MEMORY OF THE MANIFOLD THOUSANDS OF HORSES & BURROS WITHOUT WHOSE SERVICE WE WOULD NOT BE THE U.S. OF A.

                           ©2010 Photography by Elyse Gardner
Commemorative Statue at Sacramento, CA for the Pony Express

Look over our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present-day strength to its source,

You'll find that man's pathway to glory,
is strewn with the bones of a horse.         
                                                                                                 -- Anonymous
     Greetings during this very American holiday as we memorialize the fallen of our county. This holiday commemorates those who gave their lives so America could become what we are known for today as America, a society based on the freedom of individuals to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, and to express our views about those pursuits virtually unhindered by government, assured of the precious freedoms of speech and religion, freedoms we assume and take for granted every blessed day of our busy American lives. 
        If this blog looks familiar to some, it is: I have updated a previous year's blog because its message is timeless.  I hope you will take a few moments to be reminded and give thanks for the thousands of people, horses, and burros who gave their lives.  
       I call to our attention the profound yet commonly overlooked contribution of the horses and burros, and noteably the wild horses, who were conscripted into service in our wars here and abroad.  Along these lines, I am profoundly grateful for Steven Spielberg's huge contribution of the movie War Horse.  
      It wasn't uncommon for a mounted soldier to go through as many as nine horses in his career. 
      HORSES AND BURROS ARE USED IN WAR EVEN NOW.  We traditionally think of the Revolutionary and Civil wars when we think of the wartime service of horses and mules, but burros, mules, and horses continue to serve as only they can.  





Recoilless Rifle mounted on a mule, Fort Leavenworth, KS
                History bears witness of the thousands of burros tied to supply wagons who were helplessly gunned down or shot with arrows as they stood powerless to flee for their lives.  Please take a moment to acknowledge these underappreciated, amazing little animals who are fast being wiped off our vast western lands in favor of cows, sheep, and big-money mining and mineral interests which will use many times more water than even 10,000 burros could drink, yet BLM wants only 3,000 allowed to remain wild and free.              
           PHOTO: COURTESY OF GREAT WAR PHOTOS 
War Horses in Gas Masks 1918
Below:  American Horse Soldiers in Afghanistan:  (Watch the great video (nothing awful) at the link to see hor horses and burros continue to serve and protect freedom here and abroad.)
U.S. Special Forces ride horseback working with members of the Northern Alliance, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, 12 Nov 2001. Photo by Master Sgt. Chris Spence
      Hopefully, we will not repeat the horror we committed against horses and burros in World War I when a great many were conscripted wild horses as well as domestic.  Horribly, we brought our beautifully trained, trusting horses to fight our wars in World War I in Europe and left them there to be slaughtered.  
     I hope you will join me in taking a few moments to go to the links above and below to honor the horses and burros by learning of their immense service to us in this profound, all-out way.  On behalf of our species, we owe them so very much.  Please learn with me of their tremendous contribution.  
       Though losing one's life in service of our country is noble and profound, the greatest wound to such a hero  is for no one on earth to notice.  
     Therefore, please join me in reading this informative article, and I hope you will share it with your family and friends.  Your children and grandchildren will be the next protectors of our wild horses and burros; I hope you will share this history with them.  What a convenient way to explore history with your family




Look over our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present-day strength to its source;
You'll find that man's pathway to glory,
is strewn with the bones of a horse.         -- Anonymous

###
SWEET FILLIES
Calico horses (from "Calico" roundup of January/February 2010:  These photos are three years old.  I pray they are all well and didn't end up as anyone's French dinner. 
                      copyright Photo by Elyse Gardner, all rights reserved.
Yearling and two-year-old fillies at Broken Arrow holding in Fallon, Nevada, from Calico roundup
               Right now I will focus on the delightfulness of these horses.  For now I am anticipating with great satisfaction sharing with you the absolute delight of these highly interactive, curious and gentle girls.  The boys are sweet and eager, too, but for now, meet the captured mustang girls in Fallon, Nevada (as of May 2010.  We do not know how many remain there or where they went since the facility closed to the public in June 2010 except for a brief tour twice a year).  
Enjoy the video at the end of this post... can't wait to share that with you.
                       copyright 2010 Photo by Elyse Gardner, all rights reserved
                    
                           copyright 2010 Photo by Elyse Gardner, all rights reserved
                      
The fillies below were at Palomino Valley holding facility and were not from the Calico roundup.  There are thousands of wonderful wild horses in holding facilities who were driven off their homes all over the west.  I actually adopted one of these girls.
                      ©Photo by Marilyn Wargo
Fillies at Palomino Valley Center holding facility outside Reno, Nevada
                   ©Photo by Laura Leigh
                            
Brave curious filly exchanging breath with me
                     ©Photo by Mar Wargo

Having exchanged breath, she's demonstrating the flehmen response, taking, reading, and storing my scent
MEET THE STRAWBERRY GIRLS AT PALOMINO VALLEY
                      ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
                            
                     ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
                            
And now for some real fun.  Enjoy,and happy, safe, Memorial Day commemoration.  
(Please DOUBLE CLICK INSIDE THE VIDEO if it doesn't play properly. Thank you.)

I remain,
for the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,
for all who came before, and all those yet to be,
Elyse Gardner

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

(UPDATED MAY 2013: YES, DREAMCATCHER IS HERE TO STAY: THEY HAVE PURCHASED SANCTUARY LAND) RESPECTED, LONG-TERM SANCTUARY AT A CROSSROADS: WILL TWIN PEAKS MUSTANGS RESTORED FROM MICHIGAN STARVATION GET TO STAY IN THEIR NEW HOME?

Enjoying the summer range at DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary,  Leo and Orion  
are inseparable friends who've been through a war together, enjoying peace and security now
 threatened by the imminent sale of their new home.  Will they get to stay?

Do you remember these horses?   Read the quick recap below, or my blogs from June 2011 might help  (you can click on the link above or on blog "Archives" over to the right).  

L to R: Onyx and Cortez (socks) in Michigan
foster care gaining strength for the trip home. 
 See their full transformation below.  


Onyx in DreamCatcher hayfield with his new family.  Onyx, and all the other male mustangs featured in this blog, were gelded (castrated) by the Bureau of Land Management, but their desire for the family band continues,  and most have rebuilt family bands.   
Brief Recap

Starving in Michigan, these proud wild horses, icons of the American west, had been rounded up from Twin Peaks in northern California by the Bureau of Land Management and sold to a Michigan woman whose plans to sell them fell through, and they were literally starving in her old hog barn.  Two horses died in Michigan.  The local Michigan District Attorney refused to act on law enforcement's recommendation for 16 counts of animal cruelty.  People across the country were outraged.

When DreamCatcher Wild Horse Sanctuary heard about it, Director Barbara Clarke went into high gear to bring these horses home.  Only 20 miles from their Twin Peaks wild habitat, DreamCatcher's 2,000-acre, natural habitat sanctuary was the perfect refuge for these traumatized horses.

But now DreamCatcher's future is uncertain.  The land providing this cherished natural habitat sanctuary for disenfranchised mustangs, wild burros, domestic horses, and unadoptable dogs, is up for sale.  I'm told the word for "crisis" in Chinese also means "opportunity" (perhaps one of my Chinese-speaking readers could confirm this).  

In any case, DreamCatcher has this opportunity to truly secure this land.  It is an amazing opportunity.  It is also a crisis:  I have just learned that they may only have days.  But here is an opportunity to help create an American legacy that will live on long after our generation.

Director Barbara Clarke explains:

Most people are not aware that there are less than a handful of large horse sanctuaries in the U.S.  DreamCatcher is one of them with 2000 acres of land upon which the horses and wildlife may live in peace.  And all this freedom can now be permanently put in DreamCatcher's name for a fraction of what it originally cost.


 " We are at an important crossroads.  We can find a way to purchase the sanctuary property or be forced out."

U P D A T E
Donations are starting to come in as people realize we could lose one of only a handful of large sanctuaries for want of such little money." 
                    Barbara Clarke, Director
(We still need upwards of $63,000. -- Elyse Gardner)

pasture  
         In 2003, one of DreamCatcher's benefactors purchased the wonderful high desert property the horses currently enjoy. For some of the horses - who had come from a sanctuary in Los Angeles that had gone bankrupt - it was the first time they had lived outside of pens and seen grass in years. 

The 1200 acres (that soon expanded to 2000) with no neighbors for more than five miles, provided the room and the environment for an idyllic life for the horses and unadoptable dogs who call DreamCatcher home. 

Dogs get to run around chasing the hay truck, swim in the ponds and bark to their hearts delight.  Horses enjoy spring and summer grass, cool ponds and acres and acres of freedom to just be horses.

Unfortunately, that idyllic life may shortly come to an end.  The benefactor has fallen on hard times and needs to sell the property to us or the bank may swoop in and take possession by the middle of the month.

While it is unsettling news, we see it as an opportunity to get the property in DreamCatcher's name thereby ensuring the future of the sanctuary for the animals.
  
Fortunately, our benefactor is letting us purchase the property at less than half what it was bought for and loan percentage rates are at a historic low, which is why we consider this situation an important opportunity.  An opportunity to own the sanctuary property at such a reasonable price may never come our way again.

And we are so close to wrapping up the deal with only $65,000 to go.



We hope you, our supporters, can help us make this happen for the horses and dogs who live here as well as all the wildlife that will be in jeopardy if we move off the property.



Over the years we have protected the coyotes, lions, bears, badgers, antelope and deer that call DreamCatcher home. For atrue sanctuary provides open arms to all who pass through its portal.



During this holiday season we ask that you dig deep and give the gift of life and safety by helping us keep our beloved high desert home.  

 Here Is How You Can Help
1.  Click on this Donate button to donate through PayPal.

2.  Call the DreamCatcher office to donate via credit card.  
     530-260-0148 or call the Director 530-260-0377. 
3.  For information about loaning us the remaining monies call the
     Director 530-260-0377. 
4.  Mail checks to PO Box 9, Ravendale CA 96123 with a note
     saying it is for the sanctuary property.

I hope you enjoy the below photographs of the life-sustaining place that is DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary

DreamCatcher is a 501(c)(3), and all donations will be tax deductible. You can be a part of securing safe futures for many animals, even those yet to be, by helping this trustworthy sanctuary plant her roots and continue her healing work.  On behalf of the Twin Peaks horses and the rest of the sanctuary residents (photos of some below), thank you.


BELOW LEFT:  Duke (buckskin) and Cortez (black, white socks), 
 former proud Twin Peaks band stallions, in the Michigan hog barn. 

                                            
RIGHT:  Duke at DreamCatcher in the hayfield, pursuing a mare from  his new family.  

Keeley and her baby in Michigan

In fall of 2011 the money was raised for these horses to come home (over $10,000 in just days).  The horses you see here are now all safe at DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary.

Will you please help DreamCatcher do it again so that these horses, and many others can stay safe in this magical, healing place? Have a look:

Onyx, Cortez, and Duke are back with families at DreamCatcher.  Will they get to stay?

BELOW: Cortez at DreamCatcher                                                BELOW:  CORTEZ and family at DreamCatcher














Cortez looking mighty fine! You can see that Keeley and her baby are part of Cortez's little band in the photo on the right.  These horses have been together through hell and back.  Please help ensure that this is their forever home.



BELOW LEFT:  The girls, hungry and
depressed in an old hog barn in Michigan.
 














RIGHT:  The Shy black mare and her devoted look-alike filly enjoy DreamCatcher's summer range together.



BELOW:  Onyx at DreamCatcher.  

MORE ABOUT DREAMCATCHER

DreamCatcher is committed to protecting the rights of wild horses and burros in the wild to stay in the wild in their legal Herd Management Areas.  They are Plaintiffs in groundbreaking litigation defending these Twin Peaks horses, which is currently before the Ninth Circuit.

I first met DreamCatcher and Barbara Clarke when seeking a home for five wild mares from the deadly 2010 Calico roundup in Nevada, when I witnessed 1,922 horses chased from their mountain home.  When Barbara granted these five girls sanctuary,  I continued to visit, and my respect for the organization, its values, its hands-on practices with the animals, and its leadership grew as my knowledge of the work there deepened.

THE "CALICO" HORSES 

Freedom crashes through barbed wire fence after jumping
the 6' fence separating him from his mountain home (see
photo below).  Photo-  Craig Downer

Two of Freedom's mares, the iconic black stallion who jumped a 6-foot fence and crashed the barbed wire to escape his capture, were in that group of five...

Freedom escapes capture as his mare,  who I call Dahlia, frantically runs to the fence, unable to follow.


LEFT:  Frightened and very wild here in the BLM pen, the displaced Dahlia was always hiding behind River,  Freedom's lead mare also at DreamCatcher . . . 


BELOW RIGHT:  Meet the confident, relaxed Dahlia after living at DreamCatcher for two years.


 

All the horses here have dramatic "before" stories, but it's the horse-centered, day-to-day way of life here, made possible by this very place, that is so precious and what people should see...

...where horses get to live the way horses like to live...

DreamCatcher's Summer Range

    Barbara Clarke checking water supply for the Summer Range horses.  The sanctuary hauls water
    several times a day if/when the ponds dry up.

    BELOW:  Moving horses to another part of the Summer Range 


THE BIG GREEN BARN

can be seen for miles as you approach.
The barn is a haven for horses with any medical issues, or horses who need some extra hands-on attention for whatever reason. DreamCatcher's beloved older horses are fed their Equine Senior in this comforting enclosure twice a day. 

Help DreamCatcher purchase the Big Green Barn... and the land on which it sits.


The depth of thought that goes into decisions about the horses, the level of detail, and the underlying, ever-present dedication to the physical and mental wellbeing of the animals make DreamCatcher a glistening gem in the northern California high desert, a haven that I pray will stay as a beacon, a stronghold of safety in these challenging times.  

Barbara Clarke enveloped by some of her biggest supporters.  That's wolfdog and alpha girl, Chloe, on her lap. 
L to R: Sparky, the energetic amazing rat terrier, Barbara and Chloe, the elegant wolfdog Nukka, and Trixie, old Collie mix and former outdoor ranch dog.  These dogs are all unadoptable, and DreamCatcher is their forever home.  They think that is just the greatest...  (These dogs are featured in back issues of DreamCatcher's E-magazine, which you can find on the DreamCatcher Wild Horse Sanctuary Facebook page or Barbara Clarke's Facebook page. 

You can drop send me an email at elysegardner@me.com, and I will subscribe you so you will get all future editions.

You can click here to help DreamCatcher.  No donation is too small or too large.  The Sanctuary needs $65,000 to purchase the land.   I will update this blog to share where things stand...


I was honored to began work for the sanctuary in June 2012 as Director of Public Education and Media,  because DreamCatcher, too, remains, 

For all the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,
all who came before, and all those yet to be,


Elyse Gardner
Humane Observer
415/235-7533

 Cortez with Keeley and her filly.  



MORE DREAMCATCHER RESIDENTS and NEIGHBORS






Our wolfdog girls, permanent residents.


A watchful neighboring hawk.
Burros from Sheldon Wildlife Refuge.
30 burros call the sanctuary home. 
Thank you for helping!








Saturday, September 29, 2012

NOWHERE TO HIDE: CALLING FOR A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION OF BLM AS THEY SEND AT LEAST 1,700 WILD HORSES STRAIGHT TO -- WHERE?

    produced with DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary


For two decades many have known that somethings smells funny about the Bureau of Land Management ‘s “long-term holding” aspect of the wild horse program, and the foul odor isn’t coming from the horses.

The spiriting away of up to 11,000 captured wild horses yearly, who are rounded up and sent east into leased long-term holding pastures on private ranches behind locked gates where no private citizen is permitted to visit or verify unless a "public tour" has been arranged, has long aroused deep concern about the longterm holding program. Questions became suspicions about whether all the wild horses who arrived there were safely grazing away, living happily-ever-after, idyllic lives on rolling hills of green among their same-sex wild horse friends as BLM officials staunchly claim.

BLM’s Lili Thomas admitted that BLM did indeed sell wild horses straight out of longterm holding at a national public meeting in June 2010, stating they would not sort out and sell or adopt out an individual horse; rather, horses were sold by the truckload/trailer load to appropriate buyers.  Who would buy mature wild horses by the truckload, we asked?  BLM assured us buyers were appropriately screened. No answer was satisfactory or really made sense – until now.  

When I called BLM concerned about a shipment of wild horses intercepted on their way to slaughter in 2011, BLM'S Sally Spencer, Supervising Marketing Specialist in charge of BLM's adoption program, acknowledged she had approved that sale and told me we needed to have Congress change the law if we wanted to change how BLM does business.  Well, I'm writing to Congress to change the way Ms. Spencer does business for BLM.

Reading the article, the signs point to destination-slaughter:   Mr. President, Congress, Mr. Romney: Where are YOU with this?

This article reveals that the way Ms. Spencer has been conducting business for BLM is contrary to the public position BLM has consistently taken, i.e., that they do not sell horses to slaughter although they legally can do just that, which is why we need to press our Congressional representatives to change the law. 

I am personally sickened by the reality that Ms. Spencer, whose hand I have shaken, appears to be keeping her eyes wide shut to the virtually certain gruesome fate of at least 1,700 horses that we know about.

Even more eye-widening, most of these horses didn't even make it to longterm holding behind closed gates: these big, older horses were authorized by Ms. Spenser to be sold in trailer loads straight out of "short-term" pens, i.e., fresh off the range.  


IT IS TIME FOR A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION.   60 Minutes, Diane Sawyer, you want a story of intrigue and corruption evidently spanning decades?  Working with Wild Horse Education, journalist Dave Philipps has connected the dots, and we find that decades-old BLM duplicity and -- ?  We need a real investigation.


U P D A T E:  

Criticism  has been voiced by some about the timing of this story (since a parallel investigation into these issues was apparently ongoing), and it has confused some people.  I'm asked: "What should we do?"

Bring it back to the issue:  Look at the terrified, freshly captured horses in the photo above.
In the trap pen, lathered and steaming in below-freezing cold
From a practical reality position, the issue for us, the public, is clear:  the facts that we do have are now public, this story is now public, and we must not hesitate to voice our outrage and concern to our representatives.  We are responsible for the information we do have, which is not disputed, and debating about the story's timing is something we can and should do privately.  The facts are that while BLM is running out of places to put wild horses they keep removing, a pro-slaughter person (Calli Hendrickson) was appointed to the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, and the public needs to be speaking up because the pro-slaughter forces are moving in.

We are calling for a Congressional investigation of BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program and Ms. Spencer's administrative leave immediately effective while she is investigated.  Even more troubling is BLM will likely say she was just doing her job as she approved the sales of  animals under the circumstances you are about to read in Dave Philipps' groundbreaking work, All the Missing Horses: What Happened to Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought from the BLM?

When you have finished reading and are ready to take action, click here to easily find your Senators' phone number and email address, and if you don't know who your representatives are, then click here to easily find your Congressional representatives and their phone and email information.

Read on...
All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t? 

A lone mustang who escaped the helicopters watches a Bureau of Land Management roundup in the Stone Cabin Valley in Nevada during the winter of 2012. (Dave Philipps)
The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis this spring. 
The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that still roam the American West, rounding up thousands of them each year to keep populations stable.
But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range. 
So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the last few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler named Tom Davis who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

  THE BUREAU OF LAND MISMANAGEMENT DOES IT AGAIN, AND THEY ARE ROUNDING UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS — THE WILD HORSES, OF COURSE — AND CHASING THEM WITH HELICOPTERS IN THE HEIGHT OF FOALING SEASON.   How did it come to this?

         Below are the fragile, soft feet of a one-day-old mustang foal born in captivity.  Look how thin the hoof wall is, barely twice the thickness of my thumbnail. 
                  BELOW:  And the sole of this foot (the inner, flat part of the hoof), which is almost rock-hard in adult horses to withstand covering all kinds of terrain, in this youngster's foot is rubbery and pliable, similar to a large pencil eraser, and it gets worn down in the rough terrain in a like manner.  
        BELOW:  The same one-day-old foal's soft hind feet, with their paper-like hoof walls and rubbery soft sole.  His Maker equipped him well, but not to withstand running from a helicopter over miles of rocky ground in the first six weeks of his life.  
         HOW DID IT COME TO THIS, where BLM is violating its own protocols to remove many horses before their scheduled roundup several weeks away, risking the lives of the very young?   — who, by the way, are not being seen in the trap, I'm told.  So where are they?  
         BLM FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS has not reduced livestock grazing in this Jackson Mountain HMA as good range stewardship called for.  Thus, they have denuded the range; and let's please not forget that horses are outnumbered by cows and sheep in this area, which  is one of the few remaining legal areas designated for the wild horses and burros.  
         Additionally, there are serious drought conditions BLM has been monitoring in this area, and BLM began hauling water weeks ago.
         But once again, it's the wild horses and burros, who are by law supposed to be considered an integral ("essential, central, core") part of the natural system of the public lands, are instead being driven off their homes in this illegal way because of BLM's own mismanagement.  And BLM boasts that the livestock permittees have voluntarily reduced their grazing.  That's great for the permittees, but it is BLM's responsibility to manage the grazing, not rely on the permittees' goodwill, which we, by the way, very much appreciate.   
           I say "illegal" for two reasons:  1)  BLM's own rules prohibit roundups during foaling season; 2)  Per the 1971 Act, the HMA should be managed principally, not necessarilyl exclusively, for its resident wild horses and burros.  
          What galls the worst is many of us agree that for the horses' safety and survival, many do need to be moved, and we have tried to work with BLM to obtain protections for the horses in the process.  A number of wild horse advocates have been in discussions with BLM head personnel in Winnemucca to discuss how to do it safely, myself included. 
           We urged that water trapping be used, or bait trapping.  That was refused.
           So we entered discussions to try to obtain some safety for the horses now facing a helicopter roundup in the peak of foaling season.  
           BLM initially made the right noises about engaging more "humane" protocols — for exampl"monitoring" for "extreme temperatures," etc.   However, once again they have steadfastly refused to commit to actual conditions, e.g., stop flying when the temperature hits 85 F.  It is obscene, people, and I don't use that word casually.    
           On and on it goes.  Advocate Laura Leigh, who has been observing the roundup, lost hope in BLM as she saw foals being badly compromised and the helicopter continuing to fly despite soaring temperatures, and has filed suit to try and stop this. When Laura says to me, "Today I saw the worst run at the trap I've ever seen," I know things have got to be really serious. 
            I am now working with DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary.  I see these infants' feet, their fragility.  Sigh.

            To get a perspective on the physical toll roundups take on horses, now let's take a look at some adult mustang feet on the same day they were rounded up.  

                 These photos were all taken by me in the Temporary Holding pens the contractors set up for the horses after removing them from the trap pen itself.  These are photos of Freedom and his band after they were rounded up in the first Calico Complex roundup I documented in January/February of 2010.   
               Observe how very short each hoof is.  These horses' feet have been worn way down by this exertion, a long run on rocky terrain.  I cannot fathom subjecting baby horses, whose hooves are not even hard, to this. 
          BELOW:  More feet of horses in Freedom's band minutes after they were rounded up:
 See closeup below:
And by the way, we don't get access this close to Temporary Holding pens anymore.  This last year, 2012, it has been my experience that BLM will escort us to a trap site but then won't let us get close enough to identify individual horses well enough to know which horse to follow up on if there is a problem with a horse. If we are even allowed to visit Temporary Holding, we are kept at least 50 feet away from the horses and have a hard time seeing anything identifiable.   So BLM is giving us, the public, "access" without actually allowing us to see much; i.e., fulfilling the letter of the law without fulfilling the spirit and intent of the law.  
               Wild horses' feet, which vets and farriers agree are the healthiest hooves in the horse world, stay clean and trim because the natural rocky terrain keeps them filed.  

             But when you take these animals and chase them long distances no living predator could sustain, their feet and hooves take something of a beating, as you can see above.  This is why the BLM  regulations forbid rounding up horses or burros within six weeks of acknowledged foaling season:  the foals' feet cannot possibly sustain it, and heavily pregnant mares suffer and miscarry.  Some people have seen mares heavy with foal actually delivering their foals as they are running.  We don't ever want to see that again.

                 This blog wouldn't be complete without remembering Hope, the Calico foal who we saw straggling and struggling as he was chased into the trap during the 2010 Calico roundup, who lost his life because his feet were literally run off.  
                  HUMANE OBSERVER VIEWER RATING GUIDE:  S (Sad but nothing graphic or gruesome, no blood.)
         
               I am disgusted by the failure of BLM to put genuine numbers on the table, to make real commitments on boundaries to ensure the safety of these animals, and drop its continued "gray area" discretionary words like "monitor for extreme temperatures."
              That sounds just like, "I need to eat less." "I have to cut down on my spending."  Those are easy words to say.   But the hoof meets the road, so to speak, with a specific commitment:  "I am letting go of sugar";  "I will only have one Starbucks coffee per day."  Let's get down to it, shall we?
              BLM continues to promise to simply cut down on abuses,  promising what it refuses to actually deliver.  They never come up with a policy to which they can be held regarding the welfare of the wild horses and burros, preferring to leave critical, life-and-death decisions to the contractors and/or BLM people on the ground in each individual roundup.  As much as Gene Seidlitz talked a good game, I see no changes.  Whoever is responsible, the horses are run with no distance limits to be held to, no temperature limits to be held to.
              It is time to define "extreme."  It is time to define these vague terms.  It's time to define specific action that is to be taken when the mercury gets to a certain level.  It's time for the courts and congress to rein in this renegade agency before they really do wipe out our stellar legacy, the wild horses and burros.
               You can follow the lawsuit that's been filed by going to Wild Horse Education.  Please tell your friends and family about our nation's wild horses.  Only by more people speaking up can we save them.  I'll do my best to keep you posted.  I apologize for this blog's long silence.  I've been moving, but I have stayed involved.  I hope you will, too.