Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Updates - Washington D.C. "March for Mustangs" coming this week...

                                            ©Photography by Elyse Gardner

I endeavor to take you with me.     :)
FIRST:  Be on the lookout for my full feature article on the StableWomanGazette.com describing processing (branding, etc.) the horses at the Fallon holding facility.  Hot off the press probably late tonight 3/23/10.  Please tell your friends and family... Thank you, Elyse
          AS WE ALL go through our political machinations, the horses continue to live in their honest way under their circumstances, whatever they be.  I never cease to learn from their example.  Horses live life on life's terms the best they can.  Specifically...
Fallon contains many new additions, horses that have never heard a helicopter nor known a free walk in the mountains:  babies are being born daily now.
                                 ©2010  Photograph by Elyse Gardner
                              ©2010  Photograph by Elyse Gardner
Horses are being processed now. I wish to share with you the story of "processing."  Stay tuned, please.  
Meantime, here is one thing in the mix for our March for Mustangs.  We want to educate and inform our senatorial representatives and provide the information so people understand that the  short-term "fix" (roundups) end in long-term disaster for the range, the horses, and our country.  Decision-makers need to understand, and the American public needs to understand, that Secretary Salazar's plan eliminates free, wild horses.  
In trying to frame it in context, I come up with this:  His "sanctuaries" are akin to calling San Quentin a sanctuary for camping humans.  Would you be grateful for "sanctuary" at San Quentin, where you could no longer be yourself?  No?  But you would be fed.  You would have a bed in which to sleep.  Your food would be provided -- well, maybe not what you would obtain for yourself.  And there's a good chance it will make you sick, but you would have plenty of it.  Oh, and you can't leave.  And you can't have your family with you like you used to.  Such is the nature of Secretary Ken Salazar's "sanctuary."  I do not like to be too confrontational, but from the wild horses' perspective I am angered at the use of the word.  It is a mockery to call his plan a sanctuary.  Listen to Lacy J. Dalton's song, "Sanctuary," on her Wild Horse Crossing CD, and you will know what "sanctuary" is.
Meet Tomahawk's son, Painted Arrow, and Buck, his close companion to his right.  Well, meet Buck's lovely rump.  
   ©Photography by Elyse Gardner    Painted Arrow, Tomahawk's son
And here, of course, is Dad (Tomahawk), by way of comparison.  The lighting is different (photos taken on different days, in different places).  They are the same colors.
.    ©Photography by Elyse Gardner     Tomahawk (and Redman)
They are in separate pens.  The sorrow of it is their genetics are now lost from the Calico complex.  I hope some horses are left in the Calico range from Tomahawk's family.  Paint mustangs are not common, and he is especially striking.  He is beautiful and very even tempered, from what I've observed -- which isn't enough, honestly.  
Below left:  Baltic and his father, Lightning.  Below right:  Baltic and his mare in wild.                      
     ©Photography by Craig Downer                              
                                                                ©Photography by Craig Downer  
Baltic and his beautiful blue roan mare.  All of these horses are in captivity now, stuck in holding pens.

Tomahawk and Redman, his buddy; and Painted Arrow, Tomahawk's son, and his friend Buck; and Lightning and his son Baltic; and General and True, his son, and their blue/grey friend:  the stallions are all still at Fallon but now wearing tags and brands.  They are still intact since castration is on hold pending the resolution of the In Defense of Animals, et al., v. Salazar, et al., case.   But soon they will be sent...where?  To whom?  What about the older horses (horses over 10) who are at risk of sale authority purchases which often lead to kill buyers?  General is aged at 20.  Tomahawk is 12.
Oh, that they were just left on their ranges...
MEDIA DAY: I attended Media Day at Fallon, doing a feature for Stable Woman Gazette.  I went in and photographed (and videotaped) for 2.5 hours on Media Day.  BLM graciously allowed me to stay a little longer than their 1.5 hour time slot so I could film a particular horse, Mouse, who is featured in my article, which will be on Stablewomangazette.com on 3/23/10 in the afternoon.
I saw some of the yearlings and two-year-olds being processed.  They did not like their processing at all.  This youngster speaks for everyone I saw that day.  Please see their whole story at Stable Woman Gazette.  I do my best to bring you right in there with me via photos and explanations.
                              ©Photography by Elyse Gardner
                               ©Photography by Elyse Gardner

Mouse struggles to evade the de-worming medication.
I don't go much for long silences; I've missed posting. It is amazing how the time slips by.  But I've been observing the horses and collaborating and providing material for people literally around the world who want to save our American horses in the wild.
I want to thank Laura Leigh for her undaunted, press on/press in to get this trailer and video put together on very short notice.  Here is one of the things we have been working on for our precious horses:
This is the trailer for a 20-minute documentary of some of the 1,922 Calico complex horses that we put together in the last week.  That will be available in the next few days.
Thank you for translating your love for these animals into action.  Go to Thecloudfoundation.org to see how you can take one or two simple actions to help these horses.  Please stay with me; I'll help you help them.
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,
 Elyse Gardner
After clicking to "play," click anywhere on the video rectangle to have a better view...  Thank you.


  1. Thank you for one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories I've read (so far). Thank you so much for bringing the wild ones' story to us. To those of us out here on the fringes doing what we can for them, praying for them. May God have mercy on those who choose to sell out our heritage of centuries, our legacy of wild horses, our freedom. Thank You, KA Schaaf

  2. Thanks for posting the update including the photos and video. It was hard going to Fallon last Sunday. I've seen horses in the wild, out in their rightful place...incredible and totally different than these holding facilities. The BLM seems to be in serious violation of the 1971 Act. Wild horses and burros are supposed to be the "principle" users of the designated wild horse and burro areas, not second, third, fourth or zero-ed out. And ridiculously low AMLs as set by the BLM is basically over the next 5-10 years, going to zero out these herds. The Secretary of the Interior is supposed to "protect and preserve" the wild horses and burros, not to sterilize them and put them in so-called sanctuaries. Please try to bring up these issues and more (I'm sure that's your plan anyway!) when you all are in D.C. this week. Good luck in D.C.!!!