Sunday, May 30, 2010


                           ©2010 Photography by Elyse Gardner
Commemorative Statue at Sacramento, CA for the Pony Express
     Warm greetings this momentous holiday of Memorial for the fallen of our country. This holiday commemorates those who've given the ultimate gift to obtain the freedom we Americans live and breathe and assume every day of our busy lives.  I remember as well all the families and friends and animals who have grieved these losses.
     Being a horse advocate, I include in this the profound yet commonly overlooked contribution of the horses, and most noteably the wild horses, who were conscripted into service in our wars here and abroad.  It wasn't uncommon for a mounted soldier to go through as many as nine horses in his career. 
     In thinking of the myriad thousands of horses who've served to obtain this way of life, most notably the war horses and the Pony Express horses stand out today.  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 link below to honor the horses 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.  The only thing more sad than losing one's life as a hero is for no one on earth to notice.  
     Therefore, join me -- please -- in reading this informative article at the provided link below.  IN MEMORIAM TO OUR HORSES, thank you.  Please click on the link below (or copy and paste the link below into your address bar).  What a convenient way to explore history.

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

NOTE: To enlarge photos, simply click once on them.  Press your"back" arrow or "back" command to restore to original size.  Enjoy! 
                      ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
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 girls of Fallon.  Enjoy the video at the end of this post... can't wait to share that with you.
                       ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
                      ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
The fillies below are at Palomino Valley holding facility and are 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. 
                      ©Photo by Marilyn Wargo
Fillies at Palomino Valley Center holding facility outside Reno, Nevada
                   ©Photo by Marilyn Wargo
Brave curious filly exchanging breath with me
                     ©Photo by Marilyn Wargo

Having exchanged breath, she's demonstrating the flehmen response, taking, reading, and storing my scent
                      ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
                     ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
I will be adding more soon about the judge's ruling on the IDA v. Salazar lawsuit as well as the well-known stallions and our other Calico roundup horses now at Palomino Valley holding.  
An excellent synopsis on the lawsuit by attorney and advocate Laura Allen may be found at 
These blogs are difficult because of the myriad of issues I want to share. What to address...   
For now, I am relieved that some alarming issues we observed and addressed regarding the housing of the stallions at Palomino Valley holding have been responded to by the BLM, and some potential problems averted. It was very frustrating initially to be somewhat disrespectfully dismissed, but we and the problems were ultimately taken seriously.  It is progress. Keep a cool head, be persistent, show up smooth and steady for the horses. The BLM staff tend to be defensive now, and who can blame them.  We all need to unclench our fists and breathe.   For details and a blow-by-blow, you can visit Laura Leigh's blog at
                        ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

Stallions at Palomino Valley Holding
I hope for more of this type of cooperative care with BLM for these animals.  I am so glad public observers/we were there, and I am glad BLM responded.  Palomino is a public facility open six days a week, so we have been able to visit and monitor the Calico horses now in pens there. 
Visit your local holding facilities; you will help the horses much more than you realize. Ask questions.  Be a polite presence.
Important:  I have been told by BLM officials that they are receiving threats of violence.  I hope anyone reading this blog will limit their threats to, "I'm going to write my Congressman," and, "I am blogging this all over the world." And those are promises, not threats.  It is my call and plea that people not threaten or commit violence against the BLM or anyone else.  
The voice and pen are mightier than the sword.  I suspect the people making the threats do not read this blog.  If you do, we do not help the horses by violence or by threatening violence.  It is violence we are seeking to end by stopping the helicopter roundups and finding workable protection and management on the range for the wild horses and burros. Herdwatch is well under way and will provide realistic alternative protection and management strategies to BLM for keeping our wild horses wild and free-roaming if the BLM has the will to do it.
And now for some real fun.  Enjoy, and happy, safe, Memorial Day commemoration.  
(I'm still wresting with these videos; please DOUBLE CLICK INSIDE THE VIDEO so it will play properly. Thank you.)

I remain,
for the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,


  1. Elyse...

    I'm going to college soon and plan to major or minor in wildlife conservation. For a while now I've been putting together a project that I believe would bring awareness to this cause and hopefully encourage a change in the BLM's methods.

    Here's what I'm thinking. One of the BLM's go-to excuses is that the wild horses are decimating the land, yet many say the data the BLM uses to support this claim is sketchy... so what if I rally a bunch of students to go down to these so-called barren areas? What if we could meet with local botanists and biologists and assess the situation honestly and openly? And if the ranges really are in horrid conditions, what if we committed ourselves to working with these experts to start the biggest cross-state planting project ever?

    Realistically speaking, I don't expect students to drop everything and travel to the midwest for months at a time. Instead, I'd utilize the greatest tool we have - connection. I would begin a website that monitors progress by region, state, city; right down to the individual plants by counting how many new ones are planted each day and recording their growth. The site would provide a medium for people to keep track of the vegetation in their own communities and discuss the outlook for the future with professionals, enabling them to work on specific plans and solve potential problems before they occur.

    As demonstrated by the website "", people actually do not mind doing a small amount of work at their own pace if they can visualize the changes made by their actions. The site would be very accessible: all you'd need would be a camera, a handful of seed, and a willingness to get dirty. As for visuals, the user would see the earth transforming right before them through a constantly updating database of user-uploaded photographs. This information would be stored in a public gallery and represented by illustrations on the homepage. Users would even be able to simulate damage on the regions by using a program that gives the option of seperately increasing or decreasing the categories of 'horse herd size', 'cattle', and 'other wildlife'. The same program could be used to project years into the future based on observed patterns and data from biologists, allowing the plans created to be more accurate.

    From what I've read on this issue, the BLM does not like to be questioned about its data or state its sources... but if this project really got going, there would be a bigger demand for that information, and the BLM would no longer be able to operate behind public view. This, hopefully, would bring about change. As for awareness, the media loves to see college students getting involved with the world, so I'm sure that there will be a chance for publicity on a large level. Colleges and schools all over the country could encourage their students, and their parents, to get involved. A project of this nature would show that future generations do care about what goes on in their world.

    I understand that the biggest changes will have to happen through legislature, but simply writing letters doesn't seem like enough. I'm worried that by the time anyone in office agrees that something is wrong here, it will be too little too late. At the very least, I believe this project would benefit the communities by increasing their native plant population, and serve as an inspiration to those who are sick of these rough times we feel we have no control over.

    But before I can do anything, I need opinions. Do you have any advice for me, or know anyone that could provide assistance? It would take a year or two at the earliest before I'd be able to do this, but I want to make sure my project outline is as realistic as possible and that the outcome would be worth the time of myself and everyone involved. I wholeheartedly welcome any input on this project from you and your readers.

    Thank you.

  2. Great job on the video! The horses are so friendly, I see that they are branded. Isn't it ridiculous that they can blame horses for ruining land? The BLM is known for starving them to death, no? Didn't they keep the foals from their mothers for so long that they died? My only advice to you is be prepared for a hard time from animal haters and also I encourage you to "observe and report" EVERYTHING. Keep the cameras rolling. Write everything down. Who, what, when, where. I am very impressed with your idea. I wish you the best of luck.

  3. Thanks for keeping track of these beautiful horses! Love the video. I sure love Brittany's idea. I wish the younger genearation would get involved. She has such the right idea about checking out the ranges. Out at Sand Wash Basin Colorado, where I am documenting the horses, the sheep are doing massive destruction. I have seen it with my own eyes. The BLM does not want to rock the boat with these guys that have been "stewards" of the land for so long, but the truth needs to be exposed! The range is sick and needs attention. The horses hardly make a dent compared to the 10,000 sheep that ravage the land. It is sad. Something needs to be done!