Tuesday, August 17, 2010


      TWIN PEAKS roundup continues daily.  Over half of California's wild horses will be removed from their mountains.  (Click twice to view in "Youtube" if the video doesn't play properly. -- EG )
    I have put together a video of this day's events.

I need to make a statement here:  I am alarmed at some of the threatening comments people are posting on my blogs.  These comments reflect the frustration, pain, and feelings of impotence most feel about the decimation of our wild horse herds.  Nevertheless, this needs to stop, please.  We may hate what the BLM is doing, but they are human beings with families carrying out policies that need to be changed from the top down.  The BLM are increasing security at the roundups, and who can blame them?  
    No one should get hurt, nor should we speak of such things.  They solve nothing.     Please continue to take the high road and refrain from violence and violent talk, even though the following information about the policies toward our wild horses reflect wrongs that run deep.  Let the frustration and unfairness of such disproportionate allocation of range resources drive us to greater contacts with lawmakers; drive us to make that long trip to participate in BLM meetings, public participation where our input will matter.  The pen truly is mightier than the sword.  Let it be a slow, effective burn, not an explosive expletive that just generates more fear and distrust in the world.  
    So here's more frustrating news:
     In this HMA (Herd Management Area) three-fourths of the burros in this HMA will be removed.
     At the end of these six weeks, how will we find any wild horses with only 448 left out of 2,303 on 798,000 acres?   How will we find any burros, with a mere 72 wild precious burros left out of 282 on 798,000 acres?   
     I don't know about you, but I am a Californian, and I've objected.  This is in my state now, and it's even more personal.  I've participated in the process and done my best to protect the horses and the mountains that will miss them, and the Bureau of Land Management continues in its relentless execution of its land use plan which removes 1,800 of our wild horses from my home turf.
    I don't like to sound rabid about all this, but, honestly, it has the feel of the the Terminator movie our Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in: No matter what we do, no matter how many thousands of people submit their well-reasoned objections, no matter how much we ask for real science and re-examination of the land use allocations between wild horses, livestock, mineral rights, and other uses on this wild horse and burro legally mandated HMAs (herd management area), the BLM just keeps coming like some giant relentless terminator machine tearing up the ground and pushing the wild horses and everything else off as it goes on its immutable terminator way.  If you overcome it in one great battle, why, it resurrects and grows another arm and leg and mouth and eats up some more...  
     However, this isn't the movies.  And with a change in leadership and/or policy, things can indeed change.  
     Even if one conceded sometimes wild horses should be removed if conditions truly warrant,  these numbers are absolutely staggering.  
     This is how I'm feeling as I've stood and watched these scenes unfold.
     I wanted to get you some information.  We are a constant presence for these our horses, and the horses need you, too.  Please show up for them however you can, whether here, responding to alerts, whatever opportunity presents.  
     I will have nice photos for you one day.  Today you get to share some sorrow.
     However, not to be entirely discouraged: A Humane Advocate position was one of three positions added to the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board at the last meeting in Denver, and Timothy J. Harvey,  from New Hampshire, the new appointee to that position, is at this roundup.  He appears to be taking his new responsibilities seriously.  We are talking; he is talking to everyone.  This position would never have been created had we not been showing up in force for the horses.  The position is a good one.  We'll see if Tim makes the difference he hopes to make for the horses.  If he makes suggestions and findings not the BLM's liking, the question is what will they do?  
    Twenty-seven stallions were released today.  Some mares will be released tomorrow (Wednesday) after being PZP treated.  Release is a good thing.  Puny numbers, but I confess it's a relief to know at least some are going back, but so hard to hear them calling so anxiously to each other and know most will be returning without family.
     I will get you video and film soon.  
    A lovely young woman and her dad were there today, studying this issue, finding out firsthand.  She and her peers are tomorrow's protectors of the horses and burros.  She loves the mustangs.  Dad looks like he's agreeing to an adoption.  This is a good thing.  
 ( Photo to be added.)  
     The trap site on this day was located on the bottom of this long flat mesa.  
     We arrived at the trap site at 7:05 a.m.  
                    ©Photos by Elyse Gardner
The helicopter crested the ridge of the mesa at 7:46 a.m.   After a few minutes, we saw a large group of horses running along the top of the mesa.  Usually they disappear over on the other side of ridgetops and reappear at the base of the rise.  I always thought they would just find a flatter way down.
   ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

Wnen they reached the edge of the table, I thought they would be guided to a less steep place to descend. I was gripped as the helicopter hovered and the horses started descending rapidly right there.  
                    ©Photo by Elyse Gardner
   ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

    ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

They didn't want to come down, and turned in different directions, starting to run one way and then another, not knowing which way to go.   The consistent behavior of the wild horses is they always try to go back up, always wanting to return to the safety of the mountains. 
              ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

 A woman watching a roundup for the first time was crying, feeling the obvious stress of the horses,  the inevitability of the waiting trap and the permanent loss of freedom these horses were now minutes from.  She wasn't alone.  
             ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

   ©Photo by Elyse Gardner

©Photo by Elyse Gardner
The final push into the trap, and it's done.
We are visiting these horses at Litchfield holding facility where they are being taken.  
      A broken leg was reported in an earlier article by someone else, but that horse had an injury to her hock which is being treated.  I'm told she was returned to the general population pens.  A horse that was colicking has recovered.  
     It is my fervant prayer and hope we can find a way to let these horses be, to live free.   I have a lot more to share, but I'm at Starbucks using their wi-fi to get this to you, and I have to go get ready for tomorrow when they are going to release m, so for now, I remain,
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends, 
Elyse Gardner
To make a tax deductible donation to my field work, please go to DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary, click "Donate," and as you go through the process, you will have the option to earmark your donation as you wish.  
You will see, "Add Special instructions to recipient."  There you can insert, "For field work," or, "for Humane Observer," or, "1/2 for Sanctuary and 1/2 for field work" (whatever you wish) and it will go where you specify.  Thank you.


  1. Wild horses aside, as they are removing far too many far too quickly, not one burro should be in this round up. They are nowhere near excess with just 200 and some over 3/4 of a million acres. I find the entire management by the BLM to be Kafkaesque.

  2. At each and every round up, I hope and pray someone will step in and stop it, but it just keeps going on and on. I've written letters, emails, called people, posted on social networks and everyone is shocked and feels the same way as I do. But the round ups continue. They are rounding up OUR HORSES people, but they aren't listening to us. Makes me feel helpless...

  3. Maybe someday the WH&B advisory board will have some power, but as it stands at this momment..They have no power to make changes, and since the board consists of other APPOINTEES by the BLM that include those firmly against the horses..I can see no concensus coming out of there that would put pressure on the BLM, altho I certainly appreciate Tims desire to be informed-this is a planned extermination and BLM has no intention of stopping..short of their armed gaurds going postal and shooting an unarmed citizen-which would get the white houses, congress and the publics attention..I am taking it that you did not share Lisas experience with the surly BLM employees???

  4. Obama go, go, go, go, far away!
    When is his time over?

  5. So many lost foals. They claim non-gather related...get real BLM! Read the descriptions - nothing but pure torture. Thanks a lot Obama.

  6. We need to provide for truly viable habitats for truly viable populations of the wild horses and burros, much larger than this totally inadquate levels currently known as AML and that are a cynical undoing of the true intention of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act!

  7. Elyse, whereas I appreciate you being "civil" and proper, and fair. However that approach just DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE! I am not advocating "killing" any BLM agents, however, we still have "free speech" so I don't see anything wrong with expressing our frustration. As far as the employees "carying out orders..." no decent self respecting animal loving person should work for the BLM when "orders" mean the killing of innocent horses and foals!