Wednesday, September 8, 2010


  This palomino stallion, waiting with other stallions slotted for release,  kept
looking over at the mares, sporadically calling out hopefully, looking
 for his family.  Unlike Atticus, he got no answer.   His dejection was palpable. 

Twin Peaks continues, and I am scurrying to edit video and overcome low signal strength to keep this blog current.  I am working simultaneously on a couple of videos (not a good idea) of the various trap sites where I've watched many of the 1,376 Twin Peaks horses lose their freedom.  Only 58 horses have been released so far.
Awaiting their fate at Bull Flat temporary holding:  Will these mares selected
 and waiting for release be released as planned?  Or will they become another  longterm holding statistic?
BLM was going to be releasing horses it deemed characteristic of the area as it finished rounding up in a specific area and was ready to move to the next trap site.  However, the decision now is they are going to wait on any other releases until they finish this roundup just in case they don't round up as many horses as they plan.   The stallions set aside for release are big, dominant stallions currently crammed into a small pen at the temporary holding facility constructed for this gather.
The stallions slotted for release, waiting listlessly for days in this cramped pen, looking for their mares. 
The longer these horses wait, the less chance they have of being released.  These horses should be released now back into their home areas to maintain a consistent presence.
"We are so ready..."

Many people believe BLM overestimated their "take," so if BLM waits till the end of the roundup, the chances for any release diminish, frankly, because they will feel a need to keep every horse they have.  So these strong, selected horses will end up in captivity through the numbers game.  For the horses, the longer they stay in holding, the greater the effect captivity has on them and the more depressed they become.   The disenfranchisement and diminishment pile up for the wild horses, and it's lose-lose all the way.

I challenge BLM:  if you are attempting to leave strong, representative horses on these ranges, then do it, or all your talk about a plan is meaningless.  Your plans are as reliable as the wind.  Releasing these horses now is a plus for them and for future generations.  It's bad enough you've decimated their family groups; at least let these go to maintain a consistent presence and begin to restore some lives, BLM.  

If you have questions or comments about this, you can click on this link to email the Eagle Lake Office or call the Eagle Lake Field Manager, Ken Collum,  at (530) 257-0456.  

Here is video of the horses captured during today's roundup, Wednesday, September 8, 2010.  Click inside the view box a second time if it doesn't play properly.   That will take you to play it in Youtube.  When it's finished, come back and see the rest of this blog post.   

I want to take this opportunity to comment on the New York Times video and article that came out yesterday, which addresses some behaviors long felt by the public and never acknowledged by BLM or its contractors.

The Twin Peaks roundup continues, and the public is invited each day -- invited to see a very tightly controlled, censored roundup scenario.  As I’ve said before, these roundups and BLM’s policies are as transparent as mud.  

To my President, in whom I have hoped and still hope:   I do not believe you were thinking of mud when you committed to your country that transparency would be the hallmark of your administration.  It was a bold statement that we loved.  Do you have the boldness to follow it through, sir, and to deal with this insult to your administration?  

The situation has created itself, and your country waits while your Department of Interior makes a mockery of your statement.  This wild horse and burro program needs your swift intervention.  Ken Salazar is making you look very bad, Mr. President, between the oil spill and the round'em up mentality cutting down this nation's great icon, a symbol and beloved animal by whom Americans are truly inspired and want to rally.  We feel like real Americans one step from the old west, connected to our great nation's history, when we look at our wild horses.   I admire loyalty, but is your loyalty to your people and your word, or to a bend-the-rules rancher who stated that wild horses have no place on public land?  I apologize for my boldness, sir, but really:  Whom do you serve, Mr. Obama?

©Photos by Elyse Gardner
"Observation" at Painter's Flat trap site on September 3, 2010.  With
60 magnification, I can just about see something...
At a couple of viewing areas, I couldn’t see the capture pens at all, like the one below.  The tree on the left is blocking the view of the capture pen.   
©Photos by Elyse Gardner
Observation at Horn Ranch trap site on September 1, 2010. Pen is in the trees.

At other viewing areas, the water truck was parked in a way that obstructed our view of the capture pen so observers cannot see the agitated horses slamming around in the pen after their capture or how afraid they are when being crammed hurriedly into trailers to be taken to the temporary holding site where you saw Atticus and where horses now wait for their planned release on hold. 

During the Calico roundup, I was there almost every public viewing day, and kudos to the contractor and BLM:  I never saw a horse injured or euthanized despite the fact that there were seven on-site deaths/"euthanizations."  I had to read about it the next day in the “Gather Updates.”  

Reading about these things after the fact, we would realize why our vigilant “escorts” suddenly pulled the observer caravan over to the side of the road for no apparent reason instead of going directly back to temporary holding.  Why, it turns out they were shooting a horse that they decided had a deformity even though he or she had lived to that point and survived the roundup.  Or they were euthanizing a horse that had been kicked in the trailer and lost an eye.  
The point:  we were out there to observe and document, but we were never told at the time these really serious things were happening to the horses. The Bureau of Land Management is complicit in this policy, make no mistake.  Dave Cattoor and BLM have demonstrated their remarkable ability to veil the truth right before the public's eyes.  

Mr. President:  Please take heed.  This is your BLM, and it is out of control, and the public knows it.  The question is, will you do something about it?
Senators, Congressmen:  Are you going to continue funding this abuse? 
As inadvertently admitted in this New York Times article and online video by Clare Major and Jesse McKinley, entitled, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They,” Dave Cattoor instructs one of his wranglers:

D.Cattoor:   If something happens, we’re going to correct it quickly –

Wrangler:   Okay.
D.Cattoor:  -- just like we talked about.  If it’s a broken leg, we’re going to put it down.
Wrangler:  Okay.
D.Cattoor:  Slide it on the trailer, same thing, and go to town with it. 
Wrangler:  Okay.
D.Cattoor:  We’re not going to give them that one shot they want.  
Wrangler:  Okay.  You got it."  
Excellent reporting; a big thank you to Clare Major and Jesse McKinley for concretely penetrating the facade of transparency.  
I understand why Mr. Cattoor doesn’t want us to photograph or videotape what he does.  The cries of these horses calling out to each other as they are separated forever, the injuries, the injustice of it, enrages the public. The injustice of the cows and sheep and natural gas and special interests squeezing the wild horses off their own legal herd management areas is enraging the public.  

This roundup earnestly needs to stop right now.  We've lost 60 percent of California's wild horse areas since 1971.  The National Academy of Science study to start in January 2011 certainly will not have a cohesive population of wild horses representative of true wild horse society to study, certainly not in Twin Peaks, which would have been one of the best places to get an in-depth study of these animals and their contributions and/or impacts to the land.  

We are pushed to ask for a moratorium on these roundups; it is the only answer right now, and even Congress is on board with this.  

Finally, I hear BLM is upset about my blog and feels I am creating a problem.  Who is creating a problem?  

I am revealing the truth of what is actually happening to our wild horses in the hands of the Bureau of Land Management and its contracting agents, be they Cattoor Roundup Contractors, or Troy Adams at Broken Arrow holding facilityand the lack of oversight, at Broken Arrow and at other BLM facilities, of foals who get orphaned or injured in the overcrowded pens and do not get noticed for days at a time;
or the BLM's no-pain-management policy post gelding, despite the HSUS vet's recommendations to the contrary, or anyone else.  

So BLM's railing about my blog, which I am diligent to keep factual and help people understand events as seen and felt from the horses' perspective, this is what is known as “stoning the messenger."
I remain,
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,
Elyse Gardner


  1. One great big "a cow's rear end" to the idea that you are the problem Elyse.

    The problem is the BLM and the Cattoor's who shoot horses without a vet onscene. I have mentioned numerous times that having an independent humane observer to document would alleviate many people's concern.

    We have no way of knowing how badly a horse was injured or if he even was. Sorry but Dave has a prior conviction against him (whether he pled or not is irrelvant as is whether it was a misdeamor or felony) for rounding up and sending to slaughter wild horses. Shooting them is just one step further down that awful trail.

    I understand why the Cattoor's can't handle the stress--this is ugly business that they're in. They could always choose to just not bid on these roundups, thereby alleving themselves of that stress.

    And BLM's tacit agreement in the handling of all this business is unbelievable. They are REQUIRED by law to protect the wild horses. They are as guilty as Dave for allowing this business.

  2. of COURSE they're upset with you! the truth hurts they always say! and you ARE revealing their ugly truth!
    God Bless you for that! And they will go to hell eventually

  3. Maybe we should run all the politicians and BLM the same way they run these horses and see how well they can handle it.
    I have my doubts that any of them would even get close to making it to the holding pens like these wonderful horses do.
    These horses have been around for alot longer
    than any one of these people.
    The Horses are a part of this countrys heritage
    and for the future generations they need to stay. The cattle and sheep don't have rights to lay claim to this ground.

  4. Elsye,Laura, and the rest of you who are the 'boots on the ground' BIG hugs & thank you's for your dedication and hard work in exposing the truth!
    Many, many blessings to ALL of you!

  5. It kills me to see this, I hate it. I understand the need to manage the herds. But I DO NOT UNDERSTAND the need to put these horses through the hell they are putting the through. BLM is not and has not done a good job of "managing OUR wild horses" Thats right folks they are ours the American people. How many are going to stand by and watch them continue to Kill off these beautiful creatures? They way they are handling them with the Helicopters today is no different from back in the day when they chased them off cliff and ran them over snares!!!!!! They could still manage to get the job done without landing practically on top of their heads! Heaven forbid they have to take their time and do things the harder way for the sake of the horses. Truly cold heartless selfish lazy corrupt people. The government needs to fix this problem that they started in the first place by not caring. And BLM Needs to step up and be more responsible, caring, and understanding of what is in the best interest for these horses and for those of us that want to see them out there on these ranges for many more centuries to come.
    If you ask me..... SCREW the cattle ranchers, tell them to go buy their own Flipping land if they are so worried about sharing it with our horses. Stop leasing land to graze cattle all together! That will fix the room problem for our horses and fix the rest of the people (I have nothing nice to say about) that are more worried about their own profit rather then what they are doing to our history and our land!

  6. Great stuff, Elyse. As Mary said, of course the BLM is fit to be tied over your blog - you tell the truth and they are NOT in the business of truth. Those who hate this blog are soulless SOBs who are without compassion or honor. I hope they all go into an apoplectic fit myself.

    There are many of us who can't be with you in person - much as we wish we could - but, we can spread the message, blog your words and videos, shout from the roof tops! And support you in any other way we possibly can.

    The comments you made to the President were especially to the point and raise questions that absolutely MUST be answered. This is NOT what I voted for. And I certainly will not vote for it again.

    We are with you in our hearts - and our computers.

  7. It shouldn't be about getting the numbers they want to pull... It's suppose to be about gathering "excess only" so if they have finished gathering an area they need to let the horses back out on the range at a level to sustainthe herds. The mules should not be counted.
    I was asking what the short term birth control was and if it would cause mares to abort. The mares they released had no foals at their sides so if not barren then should have been rebred 4 months or more before roundup. If their are no foals next year then they aborted them.

  8. So Angry!! I Would Like To Be Chasin' That Piolot Down That Rocky *ss Slope In His Helicopter & A M16 Poppin' At His Heels ;{

  9. I'm seriously thinking that those of us on the east coast need to march on Capitol Hill - knock on Mr. Obama's front door if you will and loudly protest what's going on. Are there enough of us to get this accomplished? Can we make enough noise to be heard. I say in his on words - YES WE CAN. The BLM needs to be accountable, to many of the horses they auction are sold to people that don't even know how to take care of an animal - much less a wild horse. They need to leave this herd alone, they've already decimated it's numbers to the point that recovery would take years and not just a few. They can come back with our help just as the Bald Eagle the symbol of our country came back. Actions have to be soon and swift.

  10. @ Kathy Mahan, The mares are given birth control by injection. It's been known to last for years, in other words they don't know but these mares that are given the injection come into heat monthly and create chaos amongst the herd. They "should" be in-foal. With man's hand having it's way in everything that's not the case. The BLM is looking to make wild horses a thing of the old west. It's nothing but cruel the way these majestic creatures are treated.

  11. Keep up the good work, Elyse. You help to make it possible for the world to see! Of course the BLM doesn't like your message. They are caught red handed. Their policy (if you can call it that) is that there will BE no live wild horses in this country when they get done! We are being stripped of an American icon, people!! Speak up for the horses! This is animal abuse by our own government!!

  12. Ok,lets see,they are spending tax dollers on something that most and many do NOT want?AND on top of that they are cutting school funding,that also is payed for by tax`s?With the school funding being what is wanted?!?!?!?
    Tell me know what is going on in those People`s heads!!!!!I have a mustang myself who freaks out compleatly when she hears a helacopter,she is as sweet as can be but would have been killed if no one had adopted her,instead of being returned to the wild home she loved?My mom has a friend who works on the BLM adoption sites,I live in SC,and adopted her from a adoption site close by,but she came from colorado!WHAT IS IN THEIR THOUGHTS?!?!?!?!
    The roundups put the "Hell" in helacopters!!!