Saturday, October 30, 2010


        UPDATED POST:  11/2/10
 ©9/18/2010 Elyse Gardner
You can see the six-day-old mule foal in the back next to Mom with the blaze
          BEFORE PROCEEDING, please let me ask you:
        The material I document on behalf of the horses touches many people deep in the core.  The pain and outrage thousands feel on behalf of the horses is leaking out -- bursting out --  in very raw language and violent emotion in the "Comments" section of this blog.  
           I earnestly ask that everyone put on their adult, civilized, proud-citizen-of-this-still-amazing- country hat, and put on civility even if you don't feel it. I so appreciate your comments but any violent or threatening comments are counterproductive. 
         Please channel this energy by writing directly to your Congressional Representatives and Senators, as well as to our President.  Send them the link to this blog:  Tell THEM TO DO SOMETHING.  EXPRESS YOURSELF IN THE VOTING BOOTH on November 2nd. Work with me to cut off the incessant roundups through budget restrictions to make the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program spend our taxpayer dollars for the horse (e.g., more toward on-the-range management as intended by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act), not against them. (You can learn more here from the Cloud Foundation).
          I have made an effort to NOT audit the comments on this blog, but I feel I will need to in order to stop what are turning into counterproductive remarks. I earnestly thank you for taking the time to comment, for expressing your love for the horses and support for my work and that of others documenting these roundups.  You all rock; just try to do it in a more civilized manner. Gratefully, Elyse

(As always, click on the photographs to enlarge them.
 Click on the video to watch it; click twice to watch it in Youtube if you have trouble viewing it.  

             ©2010 Elyse Gardner

This baby in the Litchfield Corrals during  California's Twin Peaks roundup was separated from his family.  He had been without his mother -- and without food -- for at least 6 hours when I filmed this, and possibly as long as 36 hours.  I was not sure when he had arrived.  He was clearly distressed.  Watch the film below.  
              ©2010 Elyse Gardner
 This little black filly stuck like glue to her friend, hobbling around the pen on her painful feet. You can see her holding up her sore leg here.  They were in a pen with adult mares but seemed to take no comfort from them:  they wanted their parents.  He continued to call for them.  She just quietly endured and followed very closely by his young side, a true little wild stallion and filly.

        A month later (after the above video was filmed), the roundup was continuing.  I bring you the stills for now.  We film their stories and share them so that their struggles in their young lives will not be in vain -- will not be meaningless or without purpose.  
              ©9/18/2010 Elyse Gardner            
                  This baby I've called Little Red Warrior was roped and  brought in on 9/18/10,  the same day as the tiny, six-day-old mule foal was driven in (who was also lame and could barely walk the following day). 
         The thing I so dislike about the name I've given this baby, "Little Red Warrior," is that in all likelihood he was not a warrior at all; he was a baby, a young wild horse simply terrified and fighting for his life right here.  He saw the pen they wanted to put him in, and he was desperate to stay out of it.  It was evident to me, as it so often is, that this horse thought he would die if he went in that pen.  Whether it is a pen, a trailer, or a chute, whichever one it is, they aren't given a chance to understand any of this.  They are frightened and fighting for their lives, and often, with regularity, they actually lose their lives in this process.   But here, despite the stacked odds, with not one other wild horse present, adult or otherwise, he fought. 
        ©9/18/2010 Elyse Gardner   
        According to the Vet Report of 9/18/10, a foal brought in this afternoon was euthanized the following day, as referenced and filmed briefly in the video clip above. (I was being hurried and was not permitted to stay and film more of that injured foal in the pen.)   Might this baby be he?  He fought so hard, it is likely he was injured in this process.  The foal in the vet report suffered a serious degloving injury (big fold of skin removed like a glove) to left rear leg, and other cuts, followed by weakness, dehydration, and heart failure.            
        The shocking thing about that is even in that poor condition, the decision was made to transport this baby, at least a three to five-hour trip, to Fallon, Nevada's closed holding pens at Broken Arrow for further treatment.  What kind of medicine is this?  He could barely walk; forcing a seriously injured, weakened foal to endure such a trip would likely have killed him if he hadn't been euthanized before transport.  Why on earth not leave him at Litchfield, a mere hour from the temporary holding pen?   Where is this caring I keep hearing BLM and the contractors speak of?  Where?
          BELOW:  This youngster I call Dignity came from a long way off,  enveloped by a wrangler close on each side.  That's Dave Cattoor on the buttermilk.  While taping, I soon realized the foal was staggering slightly, and they were keeping very close to him, making sure he stayed on his feet.  When he tried to rest for a moment, I saw Mr. Cattoor's right hand jerking upwards, yanking on the rope. I soon realized they had a rope around his neck and a rope strung between them, going under Dignity's tail, rubbing against his anus.  (This is an old cowboy method of moving them forward.)  They wanted him to keep moving, keep moving.  He was not in good shape.  Nevertheless, Dignity kicked out at the wrangler to his right at one point, "Quit crowding me."  
©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner     "Dignity" trying to rest for a moment as he walks tremulously toward the pen.
                      ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner    
           Imagine the trauma of running for miles struggling to keep up only to finally lose your family, watching them disappear from view, finding yourself alone, without any adults, for the first time in your life.  
          I'm not trying to be dramatic but to capture the truth of this experience:  the burning lungs, dry throat, the terrible dust from the churning hooves of all the adult horses in front of you;  the shooting pains in your feet, the final horrible moments when you give up and stop running because you haven't any more left... 
       Such is the experience of every foal you see roped and escorted by a wrangler.  No, a helicopter chase does not seem in any way humane for the babies.  
            For the foals, it's always a struggle:  As much as I dislike generalizations, my experience is revealing that whether we are at the Twin Peaks roundup in northern California, the Calico roundup in the wide open mountains of Nevada, or the Pryor Mountain roundup of Cloud's famous herd, the foals' experience is pretty much the same. 
       In the lives and film of these foals, they tell the story of their similarly disenfranchised cousins all over the wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas who are being rounded up.  
     THE VIDEO of Dignity:  I decided to step it up and get the video up for you.   
            Looking at the Twin Peaks vet reports -- and you might want to save these reports before they are removed by BLM -- one can see the numerous instances and yet casual manner in which footsore or lame foals are addressed.  It is an expected result of the helicopter chase. (To get to the Vet Reports, click on the link above, and then scroll down the page to the bottom right.  You will see a list of dates.  Those are the vet reports according to date.  
           Watching these little ones struggling to keep up with mature horses mile after mile -- and yes, I have seen it mile after mile -- I know that our Congressmen and Senators would insist on a change if they really dared to watch this process.
           I have more, but that is enough for anyone to have to take in in one article.  I have Sorro, and the Pryor Mountain foals...  and Hope, whose feet were literally run off (called hoof slough), and he was euthanized in tremendous pain.  
        Check back in the next week for Little Red Warrior's story.

        Please encourage your friends and colleagues to learn more and take action by getting on the mailing lists and responding to alerts from them.  My aim is not so much to convert those who do not care (although I try to help people see the amazing individuals the horses and burros are); my aim is to motivate those who do care to take action.  You can help the horses by subscribing to these mailing lists and responding to alerts and things as they arise:
Thank you.   
             Please send this blog post to your elected representatives.  They need to know what is happening.
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble, hardy burro friends,
Elyse Gardner

Friday, October 22, 2010


(Still the same blog with a new look.  Welcome.) 
                 (Don't forget to click on the photographs to enlarge them; they nearly come alive. -- EG.)                 
   ©5/7/10 Elyse Gardner              
Twin Peaks horses in their living room. 
 On May 7 I went with five other people to see the range and the horses.  I found a lush, spacious expanse perfect for the wild horses and burros.  That they thought so, too, was evident in their well muscled beauty and shining coats, and general contentment and solidarity that radiated everywhere they went in their family groups.  These were fulfilled horses. You just felt great looking at them -- and frightened, knowing what was coming.  
                      ©5/7/10 Elyse Gardner       

Twin Peaks horses where they belong.  The rightness and serenity of these horses on the ranges cannot be described.  They are at peace, their society rich and tender,  fierce and strong; loyalty, friendship, and family bonds evident in all their interactions.  We are the aliens here.  
       I have thoroughly enjoyed perusing my photo library and finding these opening photographs for you although it's taken me on a two-hour detour from my task at hand.  But this stroll down recent memory lane has again reinforced the absolute rightness -- no, the utter, overarching need -- for these unique, irreplaceable animals, the wild and free horses and burros, to remain wild and free on their home ranges in genuine, solid numbers.
         C.S. Lewis said it is more important that Heaven should exist than that any of us should get there (The Essential C.S. Lewis, by Clive Staples Lewis, edited by Lyle W. Dorsett).   In the same way, it is more important for Americans to know our wild horses and burros remain an intrinsic, wild part of our west than it is for the average American to get out and see them:   The wild horses are there, the wild horses are happy and safe, and all is well with the world.
         The 1971 Congress understood this very well when they drafted the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.  They used the words "intrinsic," and "enrich," and "fast disappearing."  And what the Bureau of Land Management is now doing is tampering with a very sensitive core of our society.  Will they get it? -- that these animals are tied to us and we to them, and it is not just a numbers game?           
          I have a sense of urgency for the sake of the mountains as well as the horses and burros, for the sake of all that is right, to protect them and to see that they get to stay in their homes in the healthy, full numbers that they deserve and need, not this frightening skeleton crew straggling on the mountains that the Bureau of Land Management is leaving.
                ©5/7/2010 Elyse Gardner    (Click on the photo...)
This lovely, fair sorrel mare was keeping a not-very-concerned eye on us as we enjoyed these horses.   A newer young horsewoman with us was thrilled in learning about reading horse body language so we wouldn't drive them away.  And yes, it is thrilling to be able to simply "hear" what they tell us, if we just stop and listen.  The horses teach us how to respect each other's space, take the time to read the messages others are giving us:  Her head comes up and she looks at me:  You are getting too close; I don't feel safe.  If you want to be with me, you need to stop pressing in, or I'll flee. We stopped and stepped back a pace or two when she did this.  She went back to grazing.  Ah, yes, they teach me all the time if I listen... 
            ©5/7/2010 Elyse Gardner  
Here she is with her whole family -- stallion and son -- who are watchful but accepting of our presence, a very sweet time.  We were only about 50 feet away.  Around 6 p.m., sun is going down.  Wonderful time. 
A fellow advocate said she saw them in the pens; they were rounded up
          I cannot explain it; I only know it is so, that the heart and soul of America is still tied in a rudimentary way to our wild horses, yes, and their humble burro friends,  and we are committed to their well-being.  Am I being heard, somebody?  And I am here to do everything I know to see that we are not sold a lie, that we are not told by a conflict-of-interest-driven Bureau of Land Management that all is well with our wild horses while they proceed to decimate wild horse and burro populations, forcing them off and stealing their ranges to make way for special interests, including but not limited to natural gas, foreign investing, gold mining, and not last and certainly not least, livestock interests, and benignly calling it "multiple use." (See Debbie Coffey's article, The BLM's Multiple (R)USE Mandate.)  
                  ©7/19/10 Elyse Gardner     
Vulnerable wild horses. I took this from the helicopter in the
flyover Laura Leigh and I made with George Knapp on July 19, 2010.  
From the helicopter the horses are so vulnerable.  Just look at them.  A helicopter is a tremendous power.  It is far too easy to abuse these animals with a helicopter.  We must get protections in place, parameters around helicopter use and wild horses and burros -- or any animal, for that matter. We stayed up very high.  
          The horses lose everything in the process, freedom and family, and suffer tremendous fear as well as physical strain and hardship.  It is a marathon of fear, and often of pain.  And I think the only thing worse than being abused is to have one's abuser and witnesses not even recognize the suffering inflicted. "No, that didn't hurt.  You're fine.  You'll get over it."  And that is what we have here.
         I have frequently heard BLM and roundup contractors talk about how humane helicopter roundups are for horses.  They could be if done correctly.  However, what we see here is hardly humane.
         Let's watch some footage that the BLM itself has provided to roundup contractor Rick Harmon, who owns Cayuse, Inc.,  for the purpose of his promotional video.  This film is in the public domain and was made with taxpayer dollars.
           BLM makes promotional videos all the time, which is perfectly fine.  Let's see what BLM and Mr. Harmon are promoting.  These films were taken during the Twin Peaks roundup of 2007.

              And you will see below, these practices are not contractor-specific, that is, these are two different contractors using helicopters physically to physically goad horses, and it is certainly not a thing of the past.  Although it is under different circumstances, the roundup contractor in Twin Peaks also pushed a horse, just a yearling.  You may have seen the still photographs I took of this young horse I've named Banner.  Here is the video.  I apologize for all my noise in this video, but I don't want to tamper with the soundtrack.  This really got to me.  It was a long month...

        The use of the helicopter in this manner is wrong.  The most chilling part of this may be the fact that BLM and the contractors don't even recognize the wrongness of it. Their ability to have compassion has shriveled.   There was no justification and no need to push that mare with the helicopter.  
        If this is what the public is seeing, what kinds of atrocities are happening about which we never learn?  Does this not qualify as criminally abusive to animals?  Doing something wrong for years will never make it right.  It is definitely time for a mounted video camera with timestamps.
        My hope with Banner is that as his story is shown, Banner will represent a pivotal turning point,  be a "banner" horse, a portend for what is to come, a recognition and incentive for BLM to examine its ways and change OR to have its wrist thoroughly slapped and for the President to recognize the need for change in his Department of the Interior,  and Congressional and Senatorial representatives to look at this and demand some boundaries to protect these innocents from the inherent violence of a roundup to every extent possible.
        1)  The American public wants to see these horses protected, and we are requesting a freeze; we are asking that roundups halt and a Congressional investigation of BLM practices be initiated.  We very much want to see the National Academy of Sciences complete their study of the remaining wild horse and burro populations before they are decimated and  before any further discussion of roundups ensues.
        1)  The pilot to approach wild horses and burros at no closer than 100 feet.  No exceptions.  Violations should be fined a minimum $500 each occurrence and/or prosecuted as allowable under animal cruelty statutes.
        2)   Barring a moratorium, a mounted live-feed video camera on the helicopter, transmitting at all times the helicopter is airborne, with the BLM representative and representative from the public witnessing the transmission.  
        3)   GPS coordinates to be obtained from the trapsite and made available to BLM and the public;
        4)    GPS coordinates to  be noted and made available to the public of where the wild horses and/or burros are located when the pilot began the drive toward the trap pen;
        5)   Videotape to be dated and time-stamped.
        6)   That the pilot be held to a speed limit to the best of his ability, of no more than 10 mph for horses and 7 mph for burros. (Note:  I have seen these figures before in BLM documents, but BLM never actually holds the contractors to it because they never ask for the data, according to two BLM sources.)
       These amazing animals so beautifully equipped to live in the most sparse, rigorous landscapes of the high desert, have no means to protect themselves from the likes of flying glass monsters used like a whip.  This is wrong, and it needs to stop.  I have all but given up hope that the Bureau of Land Management will police itself or its agents.  All they consistently appear to do is try to marginalize the suffering of the horses and burros, and I am so sick of it I cannot tell you. But many of you are sick of it, too, and I don't need to tell you.
         ©9/17/10 Elyse Gardner
Youngster struggles to keep us, falling behind.  No need for helicopter's pressure like this.
       BLM, go ahead and surprise me.  I would love to be wrong about you.
       But we have now seen for many years that the Bureau of Land Management will not stop unless it is stopped, and that needs to come from the President or from Congress.
                 ©9/17/10  Elyse Gardner
Pregnant mare racing as fast as she can.  There is no need for this level of helicopter pressure.
            What do I mean by "marginalize the suffering"?   One example that comes to mind is Legacy's story (click on the purple link to view my video).  Legacy was an approximately eight-month-old colt who had a poor reaction to his castration and did not want to stand up (click on the link to see another short video of Legacy) even when two unfamiliar humans approached closer than he was comfortable with.  When he did stand, he staggered a little and could barely walk from the pain and obvious swelling.  While observing this, a BLM official told me he wasn't in excruciating pain; he was "just a little stiff."  I videotaped this episode, and after reviewing it, Dr. Eric Davis, the HSUS vet, stated he would have treated this colt with bute; further, he is recommending that gelded horses be given banamine.  As of this writing my understanding is BLM is doing no such thing.
             This is by no means unusual, and BLM's credibility in my view has been compromised because of it.  
             We believe a moratorium is called for because of the low numbers of wild horses and burros especially in relation to the ongoing, untouched populations of livestock in the very limited wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas.  Without exception, the livestock vastly outnumber these wild horses and burros, yet the horses are being removed.
        Please speak up for the wild horses and burros.  The White House line is 202/456-1111.  Ask them to log your call.  Stop destroying our last big herds.  Stop the trauma and assault on these animals now.  Look at the abusive practices and rein in your BLM, Mr. President.  Helicopters prodding horses are not okay.  
       A friend wrote me and sent this out among many.  His straightforward way touched me deeply as he spoke for me and for thousands more Americans who love our horses:
Is this the best we can do for these horses, low cross bars they hit their heads on and kill them. Tying saddle horses next to a pen of a wild horse family and expecting nothing to take place, running the  hoofs off of young horses. Not padding the panels or the gates to prevent injury. Forcing a Mare to stand over her dead stallion. I mean really, this is the best we can do. I'm not saying stop the gathers but if we must do it, then don't you think we could do it with a little more respect than this. This saddens me. It's that simple (caring doesn't cost money).
         Please encourage your friends and colleagues to learn more and take action by getting on the mailing lists and responding to alerts from them.  My aim is not so much to convert those who do not care (although I try to help people see the amazing individuals the horses and burros are); my aim is to motivate those who do care to take action.  You can help the horses by subscribing to these mailing lists and responding to alerts and things as they arise:
Thank you.  Please send this blog post to your elected representatives.  They need to know what is happening.
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble, hardy burro friends,
Elyse Gardner

     ©5/7/10  Elyse Gardner          As the day winds down...
Stallion and mare at Twin Peaks as it was... and the day winds down, 6 pm.  
Were they rounded up?  If so, they are separated forever.
To make a tax deductible donation to my field work, please go to DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary.   Click the "Donate" button, 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.  
             Or mail checks to:
PO Box 9
Ravendale CA 96123
Make a note as to your intentions in the "memo" section as indicated above.
Thank you so much.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


©9/14/10 Elyse Gardner                      
  Twin Peaks horses about to be freezebranded 
     Here are some horses and burros from the Twin Peaks roundup.  I have missed communicating with you, but I've been working on a big project that has kept me heavily committed timewise.  I have a lot more to give you.
      For now, here are scenes from the roundup.  In future posts I will follow up on horses in short-term holding whom we can see as well as more roundup footage.  
      Despite the many objections by citizens and lawmakers and calls for a moratorium, and despite the many tragedies, injuries, and deaths of wild horses and burros, the roundup of wild horses and burros initiated by the Bureau of Land Management continues unabated.  What is even more disturbing to me is they continue in the business-as-usual way.
       We continue to document what I can only call a chilling disregard for the welfare of these sensitive, family-oriented herd animals upon whose backs our nation was built.  For now, here is one of the unfortunate examples of what I mean by chilling disregard.  This horse hits his head very hard, but it is important to see what lead up to this.  (If you're like me you'll want to know that he is still standing at the close of this clip.)
     (AS ALWAYS, CLICK TWICE TO VIEW THE VIDEO IN YOUTUBE to see it play larger and correctly; then please come back and finish the blog. -EG)
         Although this black stallion in my video remained standing at the time, BLM updates report that a stallion died that very day from rearing up and hitting the crossbar, exactly what happens here in the video.  They claim that stallion died "instantly" at Litchfield Holding.  This video was filmed at Bull Flat temporary holding near Litchfield holding facility.  But please note that BLM also claimed all the horses from the Silver King roundup went to Broken Arrow holding on October 1, but Laura Leigh and Deb Coffey personally observed/followed/visited 26 horses who were loaded in a trailer from Silver King and hauled to the Gunnison Prison in Utah.   
         This discrepancy may just be logistical in nature and not intended to deceive.   Reasons aside, the fact remains that the details BLM gives are not always accurate.  Was this the horse who died?
          In fact, this is a good place to point out that many of the Calico horses offered for internet adoption had the wrong capture dates posted.  I know; I was there when General, Commander and True were captured on January 16.  I filmed Tomahawk and Redman in the temporary holding on that same day, yet BLM states they were captured on January 20.  
      My point:  the credibility of the Bureau of Land Management, and its contractors, is stretched beyond credulity.
UPDATE:  The stallion who died at Litchfield was not the same horse depicted in my video, above. The Litchfield facility kept separate updates reports from the "Gather Updates" which I just located.  Below is posted a section from the Litchfield Corrals' Facility and Veterinary Reports.  
      Way to go, California BLM.  I appreciate the efforts to which this Eagle Lake BLM (Twin Peaks) office went to provide daily viewing.  The poor observation points selected by the roundup contractors were often frustrating for them, as well, and often my BLM escorts tried to negotiate better viewing for us.   Thank you.  
August 18
Litchfield CorralsSummary:   Several observers today, including staff fromCongressman McClintock's office .Animals received:   109
Animal deaths at facility:   1
Cause:    A 1 year old chestnut stallion broke his neck while in the alleyway at Litchfield.   He was in the alleyway moving towards the working chute to receive his initial inoculations.   He reared up and hit the top of his head on a cross member then flipped over.   Death was instantaneous .   
                  The most important aspect of all this:  These low crossbars used by BLM and the roundup contractors must be replaced.  These deaths and injuries are entirely avoidable and unnecessary.
       At the Silver King roundup, Suzanne Roy and Deniz Bolbol witnessed and filmed a family tragedy.  Please stop and honor this little family and the passing of this noble stallion.  
       Read Suzanne's apt description and witness the video.   The wrangler nonchalantly ties his horse up as the wild horses are agitating.  He appears immune and displays no regard for the emotional state of this freshly rounded-up little family as he ties his saddlehorse to the pen right in front of Braveheart.
       We have now seen what happens when the horses crash into the pens and die from a broken neck.  And this happens frequently.  
        ENCOURAGEMENT TO WATCH THIS:  This film is tragic but it isn't gruesome. And you don't actually see him pass on.  You can handle it.  The camera is far enough away that it isn't in your face.  We need to know these things.  You can click on the link above or here:
        I am deeply, burningly angry about this.   You know why?  Because it was entirely avoidable.  
        I believe this wrangler's utter disregard for the angst of these wild horses, which resulted in Braveheart's death, demonstrates a chilling disregard for the welfare of these animals.
        Thank you for honoring this horse's life and death by sharing in the knowledge of him.  It is what we, as observers, do just by being present in these hard times, and you participate by doing likewise.  
                                        .  .  .  

         One example of this disregard:   The contractors were conducting roundups in the Confusion Herd Management Area and other areas while Twin Peaks was ongoing. 
         While we were assured by BLM that the contractor padded the pens and some pertinent areas of the outside of the chute area as we asked (and as Tim Harvey asked, the recently-appointed Humane Advocate on the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board),  no such padding was applied to their other pens being used elsewhere.  And we were not permitted to see or photograph the pens, even when empty, where the padding was said to be installed.  
       The Horses and burros continue to smash into these things and incur fatal injuries as well as bloody gashes, lacerations, and abrasions.
                             ©8/19/10 Elyse Gardner
                               ©8/18/10 Craig Downer
 The sorrel horse has swelling around her eye orbit. I've seen this occur 
happen after smashing into unpadded bars. 
                     ©8/14/10 Elyse Gardner
 This horse has eye orbital swelling/injuries
                    ©8/14/10 Elyse Gardner
This young stallion has eye orbital injuries.  
(He is not the same sorrel as the mare above.)
          Roundups have been ongoing for decades.  Why are these things not, at the very least, padded?  Why are there seven- or eight-foot crossbars for horses to rear up into and die, or suffer injury and pain?  This is not rocket science or open heart surgery; this is pads and a few feet of metal pipe, people.
          FACT:  Contractors are paid per horse or burro, between $350 and $675 for each animal, depending on the size of the roundup.  It appears to me that some financial incentive for uninjured horses should be made a part of the roundup contract.  This could be in the form of fines to any participating contractor for dead or injured horses at the trap site and holding facilities; or roundup contractors footing the bill, at the very least, for any vet care required for roundup-related injuries. If the contractors were not paid for lame horses or were fined substantially, I believe they would be more careful about distances, terrain, and speed, to ensure sound horses. A substantial fine should be levied for a limping horse coming into the trap or turning up lame within a given amount of time since it often takes 24 hours for an injury to show up because of adrenalin.
     A live, real-time video camera mounted on the helicopter with time stamps, to run as long as the helicopter is airbound, accompanied by GPS coordinates of the trap site and the place the pilot begins to drive the horses is what we are requesting, along with the time.  (This will also help rectify their record-keeping snafus.)  There is no legitimate reason I can come up with to preclude the public from this information, and I believe BLM has been derelict in its duty to protect and manage these animals since it abdicates all responsibility for them in favor of the contractor during these roundups  Horses continue to come in lame.
     I have been processing hours and hours of video and have had some computer challenges to boot. I've missed keeping you updated.  Please know I'm working on some worthwhile projects, and you will be seeing the fruit of my labor soon, at least in bite-size pieces.
    I will be bringing you on a burro roundup soon, as well.  They are amazing little creatures who have captivated me.
                GENTLY wonders what's next...
 ©9/1610 Elyse Gardner       Twin Peaks roundup:  Buffalo Meadows Trapsite    
This long yearling (older than one but not quite two years old) I call
Gently was separated from his band, which had just been driven
 into the trap pen.  He was standing alone, looking forlorn.  

                  ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner  
For undoubtedly the first time in his life, he had
 no family, not even one other horse, with him.
                ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner
He just watched and froze when the helicopter came, didn't know what to do.  The wranglers
 were only about 300 yards away.  You can see Shorty, the Judas horse, waiting with the hiding contractor. 

                 ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner 

©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner

©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner
               ©9/16/10 by Elyse Gardner
                ©9/16/10 by Elyse Gardner
                                                                  Video soon to come

                 ©9/16/10 by Elyse Gardner
                                                              Reacting to the contact
          The wranglers were right there.  This was not necessary.  In fact, they started out by rounding up burros on this day, so there were six horses tacked up and ready to ride.  This yearling was frozen with fear, and no matter which way he moved, the ceaseless noise and assault continued unabated; there was no release from the pressure.  He didn't know what to do and moved very slowly.  He would have understood wranglers on horseback, but
          I've observed that youngsters do not respond to the helicopter in the same manner as mature horses.  I've now seen numerous times the helicopter has gone back to get foals who cannot keep up with the stampede -- and I would say that scenario (foals who get left behind in the chase) supports a "stampede" designation, wouldn't you?  And in most all of these times, the foals and younger horses have no other horses from whom to take cues, and they freeze.  
©9/17/24/10  by Elyse Gardner           
 The roar and dust is frightening and deafening.   
        The really young ones' ears and tails go straight up into the air.  Or they will clamp their tails hard against their bodies.
        Let me show you an example I was able to photograph in Tuscarora...
These are from Tuscarora roundup, July 24, 2010  
         This baby got separated from her family as they raced and manuevered to try to evade the mouth of the trap.  The pilot went to retrieve her, and she froze, not knowing what the helicopter meant or wanted.  It wasn't until the Judas horse was in place that she followed him into the trap.  Notice her ears and tail.
     When this pilot saw she was frozen, he backed off and waited for the Judas horse. 
©7/24/10  by Elyse Gardner          Tuscarora roundup 

         ©7/24/10  by Elyse Gardner
            ©7/24/10  by Elyse Gardner
              ©7/24/10  by Elyse Gardner

©9/17/10 by Elyse Gardner   Twin Peaks Roundup, Buffalo Meadows trap site
This pregnant mare, heavy with foal, was lagging behind her band
 (shown below), and so was the baby in front of her.  
        They were galloping as fast as they could go.  This pilot did not appear to be "reading" the horses; i.e., he stampeded every single horse into the trap: young, old, pregnant; in a band, or alone.  While I understand the need to apply the final high pressure to motivate the horses down to the trap pen, these are already spent horses who are running hard with everything they've got left, and they are already motivated to stay with their band.  The intense, terrifying pressure of the helicopter within 30 to 50 feet is unnecessary and inappropriate in these instances.   One executive I showed my videos to calls it "government subsidized animal abuse."  
       I would appreciate the opportunity to fly with the pilot and hear his explanation.  
       I am also concerned that my candid depiction of these things will result in further limited access.  The decisions about our viewing areas are left entirely up to the contractors, and I appreciated this one good observation point which had to be negotiated for with the contractor by the California BLM. 
       Your right as the public to see these things it at issue.  It is having to be be litigated in order to protect my right to be there for the horses and your right to see.  
      And this mare had become separated from her band,  obviously unable to keep up.  The pilot brought her in alone.  She ran hard and laboriously. 

                  ©9/17/10 by Elyse Gardner  
Here at 8:39 a.m. is the pregnant mare's family approaching the final run into the trap.                 
©9/17/10 by Elyse Gardner
          The pilot turned around to retrieve this pregnant mare he knew was left behind.  Six minutes later, at 8:45 a.m., he stampeded her in as seen below.
                 ©9/18/10 by Elyse Gardner
                  ©9/18/10 by Elyse Gardner
                  ©9/18/10 by Elyse Gardner
                  ©9/18/10 by Elyse Gardner
                 ©9/18/10 by Elyse Gardner
Glistening with sweat alone in the trap pen with Shorty, the Judas horse, 
this pregnant, spent mare pants and watches her captors warily.  Her family is in the 
adjoining pen.

           I never used to use the "stampede" word.  I thought advocates who used that word were being overly dramatic.  I have the unpleasant honor of now having observed, arguably, more hours of roundups than just about any other citizen save one.  And I now conclude that "stampede" is usually the right term.  These animals are not coming willingly.  They are being pried out of their homes.
          Almost every time I've had decent viewing of a roundup and could see the horses coming from afar, they are running a large portion of the time.  Sometimes it's due to pilot pressure; sometimes he's laying back, and they're running anyway because they're scared.  I've seen roundup contractors talk about the horses getting used to the helicopter, and they make it sound so comfy, like it's one big guided walk.
         I have seen the pilots carefully trying to maintain a walk, and sometimes they can, and sometimes they cannot.  When horses go into fear, they need to move their feet and they will run even when the helicopter doesn't push.
           And how far are they being driven?  These are families, babies, and parents and senior citizens being chased by a helicopter for miles and miles.  The holding facilities are full of unreported limping horses, and I will be showing you that.
           I earnestly invite my legislative representatives to come spend some time at a roundup and see if that is so.
           And I'm not talking about dignitary time with the red carpet.  I'm talking about day after day, come and see where the dust meets the nostril. 

              ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner

      These hardy little animals won't follow a Judas horse into the trap, so when the heliocopter manages to round them up reasonably close, the waiting wranglers all swoop in and try to create an impenetrable wall.  Many burros actually made a beeline and passed the horses, resulting in a big chase with the helicopter and the wranglers.  More to come on these. .  
       ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner
       ©9/16/10 Elyse Gardner

On September 12, the burros waited six hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to get to short term holding where they could get some water.  A Jenny (female donkey) died on the 45-minute drive to short-sterm holding on this waterless day.  She had previously made a heroic escape attempt and outran the horses until she was finally captured.  That's an awfully long time to be thirsty after running your heart out for over an hour.  
            The burros really try to evade the helicopter.  The pilots have to work very hard to get the burros into the trap.   
            By the way, I am never permitted this close to the animals in the trap pen, but I had to leave to get to the temporary holding area before 5 p.m. when they closed it to the public, and I needed to drive past the trap pen in order to do so.  I keep my camera in the front seat...
           More on the burros to come...
          There came a call from the pilot for help bringing in a mare and foal.  These two wranglers on horseback walked this baby in; there was no sign of the mare.   I was very concerned.  I was never told what happened to her.  I will be trying to find out, but I wonder if records are kept.  
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner    Twin Peaks roundup:  Buffalo Meadows Trapsite
This young stallion in the making was brought in, roped, between
 these two wranglers, his mother's whereabouts unknown.
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
              ©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner
                                                                              ©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner
I would add that this mighty little colt will probably never see his mother or father again.  We never saw his mother come in.  What did he see happen to her?   He is alone; he is fighting for his freedom
            ©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner
           ©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner
                      ©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner 
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
                               ©9/18/10 Elyse Gardner   
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble, amazing little burro friends,
Elyse Gardner