A huge THANK YOU to fellow photographer Pam Nickoles who just found out and informed me, that one of my favorite Wild Horses, Bridger, from the McCullough Peaks Range was not rounded up and is still living free!
Pam and Carol Walker were both so helpful! – Thanks!
A small bit of good news when the world seems so tough now-a-days!
Bridger is the big, stocky grey stallion on the left.
Around 1900 there were about 2 million horses running free.
Millions were shot, poisoned, slaughtered, and considered as pests by western Ranchers.
In the 1950’s (when Wild Horse Annie first brought horses to the national spotlight), there were only about 25,000 left in the wild.
In 1971, The Wild Horse & Burro Act was passed, and there were about 54,000 horses in the wild. It was a long, hard battle for Horse Advocates to get this passed, but the law set aside 54 million acres for wild horses. – the initial public land where these horses were already established.
Now in 2009, there are approx. 32,000 horses in the wild. Some say fewer, and want an actual census of horses and land to be done by a third party.
The BLM plans to remove 12,000 horses between Sept 2009-Oct 2010.
If they conduct these expensive roundups in the next 12 months, that will leave about 20,000 horses in the wild – about 1/2 of the horses than when the Law was initially passed in 1971!
The BLM is greatly reducing Wild Horses to near-extinction, and very quickly too.
Since the 1971 Law was passed, 25 million acres (about 50%) have been quietly taken away from the wild horses. Because of these little known BLM actions, the BLM tries to claim that these current (smaller and fewer) Ranges are overpopulated, and the land is ‘degrading’. They claim that round-ups are for the safety of the horses – to prevent starvation.
That is simply a lie from the BLM to convince the average American that round-ups are needed.
There are 3 million cattle, 100:1 ratio of cattle to wild horses on public land.
The horses are being mis-managed and driven to extinction, one horse range at a time, all across the great American West.
Please contact your State Senators, Congressmen, and the Obama Administration, to support the ROAM ACT and the Wild Horses. Give them back the land that should be theirs in the first place.
After a one-day delay because of muddy conditions, the McCullough Peaks Round-up is over.
The BLM claims that the 110,000 acre conditions are becoming ‘degraded’. I just do not believe that. In fact, in late 2004 (just after my very first visit), the BLM removed around 400 horses from McCullough! So the land can support many more.
The horses, unless they are old or injured, are in healthy condition, and even fat, as having built up much of their reserves for the harsh Wyoming winters. The horses will eat just about anything including sage, a fast spreading, and poor nutrient plant that cattle will not eat.
The water reservoirs are still holding water too after the summer.
I am still trying to find out if one of my personal favorite horses, Bridger, was removed. (see his photos below)
I am happy to announce that no horses were killed or injured during this particular round-up. Cattoor was the contractor. Small foals & their Mothers were separated from the other adults to prevent injury to the foals. That is much better results than in the past many years of round-ups. Perhaps since the Public is paying more attention to Round-ups we will continue to see fewer injuries or deaths during these stressful ordeals.
The BLM did not remove all 122 horses as they had planned.
193 horses were captured by helicopter over several days. 93 horses were removed, leaving only 120 head on McCullough Peaks (110,000 acres). Many of the returned mares were also darted with the birth control drug PZP, so we’ll see fewer births in the next few years.
Studies show that at least 150 head are needed for safe genetics, so now the amazing McCullough Peaks Range is below safe Genetics Levels – like so many other ranges.
The 93 removed horses have been shipped to Rock Springs until next Spring. Stallions will be gelded, all are freeze branded, and some may even be ‘gentled’ at a top-dollar expense. – a taxpayers expense for the next 6 months.
So far, plans for their adoption will be in the Spring of 2010, perhaps the horses will be shipped back near Cody Wyoming for the adoption.
Meanwhile the Market, for all horses, is down, and its very low for Wild Horses. There are very few people who can house, train, and care for a Wild Animal.
Only approx. 3,000 were adopted last year, and nearly 12,000 horses are planned to be removed this fiscal year. So the round-ups are being conducted at an amazingly fast, unprecedented, and very costly pace.
The McCullough Peaks Range is a favorite for many of the local citizens of Cody, Powell, Lovell, as well as travelers to the Yellowstone Area. These Wild Horses can be easily viewed along or just off of the Highway. The local citizens too are voicing their concerns, but it seems to be going to a silent BLM ear.
McCullough Peaks, one of my favorite places to visit while in Wyoming! My two young children, husband, and I have visited this Range several times since my first visit in 2004. My children, then aged 6 years and 9, both had a wonderful time -eventhough we were in the ‘middle of nowhere’ – they never have been ‘bored’ like kids often get after several hours. It is such a wonderful experience to take the next generation into the Wild Horse Ranges! My kids have even said they like it better than Yellowstone at times! WOW!
I am thankful that we have had the chance to visit, but I am so nervous & worried for the horses. Which ones will the BLM take away? Bridger my favorite?
Sadly, I cannot be there during the round-up. Before BLM released these round-ups, I had already booked these dates.
This round-up is unnecessary right now and its so sad that the BLM are removing 122 horses!
Whenever we visit, we are lucky if we see about 40-50 head.
Right now the BLM is the Wild Horses greatest enemy with these large round-ups.
Title: Playful Paints
-TPPA Texas State Merit Winner
-TPPA Best Animal Trophy Award
-Kodak Gallery Trophy Award
-Regional (Southwest States) SWPPA Merit Winner
-PPA International Merit Award
-PPA Loan Collection (Highest PPA award given)
And its one of my Best Selling 16×20 Fine Art Prints!
Purchase this award-winning horse Fallery Print at our main website, and we’ll donate partial proceeds to The Cloud Foundation – helping America’s Wild Horses!
www.kathyweigand.com click on Fine Art Collections & Horses
Makes a great Christmas Gift!
Click the link below to see the CNN News Report on Sept 23, 2009!
Although CNN Suggests that these 57 Pryor Horses could very well be sent to slaughter, I feel very positive that they will be adopted out, and the older horses will be purchased outright thanks to Ginger Kathrens, The Cloud Foundation, and all of the media on this story… I hope that they get good homes! The adoption is tomorrow!
The costs of the recent Wild Horse roundup on Pryor Mountain….
The BLM rounded up most of the Wild Horses, processed, and will put about 57 Pryor horses (+3 foals) through their adoption program on Sept 26, 2009 leaving only around 120 horses on approx. 32,000 acres.
The helicopter roundup started on Sept 3rd, and many horse bands (families) were driven 10+ miles (one way) from the grassy meadows at the top of the mountain (elevation 8700 ft) to the lower desert elevations, captured, & penned at the Britton Springs Corral where they were processed one at a time. Some of the horses that had been designated to be removed were not captured because the roundup ended early. However, others that had already been captured will be taking their place.
A newborn foal at the top of the mountain, and footsore horses are just a few reasons why the roundup ended earlier then planned. But I have to wonder if the BLM received a phone call from a higher authority to stop because of the intense media coverage and public outrage.
Genetic specialists say for safe genetics, a properly managed herd should be closer to 200 head, meanwhile the BLM wants less than 100 head on Pryor and the other Wild Horse Herd Ranges. Did the BLM authorize and pay for the study yet are ignoring the results?
What did this one roundup cost us?
It may run as high as $150,000 according to Jim Sparks, BLM Field Manager. (Billings Gazette) Usually, each roundup only runs around $60,000.
Yet because the BLM refused to change their plans, and they fought hard against the huge public outcry, petitions, flooding of callers, even letters from senators, & lawsuits… it may cost us something like $150,000!
Citizens are still wanting the BLM … to play a better role and properly mange the horses.
We taxpayers, are in a pickle! We foot the gov’t bills while they refuse to listen to us, and the BLM again depends on the public to adopt these horses, because they may starve in the wild on our public lands! (Starvation & poor range conditions are the BLM’s biggest excuse for so many roundups)
So according to the BLM, you and I should adopt these poor, unfortunate, almost starving, & overpopulated horses and pay for their lifetime of care.
But wait a minute…
Although I do not live on or near any of the Wild Horse Ranges, I have always been around horses, and I personally have never seen a starving wild horse because of poor range conditions while photographing them. I have seen thin horses due to injuries & old age, but that is how Mother Nature works when you are living wild and free.
Many people claim that the Pryor Mountain Range is in better condition in 2009 than the last several years.
But lets remind the public that horses have died while in the direct care of the BLM! I can recall one time reading about when the BLM ‘forgot’ about a small herd they had put in a ‘holding area’ that had NO WATER!
The number of adoptions is way down, (was their program ever really successful?) yet higher than normal roundups have been reported in the last few years and many more are planned. Even 100% elimination for some areas.
Why 100% elimination and large removals? Hmmm, does greed, gas & oil, even cattle, or just plain bad judgement ring a bell?
Doesn’t this horrible cycle really make you mad, even if you are not a true fan of Wild Horses, and do not appreciate their beauty and the fact that they are living symbols of America’s Wild West and History?
In 1900 there were 2 million wild horses roaming and now there is around 25,000. (some say more like 15,000)
The whole issue and my story here is not just about the horses… its the poor management skills of millions of acres of public land, abuse of power, greed, the over- spending of taxpayers’ money, & not listening to the public outcry. And now they have authorities at the roundups allowing the public extremely poor & limited access, or no access at all, during roundup activities – on our public lands! So we too are loosing our freedoms with the BLM!
The BLM is a disaster! A regular business could never survive or exist if they worked like the BLM.
The BLM hires and depends on a contractor to ‘do the dirty work’ and conduct round ups.
There are two helicopter contractors in the US and one of them is Cattoor.
Oh, did I mention that the hired contractor David Cattoor, (Cattoor Livestock Roundup), is a 1992 convicted felon for illegally capturing horses in one state, trucking over state lines, & selling them to a slaughter in Texas? He’s been in the business since 1971, so he knew what he was doing in 1992.
It pays well to be a horse contractor for the gov’t, because Cattoor has reported more than 12 MILLION dollars earned from 2000-2007 and the BLM is his primary customer. Some say he has earned 20 Million+ rounding up horses. Really?
Oh, did I mention that felons arn’t supposed to get jobs working for the federal gov’t?
I just do not understand why he has been able to earn so much money from the government if he is a convicted felon.
For the few days that the Cattoor Contractors & Wranglers were ‘just sitting around’ because of the court delay on the roundup, they collected a cool $7,000 per day.
Yes, they even rounded up Cloud, the most famous living Wild Mustang Stallion, despite a huge international uproar.
When many of the horses were released a day or so later, they were still limping & footsore, even the famous Cloud. Isn’t there a better way to work together on this?
Because of the high media attention (most documented in history) on this recent Pryor Mountain roundup, the amount of injury & round-up related deaths was way lower than the usual. So what exactly does that say?
Since Pryor Horses are famous, they will probably all be adopted, (even the older ones like Conquistador, who is 19), instead of being held in the long term holding facility that is already holding 33,000+ head. Well, I hope they will be adopted!
Long Term Holding Costs:
The program’s direct costs for holding animals off the range increased from $7 million in 2000 to $21 million in 2007. For 2008, these costs could account for 74 percent of the program’s budget.
Now for some good news!
Ginger Kathrens’ third Cloud PBS Movie Series, “Cloud, Challenge of the Stallions” airs Oct 25, 2009 on PBS!
The movie will be fabulous! But sadly I already know how upset I will be when I again see many of the horses in the movie, as I know that they have already been rounded up and are forever gone from the mountain.
Visit www.thecloudfoundation.org for more info
Cloud’s Image & Ember, (Cloud’s grandchildren) both 2008 foals were removed.
I have had the privilege of photographing and ‘hanging out’ with these beautiful horses. If you ever get the chance, please visit a wild horse herd – before they are all gone.