Posts tagged ‘red desert’

October 26, 2009

Wild Horse Population Numbers

The Numbers:

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.

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October 14, 2009

BLM 2009-2010 Wild Horse & Burro Round up removal numbers

Here it is folks, and it is scary!

The BLM’s official Round up plans for the next year.  The numbers are unbelievable!  They are indeed are bringing America’s Wild Horse population to extinction.   The mares that will be released back will be darted with PZP Birth control, leaving all these herds with below safe genetic numbers!

2010 GATHER SCHEDULE This gather schedule is subject to change. 9/15/2009

State Agency Herd Management Area Complex Start Date End Date

# Planned  Gathered    # Planned Removed species

AZ BLM Nuisance                                10/1/09 9/30/10                45                                    45 Burros

AZ BLM Lake Pleasant                        10/1/09 9/30/10                 30                                    30 Burros

NV BLM Caliante complex                   10/1/09 10/14/09               278                               278 Horses

UT BLM Onaqui                                  10/1/09 10/4/09               200                                 150 Horses

ID BLM Four Mile                                10/6/09 10/9/09               122                                 107 Horses

ID BLM Sands Basin                          10/10/09 10/13/09           112                                   99 Horses

WY BLM McCullough Peaks               10/15/09 10/20/09            211                                122 Horses

NV BLM Garfield Flats                        10/16/09 10/20/09           250                                 167 Horses

NV BLM Tobin Range                        10/22/09 11/3/09               443                               421 Horses

WY BLM Fifteen Mile                          10/21/09 10/28/09            333                               280 Horses

WY BLM Green Mountain Red Desert 10/30/09 11/25/09           354                                272 Horses

WY BLM Crooks Mountain Red Desert 10/30/09 11/25/09           70                                  13 Horses

WY BLM Lost Creek Red Desert          10/30/09 11/25/09           261                                230 Horses

WY BLM Stewart Creek Red Desert    10/30/09 11/25/09             300                              209 Horses

WY BLM Antelope Hills Red Desert     10/30/09 11/25/09            141                                 97 Horses

OR BLM Hog Creek                            11/5/09 11/9/09                 146                               116 Horses

OR BLM South Steens                        11/10/09 11/20/09            395                              236 Horses

CA BLM Massacre Lakes                    12/7/09 12/14/09              187                                162 Horses

OR BLM Palomina Buttes                    12/16/09 12/19/09            93                                   61 Horses

OR BLM Paisley                                  12/20/09 12/25/09           223                                163 Horses

NV BLM Calico Mt Complex                 12/1/09 2/28/09              3186                             2806 Horses

UT BLM Confusion                              1/15/10 1/21/10               200                              185 Horses

CA FS McGavin Peak                          1/24/10 1/29/10                20                               20 Horses

NV BLM Eagle (WC/DLC)                      2/7/10 2/20/10               727                              643 Horses

CO BLM West Douglas HA                  2/21/10 2/28/10                60                                 60 Horses

AZ BLM Cibola-Trigo                           3/4/10 3/10/10                  90                                 90 Burros

NV BLM Hickison                                3/2/10 3/15/10                  92                                75 Burros

AZ BLM Alamo                                  3/11/10 3/14/10                 35                                   35 Burros

How can the BLM get away with this?

October 11, 2009

New Wild Horse Gift Store

Black Tee from Wild Horse Gift Store

Black Tee from Wild Horse Gift Store

Wild Horse Gift Store
Wild Horse Gift Store
Wild Horse Gift Store
Wild Horse Gift Store
Our lil’  Wild Horse Gift Store  is re-opened, and we will be adding more horse images soon from the McCullough Peaks & Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Ranges.  Partial profit proceeds will be donated to TCF to continue helping the Wild Horses.
September 23, 2009

Wild Horses on CNN

Click the link below to see the CNN News Report on Sept 23, 2009!

I Just Saw This on CNN.com: Wild horses sold to slaughter?

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!

-Kathy

September 22, 2009

Why are Pryor Horses Important?

They are beautiful and we love to watch or read stories about them… but why are Pryor Mountain Horses so different?

Let’s go back in time to before the conquistadors’ arrived in America…

It was said by Roman authorities that the Spanish horses were the  world’s best;  though after the time of the Romans innumerable crosses with brood stock from other countries,  has made the homogeneous Spanish horse group of whatever type exceedingly rare.  One circumstance, however, the occupation of the Americas  significantly furthered the preservation of the purity of blood of the indigenous Colonial Spanish horse.

These small Spanish horses with its Iberian breeding could sustain the cold and humidity of winter in the Iberian woods along the rivers,  were accustomed to the north wind; the dryness of summer with its south wind from estrammadura, Alentejo, and Andaluz;  having endured temperatures from well below zero to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun of open country, without shade or shelter;  having lived only on plants that were few and rotten in the winter,  straw dry in the summer, have undergone intestinal worms, parasites, and flies that kill Arabian and English horses;  and having worked hard and patiently in the hands of man;  in all seasons, with all weights;  they furnished the Spaniards with their best instrument for the occupation of the Americas.

While extinct on their native homeland, and the Carribean, and although rare,  there is still to be found,  in this America of the North, small numbers of the ancient Colonial Spanish horse…

 Although horses evolved and are native in North America, (fossil records prove they are a native species!) when Spanish soldiers invaded in the 1500s, horses had been extinct in the Americas for thousands of years. 

When re-introduced, the Spanish horses must have seemed like monsters to the Native Americans.  The Spanish made the most of this advantage by spreading rumors that horses were magical beasts. 

Spanish Conquistadors

Spanish Conquistadors

 

The Incas were not allowed to ride horses for centuries after the Spanish occupation began. The Spaniards wanted to keep the power of horses for themselves—and with good reason. When Native peoples acquired horses in Chile, Argentina and across the US Great Plains, they quickly became superior riders and used them to fight off the European invaders for years.

  

 

Now lets skip to the year 1806…

The Lewis & Clark Expedition (1803-1806)

In 1806, the Expedition was on its way back home from the Oregon Coast.  By summer they had entered the Yellowstone/Montana area.  They had picked up Spanish horses from the Natives along the way…

Clark had seen smoke when they were traveling down the Yellowstone Valley and thought it was from Crow villages.  Clark had prepared a speech to give to the Crow.  He never met with the Crow to give this talk. 

During the night of July 21, 1806, twenty-four (about 1/2) of their horses where stolen.  When the camp awoke that morning they searched for the missing horses and did not find them.  The next day tracks were found going east and moving fast, Clark then surmised that the Crow had taken the horses.   (The Crow captured horses as a feat of honor.  One of the four things a person had to do to become a Crow Chief was to Capture a horse from within an enemy’s camp.  They did not consider horse thievery a dishonorable thing to do.)

East of the Yellowstone Valley lays the Arrowhead Mountains, known for its flint rock.  Within these mountains is the Pryor Mountain area, named after Sergeant Pryor.

Clark had canoes built and parted with Sergeant Pryor on July 23rd.   That prior evening, Pryor met with Clark at the mouth of the Clarks Fork River and told Clark he needed more help to drive the remaining horses as they wanted to chase buffalo and he could not control them.  The next morning Pryor and three men left with the horses to take them to the Mandan.  On the second night out from the Rochejhone River,  Pryor camped on a dry creek and awoke in the morning to find that all the horses were missing. After a search, he concluded that the Crow Indians had captured the remainder of the horses that were to be taken to the Mandan.  He then traveled down this dry creek to the Yellowstone River just below Pompeys Pillar and concluded that Clark had already gone down river.

When Clark had re-visited the pillar he noted that there was Indian art on the rock near where he carved his name.  

Lewis & Clark were  in Crow Country and they had lost about 50 horses.

No one knows just exactly how or when the Spanish Wild Horses began living on the Pryor Mountain area, it is however, a very likely possibility they are  of the Lewis & Clark Expedition Horses!

 The Pryor Horses still show many traits of the old Spanish breeding including;  zebra-like stripes on the legs, across the shoulders, or a dark dorsal stripe down the spine.  

Much of the original colors are found there too including;  dun, gruella, black, brown, roan, & buckskin.   Recently, DNA tests confirm these horses trace back to the Colonial Spanish Horses with a rare gene.

Because of the remoteness and ruggedness of the Pryor Mountain area, and having very few ‘white men’ inhabiting the area, (thus also keeping very little developement out of the area) has mostly kept other European horses out of the area. 

In most of the other Wild Horse Ranges scattered throughout the Western US, the hardy Colonial Spanish horses have been mixed with various other breeds that have escaped or were released into the wild by farmers, travelers, & military.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the history of the little Spanish Wild Horses and why the Pryor Horses are so unique!

-Kathy

September 18, 2009

Pryor Roundup Sept 3-9, 2009

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.

BLM Goals:
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?



Conquistador (Stallion) in 2008

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.

-Kathy Weigand

August 25, 2009

Getting to know the horses

** Copied from my Mustang Page that was written in 2006 ***

As a child, I was fortunate enough to have been raised on a farm with animals including horses, and I have always admired their strength and beauty.

When I was around ten years old, I was thumbing through a magazine, which included a short story and photos of some wild Mustangs, and I wished that I could see them in the wild.

My first true photographic encounter with Wyoming’s Wild Mustangs was in July 2004 during a visit to Cody Wyoming. We found the McCullough Peaks Range, around 40 (aka the Wild Bunch) all in seemingly good health, during our first visit.  It was a collection of families with various mixed colors (paints, palomino, sorrel, bay, buckskin, dun, roan…) and markings. They kept a very watchful eye on us at all times, never completely letting their guard down.

We immediately felt their amazing wild spirit.  What a fun day!  We watched the different family members interact… young foals would periodically nurse, sometimes a pair of friendly horses would ‘groom’ each other, and occasionally a few yearlings would playfully kick up their heels. We watched these horses for several hours in the quite desert, while also keeping an eye on the western sky.   Storm clouds rolled in all around and rain was falling on the distant hills, so we packed up our gear and headed back to Cody.  It was a short yet wonderful encounter!

In July of 2006 we returned to the McCullough Peaks Range. Ahhh, another beautiful Wyoming sunset! We paused on a ridge to watch the sunset over the high desert canyons and rolling hills. Other wildlife moved around us including antelope, rabbits, and a burrowing owl! In the distance we could hear a coyote barking while we watched the sun slip behind the hills. Although we only managed to find a handful of horses on that day, we enjoyed the peaceful desert evening, and it was a nice ending to an adventurous day.

Our next day trip to the McCullough Peaks would produce more horses.  Like our 2004 visit, several bands of horses had gathered together creating a large group of forty or so. We were spellbound by their presence, and my camera stayed busy! Thank goodness for long lenses.

We watched them until the horses finally moved on.

We kept going back to McCullough, but for our much anticipated last ‘horse day trip’ we cruised to Lovell Wyoming and up Pryor Mountain, which is just over the Montana border.  While heading up Pryor Mountain early in the morning, (approx. 8700 ft. elevation, 4×4 ) the roads were rough at times with ruts and washboard, but the area was filled with pretty rock outcroppings, tree clusters, meadows, and grand overlooks. As we rounded a curve, the landscape suddenly opened up to some beautiful mountain meadows, and we were thrilled to see several bands of horses right there in the open meadows!

As we rolled to a stop not too far from Penn’s Cabin along the Sykes Ridge Road (a very difficult road, 4×4 only – best with atv or jeep), a gorgeous black stallion (Raven) stood just a few feet away grazing, seemingly unmindful of our human presence.  He was a beauty!  This older stallion did not have any mares, and he stood alone. His shiny black coat was loaded with scars from head to hoof. The stallion kept busy grazing on the summer mountain grass, always watching, yet thoughtfully ignoring us ‘tourists’. Now at 18 years old, Raven has lost his mares and family to the younger and stronger band stallions (we understand that he lost them in the summer of 2005), but he is still a magnificent animal.

* NOTE *
Raven has passed on. (Winter 2007-08?) I will miss him much!  At least he lived and died FREE!

The Pryor Mountain Mustangs are very unique wild horses. They have the genetic DNA link to the Spanish Conquistador’s horses, which are a special part of America’s History!

We couldn’t believe that many of the wild horses on this mountain were fairly approachable, as we ‘stepped’ into their world. (ALWAYS KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE!)

We wanted to absorb as much as possible from each horse, and we quietly observed all of the wild horses around us. Most of the animals were steadily grazing, but several young stallions, or bachelor stallions, were running about chasing each other, their sure-footed pounding hooves could be easily heard hitting the rocky ground.

Like hawks, the band stallions were busy keeping watch over their families, making sure that no other stallion moved in too close.

We ‘absorbed’ all the horse activities that we could!  The horse ‘action’ was all around us!  What a special place!

——————————————————————————–

The wild horses and their scenic mountain home were magical – in a world of their own.

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Again, we began watching the late summer afternoon sky, as dark storm clouds and fierce lightening quickly approached the mountain.

We knew that we had to go… and that was very difficult for us.

~Kathy Weigand