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Terri Farley
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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Update on Wild Horses Shipped from Palomino Valley

Dear Readers, 
My concern over empty corrals at Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Preparation Facility led me to request more details about our mustangs and their after-capture movements 

All of the information I've put in italics are taken directly from BLM sources.

"As of December 31, 2015, the number of animals at PVC are as follows: 1,129 horses and 12 burros, "

I also asked for the WHO, WHEN, WHERE and WHY of wild horse shipping. 
Although the WHY is still forthcoming, but these shipping records cover the period I asked for, from November 1 - January 1. They were secured for me by  BLM Public Affairs Specialist Jason Lutterman.

"November 5, 2015: A load of 86 horses shipped to the off-range corral in Carson City, Nevada (inmate training program)

"November 16, 2015: A load of 36 horses shipped to the off-range corral in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma.  

"November 16, 2015: A load of 36 horses shipped to the off-range corral in Bruneau, Idaho. 

"November 23, 2015: A load of 8 horses shipped to the off-range corral in Elm Creek, Nebraska. 

"December 8, 2015: A load of 34 horses shipped to the off-range corral in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma"

WHO are these horses? Their coat colors are sorrel and roan, both strawberry and blue, gray and bay, black, brown, pinto and dun.

They're as old as 15 years and as young as one.  Some were born on the range, but many are facility born. Some have strikes listed on their final shipping orders.
Strikes tell how many times a wild horse has been offered for adoption but failed to find a home. 
Three strikes aren't good.
The 3-year old bay with 4 strikes, 2-year old sorrel with 5, and three yearlings with 3 or 4 each are not protected by the BLM oversight afforded adoptees. Three strikes mustangs and horses of certain ages may be be sold outright.
 To whom? For what? If they're fortunate, they might be sold to someone with good intentions.
My Calico Mountains mare Ghost Dancer was a Sale Authority horse.

WILD HORSE HOW-TO:  Have questions about mustangs or burros in facilities other than Palomino Valley? Contact that facility directly. If the facility cannot pull the information for you, ask who can and you should be given a name and phone number/email address for someone who can. 


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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ghost Dancer: this mustang mare survived


First they took her freedom and family. Then, they put her in the stallion pen

I was on the range in January 2010, not far from the home land of Wovoka, the Paiute prophet whose vision began the Ghost Dance movement, when an ivory and adobe-colored Medicine Hat mare was taken from her home by a BLM helicopter round-up.
She came to be known as Ghost Dancer

I saw her transferred to a government facility called Broken Arrow -- an ironic symbol for peace -- where she was accidentally penned with young stallions.

Wild horses arrive at privately owned ranch called Broken Arrow, in Fallon, Nevada. BLM pays the ranch owner to corral hundreds of wild horses. 
The mare was injured by other traumatized mustangs

At this time, the Broken Arrow facility was open to the public. I visited the mare whenever I could and
brought her sage leaves, the scent of home. On days I couldn't go, friends checked on and photographed her (photos by Cat Kindsfather) 

The mare bonded so quickly with a black and white pinto, I wondered if they'd known each other when they both ran free. Maybe their reunion, in captivity, was a bittersweet surprise.

Eventually the Medicine Hat mare was moved to BLM's Palomino Valley facility and put up for sale. She was not eligible for adoption because she was over 10 years old. This meant she could be sold “without limitation”. That meant she could have gone to a kill-buyer, but I was fortunate enough to outbid everyone in an online auction. She was mine, but a bidder in Texas won her best friend, and the mares parted again.  

The Medicine Hat mare was captured not far from the lands of the prophet Wovoka. Inspired by the Ghost Dance religion and poem “Ghost Dance” by Sara Littlecrow-Russell, I named this resilient mare Ghost Dancer.  

The history I've read -- always iffy when it documents the lives of Indians -- says a dream showed him a circle dance which would cause the disappearance of the Whites and return the land to the way it was before their invasion, Wouldn't a wild horse, captured and ripped from her home, have the same dream?  
I freed Ghost Dancer in a 5,000 sanctuary with a young sorrel mare captured on the same day, in the same place.   
Sage and Ghost Dancer arrive at Wild Horse Sanctuary in northern California

The Medicine Hat mare wasn’t mine to name really, but we have a bond. From my first sight of her, I haven’t stopped envisioning her life from her early coltish days in the Calico Mountains to the day the helicopters came for her and took her freedom, and I am writing that story. I hope she approves.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

BLM Cares Really, Truly, Deeply About Wild Horses

BLM 2008: Killing captive wild horses  “magic bullet for budget problems"

BLM 2015: Killing captive wild horses sold to Tom Davis in 2008 was "deceitful" 

BLM helicopter round-up of wild horses, Melissa Farlow photo
Three years after the public demanded an investigation of Bureau of Land Management sales of wild horses to Mexican slaughter houses via known kill-buyer Tom Davis of Colorado,  the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Inspector General issued a report confirming the deal.

According to the Associated Press ”Steven Ellis, the BLM’s deputy director of operations, lamented Davis’ ‘deceitful actions.’”
I mean, BLM had absolutely no idea what Davis had done with 1,794 federally-protected wild horses.


It’s been almost 7 years to the day since my op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal  quoted then-BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson who suggested  killing captive wild horses might be a “magic bullet for budget problems".

At the same time, Susie Stokke, then Nevada’s Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager, told KUNR that though BLM spends millions on many programs, “aggressive management of wild horses is the magic bullet for BLM budget shortfall.” 

 2008:  Sally Spencer, director of program which sold wild horses to Davis:

“BLM hasn't yet exerted its full powers” over mustangs. 

I mean, it almost sounds like a policy had been born.

Still, after the publication of the Op-Ed and a longer blog on the same topic, I heard from Spencer who asked why I’d turned on the BLM. I responded that I was tired of lies, and never heard from her again.

The Denver Post quotes the report : “Between 2008 and 2012, Davis spent $17,940 on horses from the BLM... “ and “BLM spent more than $140,000 delivering the horses to Davis…” 
If this wasn't an attempt to balance the BLM budget on the backs of wild horses, what was it?  
Before this report came out, I asked BLM questions about Tom Davis and other wild horse policies. They never answered, so I turned to government websites.

BLM’s Myths and Facts page often lags behind current events and modern science, but it's never sounded with such hollow irony as it does now. 
"Myth #2:  It is the BLM's policy to sell or send wild horses to slaughter.

Fact:  This charge is absolutely false. The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management care deeply about the well-being of wild horses"

But they sent them to slaughter, just the same. 
Author's Note: Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt pushed back its publication deadline to give the agency over a year to respond to inquiries about wild horses, but BLM chose not to answer a single question on the record for my recent non-fiction book, Wild At Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wild Horses & Young People Fight to Save Each Other

 Melissa Farlow image
We were born to cozy warmth and milk into the care of those with muscles to protect our fragile bodies. 
We were born to grow strong legs and far-seeing eyes 
as we followed the paths made by wise guardians. 
Instead, Destiny tossed us to the cruel. 
We hurt. We starved. We tottered, bewildered, from one hard hand to the next.  
Until, reflected in each others’ eyes
We healed a little, forgot a bit. Too tough and afraid to
believe in love, we still dreamed of gentle hands held out, palm up. We dreamed
a mirage of hope.
The story of a girl named Robin, who spent years in foster
care, and her love for Rocky the mustang appear in WILD AT HEART.
Purchase the book  WILD AT HEART first edition, hard cover volume 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Will BLM be Cowed by Ranchers, Miners?

Standing room only crowd at BLM's RMP meeting, Fallon, NV

May 19, 2015                                                                                          Fallon, Nevada
About 170 people crowded elbow-to-elbow in the Churchill County Commission chamber. More spilled outside, eager to hear about BLM’s new Carson City Resource Management Plan (RMP) for public lands.
Along with a few other wild horse advocates, I came to dispute a plan that would zero-out bands of mustangs but leave livestock home on the range. BLM figures 4.8 million acres can sustain only 2,508 wild horses but 12,600 cattle.
Right off, the crowd was disappointed. BLM staff wouldn’t answer questions; they came to listen.  
Four speakers mentioned wild horses and three represented the Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone tribes.  The rest of the 6-8:30 pm comment period belonged to the Fallon Tea Party, mining and livestock industries. Samples from my notes:  

"Churchill County is not Sherwood Forest and BLM is not the Sheriff of Nottingham" (speaker dons green Robin Hood hat) 

"We have enough trees" "We have enough protected lands" "We got enough wilderness"
         "We’re not going through a drought; it’s just a dry period and mining’s our cash cow"
"Looks like you’re going to drive people off the land"
"I hunt. My kids hunt and I don’t need no Master’s degree"
"Cattle are good for the range and mining is good for the water table" 

Why worry?  Throughout the West legislation is being introduced to prohibit the Federal government from managing lands within a state. That would mean an end to public lands and the meager protection afforded to range, water, vegetation, sacred sites, wild horses and other wildlife.

Remember Cliven Bundy, a rancher backed by an armed militia (ladies in front, please) protecting his “right” to skip out on a million dollars in grazing fees? On March 31 the Bundy Ranch gang, headed by Cliven’s son Ammon, are coming to the Nevada Assembly to support a Resource Rights Bill. 
Nevadans only (sorry): Want to  enter your opinion of AB408, which would turn all public lands over to the state? .Click here  to vote AGAINST  giving wild horse lands to ranchers & miners _______________________________________________________________________________   Please watch and listen for further developments.   
Read Bundy’s letter to the folks, here at Ralston Reports

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