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Terri Farley
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wild Horse Roundups : Who calls an emergency?

Christmas week Eagle /Silver King gather 2016  (BLM photo)

Christmas Week, Eagle and Silver King gather:

Helicopters contractors paid to prowl Nevada's high desert and spot wild horses'
shelters from blizzards, had flushed put and captured 18 mustang stallions, 16 mares and 9 foals befor
the Bureau of Land Management declared snowstorms a hazard to pilots and aircraft.
Today BLM plans to continue its "emergency" round up.
Why is this wild horse round-up an emergency? 
BLM says these wild horses come too close to the road.
No, wait, these are excess mustangs. That's the emergency.
Most members of the public only know what BLM said in its press release. It announced a race to remove 100 "excess" wild horses from public and private lands “to provide for public and animal safety.” Either or neither could be true, because:

Self-declared Bureau of Land Management emergencies do not require environmental assessments

Emergency gathers aren't uncommon in BLM wild horse management. Just this year they've had emergencies in places like Three Fingers, Oregon and Caliente, Wood Hills, Tunnel Springs, CherrySpring and Silver King, Nevada.
Were these true emergencies? We must listen to BLM's "trust me" because the streamlined process only requires a
BLM staffer -- often a field office manager responding to a rancher-tenant who wants mustangs off "his" land -- to report an "emergency" situation to a state program lead. The lead contacts the Washington, D,C, office. Then,
"If timing permits, a gather plan environmental assessment is prepared prior to any removal of wild horses or burros in response to the emergency. If this is not possible, a report is prepared after the action is taken. The public is notified via at least a news release."  (Jason Lutterman,Public Affairs Specialist (On Range), National Wild Horse and Burro Program and  BLM handbook )
No shelter for wild horses at BLM's Broken Arrow facility, but that's no emergency. It's where mustangs go
                                   after Christmas week Eagle /Silver King gather 2016  (BLM photo)
These days, I try to give BLM the benefit of the doubt by listening to sources inside the agency if they'll talk with me. There's a real danger America's pubic lands and wildlife will be handed over to slaughter-friendly states in 2017 and, despite its flaws, BLM is--under law -- restricted in their treatment of wild equines.
Still, I can't swallow "after the action is taken" explanations because I've been in California grazing association meetings, where a BLM field manager coodled ranchers with wild horse worries, by promising, "Anything we can do to assist you, we will. Anything."   
One element of "anything" turned out to be the 2015 round-up of 1,070 wild horses and the admitted deaths of 16. But that was another time.
Now, I urge you to sign up for for news on wild horses. Even though I've covered  BLM's handling of our wild horses for 30 years, I haven't been skeptical enough.
Too often when they've said "Trust me," I should've heard "I'm lying."  You can help me and the wild horses.

Happier days : 2016 BLM photo, Silver King herd management area



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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Still time to put holiday horses in your house!

Dear Readers, 
If I could pick up a mustang foal and bring it to your house for an overnight cuddle, I would!


Since I can't do that, I'll tell you where to order copies of my books, so you can dream yourself into their wild and secret homes.

To help wild horses, order here:

WILD AT HEART at Return to Freedom Wild Horse Rescue

WILD AT HEART at  Foothill Feed and Mercantile
For fastest delivery, order here:


Wishing you the warmest horsey hugs, 



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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rough Weather Ahead for Captive Mustangs

Thirty years ago, I visited BLM's  Palomino Valley wild horse corrals for the first time and saw a palomino foal drown in the mud. Since then, I often visit after heavy rains, just to keep watch.

Over time, improvements have been made, but changes reflect human ideas of what's cost-efficient. 
Over generations, freedom has taught horses how to survive the harshest weather. In captivity they can't do that.  

Last month, BLM-authorized helicopters rounded up nearly 2,000 Owyhee mustangs. Most of those wild horses -- staff couldn't be more specific than 1400 -1600 horses -- are at Palomino Valley. 
Earlier this week I visited Palomino Valley between northern Nevada storms. These horses are so wild, so sensitive to my approach that they bolted, rammed into each other, slipped and sometimes fell in the mud.  

I saw few mares with foals. Those who were together did their best to stay away from standing water.

These are the corrals with shelters

 This weekend high wind warnings -- up to 100 mph on the ridges -- snow storms, and below-freezing temperatures are predicted.
 Unique crescent moon and star markings

These young horses might have been pulled from general population for adoption, but no one could tell me for sure.

Friendships form under all conditions. The buckskin groomed each corral mate -- whether or not they wanted attention.

$15.16 from Amazon


 Read more about long-standing troubles of unsheltered mustangs: 
2013 Palomino Valley: winter
2013 Palomino Valley Summer

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