Yesterday was one of the saddest dies of my life as whole bands of horses were driven off their home range by helicopter and into traps where they were then loaded into stock trailers and hauled the 25 miles down the twisting and rough Crooked Creek road. Following Trigger and his large family band down the mountain in a cloud of choking dust I watched these frightened animals brace against each other in the trailer.
I started filming Trigger when he was just a few days old back in 1997. Now this stunning bay stallion with the huge white blaze has grown up, winning mares of his own and his sons and daughters have faces that match their father’s. I know these horses, their history and their families. This is personally devastating to me but nothing compared to what the horses are going through. Now proud Trigger is in the desert corrals, far away from his lush mountain home. They have all been freeze-branded and wear numbered neck tags. Yesterday his family, separated from Trigger while he was put in with another band stallion, were trying to paw in their water trough to cool off.
Early this morning they captured Conquistador and his family—this 19 year-old dun stallion should never be removed from the range where his Spanish ancestors have lived in for centuries.
People have driven overnight to be here and flown in from all over the country but now that most of the media is gone the BLM is moving horses much faster through the chutes and yesterday Trigger’s son and one of his mares both started coming through the chute window. I was not allowed to film or observe in the chute area but the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center was back there and took this photo.
In a meeting last month in Washington DC we were told by Ed Roberson of the Department of Interior and Don Glenn, Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, that all of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses would be adopted, even the horses over 10. At the first morning briefing of this roundup Field Manager Jim Sparks reiterated this promise. But in a taped interview yesterday Don Glenn said that the older horses would be sold, all people have to do is sign a paper release.
The BLM has changed this from a selective removal based on genetics, age, characteristics and genetic contribution to one of the complete removal of horses who live outside the designated range. This is why Trigger and Conquistador and Bo and Shane and their families are all now at Britton Springs corrals with tags around their necks. Among these bands are young foals and 21-year-old Grumpy Grulla.
We’ve followed the law and have met with the BLM, Congressionals, the Forest Service and others. We have commented on every new document and have made our wishes known. We have requested that experts write to the BLM but they are being ignored as well. We are working through the courts and have gotten all the media here we can.
However those entrusted by the public to manage our wild horses continue without consideration for the future of this herd. Please contact all your local media as well as national outlets- ask that this story be covered and the BLM investigated. ‘The Bureau of Lies and Mismanagement’ is running rough-shod over our wild horses on our public lands. Do not let them destroy another American treasure.
One of our friends said today “I have never prayed so hard”. There are so many of you out there who are working to preserve and protect this herd in their wild home, please keep fighting for Cloud’s herd and all our mustangs. The helicopter is in the air but the horses are not gone yet.
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