Freedom’s Escape- Expanded Humane Observers’ Report


10 January 2010

By now, many of you know I have been monitoring the Calico Complex roundup as a humane observer and that I was also likewise engaged last summer in the Pryor Mountains of Montana during the roundup of Cloud’s herd where the horses were driven 11 to 15 miles down the mountain.  I do my best to document and share with all of you who would be here if you could what my eyes and my camera see.  Craig Downer and Bob Bauer have been stalwart companions in the first weeks, and we’ve been gratified to see others coming out to stand vigil for our beloved mustangs who are losing their freedom and their home in this deeply wild and sparsely beautiful mountain range in Nevada.  It is our aim to provide updated, regular reports of what we see although logistically we’ve not been able to keep you all as updated as we would like. There is a tremendous amount of driving involved – Nevada is a big place – along rugged roads in very bad Pogonip ground fog and icy cold conditions.  It is sometimes so cold even my camera objects to being outdoors and won’t work properly, and I must turn it off and on again to coax it to photograph.  Nevertheless, she has been a real trooper and continues to serve us all as well as she can.

First let me say these horses are beautiful, healthy wild horses.  They are far more uneasy around people than Cloud’s herd, who are more accustomed to the sight of humans. The wild horses of the isolated Calico Complex and become quite nervous and swell together in unanimous, anxious whooshes of agitated movement when humans approach the pens.

At this point the beautiful stallion, Freedom, and his struggle and ultimate escape is familiar to many.  While Craig and Bob were over on the side of the pens where they saw closely his attempts and ultimate flight to freedom, I was on the other side of the pens filming the “processing” of the individual horses, which is when I took the photos of Freedom standing upright, with his right front elbow stuck over the top of the fence to the jerry-rigged processing/sorting area the Cattoors set up at their portable trap sites.  I’ve previously posted a picture you’ve probably seen of Freedom’s predicament, in which he got himself into in this sorting/processing alleyway by rearing up in an attempt to go up and over the fence and gate.  After horses are driven in by the helicoper, they are individually put through this little processing area to be identified and evaluated for gender and age, and assessed for injuries and overall condition.  Most all of the horses had a very difficult time with this area.  They are afraid, claustrophobic, extremely anxious, backing up into each other and into the rear gate to the area, heads swinging down low side to side, rearing, kicking the back gate.  Some just stand there frozen. Often it’s a first experience for them of being enclosed.  They are afraid and very anxious.

Freedom, however, is in a class by himself.  I believe Freedom to be Nevada’s Cloud.  Cloud is the only horse we have ever seen turn to face the helicopter before being driven into the pen.  His intelligence, courage, strength, and sheer spunk, as well as his tender affection for his family and his legendary good looks (!) constantly set him apart. Cloud has kept his head in numerous difficult situations, both on the range and in the hands of man, which is why he became a band stallion at only 5 years old.  I believe Freedom has demonstrated that same true greatness of spirit embodied by his courage, presence of mind, and unflinching determination in the daunting face of his greatest natural predator:  man.

I took numerous, rapid-fire photos of this incident, and as a tribute to him, to Freedom, I have decided, in response to people’s interest, to post them lest we forget what it means to these magnificent free spirits  to    b e    f r e e.

Here is my whole sequence in chronological order, complete with timestamps: a wild horse’s terribly frightening ordeal at the hands of humans, yet this is par for the course in the day of the BLM and the roundup contractors.  I am not alleging any specific abuse at the hands of man, rather, it is the general abuse inherent in this entire process of interfering with the wild horses’ right to run free in his own legally designated area.  Calico Complex, consisting of five separate but adjoining wild horse herd areas — Black Rock East, Black Rock West, Warm Springs, Calico Mountain, and Granite Range —  consists of 550,000 acres, easily enough room for 3,095 horses, almost 200 acres per horse.  They are healthy and beautiful now in the dead of winter; they do not need BLM’s form of “help”; what a travesty.  While they are drastically reducing the numbers of the wild horses, BLM has increased the number of cattle allowed to graze in the Soldier Meadows allotment.  These facts need to be known.

Freedom’s story needs to be told, and told again and again, to children and grandchildren.  To this end, Craig Downer and I feel privileged to share the photos we were so fortunate to take, so we are making available these photos to tell Freedom’s story.  We want to do all we can to ensure that his sacrifice was not in vain.  Personally, I am certain he sustained serious injuries to his chest when he hit the barbed wire fence full bore.  Craig observed a deep bloody gash just above his hoof on his front right leg as he freed himself from the wire, but close study of my photographs indicates he arrived into captivity with this fresh cut.  Nevertheless, I find some consolation in the fact that wild stallions sustain serious injuries every season during fights to win and keep mares.  Their resilience is legendary, and with our prayers, God’s grace, and Freedom’s indomitable spirit, he will recover to start a new family and be a reigning stallion in the Black Rock Range if he can stay out of sight during this and future roundups, and stay out of the crosshairs of those few albeit deadly people who seek to rid the range of his magnificent and gloriously beautiful kind.

To put it in Freedom’s perspective:  This ordeal was so serious for him, he was motivated to risk everything in order to escape the possibility of more of the same in captivity.   It only lasted one minute, but his life is now forever changed.  We must stop these roundups and the terrible stockpiling of these tremendously beautiful, peace-loving animals.

Photo A by Craig Downer 1/02/10 11:11:32 a.m.

Freedom’s band being driven into the trap area from Craig’s vantage point up on the mountain.  Note the foal in the rear, trying to keep up.  More foals than adults die from roundup injuries and subsequent complications.  Additionally, many foals end up footsore and limping. We saw numerous foals limping in the Fallon holding facility on Thursday, 1/7/10 (separate reports to follow).  Like human babies’ bones, their hooves are not yet hard, and they simply cannot sustain the pounding inherent in long treks keeping abreast with frightened adult horses, especially here on the hard lava rock, at any speed over a walk.

Freedom is in the front attempting to lead his band away from the helicopter threat, to safety. Sensing danger, he has slowed to a trot despite the looming pressure of the helicopter.  Stallions are all about protection of the family.  They are either in front, leading, or at the rear, placing themselves between the perceived threat and their family, in which case the dominant or “lead” mare assumes the responsibility for leading the band.

PHOTO B:  Freedom stretched out now in a full gallop, a last-ditch effort to escape the demon helicopter on his tail.  Although the helicopter sometimes hangs back over the long drive toward a trap site, at this critical juncture the pilot applies maximum pressure to make sure the horses move past their resistance all the way into the pen.  This means the helicopter is very close and very low.  The noise and wind are terrifying.  This is a great shot by Craig capturing the release of the Judas horse, who is trained to run ahead of the wild horses straight into the pen.  The wild horses, being frightened herd animals, tend to follow a strong leader.

Photo B by Craig Downer  11:11:46 a.m.

PHOTO C:  Thirty seconds later, seen from my (Elyse’s) vantage point on the ground:  Hard pressed, Freedom is hesitating, forced to lead his band into the trap. We can see the red-alert position of his ears, high head and arched neck.  Note the wrangler hiding outside the jute-lined fence.  Once the last horse (the foal) has passed, he and others likewise hiding will duck under the fence and start waving their flagwhips as they walk and run toward the horses to push them all the way up into the pen and slam the gate shut.

Photo C – 11:12:11 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Trapped, frightened horses.  Freedom is farthest right.   Photo D (above) – 11:20:38 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Freedom and band huddle together.  Note that the deep gash above his right front hoof.  It is a fresh wound.

Photo E (above) – 11:24:09 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Intelligent and alert, Freedom (farthest right) watches me photograph him while his band looks elsewhere.  I am so very sorry, ashamed of my species…  I tell him what I told Conquistador when photographing him up on Commissary Ridge while trapped in the trailer in Montana:  I am so sorry;  I will tell your story.  I will tell the world. Photo F (above) – 11:24:09 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

PHASE II of Captivity

Stuck on the Fence, Freedom. Photo G – 1/2/2010 11:28:48 a.m – Elyse Gardner

This processing area was a narrow alleyway approximately 15 feet long within which the Cattoors would individually separate the horses to assess gender and condition.  The horses were spray painted on their backs in here, also, to identify from which herd area they were taken.

As you can see below (photo H), Freedom is stuck (see right front elbow).  Sue Cattoor is holding her flag whip (see the thigh-level white plastic bag, which is affixed to a whipstick approximately 3 feet long).

Freedom’s hind legs, his only traction, are struggling, and he’s slipping on the icy walkway as he thrusts to get enough lift to extricate himself.  His mouth is slightly open in these photos; he is extremely stressed.  Being immobilized is frightening enough to a horse, let alone a wild horse, but being immobilized in such close proximity to the greatest predators on earth would be a terrible ordeal for him. We can be sure he is highly motivated to get down off this fence.

Photo H – 11:28:51 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Below in Photo I, two seconds later, he continues stressed. The pressure of the wrangler on the opposite side of the fence with flag whip uplifted is clearly felt.  He now has some relief in that both hind legs are back solidly on the ground.

Photo I (above) – 11:28:53 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

In Photo J, below, two seconds later, he’s collecting himself.  His mouth is closed.  I am impressed with his self-containment at this point.   He is nevertheless highly motivated to extricate himself from this terrible predicament.  Note that the wrangler opposite Sue Cattoor is no longer present; he is walking around to this side of the processing alleyway.

Photo J – 11:28:59 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

This very present, collected band stallion of ten other horses driven in with him (eight mares, two six-month-old youngsters — a sizeable, very respectable band) now turns to look at his persecutor, below.  He has his left front leg over the fence bar as well, giving himself some relief from hanging on the one side and definitely wanting to go over this fence and be free.  I’ve seen horses escape confinement; their only interest is to get away.

Photo K – 11:29:01 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

In the photo below, Freedom struggles again to dismount off the fence.  Bear in mind it’s only been about 6 seconds since the wrangler walked away from the opposite side of the fence.  What I’ve termed a “rest” was really just a split second of cessation of struggle.  He was struggling ongoingly to come off this fence.

Photo L 11:29:04 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

In photo M below, spray can in ungloved right hand and holding in his left hand his right-hand white glove, along with something else you’ll see in the next photos, BLM’s Nevada wild horse and burro specialist arrives on this side of the fence striding purposefully into the area.  Freedom has removed his left front leg from the fence but remains trapped by his elbow.  Sue Cattoor’s flag whip is visible below Freedom’s left front leg.

Photo M – 11:29:07 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

In Photo N below, BLM’s WH&B specialist places on the ground a yellow and gray object resembling a DuraProd electric hotshot (an electric cattle prod).  * Correction: this was in fact a notebook and not a hotshot. My thanks for this clarification from BLM.

Photo N – 11:29:12 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Photo O- Enlarged

Below in Photo 11, Freedom is highly agitated and struggles desperately to free himself as he is goaded and flagged by Sue Cattoor, her wrangler, and the pressure of the presence of the BLM employee.  His open mouth conveys the angst and depth of his struggle.  He was not struck with the flagwhips; no one yelled at him or made any noise. People moved slowly and deliberately.  From the wild horse’s perspective, it is clearly nevertheless a terrible ordeal.

Photo P – 11:29:15 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

In Photo Q, below, 3 seconds later, Freedom is falling backwards as he finally unhooks his elbow from the fence.  I’ve seen domestic horses sustain terrible injuries from fences like this, and I fervently pray he is okay.  This turns out to be the least of his worries, as we have all learned.

Photo Q – 11:29:18 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Below in Photo R, Freedom is catching himself, and he righted himself quickly.  What tremendous power and determination in this very special black stallion.  I also notice the bottom of his hoof.  What beautiful, healthy feet these horses have.  This will change as they become prior-wild horses living in holding pens with no grazing nor any opportunity for roaming over rocks in their natural habitat to naturally wear down the hoof.  If they go to long-term holding facilities in Kansas, Kentucky, and the like, they end up in flat pastures, and their hooves will grow unchecked like our domestic horses’ do, and they will then need routine hoof care.  How does a wild horse get hoof care?  They are generally brought in and driven with flags, much as we see here, into a squeeze chute that turns them on their side, and then their hooves are filed down with an electric sander-type device.  Long-term holding is not without its horrors for these horses.  They are amazingly resilient, peaceable animals who deserve to be left to run free.  I notice the presence of the yellow and gray device on the ground to the left of the BLM wild horse and burro specialist.

Photo R – 11:29:20 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

In photograph S, below, we see Freedom unhooked from his fence nightmare trotting briskly through the now-open gate into the adjoining pen where he would, in the next few minutes, gather all his strength and make several failed attempts at jumping the 6-foot fence before succeeding.

The fence predicament took just under one minute, from 11:28:48 a.m. to 11:29:25 a.m., but it was a life-changing minute for this horse.  Some of our life-defining moments are very short-lived, aren’t they.  This experience left an indelible impression on this horse:  “I will get out of here, whatever it takes.”

Photo S- 11:29:25 a.m. – Elyse Gardner

Less than a minute after extricating himself and escaping the looming pressure of human presence so close by, Freedom is now in the adjoining pen, immediately beginning his first approach to fly the fence into the relief of his mountains.

Photo T – 11:30:18 a.m. – Craig Downer

Failing his first effort by having hit the fence and fallen backwards, Freedom now struggles to see over the fence and focuses his full acumen on assessing the power and stride necessary to clear this fence, this barrier to freedom.  I feel such pathos in this hysterically desperate, burningly focused, do-or-die mission to flee to his mountains.  He wants it, needs it, so badly he can taste it…

Photo U – 11:30:34 a.m. – Craig Downer

After unsuccessfully hitting the fence twice, Freedom recalculated, and in a final herculean effort he mustered the wherewithal to sail over the fence only to encounter this terrible barbed wire perimeter fence which he hit full bore, becoming ensnared in its strands.

Photo V – 11:31:33 a.m. – Craig Downer

Finally, a bittersweet freedom, making a run into the relieving embrace of his mountains, leaving his cherished family behind.  His mares were desperate.  There was one mare in particular, whom I’ve got on video, who made several runs at the fence but knew she couldn’t clear it and repeatedly slid to a halt at the fence, stopping short of an actual jump.  It was heart-wrenching.

Photo W – 11:31:36 a.m. – Craig Downer

Freedom looking back a last time to the family he has to leave behind.

Photo X – 11:31:48 a.m. – Craig Downer

Turning back toward the mountains.Photo Y – 11:32:14 a.m. – Craig Downer

Freedom slipping into the welcome embrace of his mountain home.  We are with you, Noble One.  May you heal and stay always free.

Photo Z – 11:33:25 a.m. – Craig Downer


To Freedom, in tribute, for your sake and all your wild family.

And to the wild horse supporters, all of you who take a moment to write congresspeople or call the President to help the wild horses and burros stay wild and free, THANK YOU for giving at least one wild horse a voice every time you take action.

For the wild horses and their humble friends, the wild burros,

Elyse Gardner with thanks to Craig Downer

Caring is great; action is better. — Elyse Gardner, Humane Observer

55 Responses to “Freedom’s Escape- Expanded Humane Observers’ Report”

  1. Suzanne Moore Says:

    Heart breaking….

  2. golde w Says:

    that had to be hard to watch….thanks Elyse….and Craig

  3. Suzanne Moore Says:

    Does anyone know – I’m not sure of the correct term here – the gauge of this barbed wire? Being from Texas – where it’s called bobwire – I know there is barbed wire that is monstrous and vicious, but there is also much thinner wire with short barbs. How much it could rip Freedom with his full winter coat is very much dependent on how heavy the wire and long the barbs.

  4. Marilyn Wargo Says:

    Thank you, Elyses, for showing more photos and giving us your detailed account of this determined wild horse’s struggle for freedom. He has inspired all of us and reminded us that we must fight to remain free. I am so grateful to you for being there because you never know what will happen and we all have the right to know. This is what an observer is there for. mar

  5. themustangproject Says:

    To answer Suzanne: It appears to be about 9 to 12 gauge, or 1/8″ to 1/16″ diameter. Typically, the 9.5 or 10 gauge is used simply for durability as it is thicker.
    I find these pictures somewhat ironic…
    Barbed wire has been used for decades, even more than a century now, to either contain or restrict movements of animals. Even worse, it’s been the instrument of containment and restriction for humans as well. In times of warfare its use has been almost exclusive.
    The “Devil’s Rope”, as it was nicknamed in the late 1800’s, was patented by Joseph Glidden in 1873-74. It was his answer to the growing problem of stray animals damaging his crops. Henry D. and Frances T. McCallum wrote a book in 1965 about it, “The Wire That Fenced the West”.
    Yes, I think the “Devil’s Rope” is a very good moniker for these barbaric strands of wire.
    Obviously, not the Devil himself (or herself) nor the wire that fenced the West could contain the true Spirit of the West – Freedom – no matter what gauge.

  6. Carryl Edwards Says:

    Beautiful FREEDOM you are free at last. I pray you are safe and keep hidden from the cruel humans that had pushed you from your mountain home and separated you from your beloved mares and colts. I will continue to sign petitions and write letters to congress and our president until every mustang and burro is set free. Stay safe FREEDOM we love you!.

  7. Savewildhorses Says:

    The majesty and courage of this magnificent animal is THE STORY of the wild horses.

    Look at him head for those hills. Long may you roam free, Freedom.

    Godspeed & stay far away from us humans.

  8. christine keihm Says:

    So grateful this was filmed so devastated by our complete disregard of the rights of these horses.



  10. dianne Says:

    My family has a black mare that was rescued from salughter over a year ago and her name is also Freedom.My heart goes out to all the horses out there that are in need of just that their freedom to be given back to them.Thank you so much for making their story know.To many people see these things go on everyday around the world and still do nothing to help.You will make a difference in this world.Thank you on behalf of my own horse and all the others out there.Keep up the good work.

  11. ann ceraldi Says:

    Thank you Craig. Those are heartbreaking photos.

  12. pamedavis Says:

    Thank you so much for the text and photos, great documentation. This is something that is so foreign to me, living in the south and in a city. This reporting is so useful and educational. And amazing, amazingly beautiful, amazingly barbaric, and troublesome, that this is still going on.

  13. Mel Says:

    WOW– thank you for such a concise accounting of an amazing story. While this is clearly hard to read and difficult to report my compliments to the authors for specifically stating that the hot-shot wasn’t used, that the actions of the two-leggeds were calm and deliberate. I believe this perspective really helps the public understand that the people involved aren’t necessarily out to torture the horses thereby increasing the credibility of the report. Well done!

  14. Kim Freeman Says:

    Tears. I cry for this horse, and his family, and all the Mustangs who have to deal with idiotic human intervention.
    Will it ever end?

  15. Gloria Picchetti Says:

    It’s so heartbreaking. The horses were happy. The horses were not bothering anyone.

    • Anna White Says:

      gloria writes: The horses were not bothering anyone…anne’s comment; true; not only were the Horses not bothering anyone; they were eating for free ! and they were very healthy; and they were keeping vines and weeds in control through selective grazing; which horses know how to do; THIS is Why so many Horses at Fallon and Calico Corals are “getting sick; they feed the horses old straw they scatter on the ground; and then give Hay on the outside where some horses cannot get to; don’t they know how to give the proper feed to Wild Mustangs and not cause sickness? 23 Calico Horses have perished; mostly due to: BLM does not know the proper feed and they won’t listen to anyone ! I know !
      I; Anne wrote to the BLM and they wrote me: (this was when only 3 horses were down; BLM wrote:

      I can assure you the Horses are not getting sick from the old straw the contractor left in the pnes ?
      oh sure pal; horses can not go from fresh green healthy herbs like sage to old wicked wet Salt Hay !

      I know that; and I am not even a horse expert; ANYONE knows Wet straw and hay cause sickeness…

      I told them to get the old straw out of there ! they say the old moldy straw in the pens is not a prob.

      just like the BLM says: ahem…form the animals point of view; not having shelter is not a problem…

      my comment: oh I am sorry : i did not know you the BLM gets inside the minds of Horses; “hew haw?
      in defense of the BLM jack asses who round up wild horses AND wild burros; atleast they put some shelter around the foals; pens; ps; i hear very wicked cold snowy weather west; are the horses OK ?? !

      • Anna Says:

        AFTER the BLM rounds up the Mustangs and Burros for “eating grass and native forage;



        AND CALLS THE GRASS “hazardous fuel

        dig this mon…THE BLM CALLS TUMBLEWEEDS

        HAZARDOUS FUEL; and sets fire to them instead of letting the BURROS eat tumbleweeds!

      • Anna Says:

        The accumulated tumbleweeds would be burned in place with a prescribed burn during…

        Anne writes; LET THE BURROS and Mustangs EAT THE EXCESS tumbleWEEDs

      • Anna Says:

        Click to access DOI-BLM-OR-V000-2009-007-CX.pdf

        comment: The Burros eat the Tumbleweeds as one of their favorite feed; Mustangs will eat Tumbleweeds when they are fresh an in bloom;

        so what the BLM does: THE BLM ROUNDS UP THE BURROS AND MUSTANGS WHICH EAT THE TUMBLEWEED; so there is excess Tumbleweeds because the Burros are in captivity


        new mexico’s biggest wildfire ever was a “USgov prescibed burn that got out of control

        summary: BLM calls Mustangs and Burros Invasive species

        blm calls tumble weesd “hazarodus fuel

        then they use diseal on the tumbleweeds! stupid…imo Anna White USA 1951 vegetarian…

  16. jan eaker Says:

    This was heartbreaking to read, I can’t begin to imagine the depth of anguish for those of you witnessing this; thank you for the report and this tribute to this wonderful stallion. What broke my heart was that one of his mares tried to join him and couldn’t. I hope and pray that Freedom is alive and healthy, and I pray to GOd that there are other horses still there for him to be with. The thought of him being all alone is terrible to contemplate.
    to all of you who bear withness to these tragedies called “gathers”, thank you,

  17. Anony Says:

    This is pure evil and won’t go unpunished in the great scheme of things.



  19. Honor Hannon Says:

    Good work Elyse, my prayers and good wishes to you and Craig. We ARE stronger than the BLM and shall overcome.
    For the wild ones,

  20. Mustangs of the American West: What Part of “Wild” Don’t We Understand? « From Western Colorado Says:

    […] observers at the current Calico Complex round-up just how easy it was for the black stallion who leapt to his freedom over a six-foot fence to remember his dutiful connection to human […]

  21. Lmeg Bucklan Says:

    Heartbreaking. Once again another example that man is the most vicious animal on earth. The BLM needs to be investigated and while in hearings, all gathering/roundups stopped immediately. With so many equine already in holding pens with the BLM stating their funding is low, why would any reasonable being decide to gather more wild herds to put in the pens? These actions are both unreasonable, unacceptable and suspect. Is something going on quietly that the Pubic is not aware of that these lands where the wild herds live must be cleared? I believe that most Americans do not know their tax money is being used to fund these roundups, nor do they know the extent of the cruelty, injuries, maiming and deaths involved during these roundups, or why these roundups are continuing. Get the information out to the public! These tax funded roundups leave many questions unanswered. Are they legal and how is the BLM allowed to make these roundups? What is the Ruby Pipeline’s involvement and WHO is going to profit from these cruel activities? I not only see RED, but GREED in abundance here. What’s really going on here? The BLM cannot use lame excuses such as the herds are unfit or unhealthy, because these pics say otherwise. There is much more going on here. Also, these wild herds are “clean” from medicines, shots, etc. leaving their flesh most desirable for the dinner plates of high-end foreign restaurants making a stronger note for their “end” that being SLAUGHTER with the BLM stating “look at all the $$$ we can make here.” It is unfortunate that Bob Abbey and Ken Salazar cannot see SLAUGHTER withOUT the the “S” (making Laughter) and stop bowing to the lobbyists of gas (like a pipeline), oil, and cattle which far out number the horses on the Public Lands, and see the beauty and natural sustainability of these wild herds; and stop their present agenda, that being making the wild herds’ lives hell by assault, harassment, family separations, and roundups; and using my tax money to satisfy some special interest group (above mentioned). Like many other informed members of the public, I strongly object to these roundups, want them ended now, and the land restored that has slowly been (see Burns) taken back from them that was given to the wild herds in 1971. Stop these roundups and leave the wild herds alone – NOW. What is the Legality of taking these herds and their lands by the BLM? Anyone know?

  22. Blog » Blog Archive » Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow Cry Out for Wild Horses Says:

    […] “The bottom line is that this agency has got to come clean,” Kathrens says. “They have to be made accountable at Congressional hearings. I think we’re just being hoodwinked and losing something so precious and spectacular.” […]

  23. Anna White Says:

    thank goodness Elyses and Craig for being there to record this heartwreching yet awe inspiring Mustang; I notice they said Freedom had a wound on his hoof before he was “gathered into the pen;this means the BLM saying they do not injure the horses during roundups is not true;

    they should send this story to every news show in the usa; esp. about how in the wild the Horses’ s Hooves get worn down naturally; in pasture the horses’s hooves get overgrown; BLM:Wild Horses are not pasture oranaments

    ps I hear there is a video of the Mare trying to follow Freedom; maybe they will post the video; what a wonderful horse to try to follow her mate; I praise this horse too…aw

  24. Anna White Says:

    Cheryl Crow and Willie Nelson are doing great work; I read the daughter of Willie Nelson; Amy Nelson said: Wild Horses have to run around in order to stay warm; so in pens and corrals they do not run and their health is at risk:
    (paraphrased…); I was thinking of the same thing but couldn’t get it down in words; the reasoning the BLM has for placing Mustangs in cold barren pens with no shelter is:

    they lived out in the wild with no shelter so they can live in pens with no shelter; but Amy Nelson says it right; so I was just hoping the Horses in corral done’t get hypothermia ! esp. not the 68 or foals they rounded up and then most of them were separated from Mum’s Milk and put on hay and pellets; some were weanlings;

    to the BLM: A corral is not the same as a mountain range !

  25. Wendi Kimbrough Says:

    SHAME ON THE BLM and ANYONE who aids them in continuing this ridiculous and absolutely unnecessary corraling of this magnificent animals. They were born wild. Let them remain wild. How dare the BLM take OUR horses and chase them into corrals, separate them, mark them with paint, and let them languish in these god forsaken pens where they no longer have their freedom.

    Stop this nonsense. Let them go.

  26. Wanda Berry-Hill Says:

    I hope everyone will contact their representives and government employees in office and demand that the BLM stop this waste of time, money and cruelty in regard to the wild horses who have legal rights to that grazing land. If the law had not been gutted by a person who has no knowledge whatsoever of the wild horse, these cruel people would not be allowed to chase the horses down, confine them and then complain because they eat and need care! It is a flat lie they use to do these things, the wild horses are in better shape in the wild than in the holding pens-proof is in viewing them! I can’t believe that cattle who number in the millions are considered to be “deprived” of the wild horses grazing grounds. It is of course the pipe line they (big corporations) want to put across that land NOT the mere fact the wild horse is “starving” etc:…. Please everyone, speak out, speak up and keep yelling NO! to those who continue to torture these beautiful wild horses-whose ancestors helped make American in those early years. They deserve better-where is the heart in America? We have a wild mustang-he was born of a wild herd mare from the Nez Perce reservation lands. He is now 29 years old, an appy stud who is beautiful and happy here.
    His mother was blind-she was considered a “throw away” but she was rescued at 21 years of age-and she was pregnant-thus we have ‘Moon’…his from birth human mom passed away, she left us her “Moon” and he has a home for life… All his relatives should have the same. Thank you, Wanda

    • Anne Says:

      hello; i was just rereading posts; you wrote; u have:

      We have a wild mustang-he was born of a wild herd mare from the Nez Perce reservation lands. He is now 29 years old, an appy stud who is beautiful and happy here.
      His mother was blind-she was considered a “throw away” but she was rescued at 21 years of age-and she was pregnant-thus we have ‘Moon’…his from birth human mom passed away, she left us her “Moon” and he has a home for life… All his relatives should have the same. Thank you, Wanda
      my comment: so the BLM saying 20 yo mustangs are “old…is a false statement; 40 is considered “old…

  27. nancy ferrell Says:

    First of all thank you for filming this and letting us see what really going on .This just break my heart to see what is going on and what as humens do to animales. They really have more sents and kindness and love of nature then most people. Makes me sometime sorry I am one.I do care so very,very much for these wild horsesand and animale that we our killing off due to our greed. Anything I can do please let me know. thank you for what you our doing

  28. Lmg Bucklan Says:


    Does anyone know for certain if Freedom – black stallion who sailed over the fence – has been re-captured?
    Also, Freedom out-witted the BLM contractors and diminished their efforts, and I am concerned that “the horse disappearing thing” may happen to him. What punishment will be applied to this Stallion, possibly behind closed doors, in retaliation for his escape, resulting in embarrassment for the BLM agencies/agents and the positive advertising RESULTING such for those opposed to these tax funded roundups. I do not want this horse in harm’s way.
    Humans are the most vicious animal on the earth!

    Human over-population is the earth’s biggest stress entity, not these horses, but I do support fertility control for both the herds and humans, who produce offspring and have limited means or none to care for them resulting in entitlement checks that go on and on. But, this appears to be o.k. I, like many others, realize this and have a problem with my tax dollars being used to “float human irresponsibility” by reproducing and not funding it. I know this is a HOT button, but just look at the reality of it.

    • Anna White Says:

      annes’ comment: no; Freedom has thankfully not been recaptured; another Stallion escaped at another round up; but this was not Freedome recaptured; horse photography experts studied the pix of the Black Stallion who escaped (before being rounded up); is not Freedom; the Black Wild Stallion who escaped after being rounded up (such a marvelous feat !); anyhow: I would like the name the second Black Stallion who recently escaped round-up “LIBERTY; this was an idea my brother JDR had;

      so my saying is: Go Freedom; Run ! Liberty you Go ! Run ! Run as fast as you can away from the BLM!

      and to Trooper; the orphaned Foal (BLM shot his mum and I got this on my presonal records and files;

      “Trooper buddy; I hope u are fine; I and others are working on an adoptive rescue for you a.s.a.p.! A.

  29. petArtistWithPeaches horse blog » Stallion escapes from BLM roundup Says:

    […] Escape of “Freedom”, a wild black stallion, from holding pen on January 2, 2010, after his herd had been driven by helicopter into Bureau of Land Management capture pens. […]

  30. Ann Lawrence Says:

    Write to First Lady Michelle Obama

    She is running a tribute “contest”— a person who has inspired you–some one who has touched your life or the lives of others. Nominate Ginger Kathrens (the video -photographer of Cloud) or Elyse Gardner or Craig Downer—- or Willie Nelson– and tell Mrs. Obama about their efforts to save these wild horse so that her daughters can see them! These horses belong to us! Can we save Freedom and Cloud??

  31. Karen Anderson Animal Communicator Says:

    It doesn’t take an Animal Communicator to understand the fear and pain in these animal’s eyes.

    I simply don’t have words to express my grief. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    I pray for Freedom and his beloved herd.

    My heart is aching.

    • Anna White Says:

      “doesn’t take an Animal Communicator to understand the fear and pain in these animal’s eyes…

      my comment: that’s a good one; I may add that to my list of animal protection quotes if ok; thanks!

      AW (I see those same looks in animal shelter dogs etc…)

  32. Ann Lawrence Says:

    I watched the ABC news program this morning— showing the round up and penning of these horses. More than 20 horses have died in this cruel capture. Let the horses ( and burros) go free — they have existed on the land without human interference. Some will live– some will die. What happened to the law that protects them?

    Thank you Elyse Gardner and Craig Downer and the other Humane Observers — and the protestors in Washington DC with their signs. Let’s keep this going — we can be a voice for the voiceless.

    • Anne Says:

      hello my question is: concerning the ABC newscast:

      “on a scale of 1 to 10; how would you say the newscast benefited the Mustangs by showing them in a good light; meaning; showing they are abused;

      would you say the ABC news cast helped the Horses?

      curious in conn. anna

  33. sandra longley Says:

    Most people leave this earth never having made a difference……you have made a difference….thank you

  34. Angela Valianos Says:

    Firstly, I would like to say Thank You ALL so very much for being there for the horses and to ensure that their story is told and truth prevails over the BLM’s accounts.

    The picture of ONE horse standing on the hill, alone with just the wind is a clear conclusion of what is to come. How lonely he must be. The only sound is the wind upon the grass and trees to comfort him. No calling from his band again and no one to share the sun and the spring growth with; could we ever, willingly give that up; of course not, because GOD meant us to have companions, two by two !

    I have tried to connect with the BLM on their site and low and behold, the Calico link seems to be having trouble and always comes up as a broken link….SUPRISE !!!

    We need a TEAM to start manging FOIA’s to account for ALL the horses that have been rounded up; there are 14 main BLM Headquarters and 10’s of years to FOIA on. The BLM knows they DO NOT have on hand ALL the horses they claim. We know it and they know it !

    After all, why is the horse meat from the USA being sold overseas mark as:

    If it were not for ALL the people in the trenches and for all those that we do not even know about taking action and reporting/documenting the BLM would not take a kids gloves approach, if that is what you call their actions thus far. We need to be in their face and let them know AMERICA is watching.

    Many of us walk through an entire lifetime without ever knowing the loss and pain that these WILD horses are living, as I write this. When will OUR Government EVER have a heart that pumps blood and not oil, natural gas, or MONEY?

    Again, Thank you ALL and please keep up the awesome updates.

    May GOD watch over you and hold the horses in HIS hands !!!

    • Anne Says:

      Thanks for the supportive words and encouragement; the horses are intelligent by nature; this is their grace;

      and their peaceful nature makes them a national treasure

  35. James H. Owens Says:

    ATTENTION ALL MEN i have noticed from reading the comments on the wild horse roundup that took place 1/2/2010 on The Cloud Foundation Blog, that 99% of the comments posted are were written by women. As a MAN, I’m asking for all men who love these beautiful and majestic animals, to please speak out in their defense.” RUN FREEDOM RUN”

  36. dmarianne Says:

    t Thank you for all that you have done to keep us informed. I am truly saddened by all that takes place with these beautiful WILD horses. They should be left along, like they have been for centuries. Man has a way of distroying everything in their path. Man run amuck can distroy many eco systems. This should not be allowed. The horses were here first. LET THEM BE.What right do we have to go into their back yard and get them. They are not seeking nor are they wanting our help. Humans to them are not help. They have survived on their own. There are enough demestic horses born that are not taken care of. Some of them are mustangs that have already been adopted. Let the wild ones be FREE. Quit spending tax payer money to get them. We don’t want it spent. I bet the cattle men wouldn’t mind getting some of that money and leaving the horses alone. The cattle should have to pay to use the horses land, as again THE HORSES WERE THERE FIRST. Born wild and should remain free. Free from harm. Free from human.

  37. Winnie's Mommy Says:

    Thank you so much Elyse! I have read your humane observer’s blog faithfully. Amen, Angela Valianos!

  38. sandra longley Says:

    You ROCK James!!!

  39. Angela Valianos Says:

    CROSS POST EVERYWHERE !!!! PLEASE HELP !!! 815-260-1722 Angela Valianos Cell

    This is really bad. Illinios is reintroducing legislation to reopen Cavel. I will post details in a few minutes.

    Posted by: jen at February 11, 2010 3:26 PM

    Rep. Sacia is introducing HB4812 to the House Ag committe to be able to reopen Cavel. They suspect they are bringing in some Rep from WY that fancies herself an expert on this issue. We need expert testimony for this meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 2/16 Jen


  40. Angela Valianos Says:


    815-260-1722 Angela Valianos Cell

    This is really bad. Illinios is reintroducing legislation to reopen Cavel.

    Rep. Sacia is introducing HB4812 to the House Ag committe to be able to reopen Cavel. They suspect they are bringing in some Rep from WY that fancies herself an expert on this issue.

    We need expert testimony for this meeting.

    The meeting is scheduled for 2/16

    This is where OUR WILD HORSES WILL BE GOING ! I have said this all along ! WILD HORSES = HEALTH CARE !!!


  41. sandra longley Says:

    Angela, the so called representative is
    Sue Wallis
    307 680 8515 up on her go to her website…she is a “canner” working with cattlemans assoc. ect-a non profit org. working for her own profit advocating slaughter of the wild horses

  42. Debra Whitmore Says:

    When I saw “Freedom’s” escape, the song playing in my head is Paul McCartney’s song, We are fighting for freedom. It breaks my heart that “Freedom” had to leave his family behind. This is so disgusting. The wild mustangs are suppose to represent America’s freedom, however look what is happening to our own freedom. The government is putting a six foot corral around us with barbed wire just like they have our mustangs.

    This is why Obama took his daughters and friends out west, so they could be one of the last to ever see our mustangs living in the wild. We all know that twenty years or less there will be no more mustangs living free. The American people will also be living in government conditions just like the mustangs. The american goverment has given all our jobs away to the chinese and soon they will be in control of all of us. We will submit, because the government will control our food supply due to no jobs and no money. The mustangs represent America and what is going to happen to the American people. The government is trampling on the law and land intended to protect the wild horses and burro’s. It is already trampling on our bill of rights under the constitution.

  43. txkittiehawk Says:

    As a nurse, a horse owner,a photographer,and a native I couldn’t read Freedom’s story and look @ him without choaking up. I support those of you who document the wild horse’s story and those of us who support you and others who continue to bring their plight to the forefront.
    Go to the above mentioned website:’s an eye opener! for the other point of view.Somehow we both need to meet somewhere in the middle with the Wild Horse as our concern.
    We need to keep the wild places wild and those horses who live there wild. These places and the horses there tell us alot about ourselves and our heritage. What will happen to this country, to us, to these horses when the wild places are gone?

  44. carol groleau Says:

    I actually saw the video, it was great,heart wrenching, the video tells the whole story without words.hope Freedom is well. The BLM SUCK

  45. Kae Flack Says:

    Please notify me of the follow up comments via email as I requested below. I am keenly interested in this story and others such as this. There was a writeup in the Oregonian recently about mustangs being auctioned off for the meat market to Mexico and Canada. I hope it stirs up enough that people will do something about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: