September 2, 2009 – The Start of the Gather

Well, the gather is officially slated to start tomorrow morning (Thursday the 3rd). I’ll be honest, this is a very unpleasant time right now. There’s no way to sugar-coat this. I know which horses will be removed now, and it’s going to be hard to see them all removed. The next week or weeks or whatever won’t be a happy time here in the Pryors.

This will definitely take its toll on me. I have volunteered to be there during the gather to make sure that all of the horses are properly identified. This unfortunately includes the horses that are on the removal list. It will also ensure that mares receiving fertility control are given the proper primer does, and I hope that it helps with the genetic analysis of the herd. While there I will also be photographing what I see and taking notes as an independent observer of how the horses are treated during the gather. It all depends on how things go, but my plan now is to put up a new post as much as possible here with photographs and observations that I make during the gather.

Let me get something straight here. I’m not working under the BLM for the sake of the BLM. I am doing it for the sake of the horses. We get absolutely nothing from the BLM for our work with this herd. This is all under volunteer agreements and our MOU, which is also volunteer. I’m not any happier about what will happen then the next guy. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone with the BLM who was around when I got my first look at the removal list how happy and encouraging I was looking at that point. Ask how cheerful I looked as I went around the facility and learned about what would be going on. So if you think we’re blindly following the BLM with whatever they say, then you need to come talk with me or with someone else from the PMWMC. You will find that we are very frustrated too. Remember, our recommendation was for 30 young horses. Once things with the gather have quieted down, please expect me to explain why myself and the PMWMC are even more frustrated with this; it relates to why we think this could have been prevented from ever happening. Things will most definitely be changing on the Pryors with this gather. Let’s make it so that future happenings do not allow us to ever get in this terrible situation ever again. This is most definitely possible.

Please expect to see my first post with observations and photographs tomorrow evening sometime. Tomorrow the BLM will be having a morning briefing at Britton Springs at 9 AM. The gather operations will start shortly after this. There is an area set up where the public can watch the gather at Britton Springs. To see a map of where Britton Springs is located from Lovell, please click here to see a map and use the following directions too. From Lovell, head east on Highway 14A two miles and then take a left hand (north) turn onto Highway 37. Continue north as if you were heading to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Right before the entrance to the recreation area, there is a gravel county road turning off to the left (west). This is a county road labeled as the Crooked Creek Road. Continue on the Crooked Creek Road a short distance and you will meet another road. This is the Gypsum Creek Road. Turn right (north) here so that you stay on the Crooked Creek Road and do not get on the Gypsum Creek Road. Continue on further and you will come to another fork. Turn left (west) to continue on the Crooked Creek Road. Do not turn right (east); this is a turn onto Road 16. A short distance up you will find Britton Springs on the north side of the road. There should be signs and people to help you with parking in the right spot and getting to the right places.

Also, if you or anyone you know has any interest at all in adopting a Pryor Mountain Wild Horse, this is definitely the time to come forward and give one a good home. Private owners, advocacy groups, sanctuaries, anything. I am especially worried for the mature animals that will be removed; they really need some good homes. This is the only thing left that can be done for the horses that are removed. Please visit the National Wild Horse Adoption Day web site for more information on this. But again, I truly feel that this can all be prevented in the future.

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Matt,
    Are you going to let us know WHICH HORSES are scheduled to lose their freedom?
    I’m glad you will be there to document & photograph all that goes on— please try to photo all, since almost NO ONE will ever see them again?

    IF the “wranglers” start being unnecessarily CRUEL, UNFAIR, maiming foals, and/or murdering the older, wiser ones (just because they are “old”, or the BLM–Cattoor seems to purposely hurt them on the way)— –What WILL YOU DO? —Is there ANYTHING that you, or anyone else COULD do, before it is too late?

    I believe this is WHY they are keeping plans so secretive & allowing almost NO ONE to Witness the event…. Are there Other People/groups, besides you, that will be allowed to witness & Photograph?–I know you can’t be everywhere 🙂 at once?
    Will you please TRY to call-in CNN, or CBS, or LasVegas news, or local News– IF things begin to look ugly? If you can’t STOP them, then at least try to get some help from “the Big Cameras”, if you can?

    Thanks for being there. Give them ALL our LOVE!

  2. First–Thanks for being there for the horses sake.

    Second–I am amazed that the Pryor Mt.herd is being reduced down to 120 individuals.
    Their territory is so vast compared to the 150 adult Virginia Chincoteague ponies who live on a salt marsh, dunes and woods on Assateage Island VA and the Maryland herd of about 100 animals who live by the beach.
    Third–My concern is for the culled individuals. I have a BLM mare and a Chincoteague pony. The BLM made NO any attempt to check out my facilities after I purchased her. They lowered the purchase price the second day to get rid of the horses. I trailered her away and that was that. I bought the Chincoteague pony at the Pony Roundup and he was vet checked, my trailer inspected and I was given complete directions on his care and maintenance. Fans were in the pens and foals were in nice wood box stalls. Quite different from the metal bars I see in the mustang roundups.
    I would hope and pray that your group would follow the culled horses and make sure they find a “safe harbor”.

    • This is a good point for heaven’s sake. The nightmare for these horses is only beginning.

  3. Matt;
    It’s good that you’ll be there. We’ll ALL have to work together to do better for the horses in the future.


  4. I think I know the answer to this question, as I have worked with greyhound rescue and adoption for years, but people have asked me: Why doesn’t the Humane Society play a part in the monitoring of these gathers?

    This must be a difficult day for you in all ways–you and all the wild horse advocates are in my thoughts.

  5. I am so saddened to hear about the gather. I spent 6 weeks out on the dryhead ranch last summer and every time we left the ranch i was able to see some of the beautiful horses. My prayers go out to the old and crippled.. HIDE IN THE CANYONS AND DONT LEAVE…
    Please give us updates and help to keep these majestic creatures safe. Thank you.
    Kalamazoo, Mi

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