September 4, 2009 – Gather Day 2

I started out the day by going to Bighorn Canyon as that is where operations were to start. Once I got out to Mustang Flats, the helicopter was already working on moving horses – It was Seattle’s harem.

09042009helicopter1

Once he had them going in the direction he wanted, he backed off of them.

09042009helicopter2

At this point, I understood that he had only found them and also the young bachelor Fiero, who was further down. However, a few minutes after moving Seattle’s harem down, Merlin and his mare popped out as did Durango’s harem. Blizzard’s harem was also nearby. At this point, the helicopter pilot had to keep each harem moving in the right direction. There were a few times when the horses would split off, and he’d then go back and move them back. Blizzard’s harem seemed to be giving him some troubles toward the end of my observations in the canyon area. He would just alternate between pursuing them and letting them do their thing, and they finally went the right way.

09042009helicopter3

09042009helicopter4

About this time, it seemed as though Merlin and his mare broke away and escaped up one of the canyons in the area. Otherwise, my last views of Durango, Seattle, and Blizzard’s harems showed me that none of the members of their harems had broken away. Fiero was also apparently in the area, and so he got him moving too. I headed back to Britton Springs, and a short while later the horses arrived. They all arrived in one big group, and I helped make sure that the harems were properly seperated. Once they were put into different pens, they were brought through the chutes, getting the same procedures done as yesterday – Hair samples were taken for DNA analysis, PZP was given to females, horses to be removed were put with the other removals, and horses that were to be released had the blue paint painted above their tails. These horses were definitely more sensitive than the ones were yesterday. There were a few cases of horses rearing up in the chutes and trying really hard to get out of them. The people there did their best to keep them safe, and there weren’t really any injuries sustained. Blizzard was really upset in the chute. He reared up, was kicking the walls, and even tried to bite someone outside the chute.

09042009chute1

09042009chute2

Seattle’s harem had been the one left in the big pen that all of the horses were originally put into, and so I hadn’t really taken a good luck at them. When they did move them to the chutes, I saw that his mare Beauty was missing. I had everyone stop the processing at the chutes, and I gave Jared, the wild horse specialist, a photograph of her so he could go see if she had accidentally been put with some of the other groups in the back. He couldn’t see her, and so we just guessed she must have broken off from the rest as had Merlin and his mare. I was pretty worried about Beauty, but I believe she has been in six roundups prior to this one. It wouldn’t surprise me if she realized what was going on and just did everything she could to escape.

Once Seattle, Blizzard, and Durango’s harems had been processed, they prepared three trailers to haul these harems back to Bighorn Canyon. The horses were a little apprehensive about getting into the trailers, but they all went in without any troubles. There were four people right there ready to help out if anything bad happened while they were loading.

09042009chute3

09042009chute4

09042009chute5

09042009chute6

Of the 20 horses brought into Britton Springs today, 16 were let go. I believe nine mares have been given PZP up to this point.

With the removal of the three horses today, there are now five young horses removed.

09042009adopt1

09042009adopt2

Fiero went in with Exhilaration. The two got upset with each other a couple times early on, but I think they are doing just fine now.

09042009bachelors

Admiral, Sitting Bull, and Sam’s harems are also still there. I think Admiral and Sitting Bull’s harems will be released very soon. From what I understand, Sam’s will be kept for a while longer so that Ghost Dancer can put on some weight to support her and her foal.

09042009ghostdancer

Halo, with Admiral, is a horse that I’ve heard a little bit of discussion on. She was one of the horses that received minor scraping yesterday. You can see where she got scraped on her head here. She’s just fine, but this gives an idea of what these scrapes can look like.

09042009halo

After I was done at Britton Springs, I headed out to Bighorn Canyon to see if I could see any sign of Beauty. I had found out that the horses hadn’t been taken all the way up to Mustang Flats, they’d been let out right at the south boundary area around Crooked Creek Bay. Seattle’s harem was still there. Beauty wasn’t there, but this isn’t any surprise as they were a few miles away from where I’d last seen them all together.

09042009seattle

I headed all the way through the wild horse range in Bighorn Canyon and never saw Durango, Blizzard, or Merlin’s harems. I’m sure they were trying to keep pretty well hidden. I’m going to continue to observe Seattle’s harem closely and also hike around to determine what happened with Beauty.

I understand that the BLM’s plan for tomorrow is to go onto Commissary Ridge to gather the horses up there. I believe these horses will be brought to Britton Springs in trailers. I’ll be back tomorrow to describe what I’ve seen.

Published in: on September 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm  Comments (15)