September 5, 2009 – Gather Day 3

First, I think there’s a little bit of confusion on some things. I’m not giving any PZP – That is being done only by BLM specialists. I only tell them which mares have and have not had PZP. On that note, I’m not with the BLM. I am with the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, who is providing the BLM with volunteer assistance.

With that, let’s move on to what I saw today. Heading up the Crooked Creek Road, the helicopter passed by as we drove parallel to Commissary Ridge. Commissary Ridge was the area that they were looking to gather horses from.

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On the north end of Commissary Ridge, they had set of a trap area.

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While we waited there, we could hear the helicopter moving up and down gathering horses. Soon the first horses arrived.

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Bo’s harem was caught first followed by Trigger’s and then Shane’s. When Trigger was brought in, the young blue roan bachelor Floyd also came with them as he was apparently trying to challenge Trigger while the helicopter was pursuing them. After each group was gathered, they were loaded into trailers to be driven down to Britton Springs.

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There were some difficulties while loading these horses. They were really having to work slowly and carefully while loading these horses. Sometimes they’d get in and then suddenly start jumping and backing out, and so they would have to start over again in loading them. Floyd was problematic with Trigger’s harem. They had him isolated and then ended up loading him in a different compartment in Trigger’s trailer with two of the young colts from Trigger’s harem. They also had to be careful with Bo’s harem due to their foal. The foal was also put into a different compartment in the trailer with it’s mother right on the other side.

Once everyone had arrived back at Britton Springs, these horses were processed. Each horse was brought through the chutes. Because these horses are supposed to be removed, they had a few different things happen to them than the others had earlier on.

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At the chutes today, there was the equipment to freeze brand the horses, veterinarians to provide treatments, us working on properly documenting everything, and everyone else that was involved in helping to keep things running safely and smoothly. When the horses were brought in, the veterinarian would provide them with certain treatments and also performed tests on them. This was basically all done to prepare the horses for leaving the wild and moving to new areas.

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Each horse was documented and assigned an ID number that would be freeze branded onto them. The freeze brand is composed of symbols that represent each horse’s specific ID number. The freeze brand would be cooled down with liquid nitrogen and then applied to a freshly shaved area on the horse’s left side of their neck right below the mane.

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Once everything was done with the horse, they were put into pens. Males were put into one pen and females the other. The mare and foal were put into a pen together away from the others. The horses that had been previously gathered from the Dryhead were put back into their own pen together. Before they were put out they got an ID tag put around their neck. The four numbers on those tags correspond to part of the freeze brand ID.

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As you can probably imagine, some of the horses were very unhappy with all of this happening to them. There were two times when horses actually climbed out of that chute into our work area. When they started to, the workers there would try to get them back in. However, if the horses were fighting too much, they just let them get out. Once they were out in our area, they would quickly leave through an open gate that was right there. They were then brought back through a while later after they had calmed a little.

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With all of this type of thing going on, there were definitely some small cuts and scrapes on some of the horses after they had gone through the chutes. Today, there were twenty-four horses gathered from Commissary Ridge; and these twenty-four have been prepared for removal with their freeze brands and treatments. The five horses previously gathered from the Dryhead were processed the same way. It was a pretty intense day with all of this going on. The BLM and contractors started early this morning; I didn’t get to Commissary Ridge when they did. It was about 7:00 PM when we were all done with this stuff tonight.

The plan tomorrow seems to be to work on Commissary Ridge a little bit more and then to perhaps move on to another area to gather in. I will write more tomorrow evening to relay what I saw happen.

Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm  Comments (13)