September 7, 2009 – Gather Day 5

Today was a pretty tough day. It was cool and windy this morning, and so this prevented the helicopter from leaving early on. Horses that were to be removed who hadn’t yet been prepared and processed were taken care of. This is where I think it got tough. The horses just seemed a lot more nervous going through the chutes today compared to previous days. There were those incidents earlier on with the young males jumping out of the chutes, and there have been some other times when the horses would bang around and rear up in the chutes. Today, though, there were a few that were actually trying to climb out of the top of the chutes.


I’m not sure if they could possibly succeed, but I really don’t want to know. It just was not a good situation with these horses doing this. Fortunately, someone was usually there to keep them from doing this; and so the later incidents were not as scary as the first one was. This first horse to do it up here was the young bachelor Hunkpapa. The only signs of injury I saw on any of the horses who did this were some bloody lips, but otherwise they seemed to be physically okay.

As the day progressed, the helicopter went up and was soon down with the first horses. The first group to come in was Morning Star’s harem. Today I was able to actually watch the horses come in with the helicopter for my first time. On the other days I was back in the chutes, and I couldn’t really see much besides the helicopter. While I was down there, they explained to me how this all worked. Apparently, the helicopter pushes the horses down; and the horses are often allowed to set their own pace. The helicopter just keeps them moving in the direction he wants them to. When they get to this final area here, the helicopter starts to speed up to get them moving faster through the wings toward the trap area. I’m sure you’ve all seen the domestic horse that is released around this time too. This horse runs down the trap to lure the wild horses in that direction. It is for this reason that these horses are called Judas horses (they are also referred to as Prada horses).


Morning Star’s family was put through the chutes to get hair samples for the DNA analysis and to give some of the females PZP. Meanwhile, the helicopter had gone back up to get some more horses that he had pushed partway down the mountain. Soon we were alerted that he was close, and we went back to the traps. He brought two harems in fairly close together. The first was Cloud’s harem, which I know was very hard for many of the people watching. In this photograph below you can see the Judas horse running along the wings with Cloud’s harem running along with him.


A short while later, the helicopter brought in the second group. This was Jackson’s harem.


Once they were in, we headed down to double check that each member of his harem was there and that they were in good shape. As we came close to the trap, the workers there had us stop and not come any further. They said that one of the mares was shaking, and they called for the veterinarian. They said that she had been tied up, which means that her stomach muscles were bound up. The group was very slowly taken down to the chutes so that she could be treated by the veterinarian. The mare was Brumby. After she was treated, the group was put into a pen so that she could recover. The veterinarian watched her closely for the rest of our time there, and by the end he said that she was recovering very well. This was one of the first really big incidents in which a horse was not doing well during this gather. From the moment that the workers told us not to come any closer to the end when the veterinarian was sitting there watching Brumby, it was pretty apparent that all of the workers were taking their jobs very seriously. They were very concerned for Brumby, and they did everything they could for her.


Another group was brought in a while later. This was Duke’s harem. Duke has one of the newer foals in his harem; she was born during the week of July 19. The foal seemed to be doing well as did the rest of the harem. While this was going on, some of the horses were loaded onto trailers so that they could be released.


These horses were Admiral and Sitting Bull’s (pictured above)  harems as well as the bachelors Fiero and Exhiliration. They were taken to the Sykes Ridge Road entrance of the range to be released as this is an area these horses live in. I didn’t get to go watch them be released, but I was told they were out of sight very quickly once the trailer doors were opened.

Toward the end of the day, I had someone come and ask me about the horses that are in the stallion pen. Apparently there had been some discussion that a mare was in with these stallions. There hasn’t ever been a mare in there with those stallions. When these horses are being sorted, the workers are asking and re-asking me if the horse is a male or a female so that it can go to the right place. They are obviously figuring this out on their own as well. It’s something that everyone cares a lot about. The stallion pen is right behind the chutes.



I hope that this is only a temporary arrangement for these stallions, and I hope that they can be more separated when there is space available in the other pens. I hope this all because this isn’t an extremely stable situation. Trigger and the young males from his harem definitely have established their area in the pen. In fact, a second watering area had to be added as they wouldn’t let anyone else there. These horses are in the bottom of these photos. In this photograph is Trigger, Great Star, Hipshot, Holster, and Itasca. Putting Conquistador in the pen with these other males definitely added more tension to this situation. Conquistador joined Bo, Shane, Floyd, and Hickory. They are in the top photo. It isn’t uncommon to see these stallions having confrontations with each other, and so hopefully they can be split up soon.

Also, I saw that there were some inquiries as to why some people were allowed in the chutes while others weren’t. From what I understand, it came down to people not wanting to sign volunteer agreements with the BLM. Without these agreements, the BLM shouldn’t allow people back in these working areas. We did sign a volunteer agreement to help with this gather, primarily through horse identification.

There were 36 horses gathered today. I think that there are tentative plans for the gather to be done by the end of Wednesday. I’ll post more tomorrow.

Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 9:43 pm  Comments (21)  

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    Please Cross post to your email list, post on blogs, message boards…


    Please be nice these are our FRIENDS!

    Smile when you ask them to CALL the PRESIDENT.

    Please call our friends, tomorrow.

    Ask the representatives to PLEASE call the PRESIDENT. Stop the round up of the Wild Horses at the Pryor Mountains including CLOUD and his family. RETURN those WILD HORSES CAPTURED to their bands in the Pryor Mountains.. PLEASE!

    Raùl M. Grijalva

    DC Office:
    ph (202) 225-2435
    fax (202) 225-1541

    Nick Rahall

    Washington Office
    (202) 225-3452

    Can’t find Rahall’s fax # ackkkk

  2. The vet that watched Brumby, is that the same vet that we saw poking at the the horses in the chutes just to be mean? I believe his name is Bret Thompson?? The same vet that many of us are going to report to the AMVA tomorrow.

    It is great to see that they didn’t throw you out today Matt like they did everyone else. I guess you must be okay by their book huh?

  3. If I understand the “Individual Volunteer Services Agreement” that the Department of the Interior/BLM is requiring people to sign, this very weblog, all photographs and posts and possibly all comments are the property of the DOI/BLM and subject to censure and control by the agencies.

    Any individual who signs such an agreement is for all intents and purposes an employee of the DOI/BLM. It’s a nasty piece of business to require observers to sign. I have no doubt the decision to sign was intended to help the horses, but it does remove the signer’s independence.

    • I didn’t sign anything. They can’t have my blogs.

  4. Aaaah, testosterone! It’s not unusual to see the stallions in confrontations on the range either, is it? But now they are in closer confines. Hopefully they will work it out like they do on the range, usually without injury. I’m sure it would be MUCH worse if the whole family groups were confined together where there would be the real threat to each stallion of the others getting to his mares.

    I’m sure it will help, space wise, if they can start releasing more horses back onto the range from the processing area. I’m glad they’ve given Ghost Dancer a little boost to improve her condition.

    I’m sure there are a couple of jerks who don’t have much regard for the horses on this project—like on most ANY other project handled by humans—but it seems to me like most everyone is doing their best. In this day and age, the horses aren’t even totally free of human disrespect when they are loose out on the range. They’re tough—they WILL OVERCOME!

    After all this, I’m sure it’s going to be a long while before the horses are as easy to view as they have been. But they are resilient (they wouldn’t exist if they weren’t), and forgiving. That’s why we love them!

    THANKS AGAIN, Matt. As the young folks nowadays say, YOU ROCK!

    Linda D

  5. By the way, THANKS to everyone on ALL the websites who have provided us with info to use to get the point across to the “powers that be” that we are watching and we won’t go away anytime soon! It’s going to take the recruitment of some people in very high places to make any lasting change, and I want to help any way I can.

    Linda D

  6. Here is a list of the Senate Committee Energy and Natural Resources members.
    These are the people that need to be contacted about passing Senate Bill #1579 to restore The Wild Horse Annie bill of 1971 that Conrad Burns gutted. Will be a hard sell since the committee is heavy with western states(can you say cattle grazing permits)
    Chairman Jeff Bingaman (NM)
    Byron L. Dorgan (ND)
    Ron Wyden (OR)
    Tim Johnson (SD)
    Mary L. Landrieu (LA)
    Maria Cantwell (WA)
    Robert Menendez (NJ)
    Blanche Lincoln (AR)
    Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
    Evan Bayh (IN)
    Debbie Stabenow (MI)
    Mark Udall (CO)
    Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
    Lisa Murkowski (AK)
    Richard Burr (NC)
    John Barrasso (WY)
    Sam Brownback (KS)
    James E. Risch (ID)
    John McCain (AZ)
    Robert Bennett (UT)
    Jim Bunning (KY)
    Jeff Sessions (AL)
    Bob Corker (TN)

    • wow

    • Call each one at their office and ask them to support the bill. If you keep an eye on the websites you can often watch the committee in action in real time via webcam.

      Often they are also shown on CSPAN. You can see and hear each one speak and realize how important debating skills are in this.

      This bill has to make it to the Senate floor.

  7. Man! This is just gut-wrenching…
    I respectively suggest there be a more intelligent, organized, and proactive movement in the near future on behalf of the mustangs. Instead of this emotional, reactive, after-the-fact response that isn’t changing anything. If you care for the these mustangs, get informed and start doing something today,or get involved with an organization that is, and then don’t stop until change has come. We all love these horses dearly, and we need not only our hearts, but our heads involved if true mustang preservation is going to be realized. Hopefully all this passion can be sustained and focused into something great for not only the Pryor Ponies, but the rest of the dwindling herds of wild mustangs. CHARGE! God Bless.

  8. Are all the mares being given the contraceptive? And if not, how is it determined who will be given it and who will not?

  9. You forgot to mention how majestic Cloud stopped in his tracks and stared down the helicopters before his capture. I understand it was a religious experience for all of those who witnessed it. You should’ve been there…oh yeah, you were. Must have slipped your mind. This noble act is just what us dejected advocates needed to empower us to protest even louder to put a stop to this atrocity. I bet even the BLM were imppressed.

    • At what price to Cloud. The weeks that follow will tell the story of whether Cloud came out of this unscathed. A living creature can only take so much.

      Even a powerhouse like Cloud.

  10. Can you update us on how Brumby is doing & share what really happened to her? Also, were you able to find Beauty? Thanks for taking the time to let us know what’s happening there.

  11. Cloud, you rock! Stand up to those muthas! Let your beautiful horse voice be heard!!!
    & to the people who are sitting at home, watching from the comfort of your chairs, please watch this video! Please educate yourself to what’s going on. BEAR WITNESS! The pain that you are suffering by simply looking at an image from miles away is NOTHING compared to what these animals are suffering. We HAVE to look at this, no matter how much pain it causes us. Just think what Cloud & these horses are going through…what free mustangs around the country have been going through for years. Our suffering can never, never compare to theirs. Please, watch. Witness. Take action. with peace, love, & compassion for all living beings.

  12. How is Brumby dear Brumby the prettiest horse ever to live.

  13. I believe this blog is getting a shot of PZP too, in order to keep things under control! (Note- the faint sarcasm)
    I sense it is also being “vetted” way too heavily… sort of like that veterinarian who kept poking the foals with the stick. (Yes- the pictures do show this- saw 2 different foals getting poked in the chutes- nice guy, that one!)

    The BLM cares, eh? The rest of the dedicated cowpokes and vets? Yeah, and I was born yesterday. It all makes me sick.
    I liked it much better when you were telling some truths, or at least not totally white-washing everything.
    Where is Beauty?
    Where is Halcyon and her 10 day old foal? Any ideas- the helicopter sees all doesn’t it?
    I really, really am beginning to hate people…

    • Come back an visit again some time. Don’t abandon this when the roundup is over

      • And bring those piper with you for edification!

  14. Just another request to know how Brumby is doing, and is Jackson being removed?

    It’s good that it’s almost over and the horses will be able to return to the range to heal—mentally and physically. And you too, Matt.

    Linda D

  15. why cant the blm use there brains for once,even kids are smarter than the because the horses were doing fine before the blm came and messed up everything.
    And I know there should be new jeans for the horses to breed with but I went to montana and saw cloud,boulder,flint,red raven and alot more that probely wont be there todaythe blm should just leave them alone

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