Blue Wing Roundup and Big Media Attention!

Ditch in the trap at Blue Wing

Ditch in the trap at Blue Wing

The Bureau of Land Management roundup of wild horses in the Blue Wing Complex ended at 9 am today. BLM reached their removal goal of 200 horses. As of today BLM has reported that 3 mares were killed. at the trap. It is also of note that on day one it was reported that there was an injury to the side of the face of one of the horses (we were not permitted to document). This injury to the side of the face that causes significant injury is common during roundups. We are unable to report the contention of “blindness in one eye” as accurate or as the result of injury as we are not allowed to document. Yesterday a mare showed signs of colic after arrival at short term holding.

From BLM website: Animal deaths: 3 
Acute:   2
Cause:  7-year-old sorrel mare, captured Aug. 2 was euthanized this morning due to a fractured hind leg sustained while in the trap when another horse kicked her. 9-year-old sorrel mare, captured Aug. 3 ran into the panels of the holding corral and died of a fractured neck.
Chronic/pre-existing:  1
Cause:  15-year-old sorrel mare, captured Aug. 2 was euthanized due to blindness in one eye and was hazardous to work.

Note the ages of "riders" that went out under the chopper to drive in (or rope) foals

Note the ages of “riders” that went out under the chopper to drive in (or rope) foals (as public and media are held far away)

Please note that observation was difficult to get anything but an overview of activity. We were not able to get any observation that allowed any meaningful assessment of handling. It should be noted that BLM is relying heavily on a supposed FAA regulation that would not apply to friends and family of contractor or BLM, did not interfere with media observation prior to 2010 and does not apply to the children that actually went out on horseback to watch roping of foals.

This roundup was expected to last a week with the wild horses at Snowstorm (Owyhee)  next on the removal list. It appears that the bait trap operation at Snowstorm will begin immediately. The bait trap operation at Maverick Medicine (Triple B) is underway and observation opportunities are available by calling Lesli Coakley of the Elko office.

One of the extremely lame foals noted in holding.

One of the extremely lame foals noted in holding.


This year there has been a huge increase in the attention that larger media is FINALLY giving to the wild horse and burro issue. The last few years it has been a battle showing that the assertions of the advocacy are credible. Assertions that the BLM wild horse and burro program is not based on science, is fiscally irresponsible, is focused on priority management for private profiteers, actually increases problems , lacks transparency and is inhumane have all been backed up by recent court decisions and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Dave Philipps and Laura Leigh geting "wired" at Blue Wing

Dave Philipps and Laura Leigh getting “wired” at Blue Wing for Travel Channel

In September of last year investigative journalist and Pulitzer prize nominee, Dave Philipps, broke a story showing 1700 wild horses were sold by the BLM to one kill buyer, Tom Davis. That kill buyer has a long history with the former Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar. Wild Horse Education assisted in the investigation after a relationship was formed with Laura Leigh and Philipps at the Stone Cabin roundup earlier that year. READ HERE>>>

The Travel Channel is beginning a new series this fall. Wild Horses are included in the premiere line-up! Travel Channel (TC) contacted Leigh after a referral from the director of a short film (moving toward to a full length production!) “Wild Horses.” Leigh helped TC set an itinerary that included interviews with BLM, an Advisory Board member, rancher, adopters, other advocates and of course meeting wild horses “wild and free” and during capture. The Travel Channel even chose Dave Philipps to be their on camera reporter!

The film crew followed a grueling 4 day production schedule and has many compelling components to their piece. They were at the roundup… things got a bit tense and they caught it all on film. We can’t wait to see the final edit!

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Wild Horse Education is proud to welcome our new field intern, Jessica Gardner. Blue Wing was Jessica’s first roundup. It was a short one but she has now been officially initiated. We look forward to Jessica spending time in the field and assisting with documentation and assessments. (Update 6/2014, Jessica is on “hiatus” from WHE as she has issues with her personal horses, she has adopted numerous wild horses and burros. She has not been able to assist with field work or reports since Blue Wing. We wish you the best Jess!)

Please consider making a donation to our work. Our only limitation to the avenues we can engage is funding. Please help us fight against abuse, slaughter and extinction of our treasured wild ones…. on the range and in the courts ~thank you.

Categories: BLM, Roundups, Wild Horse Education

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