Wild Horse Education

Countdown 2016


Photo from the Fish Creek removal to trap, treat and release wild horses in 2015 (fought by Eureka County and ranchers).

Every year we do a Year in Review. We do this in a written article and in a “music video” format (this gives those that contribute to our work a map of sorts to see exactly what they have done. As always we will release the music video with the new year, but have officially begun the “countdown.” To view videos from previous year and to see links to some of the highlights each year go here: http://wildhorseeducation.org/video-2/ (we will add 2015 video here when complete)

Most of the work at Wild Horse Education (WHE) has a focus on federally protected wild horses and burros, those covered under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRH&B Act). More horses are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) than all other jurisdictions combined. More wild horses live in the state of Nevada than all other states combined. So our work is intensely focused in  that arena.

The federal government operates on a fiscal year that begins in the fall, so do WHE. That was intentionally to match pace with how the federal government works. But for the rest of the world the new year begins January 1. Our Countdown to 2016 begins with the work we began in the fall.


Little Fish Lake Day 2, pilot juggling many bands

Below are some highlights from 2015

WHE is best known for our roundup documentation. We possess the largest documented history of wild horse roundups in the world since 2009 (including the federal government). 2015 was the third year of “decelerated” removals (from 2008-2012 nearly 10,000 wild horses were removed from the range each year). As a direct result of our litigation (the first and only court orders in the history of the Act against inhumane conduct) a policy called “CAWP,” or Comprehensive Animal Welfare Plan, is now included in contracts for removals (CAWP for holding facilities has not been finalized yet). The fight for accountability to the policy and to tighten up flaws has not ended. In 2015 we continued to document.


Humbolt HA “zero out” 2015. Wild horses being driven past domestic cattle

Roundup documentation for 2015 includes: Reveille, Silver KingHumbolt, Little Fish Lake, Fish Creek and Beaty Butte.


Trespass livestock in Fish Creek HMA 2014 (for eight months) It took until 2015 to officially cite this rancher. Pressure placed on BML by politicians and counties that appear to support this illegal activity have created havoc.

Accountable Management of both wild horses and public land is key to creating any preservation of our wild horses, wild species and the land itself. In 2015 we addressed instances of trespass grazing practices by the livestock industry. A lack of accountability to process, and the creation of a process that fosters such, has been a focal point in 2015. From working to hold trespass permittees accountable like the issues at Fish Creek to preparing reports for Congress and filing legal documents as required, we continue this work into 2015.


Fish Creek mares at the “off limits” Broken Arrow facility. 15 mares and foals still sit behind those walls in this “hostage crisis.” WHE has not forgotten them.

Crucial to creating successful challenges is “ground work.” The ground work has lead to multiple areas of progress. The most visible to the public are those that make it into courtrooms; NACO defeated in district court (currently NV counties are on Appeal in the Ninth Circuit), the “stand off” at Fish Creek that saw 166 horses returned to the range (challenge still active), our on the ground work gave the needed weight to a challenge against Pershing County and the ongoing work to gain accountability to process and the range at Argenta.


Blue Wing is in Pershing County. Our documentation helps legal challenges but also reaches media like the award winning piece done by Travel Chanel’s America Declassified.

Sometimes the ground work is so effective that the documentation is enough to create change without entering an extensive legal battle. This was the case this year with the McDermitt roundup of potentially federally protected wild horses planned for fall of 2015. BLM backed out of the agreement and no horses were removed.


Horses in the “proposed project area” of McDermitt in 2015


Slaughter of our wild horses is an issue the vast majority of Americans object to, so does WHE. We pushed this year for an accounting of the wild horses BLM sold to one kill buyer, Tom Davis. In 2012 we began the investigation in conjunction with journalist Dave Philpps and the story broke that fall. In 2015 we pushed for answers. In October of 2015 a “federal investigation” confirmed the allegations. But to this day there have been no consequence to those responsible. We are continuing that work.


WHE monitors about 25 HMAs every year. That is a lot of time on the road! But the information is vital to the preservation of our herds.

We also continue our work to expose those “hiding behind an American flag” that are actually promoting the slaughter of all horses, wild and domestic. Do not be fooled by a well oiled machine. Agenda like those of the Grass March are clear, they want control of your public land and horse slaughter.


Leigh speaking to college students, 2015

Wild Horse Education is a vital component to creating an effective advocacy. We create multiple platforms available online yet we also have the honor of engaging the public in person. This year we addressed all ages face-to-face; grade school children through college level.

In 2015 we continued to document our wild horses, our western rangelands and spread the information. Legal challenges were met successfully. Planning processes engaged accurately. Minds opened to the truth. In 2015 the continuation of documentation has solidified our data base and has built a strong platform as we enter 2016.

We enter 2016 with extraordinary challenges. But together we stand confident that we will meet those challenges as we have in the past. Together we stand in a challenging time against well funded and well organized opponents. But together we stand in a well documented truth presented with an integrity that has met each challenge and won. Often those wins are quiet and without fanfare, simply another quill in the quiver as the next battle approaches.

This Christmas season has many flocking to the theatre to see the new “Star Wars” movie. Our favorite conversation in the Star Wars saga is a short one, “[Luke:] I can’t believe it. [Yoda:] That is why you fail.”

WHE believes… 


To support the work of WHE click the image below. The links are active in this fundraiser until January 1.


note: Yes, we will add the personal memories in our final year end post with the video. Including the recounting of the old mare and stallion that hid yearlings in a draw during a winter 2015 removal operation. Sometimes we are surprised by how many of you remember these stories, but we should not be. Those stories are the fuel to our own fire.