Fish Creek; the captive ones tell a story

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Fish Creek mares at PVC

The roundup of Fish Creek wild horses ended with 558 wild horses captured (213 Studs, 242 Mares, and 102 Foals), 5 deaths (3 were foals) and 20 (7 studs, 23 mares, older) released. Of those captured, 533 were transported to Palomino Valley Center (PVC) north of Reno. (You can see roundup reports HERE)

As with many operations we get requests to look for tag numbers for prospective adopters; those looking to adopt a “Fish Creek” and those looking for wild horses they have seen us write about. Our team members have made a couple of trips, found some and are still looking for others. (If you asked us to find specific wild horse we will get back to you next week. There are tag numbers we could not get clearly, but will go back.)

(slideshow at the bottom of the page)

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Fish Creek does contain one of the most (if not the most) unique curly gene in the world. We had spoken to a number of specialists in equine genomes and more than one was interested in participating in the ongoing tracking/data/fertility control that was to begin after the roundup in 2015. “It’s not just the gene, it is the soup that keeps producing it,” is how one of the scientists expressed his interest to us back then. In other words, if you were simply breeding members with the gene itself it was likely that the unique strain could lose alleles (material) that made it so unique. They were interested in the “math” of the genetic equation that was Fish Creek.

Many people think of the tightly woven pattern, that looks like lamb, as a “curly.” However, there are the “Am I a curly?, Was my grandma a curly?, Will my baby be a curly?” holders of that special gene. The mix of all of these wild horses sustained that unique strain.

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Most people see the coat of the blue roan colt, behind the brown whose tag we were looking for, as the classic curly. The mare in the picture above this one as a “close to curly.” They both carry that very unique Fish Creek strain.

The curlies are not being adopted out of PVC. They will be sent to the Carson Correctional facility (off limits to open viewing) and placed on the internet adoption. The younger (now geldings) from Triple B have already been sent to Carson and many of the Triple B horses have already been shipped (with one load sent to Broken Arrow).

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Fish Creek roan mare and her foal

Fish Creek also has an abundance of roans. All of the other wild horses from Fish Creek are available for adoption (some sale) while at PVC. They are preparing for intake from winter roundups so we do not know how long they will be onsite before shipping to other facilities.

In 2015 there was a roundup that should have led to the largest data/fertility control program in the nation. The information base at Fish Creek holds serious deficits in both boundary lines and stocking level (AML). The Land Use Plan (LUP) is over 30 years old, and may hit it’s 40th birthday before BLM revises it. The “genetic soup” that was Fish Creek was so unique it likely qualified for special legal status.

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If you are looking to adopt a wild horse with a story you can tell? Any mare with this tracking mark should have been left on the range as a core to the study. The mark itself? BLM actually made a mistake and it should have been an “LB,” not a “KB.” The mark is the track of the order and year her chance to stay wild began. It was betrayed. All of these horses have had ancestral DNA pulled on them. It should be part of the record BLM transfers to adopters. If not? ask for it.

However, the county and ranching community pushed back against a protocol to create fair and equitable management, the wild horses were sent to holding. They (county and ranchers) lost in court. The wild horses went back home. For one moment a real “fix” to the BLM wild horse and burro program was alive (the protocol could transfer to larger HMAs).

However, backdoor deal making with the Nevada State office, and petty games at the ground level, created a bunch of “secret deals” that gave the county everything it wanted. At the 2019 operation? BLM was not acting like a federal authority, but an arm of the county.

The plan (track, fix flawed data, fertility control), after the roundup that removed a significant number and marked and drew DNA on the released wild horses, was never allowed to move forward.


Chad “dancing” free on the range after being captured, litigation, and drama…  released.

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Back behind bars.

Many in Congress are now very interested in Fish Creek. Before they saw it as just “fertility control,” it is now seen as more.

We are unsure of why this was minimized and think it has to do with moves other orgs have made in Congress?

We do know multiple organizations got involved in private deals with the Cattlemen’s Ass’n et. al. at this exact same time (2015) and worked to undercut any success that demonstrated that no new subsidy pool needed to be created. These other orgs wanted handouts (like holding facility funding and contracts).  It is now easier than ever before to demonstrate why this program is so severely broken. (more HERE)

Yes, there are “orphans.” There are always orphans.

If you want to help raise awareness in Congress that the current budget debate is nothing but a corporate subsidy grab that is attempting to privatize large portion of the wild horse program? You can learn more, be prepared to debate your representative, and take appropriate action HERE.

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“Rick” runs home after the court battle in 2015. This young red roan curly was given a chance to be part of a study that has now vanished. (studs all have an HMA mark, 12, on their hips).

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The promise broken, the study destroyed, “Rick” now sits in holding. (We were unable to grab his tag. We will return to get his number and he will probably appear on the BLM internet adoption.

We will continue to update you on Fish Creek; the wild horses in holding, the remnant left on the range and the continued fight to expose all of the backdoor deals that stop the BLM program from moving into science based, fair and equitable management. 

There are so many that we have known a long time. We will post further updates featuring distinct wild horses; when they were free and now that they need a new home.

BLM does not need the $35 million proposed by the Senate to run our herds, and the program, to collapse. They need to act like a regulatory agency and not a social club. This does not need more funding, the program needs a deep cleaning and investigation.


We will update you soon. But if you can give a Fish Creek wild horse a safe landing and make a lifetime commitment? adopt.

All of you can Take Action; learn about the betrayal at the Congressional level and make a call HERE. 

Please, help keep us in this fight.


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Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education