Wild Horse Education

Surprise Complex Roundup Moves Into Fox Hog HMA

The ongoing Surprise Complex roundup has moved into the final HMA in the complex, Fox Hog. The Surprise Complex is now made up of 6 HMAs: Massacre Lakes, High Rock, Wall Canyon, Bitner, Nut Mountain and Fox Hog. The last roundup of the complex was 10 years ago. The Massacre Lakes HMA was added to the complex this year and has not had a roundup since 1988.

After a release of 13 studs back into High Rock, trap was set in Fox Hog.

86 wild horses were captured (33 studs, 35 mares, 18 foals) from the first trap in Fox Hog. No wild horses were euthanized yesterday.

The second run saw a band come over the distant horizon. One horse slipped and afterwards ran lame. The bands included a very tiny cremello foal whose band kept trying to hide and move off. The teeny baby, still with only tail fuzz, gave everything to keep up with his family as the pressure was put on hard as trap neared. Three wild horses each made individual escapes from this run as the baby stayed focused on trying to keep up with the band, up and down the draw and into the trap.

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Baby was captured.

The chopper then went off in pursuit of the 3 that had escaped. These 3 flew like the wind. Many people forget that the U.S. government procured retired racehorses and turned them lose in this area. Add natures breeding and we know of no Thoroughbred that could go full steam for 45 minutes. (note: The “war horses” of the area most often are simply labelled as “Sheldon.” However, when the U.S. Cavalry had a contract for horses in this area these artificial boundary lines had not been drawn yet.)

If the pilot was tracking speed, the black with white socks might have broken a land speed record.

Note about video below: Our video camera had run out of battery after documenting previous runs (batteries on backorder). Leigh switched to video on a handheld dslr and had to view through LED screen and hold camera away from her face (no time to switch settings). There were 4 attempts to get these horses into trap and we wanted it on video.

Under CAWP a maximum of 3 attempts at trap are to be made. There were no young or old horses involved and this would be considered a minor infraction. There was no 5th attempt to capture the other black.

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When horses run that hard and fast hit the trap after multiple escapes they are on high alert. The one black made several attempts to escape the trap once caught, We are glad he did not break a leg or neck in his attempts.

This is one of the reasons the provision was added to CAWP in the first place. It is more than disappointing that BLM has still done no real training, review, revision, of the policy as they stated they would back in 2016.

The provision in the BLM Guidance for Euthanasia that simply includes a vague “signs of aging” as a reason to put down a wild horse also includes essentially “not suitable for captivity” as a reason to kill a wild horse.

We hope someone tagged these two for release back to the wild and did not simply ship them into the system of holding that does not value anything truly wild. (Yes, we made the request.)

Our team is back on-site today. We have been the only observers at this entire operation.

Totals to date:

Captured: 983

Mares treated with PZP(22) and released: 36

Total released: 95 (61 stallions, 34 Mares)

Deaths: 14

For a full list of deaths visit our ongoing roundup report page HERE.


Categories: Wild Horse Education