Wild Horse Education

Surprise Update (104 captured, 5+1 deaths and info on body scoring)

On October 10, 104 wild horses were captured at the Fox Hog HMA in the Surprise Complex. 25 studs, 56 mares and 23 foals lost their freedom. 5 lost their lives.

Edited to add: on Oct 11 capture operations were cancelled. However, during shipping, another wild horse was euthanized for “club foot.”

This brings the total to 1087 captured and 20 deaths (you can see details from the roundup in the ongoing team reports HERE). 

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This beautiful stud kept trying to draw the chopper off of his family, to no avail. He escaped, but his family did not.

One wild horse seemed to try to bait the chopper by running into the trap, far away from his family. The chopper did not follow him. He fled as his family was captured. He crossed the road, looked back and was seen later continuing over the horizon.

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Young horse in the video below being roped.

The other 4 deaths: 1 stud was killed because BLM said it has club foot; 1 stud BLM said had “pre-existing lameness;” 1- 30+ year old mare BLM said was “body score 2 and too weak to trailer” and was “cross legged, neurological disorder;”; 1- 20+ year old stud BLM said was “body score 2 and too weak to trailer.”

BLM stated (4 days ago) they would not put down any low body score horse, unless it was too weak to travel. They had not euthanized wild horses in 4 days and simply shipped to Litchfield to see if placement can be found.

illustration from booklet by University of Florida Extension. Click here to go to booklet.

We have not seen any body score “2” wild horses at this Surprise roundup. We have not seen any “body score 2, too weak to travel.”

We saw a couple of body score “2”  at Jackson Mountain. They were sent to Palomino Valley Center north of Reno.  (see reports and info on the Jackson HMA and roundup HERE)

A body score “2” is the classification you see coming out of situations like extreme hoarding in the domestic horse world. A classification of a “0” is a basically a dying horse, a “1” a walking skeletal frame.


Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is an objective system of evaluating a horse’s level of body condition. Body scoring is not a subjective system.

Everyone that handles horses uses the same scale. This system is the universal system used by veterinarians, horse rescues, trainers, breeders, etc. nationwide. This is not something the BLM vet can make up on-site or have discretion in creating.

Dictionary.com: Subjective most commonly means based on the personal perspective or preferences of a person—the subject who’s observing something. In contrast, objective most commonly means not influenced by or based on a personal viewpoint—based on the analysis of an object of observation only.

We have repeated our request that the BLM photograph any horse their on-site (probably local) vet classifies as a “2.” We have asked for all documentation related to wild horses euthanized at this operation. We will share the information when it is available.

Operations were called off today due to weather.

Our team remains on-site.

You can view ongoing reports from the roundup HERE. 


Categories: Wild Horse Education