Wild Horse Education

Surprise Complex (squeezing a trap)

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One of the only thinner horses we have seen, the older bay. More than one team member goes through every frame prior to our writing our daily reports. Looks like an older mare on the thin side, from where we sit far from trap, but appears able to trailer to holding and not in a “body score 2, euthanize” category. (see  discussion at this roundup over “body score 2, unable to trailer” )

To date: 1123 wild horses have been captured, 95 released and 20 have died.  You can read on-going team reports here. 

Below: As the chopper pushed these two to the trap, they turned and looked to find an escape. With determination, the strawberry set course.

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This was the last day at this trap in Fox Hog. On days such as these we see what we refer to as “squeezing the trap.” The agency bound and determined to clear all the wild horses from this area, we see choices not made on other days and every fragment of the herd in the area is driven.

This operation is not a “zero out.” This is a “get as many as you can” and do “fertility control.” Low AML, ridiculously low AML, is the goal. This is the exact type of operation that “Path Forward” called for (originally called “Ten Years to AML”) that found the additional funding in the 2021 budget after being incorporated into the BLM report in 2020. Get to AML and do fertility control on all mares.

So why was the choice made at trap to pursue an obviously robust (single) wild horse and even send out a roping crew? We will never know what prompted that decision. This operation is not a “zero out.”

Edited to add: BLM said they thought the strawberry was blind! Yes, the sent ropers out claiming they thought the horse that evaded chopper, clearly ran the corner of the jute in the lead, was blind. So they ran it an extra 30 minutes and it even evaded saddle horses. 

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The buckskin loses resolve, but the strawberry (look at the freckles and red/gold mane, beautiful) remains focused.

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The chopper leaves off the high speed chase and heads back to get the buckskin into the trap.

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Then the chopper heads off to chase strawberry and a roping crew sets off.

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Strawberry ran back home and was not captured.

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On the last day at this trap 36 (17 stallions, 12 mares, 7 foals) were captured. No deaths reported. 

BLM announced yesterday that the Litchfield corrals are in quarantine pending the results of a Pigeon Fever test. The small group of horses with abscesses are isolated. We had someone at Litchfield yesterday. It is expected that tagging, branding and vaccinating will resume in about 4-6 weeks after tests come back and any abscess on the isolated group resolves. 

On October 4, in our ongoing reports, we reported “Noted at holding: swollen lumps that could be indicative of pigeon fever. Pigeon fever is common in domestic horse (California) populations in fall and is believed to be spread by flies. BLM said vet on-site will evaluate and we will update you soon.”

The horses in question came off range near Indian Springs. A release took place the following day back into 4 HMAs. 

In the final “squeeze” at this trap in Fox Hog a mare(?) takes a tumble after the chopper pursued only 2 wild horses trying to remove every horse from the area.

Our team is back on-site today.

We have been getting inquiries: Yes, our org has been the only org on-site since the operation began.


Categories: Wild Horse Education