Wild Horse Education

Owyhee Update (Rock Creek)

Sweaty youngster roped and brought into trap.

Our full “Update Page” on the Owyhee Complex roundup can be found HERE.

The page linked above holds content (and links to our “long report articles”) posted since the capture/release operation began. The page is overloaded with videos and images, so the “ongoing update” page will link to new postings.


Totals captured/released/dead for the entire operation (scroll down below picture for daily report):

In 2021 BLM plans to capture 947 and return 332 (with 185 treated with PZP).

Captured: 842 (354 Stallions, 337 Mares, and 151 Foals)

Shipped: 446 (149 Stallions, 168 Mares, and 129 Foals)   shipped to the off-limits-to-the-public facility in Sutherland, Utah. 2 domestics were shipped to the brand inspector in NV, if unclaimed they will go to auction.

Released260 (145 Stallions, 111 Mares, and 4 Foals)  mares treated with PZP-22.

Deaths19 (the agency only considers 1 death, heart failure, related to the operation and the rest “pre-existing” conditions)

20+ year old Black stud BLM said “due to chronic injury (no teeth/very old age);” Yearling Sorrel mare BLM said “chronic injury (fractured/broken ankle) with no prognosis for recovery;” 2- month-old Palomino foal said “due to chronic injury (poor body condition: starvation/malnourished) with poor prognosis for recovery;” 2-year-old Black mare BLM said “due to chronic injury (hernia: developmental);” Yearling Cremello mare BLM said  “chronic injury (poor body condition: starvation/malnourished and blindness) with poor prognosis for recovery;” 9-year-old Paint mare BLM said had “chronic injury (broken jaw) with no prognosis for recovery” and a yearling Grey foal BLM said had “chronic injury (club foot) with no prognosis for recovery;”  7-year-old Bay stud was put down, BLM said “due to chronic injury (broken leg) with no prognosis for recovery;” 20+ year-old Sorrel mare BLM said “due to chronic injury (poor body condition: starvation/malnourished) with no prognosis for recovery;” 15+ year-old Buckskin mare BLM said “due to chronic injury (poor body condition: starvation/malnourished and broken fetlocks) with no prognosis for recovery;” 9-year-old Roan mare BLM said “chronic injury (poor body condition: starvation/malnourished) with no prognosis for recovery;” 3-month-old Bay foal  BLM said “chronic injury (hernia: developmental);”18-year-old Grey mare BLM stated “due to chronic injury (previously broken right front leg);” 11-year-old Grey mare was BLM said “due to chronic injury (unexpected heart failure);” 20-year-old Grey stud “due to chronic injury (fractured/broken leg);” 5-year-old Grey stud “due to chronic injury (growth on scapula);” 6-month-old Brown foal “chronic injury (severe hoof deformity: “Elf shoe”).”

Wild horses removed will be transported to the Sutherland Off-Range Corrals near Sutherland, Utah, that is off-limits to public view.

BLM considers this operation “AML maintenance/fertility control.” This is an example of the BLM 2020 plan and the budget increases in 2021 (and planned in 2022) for immunocontraception. 

Owyhee wild horses are big, beautiful and are said to have some of the “best minds” by adopters and trainers.

November 4, Long Report and Information

100 (36 Stallions, 49 Mares, and 15 Foals) wild horses captured today. 

The operation moved to the eastern side of the complex and is now based out of Elko, NV. The trap/release in the Owyhee HMA completed.

The trap is now in the Rock Creek HMA. We are the only org on-site.

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The Rock Creek HMA is 121,433 acres. The traps have been located near/in the Midas allotment and private property owned by the mine (many mines have purchased ranches and run grazing operations because it creates a less complex water permit negotiation) has created more issues with public access; BLM says the mine does not want the public on their property.

In the maps above you can see the HMA and the allotments. We asked if BLM was trapping Little Humboldt (the smallest of the 5 HMAs at 17,151 acres). The BLM Public Information Officer told us “no.” (We were also told there had been no release on the “Elko side,” but there was in the Owyhee HMA). We asked that question because BLM left Little Humboldt off the description of the complex on the website.

However, you can see that both Rock Creek and Little Humboldt horses are probably being trapped together by the location of the trap site. The AML (number of horses BLM says can live in the HMA) for Rock Creek is listed as 150-250 wild horses; Little Humboldt as 48-80.

BLM plans to capture 255 wild horses in this area and permanently remove 142. The agency has caught 137 wild horses in this area so far. The goal is “low AML” for Rock Creek. We still have no information on how the agency calculated Little Humboldt into the equation. 

Rock Creek horses in the trap

Below: screen grabs from video. Some of you are stating you are having trouble playing video. pics: trapped wild horses trying to move away from people almost immediately after capture; one wild horse pulls the rope of the Judas off the panel as it tried to move from people; wild horses in the narrowing alleys crowd as loading begins; no padding on overhead bars.

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note: In another SNAFU, we attempted to address any (even loose) timeline of restricted access prior to the trap moving to the east side HMAs. We were told to “listen to the message line” (that only addresses access by “9 pm” for the following day that can begin at 5 am) and watch the website. BLM failed to update the website and listed access as “Tuesday and Thursday” if on private lands. Our observer made travel plans to be there to observe. When she arrived on Nov. 2, she was told “no access” if trap is on private lands; BLM simply forgot to update the website. 2021 Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather _ Bureau of Land Management

This is all relevant when you consider this is a public service agency that manages public lands using taxpayer funding. They claim to be “fair” and “accurate.” Why does BLM get annoyed at the public for the lack of trust the agency itself fosters? Information on observing a roundup should be one of the easy things to “get right” instead of finding a multitude of ways to obstruct and abysmal communication. 

Video below: After capture during recent roundups there has been very little time between trapping and loading, this operation has been no exception. This is what that “settle” time looks like.

Yes, WHE sent in a CAWP complaint today as the overhead bars are not padded in any way. This is a simple equipment check the BLM COR (in charge of CAWP compliance) is supposed to do. (note at bottom of page on the word “complaint.”)


Operations ended late yesterday. Our observer was not permitted to leave her observation point and make the over 2.5 hour drive back to town until “all horses were transported out of trap.” An hour and a half later, apparently, communication had broken down again and when the “ok” to leave made it to the observation location, everyone loaded and left fast and left her to find her way out on her own. Finding her way out was not an issue. Finding a way that was not coupled with the anxiety of traveling a route that would have the BLM, permittee, the mine, upset with her, was.

Files are still coming in for edit and review to our CAWP team coordinator. We will publish more as edit/review completes.

Our observer is back out today. 

Our WHEStorefront added a new collection, including a calendar, in time for the holidays. You can see the new collection HERE.  

You can support WHE on Amazon Smile as you shop by choosing Wild Horse Education as your charity of choice.

You can get your ticket for our virtual Zoom event; including a special guest and a “question and answer” portion. More HERE.

Help keep us in the field, in the courts and in the fight.

Note on complaints:

During a roundup operation many letters are sent addressing issues at trap, communication, handling, access. This is a part of the “roundup routine” at every operation.

The public appears to be confused about the word “complaint.” We have logged multiple complaints at every roundup we have attended this year. At Owyhee we have logged more than half a dozen. Some have been addressed, then needed to be addressed again.

A complaint with a lower case “c” is a letter that “complains” to “negotiate an issue.” An upper case “C” would denote a legal filing. We log/send complaints, we file Complaints.

WHE logged a CAWP complaint today noting the overhead bars, etc. We track each complaint and outcomes. Those complaints can be used later to bolster a Complaint if needed. We hope that helps clear the confusion. (you can follow our legal actions, Appeals, Complaints, HERE).

We are the only org to ever file a capital “C” Complaint and walk BLM into a court over abuse. A lot of work has to happen to bring a Complaint. They are not easy.

Our upcoming event will include a “QnA” session. More information can be found HERE.


Categories: Wild Horse Education