Wild Horse Education


A remembrance from Bible Springs.

Laurie Ford began volunteering for Wild Horse Education earlier this year. While she was out for WHE we marked her photos “B.Jefferson.” She went to the Blue Wing roundup that would be a primarily burro removal. Laurie has owned and rescued burros for 35 years. The name used to mark photos was in honor of her burros. 

The wild horses featured in this remembrance piece were sent to Axtell (off-limits holding in Utah). This is the same facility as the burros were sent from Blue Wing, where Laurie was unable to see them during capture or in temporary holding. We sent her to Bible Springs so she would be closer if BLM opened the facility. They refused. We have had to add it to the court case we have filed with CANA. Hopefully, we can stop this kind of thing in the future. It is unconscionable that our tax dollars are being used to remove a public resource, from public lands and we were unable to see a single step of that burro removal clearly, not one step.

The graceful restraint of these adults in order to protect their baby…. will never be forgotten.

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You Will Always Be In My Heart, by Laurie Ford

Horses and burros have always been a large part of my life – constantly blessing me with the opportunity to witness how they interact with one another while coexisting as a family. When a member of the “herd” is being threatened, has an injury, or is creating a conflict the response from the family is typically concern, compassion or discipline when needed.  They function as a group but every horse or burro has their very own special buddy who they spend most of their time with. When there is a death they mourn and if any family member drops out of sight the whinnying or braying is non-stop until that member reappears. Horses and burros always know where their family is.

While observing the herd dynamics and behavior of wild horses and burros in their natural environment these characteristics become even more prevalent. They are qualities we could all learn from – especially when it come to how we treat one another.

During the recent Bible Springs HMA roundup there was one particular little palomino family that touched my heart. It was August 11th, my fourth day on the roundup, and I had already observed a number of family units – a stallion, mare and a young foal – being captured. That morning, when the helicopter pushed a small band over the ridge, I only saw two palominos and a brown horse at first but their calm demeanor made me look closer and soon revealed the tiny newborn palomino foal close by.

As the helicopter pushed them in the direction of the trap the brown horse eventually broke away running – but not the adult palominos. They had a newborn baby to look out for.

The helicopter continued to hover slightly behind allowing the stallion and mare to maintain a slow pace as they proceeded down the hillside. If the duo found themselves getting too far ahead, they would pause and graze a bit while the youngster caught up – even stopping long enough so the newborn could nurse.  It was obvious their concern was not for the helicopter but for keeping that foal safe. One only had to witness the posture of these palomino parents to see how strong their bond was and how proud they were of that baby.

Sometimes the stallion would drop back intent on protecting his family or the two would walk side by side in one another’s “heart area” – always keeping the foal close by or in between. It was only when they reached the wings of the trap, as the helicopter came closer and the judas horse appeared, that the parents broke into a run – their fear and confusion finally getting the best of them as the little foal struggled to keep up.

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As far as I know the contractors kept the foal and mare together during sorting and shipping. At holding I was able to observe the stallion – distraught and confused – and a glimpse of the mare tucked up by the panel separating her from the stallion. I could not see the foal who was behind all the other mares with his mother.

I will most likely never see these three again. Axtell is closed to the public. The stallion has probably been gelded by now and the little family turned into tag numbers to be processed and eventually sent on to adoption events. Perhaps the mare and foal will be kept back at holding for a while so that the foal can grow and become stronger. Maybe they will be adopted as a pair. Maybe the mare will be surrendered back to the BLM after the foal is weaned. Maybe she will be sent elsewhere by the adopter. Maybe the foal will be weaned and adopted separately. As for the stallion, who knows. So many maybes that we will never know the answers to.

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We are glad to welcome her aboard.

Bible Springs stopped early of the goal; 305 captured of 450 targeted.

Triple B is a very different roundup, the 4th in 5 years in the same area and isa still ongoing.

You can view team reports from 7/15-8/9 HERE.

From 8/10 and ongoing HERE. 

Help keep us in the field.

Categories: Wild Horse Education