We Lost A Friend (Antelope Roundup Update)

WARNING: Video above is GRAPHIC. We edited out the worst of it (the compound fracture flapping as he tries to walk and then run from continued pursuit is bad enough; we left out the bloody stump at close range). But the injury and subsequent pursuit by wranglers and helicopters as he is pushed toward the opposite side (away from public) is intent… and it was one of the hardest things our seasoned video editor has edited in 14 years. We have 25 minutes of this footage from an event that lasted over half an hour, You can see the agitation as BLM starts to pull off foals, then a wrangler goes right in the path of the (as he climbs on rail) of the stallion as he vaults out and is set at an odd angle trying to avoid the human (pr possibly pushed at an odd angle) and snaps a leg. 

EDITED TO ADD because of so many messages we received (as we deal with the grief of the loss of this horse we actually knew): Yes, we know there is an org circulating the most graphic images. We have them. But we chose to cut them out and just give you enough of a glimpse to see the extent of the injury itself. We are also not doing word-smithing here. Fertility control in this area is done by chopper. The area in this EA is larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Calling money in a funding bill for fertility control (without saying it outright and instead calling it “humane and sustainable management”) a “cure” for what you see in the video is an abomination as bad as the event. Passing more money for fertility control would NOT stop abuse at roundups, save the life of the foal or have impacted the events that led to the death of this stallion. It would simply expand the number captured so BLM could treat and release. (and why under the lobby agreement in 2018, Path Forward, we have seen record breaking roundups to get to BLM designated stocking levels and increased fertility control). The fight against abuse is a distinct fight in the layers of wild horses as a public lands issue.

BLM posted that they captured 49 more wild horses at the Antelope North operation, Shipped 77 more to the off-limits to public facility in Fallon (that has a miserable track record. 3 died: 2 foals and a Palomino stallion.

During the Antelope North operation WHE lost a beautiful soul, a friend, we had enjoyed spending time with. This beautiful Palomino has fought for mares, raised families and survived 5 years of drought, one of the hardest winters in recent years and was finally able to enjoy the bounty of a good spring and summer. Being at the roundup we do not have the footage we have taken over the years with us, but remembered a picture we had used for an article in 2016 so we could show you what he looked like in life… and not just his tragic end. 

We want to thank Vanessa Murphy of 8 News Now for talking with us last night. 8 News Now shared a story hours after the incident happened and one again the next day.

We ask that the public learn more about the Heat Index and join us in trying to get these roundups suspended. Click HERE.

NOTE TO BLM READING THIS: WE are NOT talking about a temperature that might rise for a few hours (we are having record breaking heat, not just for a “few hours”). What we are are talking about is a dangerous extended Heat Index. A dangerous extended heat index is not just about stopping a range-wide disturbance when temperatures rise for a day.  The Heat Index will require wild horses have the ability to move as a band (pregnant and nursing mares and foals) to water during the time of day you run them. You have already had foals die demonstrating dehydration and colic before the rise in the index from “caution” to “danger.” How many get on the trailer going to holding with a brewing critical colic onboard? The horses need some peace (if you care at all about their welfare) to hydrate and be still BEFORE the temperatures rise and AFTER to recover,. Please, Suspend operations Sunday and Monday.

Now, his life is boiled down by BLM into these words: “3) Palomino (Stud); Humanely Euthanized (Acute-Sudden); Fractured Leg due to compound break in the left rear leg.”

He was always a ray of sunshine in a sea of hardship. Every year, no matter the man-made challenges he faced, he rose up and was a protector and teacher to his babies. For us, he was a a friend we enjoyed spending time with on the range. We are heartbroken and livid at the same time. 

A compound break is not a an injury that causes a fracture…. a compound fracture (that is what it is called) is a full break that pierces and juts out of the skin. (I know, I have had one.)

Do we really need to do an editorial during a roundup to get BLM to actually read something? So be it.

Even in his death, BLM uses words in ways that try to make it sound like accurate information, but will make a person educated in the subject get a headache. (I’m sorry, this is really hard for me to deal with and I am not feeling politically correct.)

When a wild horse is injured on the range, BLM dispatches someone with a gun to shoot the horse from a distance. Gruesome sounding, we know. But better than continued pursuit on a stump. They can argue that the injury was “just an accident” and the wrangler jumping on a pen to take the foals did not see the agitated stallion…  but pursuit is intent.

I can share with you the images of abuse I have taken at the area under this EA: babies hot shot in the face, wild horses driven to a lather in the dead of winter and summer, babies collapsing during the chase, even one contractor a decade ago that refused to fill a water trough in 100 degree heat (not the one here now). Abuses in this area are nothing new. Procrastinating to improve is also status quo. 

I spent 6 years litigating just to get a humane policy. In 2016, we finally got one (45 years after the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act became law). 

I watched big corporate orgs join in with livestock to try to get fertility control…. and run over everyone fighting against abuse or to get a fair share of resources on range because those fights were “slowing down the deal.”  Wild horses are a multi-layered public lands issue denigrated by political deals… and you toss the fight for another bit of politics? (Can you tell I’m not feeling politically correct? This hurts so bad. I will never forgive them.)

It took BLM until 2021 (worth saying it again, it took until 2021) for BLM to even hire someone to run the welfare program. (Bertola). Not one revision to policy or REAL assessment has been done by the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP) team. In fact, we have internal emails (obtained through FOIA) where she refers to herself more like a therapist than an enforcer of policy.

Our first meeting with the new hire took place a year ago while I was at Triple B. Instead of directly dealing with the issues, I got double speak from the BLM National Lead (Waddell) as I used the term “AAR” but she had changed. the name of the process and acted like I did not know what I was talking about (AAR means “After Action Review”). Now, she is touting the AAR as something new when BLM has been doing them for over a decade, no matter the name she changed it to on her first days at her job (Advisory Board, 2023). This is … childish from a high level government employee that will be paid by the taxpayer for the rest of her life. (Yup, political correctness is out the door. I just can’t muster it today.)

Each year we take part in the Motorized Vehicle Hearing required under FLPMA. There has never been a year when a single report, evaluation or revision has come from BLM after these hearings. They check a box, shove it in a drawer, then add it to the Environmental Assessments as “compliance with the law.”

Yesterday, a newborn was found dead in the pen from colic. My very first lawsuit against BLM over a decade ago was “JULY IS FOALING SEASON.” They (BLM) actually do know that… but a gather plan is not the right place in the paperwork to designate one. The Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) is… but they skip that process. The only place to get them to determine an actual data-based foaling season is a process BLM skips. (We have over half dozen cases in the courts right now dealing with HMAP).

No one could see this death coming? But BLM, you are the experts. Heck, that is what your public affairs says in her personal Facebook groups (where she identifies her position) as she encourages denigration of our organization…. again and again. 

I am tired of watching BLM play bureaucratic power games, put on their rodeo buckles like roundups are some team sport and trot them buckles over to trap. 


Stop this roundup as this heat wave hits. 

Review and revise CAWP.

Give the public the opportunity the Motorized Vehicle Hearing was supposed to represent and create a deliberative process… or STOP calling it compliance with the law and including it in EAs.

We can keep wrangling stocking levels, habitat loss, etc.. But stop this roundup for the sake of some thread of decency… if there is any left in the agency at all. 

I know… the only way BLM will create any change is to find us all back in court? Then BLM will complain (and get your cronies on the Advisory Board to complain) that advocates waste taxpayer money litigating.

BLM, please, revise CAWP. Do the HMAP and define things like foaling season so you stop killing newborns. 

Gee… maybe that could save taxpayer funding and stop the agency from flushing millions of dollars down the toilet, needless deaths… and money on so many lawyers.

Our official updates on the roundup will be a bit late today. I had to take a long walk last night, throw up, cry. 

I’m going to miss that gorgeous Palomino…. RIP beautiful boy. They can’t hurt you anymore. 


We ask that the public learn more about the Heat Index and join us in trying to get these roundups suspended. Click HERE.

History of the fight against abuse, click HERE

2023 Summer Roundups

Antelope North Daily Public Reports

Antelope South Daily Public Reports 

Reveille Daily Public Reports 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!

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Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education