Hardtrigger Day 2 (roundups near peak foaling are insane)

The ongoing Black Mountain, Hardtrigger and Sands Basin roundup in Idaho has captured 201 wild horses so far. The target goal is 220. Some of you may not be aware that the target goal can be exceeded simply by getting approval from the national office with no new “public comment” or disclosure. This may be one of those operations. As we learn more we will update.

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On day 2 of capture in the Hardtrigger HMA, BLM squeezed the area. During the first run BLM captured a stallion and his large band, a smaller band and a group of bachelors and another small group.

During foaling season, particularly on the backside of foaling season when mares go into heat again or the last few mares are ready to give birth and hormones are heavy, stallions work extra hard to keep other studs away (illustrated in the pics above: mares at the time of “foal heat,” pregnant mares and a stud that has worked really hard to keep his mares away from the other stallions in his territory). 

Day 2 of Hardtrigger demonstrated clearly that BLM should not be capturing horses during the peak and post-peak foal period. Dropping dead from acute injury is not the only measure of safety. 

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Above: As horses are driven into the wings you can see this gorgeous stud in his prime work to keep the other band and bachelors away from his family.

These bands should never have been pushed into trap together!

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Above: As the chopper pushes the horses into a tighter group to get them into the catch pen, you can see the stallion continue to work to keep the other bands away regardless of the chopper above his head.

After he groups his band and pushes other horses back, he follows his family into trap to protect them. He is natures perfect stallion.

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Above: The catch pen is the first pen of the trap that joins the wings. After the catch pen is a series of pens and gates that sort horses into smaller groups and eventually to the small “loading alley” directly in from of the trailer.

As groups were pushed from the first sorting pen (where foals are usually pulled off) and into the next section, a fight (expectedly) broke out as stallion AND mares are not sorted from each other but loaded together.

Some mares are still pregnant and some are in foal heat… and stallions cannot escape each other.

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Above: Instead of pushing some of the horses into the next section of pens (attempting to separate the band stallion to load as a single in the back compartment) BLM pushed all of them into the last section together. They could not open the gate to let other horses retreat back into the previous area (that they should have left empty if they had any awareness at all) because they had already pushed more horses into that area because they are always in a rush to clear the trap to bring in more horses. There was no way at this point to release any pressure.

This is considered “ok” by BLM COR in charge and why the public must have access to document the trap and loading. BLM hides loading at trap at more than 85% of trap locations.

Some mares are still pregnant and some are in foal heat… and stallions cannot escape each other.

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Above: Instead of loading him as a single in the back, they squeeze them all into the front compartment.

Mares and stallions are loaded in the same compartments.

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Above: But that wan’t enough. They squeeze more of the mix of mares and studs into the back chamber as the big stud muscled his way further into the first compartment to find his rival… what nature bred him to do.

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Above: You can clearly see the blood, sweat and injuries that occurred after capture to these horses and before being loaded.

But wait… theres’s more.

The fighting on this trailer will last more than an hour and a half as BLM has chosen not to use a temporary holding corral and just ship these horses to the Boise corral.

If there are broken bones, infections from injuries, colic from stress or the stud doing what he was bred to do so his band survives is euthanized for being “too aggressive,” not one of those deaths or injuries will make the “BLM gather statistics” and they will continue to call themselves “humane.”

And of course, they brought in more horses.

BLM is NOT posting facility reports online of any injuries, deaths, spontaneous abortions, illness.


Everyone involved in approving this operation and rushing it through without allowing full public NEPA engagement, that INCLUDES adjudication of a guaranteed appeal period, DURING A FOALING SEASON your own data shows… should be seriously ashamed.

Our wild ones should live free on the range with the families they hold dear. Our wild ones should also live without abuse. WHE carries ongoing litigation to force BLM into open public process to create an enforceable welfare standard for our treasured wild ones. 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!


2023 Summer roundup reports


Antelope Complex (north and south)

Black Mountain, Hardtrigger, Sands Basin

Devils Garden (USFS)

Categories: Highlights, Lead