Pryor Mountain Roundup – 9/7/2009

September 25, 2009

Having made it through our first day with a decision to commit to a second, Tom and I arrived at Britton Springs at the designated time for briefing. Briefings were held to present the plan for the day’s activities/goals. At the end of these briefings, we were allowed to ask questions (specific to just that day’s operations), but it was clear queries were to be kept to a minumum. There were times when the Independent Humane Observer was cut short with her questions and requests for more and closer access to the horses. Elyse (The IHO) was persistant, but she was often met by less than cooperative attitudes by some of the BLM personnel. I was told that her admittance to the area had been better earlier on (when the press was there), but shortly after the media left, so did most of Elyse’s access.

BLM personnel delivering the morning briefing

BLM personnel delivering the morning briefing

R.T. Fitch, Elyse Gardner (the Independent Humane Observer) and Ginger Kathrens at the briefing

R.T. Fitch, Elyse Gardner (the Independent Humane Observer) and Ginger Kathrens at the briefing

At the conclusion of the briefing, we were allowed another walk through to view the captured horses.

Exhilaration with Chino in the background

Exhilaration with Chino in the background

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Bolder's band

Bolder's band

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Horses tagged for adoption

Horses tagged for adoption

Flint - who is also known as Blue Moon

Flint - who is also known as Blue Moon

After going through the corrals, we were told that they were going to begin processing horses – putting them in the squeeze chute, taking hair samples, shaving necks, freeze branding (for those going up for adoption) and PZP’ing the mares. We were escorted to an area where we could watch, but it was from a pretty fair distance.

The squeeze chute is an incredibly loud device. It has to be a very frightening experience for a wild horse.

Horses to be processed

Horses to be processed

Processing a horse through the squeeze chute

Processing a horse through the squeeze chute

And then there was quite a commotion – a terrified young stallion was trying to escape from the chute.

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They did finally get the stallion through the process, but I’m sure he was quite shaken. It was very hard to watch and feel helpless to do anything.

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With the processing complete, we were escorted to the viewing ridge.

Looking down at the holding corrals from the viewing ridge

Looking down at the holding corrals from the viewing ridge

Ginger Kathrens, Ben Susman, Sandy Elmore, Terry Fitch, me and Elyse Gardner at the observation ridge

Ginger Kathrens, Ben Susman, Sandy Elmore, Terry Fitch, me and Elyse Gardner at the observation ridge

Behind the jute fence

Behind the jute fence

Bringing in Morning Star's band

Bringing in Morning Star's band

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As we listened to the helicopter approaching with more horses, we started to hear radio chatter going on behind us. Most of us had our lenses pointed towards the direction of incoming horses and when they finally came into view, the reason for the increased radio communication was clear. It was Cloud. Apparently, there was some concern that our little group might go ballistic or something at the sight of Cloud being captured, so our escorts were being forewarned. I remember hearing one of them relay back to the base folks, “they already know.” With that, the radios were silent and we watched the powerful, pale-colored stallion direct his band from one side of the valley to the other, giving the pilot a run for his money trying to save his family. Just before reaching the end of the jute driveway, Cloud did the most amazing thing – he turned and faced the helicopter. One last defiant gesture by the courageous stallion before he was forced to continue down the capture chute with his family.

Cloud and his band - several family members were about to lose their freedom forever

Cloud and his band - several family members were about to lose their freedom forever

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Shortly after Cloud’s family came in, Jackson’s band followed.

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Walking back from the ridge at the end of the day

Walking back from the ridge at the end of the day

As we walked by the holding corrals on our way back from the viewing ridge, I looked over and snapped my last photo of the day. His eyes spoke volumes and mine filled with tears.

A captive Cloud

A captive Cloud

(More to follow…)

6 Responses to “Pryor Mountain Roundup – 9/7/2009”

  1. Mike Says:

    Pam,

    Have you considered forwarding your blogs to our “esteemed” congressional representatives?

    It would be worth it to see if you even get a response from any of them.

    You might even send it to Salazar – not that he probably even cares…


  2. Oh Cloud’s eyes just screamed of sadness!! I so wish I knew more about all of this thats going on…Most of what I have learned is from reading your blog and it just breaks my heart…You are doing a great thing in being actively involved..

  3. pnickoles Says:

    Hey Mike – I’ve written letter after letter, e-mailed and called; my Reps., Senators, Salazar, the President and many others. (And yes, recently, I included a link to these Pryor Mountain Roundup posts). Lots and lots of people are doing the same thing. Let’s hope our combined efforts gets something done.

    Michelle – Thanks for writing. If you’d like to learn more, there is a lot of information available on my website under the Wild Horse Information link: http://www.nickolesphotography.com/HTML/wildhorseinformation.htm You too can be actively involved – we need a lot of people to care and act on behalf of our wild ones.

  4. Laura Houston Says:

    Thanks for keeping watch over the Pryor mountian mustangs. It is shamefull the way the BLM treats the public and a humane observer with such disrespect.

    Squeeze shute, the noise of it and the way terrified horses can really be hurt, jumping/hanging up in their window, pulled up with a rope and hooking legs and kicking hitting rusty metal. The BLM needs to learn a better way to do their work on mustangs. Suggest they learn from some large animal zoo experts who handle elephants and other exotics without hurting them. The BLM shutes and pipe corrals are all bashed up with other “accidents” this shows the BLM has many mustangs bashed up with their poor handling.
    Wonder if there is anyway to record all the BLM round-ups ‘radio chatter’?

    I am sick and tired of the BLM hiding from the Public eye, the BLM act like criminals. They must have a LOT to hide! Everything the BLM does needs to be on Video, live streamed to the BLM website. I really feel the BLM has been out of control for way to many years and needs to be disbanded. They have hurt, run to death to many mustangs to ever gain any respect from me- as helpfull to mustangs or my public lands, ever.


  5. Mine are filled with tears right now. I can’t believe… in such disbelief after the HUGE public outcry that this STILL happened. With 33,000 of OUR wild horses in captivity that may be euthanized, WHY do they keep rounding up MORE of OUR horses?

    There’s an eerie parallel with the loss of our wild horses’ freedom… and our own.

    Something has to change.

    Sonya

  6. Anne Says:

    first time I have seen a pix of Cloud in the pen;

    reminds me of people like Ghandi; Mandella; Mother Teresa…

    the way they had to be harassed and ill treated; scorned; laughed at…

    before they were recognized to be the saints they are; so one day it will be with the Wild Horses…

    in the future; the Wild Horses; like Cloud and every single one of the other wild horses will be recognized for what they are; True Heros of the West; true heros of our nation; true faithful friends; friends to the environment; gingerly stepping over wild flowers to get to grass tips;
    not wrecking streams and rivers like they say;

    yea; the Wild Horses will be seen for what they are: intelligent; beautiful ; healthy; smart; being harassed for no cause by a very corrupt gov.

    Cloud: I salute you; sister to brother; thank God you are free; free at last…may u; Freedom; and the others who have escaped confinement stay free!


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