Before His Capture…

December 5, 2010

Part of the reason I went down to the Canon City, CO BLM facilities last Friday was to look for horses I’d photographed in the field (to document their continuing stories), as well as bring attention to and showcase the many beautiful horses available for adoption. Of course I hoped I wouldn’t find any that I recognized (and I haven’t yet gone through all the photos), but it was not to be. In the Piceance Creek (Colorado) stallion pen was a big, bay stallion that had been in front of my camera before. He had been a proud band stallion that I had spotted in an area they call “Pinto Gulch.” Since telling his story on Facebook, there’s been some interest in getting him placed somewhere. If he can no longer run free, the best we can do is find him a new, loving family/home. And that is my hope for this boy…and the many other horses in holding.

Running like the wind

If you’d like to find out more about this stallion, his tag number is #7872. The photo album of horses photographed at Canon City:

Update (4/5/11): This stallion has found a new home in New Mexico.

(Click on the images for larger/sharper views)

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31 Responses to “Before His Capture…”

  1. Karen Says:

    Pam, thanks for going and photographing them. I am sure it was difficult, such a contrast here in this sequence. I really believe that the field research done by folks like you is so important.(Really the best record of who is out there and it also give us so much insight into their lives). And I hope that the horses here will find their way into not only hearts, but homes.

  2. Kellye Says:

    Pam, that made me cry. The horses in the holding pens are beautiful but they have lost something indefinable – that sense of wildness, of pride.

    I will say tho that I have had the joy of living with two BLM mustang mares in my lifetime and they are the soundest, sweetest, most wonderful horses I’ve ever owned. My current mare – the first died of old age – was adopted out of a BLM holding pen at about 7 months old and looked a lot like the scruffy babies you photographed. They will morph in the spring!

  3. Janet Carabello Says:

    Wow, what a difference in his stance and demeanor from being free and being captured! How sad! My trips to Canon City to adopt my burro gave me the full impact of this tragedy, seeing just acres and acres of corrals jam packed with captive horses. And Canon City “only” houses 2,000 of them…compared to the near 40,000 nationally held captive. If I did not have to pay board, I would take as many as I could. It scares me to speculate what will be the final outcome of this horrible mess. Glad you can bring this sad story to us in photos, and I hope many will go to Canon City to observe and hopefully adopt.

  4. Jeannie Jacobs Parisi Says:

    OH YES, I sure do remember this handsome boy…..Yes, I pray someone takes him into their loving arms…..How hard is that to photgraph them wild and then to see them in a holding pen…..Such a mock on nature….cup half full will be that someone gives him a forever home…a forever BUD…<3

  5. Puller Says:

    Pam, I saw one mare that could be a mare from Salt Wells. You had a photo of two buckskins, tan and grey that stood together and reminded me of a heart. The other Salt Wells horse was a red roan stallion with wide (almost bald) white stripe on his face. Short of the grey buckskin, I’m not seeing these other horses. I hope they escaped capture. That bay stallion was fairly ‘busting at the seams’ with health in your wild photos. I surely hope someone will take him. Any idea of age on him?

  6. maggie frazier Says:

    Wonderful pictures – what a beautiful boy he is.
    Hopefully – someone will adopt him or give him a chance to be free once again.
    Do you have any contact with Dreamcatcher wild horses? Just came upon their website a couple weeks ago – sounds like they are doing their best to give some wild horses a free home again. Altho
    with the quantity of horses in the holding pens, thats a big job.
    Thanks again – you bring this home to so many of us who arent able to actually see these horses.


  7. Mar Wargo Says:

    What sadness this is. All the pics you and carol take will help these horses escape the dark hole of BLM. We are still unable to adopt and hoping next year. The choices are amazing. thanks, Pam…. mar

  8. Sonya Says:

    Thank you for sharing. Heart wrenching to see him wild and then behind bars. I know it’s so hard for you, thank you for documenting. Sonya

  9. TJ Says:

    No words can describe that change … Thank you so much for continuing their documentation and stories …

  10. pnickoles Says:

    Perfectly said Karen, “I hope that the horses here will find their way into not only hearts, but homes.” My hope as well.

    Thanks for your story Kellye – it’s nice to hear the happy endings and how much the Mustangs are appreciated.

    Hi Janet – how is your Candy doing? You know I would go down to Canon City again and again if it meant one more Mustang would find a home. It really does break your heart to see just how many are there (we were told 2800) and what a drop in the bucket that is to the full total in captivity. Candy is one of the lucky ones.

  11. pnickoles Says:

    Yup Jeannie – must keep that glass half-full attitude for the sake of our wild ones and the work on their behalf. You could go crazy believing otherwise.

    Puller – such details. I wish I could recall the iamges you speak of. I’ll continue to go through the photos and studying the faces. I just don’t want any of the horses to have an untold story. They were there, they lived, they had families. Ugh. Makes me cry just writing this.

  12. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks Maggie – I will check out Dreamcatcher.

    Thanks Mar – there really is horse for anyone in that bunch. So sad that there are so many to choose from.

    Thanks as always for your support Sonya.

    And TJ – you truly understand.

  13. Joanne S. Kilduff Says:

    Pam, first let me thank you for checking out this stallion. I remember seeing his photo on FB some tine ago and remarking to myself how beautiful, how proud and loved his white blaze. The first thing that caught my eye was his head hung lower and his eyes looked empty. Total change in his demeanor which was also noted by many remarking here. Its sad but I guess the next best thing is for him to find a forever home with someone who will take good care of him. Perhaps someone with a big enough place where he could feel like he is still running a bit wild. It really breaks your heart. I guess he won’t have any more babies either. Not being a horse owner only one who views them! I would think the wild horses would offer great genes to some of the domesticated horse population perhaps improving certain aspects. Just my thoughts. Thank you for your beautiful photos always. Joanne

  14. T.A.Paxton Says:

    Oh he’s gorgeous! You are so blessed to be where you can get to these areas and photograph them. I sure hope there are some left wild to see. if I ever get out west to visit.

  15. Linda Horn Says:

    Everyone here has already said it for me. Now we have to figure out a way to get him and so many others to good homes – hopefully in places they can run free.

    How old is this striking guy and has he been gelded? Not trying to sound cold, but we need to get the older horses out, and if they’re intact, hopefully to somewhere they may eventually be able to breed.

    Pam, you’re photos are so beautiful. If the BLM Internet Adoption site had pix 1/4 as good as yours, many more wild horses would be adopted.

  16. Barbara Warner Says:

    Heart breakiing and senseless that he and the others had to be removed. He is gorgeous.

  17. Linda Horn Says:

    Good heavens, that DID sound cold! Maybe I’m too obsessed with breeding herds.

  18. Janine Says:

    So sad and too bad they just cannot stay free. Or, if we could just talk english to horses and tell them why. I am sure he is confused right now.

  19. Pam Miller Says:

    Your amazing photos and messages cut to the heart. I truly believe you can make a difference in our awareness as the human (should I say humane) beings we claim to be. Are they OUR guardian angels? The pictures you share make me wonder if that is not one of their purposes to our understanding.

    Thanks for all you do to present their struggles in our crazy world.

  20. suzanne o'meara Says:

    thank-you forn the beautiful photos of the horses !!! magnificent.

  21. Katrine Pett Says:

    Thankyou Pam for documenting the lives of these precious horses, the differance from freedom to the pen’s is tragic but trusting in a good outcome for this big bay stallion and all of them! Katrine,UK.

  22. Puller Lanigan Says:

    It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government.”
    – Thomas Paine-

  23. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Will the human race all be surprised when we get to The Pearly Gates, and instead of finding St. Peter or Budda or Allah there to judge us, we first will face (for the first million years of eternity) all the wonderful animal angels from this beautiful earth, who have been our partners and guardians for untold eons?

    Our spirits will then grow in understanding of their gifts, and some of us may, by divine purpose, spend extra time with the spirits of those wonderful animal angels in order to gain further growth and understanding of the great love that surrounds us. . . (ex: Slaughter Sue will be spending eternity with wild mustang spirit guides and perhaps we can add other names to this list).

    Thusly, may justice and harmony be served.

  24. Pamela,

    I am speechless about your work behind the camera and advocating for the Wild Horses. I am a farm gal from Illinois. I want to help. I found a grant available today from the DOI , BLM, Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness and Outreach. Could this be something that could help? If we were a not for profit 501 we could apply for the grant. Please let me help you. I have heard of the ranches in the Kansas Flint Hills area that are
    housing Wild Horses could you tell me about that.

    I photographed only a small herd in NM at the Valmejo Ranch. Ted Turner owns. Came back next year and they had all been shipped to Mexico.
    Made me sick!!!! You can call me. 319-759-7585 or I will call you. Or email is fine too. Whatever
    works for you. I have a deep passion for this, I am very sincere. Thank you for your time.

    Marlene McChesney
    A Cowgirl’s Heart

  25. Puller Lanigan Says:

    Pam, did you take photos of a one-eared bay stallion in the Adobe Town-Salt Wells area???

  26. pnickoles Says:

    Joanne – thanks for your comments. I know of at least one person who is interested in this horse and I’ve had more inquiries about him. I hope it works out for this handsome and he finds a caring family.

    T.A. I hope they’ll always be wild horse in the west, but I think it will be up to all of us to make sure.

    Hi Linda – these horses are new to the facility so they have not been aged or gelded yet. I would suspect he’s an older stallion because he had a band. I think the gelding is scheduled for February. I hope to go down again at some point (if they’ll let me) and photograph more horses. It’s something I can do to try to help.

  27. pnickoles Says:

    Really sad Barbara. 😦

    Janine, I try to “speak” to the horses with my thoughts all the time. I so hope they have an inkling that people are trying to help.

  28. pnickoles Says:

    Looky there – my lifelong friend Pam. You made me cry with your note. Thanks my friend. Horses are very spiritual animals. You may be right- they’re our guardian angels. I know they’ve certainly touched me. Someday, you must go with me to experience them for yourself. 🙂

  29. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks Suzanne and Katrine. I hope I’ll be able to report a happy outcome for this boy and many others down there.

    Janet – I’ll never understand how some people can’t see the gifts that are the animals in our world.

    Marlene, by all means, e-mail me: Our horses need passion like yours.

    Puller – that was Nub Ear from the Fifteen Mile HMA. Haven’t seen him since the roundup in 2009. 😦

  30. sandra longley Says:

    don’t anyone give up..I started this the day i saw Grey Beard being rounded up at Adobe..he was still on the transport when i called Canon City and spoke for him and said ‘do not geld” I thought i would only try to find him a wild and free home so he would never have to live another humiliating day in his life..honestly- I gave myself an ulcer over the last month trying to figure out how and where to place this one horse…now I have 2 stallions from adobe town and 36 wonderful mares who will be wild and free and continue those genetics and regain that look..i am planning my life around making it out to Nmexico to see that crop of babies in the spring..there are many people in the last 24 hours that answered the call and are trying to find sanctuarys for these horses or private ranches..never give up!

  31. Linda Says:

    That’s sad to see the transition from wild to captured, but I appreciate very much that you did it. I hope he does find a good home through your effort. There are so many Mustangs in holding, it’s very easy for them to become one of the crowd.

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