A Wild Horse Release is a Bittersweet Reminder of Those Who are No Longer Free By Carol J. Walker
This morning the BLM allowed me to watch the release of the 6 Curlies that were released back into Salt Wells Creek. Of course I much prefer watching wild horses be released than be rounded up, but as much as I was elated for these 6 lucky horses, I was very sad for those they left behind at the holding facility.
I was not sure which horses were going to be released, but when I asked at 6:30 at the BLM office I was told no pintos were to be released but some curlies. This meant Maestro would not be released, much to the disappointment of local people who consider him a favorite.
We stopped on County Road 76 off of Hwy 430. These horses had been captured near Maggie Springs off 191, so it was not where they were captured. However, the BLM had not rounded up any horses off County Road 76 so there should be other wild horses around – I saw fresh manure and knew I was right. The trailer went down the road making sure that the road was still good and not too muddy, then they called for us to follow. They put us at the top of the hill and as it turns out it was the wrong side of the road, but I did the best I could to take photos in such a way that people could identify the horses. As it turns out they were all curlies. The two black mares got out first as they were in their own compartment in the back. They ran as soon as they got out, two big girls who reminded me of war horses in their outlines.
Then the stallions came out. The sorrel with the blaze was first, then the brown stallion Ike, then a bald faced bay stallion, and finally a black stallion with a huge wide blaze named Cheveyo.
The stallions ran to catch up with the mares, and then started jostling each other, and Chevayo and the sorrel started going after each other and rearing. Finally the need to get as far away from the trailer as possible plus to follow the mares overcame testosterone, and they all ran off into the gorgeous landscape together. Hopefully they will find the other horses nearby.
Then came the depressing part of the day – I went to the overlook above the Rock Springs corrals. I find it very difficult to spend much time there, listening to the sad whinnies that at time rise to a crescendo of the mares and foals who have been separated call to each other. In the wild, the foals are not taken from their mothers at 3 months old. The fillies will stay until they go into esterous around 1 1/2 to 2 years old, and find a new family, but I have seen families that include full grown mothers and daughters and sisters. The colts will get kicked out of the family by the stallion, but not until 2 or 3 years old usually. This was unnatural in every way.
I am showing two of the weanling pens, and in one of the pens the youngsters form a sort of “puppy pile” all huddled together to keep warm, and for comfort. I could not stay long, but I will b e posting more from there. The stallions rounded up are getting shipped straight to a private facility, Axtell, Utah that does not allow public viewing or adoptions, and many of the mares will be shipped to a private facility at Bruneau, Idaho where again no public access or adoptions. We are fighting this. This is not right. All of the horses rounded up deserve to be available for adoption and viewing by the public, and the older than 10 horses also deserve to be viewed by the public and purchased.