Rounding Up Wild Horses Will Break Your Heart if You See Them First When They Are Free by Carol J. Walker
The first day I went to the Checkerboard Roundup this year we traveled a long way to get to the border of Colorado and Wyoming, and the BLM was rounding up wild horses just outside the Adobe Town Herd Area in Wyoming. We were allowed to climb up on a rocky hillside so that we could see the trap.
We watched horses coming in from very far away, and we had group after group come in. In one group, where most of the horses had identical blazes, marking them as family, there was a mare with a radio collar! I had been following the BLM when they traveled almost to the border in the deep snow to release this mare. She had strayed out of the area. At her side was a foal.As it turns out there was also another mare with a radio collar. I asked what the BLM was going to do with these mares. They seemed to think that they might release them, but in a different area, later. In fact, there was a new press release about the study, that two radio collars had failed to work, and three more were too loose, and so they dropped these 5 collars, and they needed more mares for the study. Conveniently, rounding up wild horses in Adobe Town allows the BLM an opportunity to put more collars on captured mares. Now there will be 30 wild mares wearing radio collars in Adobe Town. At least they will be released unlike the other mares, foals and stallions that will be captured in this area over the next couple of weeks. Radio Collar Study information:
After the last horse was loaded into the trailers and hauled to temporary holding, I felt that I needed to go spend some time with wild horses that were still free, to shake off the feelings of despair and helplessness that sitting here watching wild horse families be torn apart had engendered. I needed to be reminded of why I was here observing this roundup. Shortly after we drove back onto the main road, I started seeing wild horses.
Soon we passed an oil pad where a big group of young bachelor stallions who had been taking a nap – they woke up when I got out of my car and started fooling around. I love watching young bachelors play – they always make me laugh. There was also a family with an older mare, and a couple of older mature stallions. They stayed away from the rambunctious boys.
Love that mane!
Then I went to another area in Salt Wells Creek that I visit every time I went to Rock Springs. It is a very remote location, and I always see wild horses.
Right after I drove into the area, I saw some grey horses on a rise. As I approached, I saw there was a foal with two grey mares and a grey stallion.
After spending a little while with this family, I drove down the road, and saw several families on the hills at a distance. Finally I saw a small family near the road.
As I got closer, I was charmed by this small family. They stood in front of dramatic Kinney Rim, napping together, touching as wild horses are constantly doing. When I first got out of my car, they did not move, enjoying their afternoon nap.
I realize that the mare is an older Cremello, with such character in her face. The stallion is older as well, and their palomino yearling was quite curious about me.
The stallion and mare looked as though they had had many years together, and I just could not imagine them being separated.
It was hard to tear myself away from this beautiful family, but it was getting later and I was at least an hour from town, so I kept going. I was looking for some familiar faces.
There he was – that stunning palomino stallion with his very colorful family. I had spent time with then over a year ago, and had wondered how they were doing. They had a new foal!
The very colorful family
Yes seeing these families and observing their relationships, the way that they care for each other, the idea that they may lose these family members forever in just a couple of weeks is unthinkable. It will break your heart.
What can you do to help? Call your Senators. Tell them you do not want healthy wild horses and burros to be killed or sent to slaughter. Tell them you do not want horse slaughter in this country. Call today, call often, and get your friends to call. Our wild horses and burros depend upon you.