On the Eve of the Red Desert Complex Wild Horse RoundupOctober 10, 2020
The Red Desert Complex Wild Horse Roundup Continues Despite the WindsOctober 14, 2020
On Day 2 of the roundup, the wind was so severe that the helicopters could not fly. So I headed out to see the horses one last time. It was bittersweet. It was wonderful as always to see the families i knew so well. First I saw Leopard Appaloosa stallion Looking Glass and his family. I continued to a water tank, and saw blue roan stallion Blue Zeus and his family who were on the move, so it was a quick look.
Then I encountered a very colorful family I had never sen before with lots of pintos including a handsome palomino pinto stallion. It was a hello and a goodbye. Then the last family I saw was a beautiful wild mare, stallion and foal. They had no idea what was coming for them.
This morning when I arrived at the trap site for the second day of the round up I had thought maybe the high winds would ground the helicopters today but so far it is a go. We are in Stewart Creek this morning, about a mile from the trap.
I watched over 30 I think wild horses (I am not the best at counting) be driven by two helicopters working in coordination into the trap. The winds are pretty fierce so I was surprised that the helicopters are able to fly. They came in in several large groups. But one very colorful family with pintos and buckskins evaded the helicopters, running straight into Lost Creek and they are still running, I am not sure if they are going to go after them today, they may have won a temporary reprieve.
One large group of about 40 horses ran right through the jute and away from the trap at full speed. Then another group of about 20 horses was driven into the trap. For the last hour they had been pushing the group that got away and were bringing half of them around to the trap and the horses ran away again. Once the helicopter moved off they slowed to a trot then a walk clearly exhausted, but then made their way past us into Lost Creek. Mostly bays and some grays. One stallion is lagging way behind. He stops.
They bring another group of the horses that had gone out of the jute and these horses are exhausted not moving fast, and have been running for over an hour. They brought the Judas horse way outside the trap to try to get them in. They release the Judas horse who runs toward the trap. The helicopter finally gets them on the path to go to the trap but the horses stop and the helicopter looks like it is almost sitting on them. They finally go into the trap. Meanwhile the lone stallion has disappeared we hope he did not go down. And the wind is howling making it hard to stand and hold my camera. I am hoping this is it for the day. If it is hopefully we will get to see the horses that were captured in the temporary corrals because it was impossible to identify the horses as we were shooting directly into the sun.
We got a tour of temporary holding and found out that 84 horses were captured today, 19 stallions, 27 foals and 38 mares. No injuries and no deaths. 79 wild horses including mares, foals and stallions who were captured on Saturday were sent to the BLM facility in Canon City, Colorado. There were mars and foals, mares, and stallions all separated from their families. A pinto foal was so tired that she lay down and went to sleep as we were watching.
Once they finish capturing Stewart Creek horses they will separate 150 that they will release back into the HMA, give PZP birth control to the mares, and then they will move on to the other Herd Management Areas. This is the end of freedom for most of these wild horses.