Please read this dramatic and heart wrenching story – and then pass it on to all of your horsey friends.

The plight of the American Mustang is dear to my heart.  Living in CA, I have attended helicopter and truck roundups in Oregon and Nevada.  Horrible.   I couldn’t stop crying.

The BLM holding facilities are like prisons.  Small, over crowded metal pens – often times with no shelter from the wind, rain and snow.

No one will ever convince me that the Mustangs are starving (without humans putting fences where they shouldn’t) and no one can convince me that there are too many.  Try and find them… (other than Nevada where they are lured to food and water troughs in order to trap them.)  You will hear that the mustangs are all over cattle land – .  But the land doesn’t belong to the cattle.  The mustangs have lands devoted to them, owned by the BLM who leases it to the cattle.

The situation is complicated and in the end, only the Mustang loses.  Soon, the only mustangs you will find will be in BLM holding facilities.

Ask any cattleman how they feel about the wild horse.  Most will tell you that the mustangs are a nuisance animal.  Do you know how strong the cattle lobby is in Washington?  Well, it will take all of us to help the mustang.  All of us.

And there you have it.

Here is a beautiful story written by Voices of the Herd, linked here.

Click to go to the original story.

On day two of the Cedar Mountain Herd roundup, I witnessed something that has stuck with and disturbed me ever since.

We heard the rumbling of the helicopter as it pushed a new band of wild horses into sight, around the hillside, and across the valley towards the trap. They were running hard and covering miles and miles of land quite quickly. There was a paint bringing up the rear lagging a little; some of us thought that maybe it was the band’s stallion looking to protect the herd from behind.

The helicopter rounded the herd into the V, and they hooked onto the Judas horse, following him right into the trap, capturing them all… except for one. The paint horse avoided the trap and took off the opposite direction across the valley. It seemed that the BLM contractors usually let single stragglers go if they took off from the herd alone, but for some odd reason, the helicopter zoomed after this single horse in hot pursuit. The helicopter was right on her tail – alone now, severed from her herd and family, she galloped for her life as fast as she could. The iron predator didn’t let up, and he ran her for miles across the valley. Finally he confined her in a little ravine, but no matter how he pushed and pressured her, she seemed to refuse to back down or run back towards the trap.

We saw a wrangler take off on a horse, galloping towards the gorge where the helicopter was low, holding the mare. He had a lasso in his hand. When he reached the ravine, the strong paint mare took off towards the fence line where all of our cars were parked. He was right on her tail, attempting to lasso her maybe 4 or 5 times with no luck. She kept running as fast as she could. The wrangler and helicopter chased her down the barbed wire fence line. We watched in silence – I couldn’t believe how hard they were trying to capture this single horse. I cannot even imagine the terror and exhaustion she must have felt having lost her herd and being relentlessly chased like this.

There seemed to be no escape. She was running from a flying beast that was impossibly fast and never seemed to tire, meanwhile having ropes thrown at her neck by a rider right on her tail. With one last throw, the rider lassoed the paint mare and pulled tight as it caught around her neck. She crashed head first through the barbed wire fencing to the ground.

She had so much momentum and fell mid gallop; her body collided so hard with the ground.

She got scrambled up to her feet as fast as she could. The wrangler thought he had got her.

Despite the rope tightening when she pulled, she yanked as hard as she could, and through the strangulation, she took off the opposite way. After all of this, she wasn’t giving up. The man had to drop the lasso at this point, and so she took off up the opposite hill, looking behind only to see if he was still pursuing her. Finally after all of this time, they gave up.

She approached the viewing area.

This beautiful mare who we had just seen galloping miles away, who we had just seen crash through the fence, who we had just seen escape despite all odds, was right in front of us.

She was maybe 20 feet in front of me, and I got to look into her tired eyes. She looked so drained. Even though she was filled with fear, she just looked tired.


She was maybe 20 feet in front of me, and I got to look into her tired eyes. She looked so drained. Even though she was filled with fear, she just looked tired.


Just look into those eyes…

She was drenched in sweat, exhausted, and most likely pregnant.

I could hardly believe what I had just seen… and to now see her up close… it was overwhelming and incredibly emotional to say the least.
After taking a look at all of us here witnessing on the hill, the incredible paint mare trotted around us into the hills of her homeland, the lasso still dragging from her neck.

We were silent.

With the impact she took, the cuts she must have gotten from the barbed wire, and the trailing noose around her neck… there is no saying what could happen to her out there. I hate to think about it, but we need to understand the consequence of these actions. She could very well strangle herself if the lasso gets caught on something out in the wild… she could abort her foal after such an impact… she could develop an infection from the barbed wire…

The possibilities haunt me.

I hope so much that she finds a way to get out of the lasso and finds another herd where she can live peacefully.

If any horse could make it through these struggles, I think I would be her; she proved herself to be quite the fighter. Her spirit and resilience is astonishing, and because of it, she escaped against all odds.

She embodies the strength, courage, spirit, and resilience of the horse – all that we love about these incredible souls… it’s how she made her great escape. Seeing her fight against all odds inspires me to stand up for these horses, no matter the resistance we may face. I hope her story may resonate with others and encourage them in the same way. If we honor her fight, her story and herd won’t be forgotten.


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

9 comments have been posted...

  1. Ed Mullen

    Some wild stallions manage by heroic, courageous effort, to remain leader as herd stallion for over 20 years. One would expect as they age for batchelor stallions to replace them much sooner. Cloud, the famous palomino herd stallion, was still a herd stallion at 23 years of age!

  2. Cindy Jahn

    How can such cruelty be accepted by humans ? Are we that Barbaric to want such a harmless soul destroyed? I really have lost faith in humanity to allow such an atrocity to yet still let this happen.. shame on all the persons involved..horses should not be driven to slaughter as if they had done something wrong..they are beautiful creatures that have a right to live in herds and walk among us? …breaks my heart..ignorant and heartless are these heartless roundups…they need to cease. They need to STOP..I cant believe how low the standards of these cruel cruel men are…have you lost your minds? I say yes..focus on trying to resolve your greed..and let the wild horses be wild..I’m in shock..

  3. dawndi Post author

    I respectfully disagree. The horses were guaranteed that land through the The Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Just because cattle make money for the BLM
    doesn’t change the law. And, the horses rounded up are nice and plump. Look at the pics. But in any event, the marketing and adopting process are horribly null
    and do no favors for the mustangs. If they really wanted to adopt them out, they could do the bare minimum of photographing them and posting the pics online … this is a very deep subject of which I have much studied knowledge.

  4. JR

    Although this story is really sad, the reality is that this is a rare case where they would chase just one horse in such a pursuit. There is real studies and numbers made from professionals that prove that the numbers of mustangs are too high. The reason we don’t see them is because the large majority of them inhabit places where humans normally aren’t and the cattle are. It’s a harsh reality but the cattle ranchers have first dibs on a lot of that land because they support some of the economy. With so many mustangs on the cattle grazing land, they starve. The BLM only takes the horses that they are allowed to, they don’t take all of them. A way that people can really help save these beautiful horses is by adopting them from the BLM holding facilities. They are more likely to have a better life if they are adopted than left in the wild to starve in most cases. I can see where all sides are coming from on this, but just do your research before you go pointing fingers.

  5. T. Melgoza

    Mankind screws up everything. We are greedy and carnal. We have no heart left for nature, and the balance it has given us. We disrespect what God created and the aftermath is rearing her ugly to come back and deal with the damage we have created.

  6. Janet Schultz

    Yes, we fight against all odds to make it right and be at peace with ourselves and the world. These beings are equal to us, equal. We do understand each other. We love freedom and she has fought with everything she had to keep it. Will we? The wild horse was protected fr just the reason spoken to in this story. What have we done but let others enforce the law? Attend meetings, write letters, make your phone calls. The law has provided for citizens to have a say –

  7. Janice E Mitich

    Saving America’s Wild Horses

    With drumming hooves, they come running.
    With tails flagged high, they come running,
    With flowing manes, they come running.
    With flared nostrils, they come running.

    Oh, what a glorious sight!

    Clouds of prairie dust mark their passing.
    The scent of crushed sage comes drifting.
    Glistening hides in sunlight, reflecting.
    Separated mares and exhausted foals nickering.

    Oh, what a careening flight!

    What would cause this reckless running?
    Over rocky hills, unshod hooves come crashing.
    Older horses lose their footing
    Lathered sweat whitely spraying.

    Oh, what a panicked flight!

    Exhausted, on splayed legs, with sides heaving
    Too spent to nicker at their mothers’ leaving
    Foals collapse, roiling dust enshrouding
    From the chopper blades’ wild whirling.

    Oh, what a tragic flight!

    The strong ones lead, the rest conforming
    As they heed the fences’ hazing
    Into the catch pens’ terminating
    Rails forcing a bewildered milling.

    Oh, what an end to their flight!

    Looking for lost foals, mares pacing
    Bloated bags with warm milk dripping
    A mute and painful weeping
    O’er the Truth so horrifying.

    Innocence, a victim of their flight.

    Stallions answer Nature’s calling
    Rearing, striking, biting, screaming
    Close-quarter conflicts inciting
    Instinctive challenges contesting

    The bloody purpose of their flight.

    Growing herds expanded grazing
    Might harm the desert tortoise feeding
    Politicians paid for by Big Oil, Big Mining
    Approved detailed plans for exterminating.

    Greed, the “No Exit” signage of their flight.

    Some spend months in metal pens confining
    Forgotten, rains ease their frantic thirsting
    Thousand rib and hip bones testifying
    Slow starvation caused their dying.

    Human error the Reaper’s demise of their flight.

    Too few selected for public adopting
    Wild Horse Protection Act ignoring
    Auctioned prices climbing, ever rising
    The “Killer Man” nods and ends the bidding.

    One final sorting changes the nature of their flight.

    Steel trailers travel south to border crossings
    Squeezed into plywood crates, foreboding
    Bewildered captives endure hours of flying
    No hay or water to ease their silent suffering.

    Japan’s slaughter houses, the destination of their flight.

    Electric prods keep dazed mustangs moving
    On slimy steel, hooves slipping, horses falling
    They’re lined up, wild eyed with nostrils snorting
    At the stench of filth and hot blood flowing.

    The Kill Box, the vile termination of their flight.

    Spinal cords severed by Ice-pick stabbings
    Strong legs collapse to the sounds of groaning
    Hind legs wrapped in chains are lifting
    Through cut throats, life’s blood is draining

    Can glazed eyes see their souls take flight?

    Wild burros, horses, mules trapped for Federal culling
    Race horses, ponies, trotters too old for sports or breeding
    Loyalty, trust unnoticed in the equine steaks now steaming
    As patrons of foreign dining enjoy their gourmet gorging.

    Ignorant of the bloody, heinous outcome of their flight.

    Horses carried men in battle, no beribboned medal dying,
    Pulled prairie schooners across the plains unending
    Built railroads, carried mail, plowed fields for planting
    In Arlington, proudly paraded veterans to their final resting.

    We must preserve, forever, the freedom of their flight.

    With drumming hooves, they come running.
    With tails flagged high, they come running,
    With flowing manes, they come running.
    With flared nostrils, they come running.

    Oh, what a thundering, glorious sight!

    © June 2, 2016 by Janice E. Mitich
    Picture Rock, AZ

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *