Patti Mosbey: Wild and Free no more
I will temper my emotions as much as possible as I begin to unfold to you the information presented to us this week regarding the BLM roundup of the West Douglas Horses. Keep in mind; these horses are descendants of horses that have roamed that area long before white men set foot there.
I understand the need to remove wild horses to maintain a balance in the habitat and land resource. Sometimes horses are injured in the process. My biggest problem with the gathers is the manner and cruelty that comes with those roundups. I have documented two previous gathers in that area so I can speak firsthand what I witnessed.
The contractor was very aggressive in capturing the horses, to the point of running one stallion for over an hour across extreme rough terrain, when loaded in the trailer he fell and was trampled by other horses, breaking his neck in the process. That not being bad enough the pilot of the helicopter also proceeded to chase a young foal for an hour and to the point of breaking a leg. Why? If the foal was left alone it would have been called into the corrals by the hysterical mare now captured.
I fault the BLM officials who were in charge of this roundup. Guidelines need to be in place and carefully monitored. The West Douglas herd is much wilder than our Sand Wash herd due to less human contact. To flag them repeatedly to the point of attempting jumping the fence panels and trampling younger horses is way beyond necessary. A mare with a new foal escaped with her stallion leaving the foal behind with little chance of survival.
The West Douglas herd did not have near the visual presence of our Sand Wash herd. That’s where we as Sand Wash Advocates need to have our presence known and do all we can to assure this horror will not be repeated when time comes to roundup in Sand Wash.
There is a group of volunteers that give generously of their time and resources to hopefully prevent a repeat of West Douglas in Sand Wash. Volunteers pay for their own training to learn darting of the mares to prevent more pregnancies. Volunteers spend countless days in the field documenting and identify horses for other agencies who may offer to dart. Volunteers who are tireless in looking out for the best interest of injured horses and calling in necessary forces to put a horse down when needed.
Sand Wash horses have become more than just “wild horses” to me. They each have a name, a personality and many have family bands that interact with each other. They represent generations of horses who roamed these lands free from fences for many years. Now they are contained in a Herd Management Area (HMA) and are the responsibility of an agency that would really be glad to be rid of the responsibility. We need to be the ones who look after their safety and safe management. We need to be the ones who are their voice and speak out when cruel force is used to gather them.
Moffat County benefits from tourism dollars that Sand Wash is bringing into our area. Take the time to talk to the Maybell General Store and Net’s Café, ask them about the numbers coming through because of the Sand Wash Horses. People from all over the world have traveled to get a glimpse of the famous “Picasso” of Sand Wash. This is a resource!
Sand Wash Advocates will be hosting a Sand Wash Rendezvous at 9 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Sand Wash corrals. This is an opportunity to meet first hand some of the Advocates who are the voice for the Sand Wash Herd. BLM representatives will be present to give talks on the archaeology in Sand Wash, rangeland grasses and discussion of a fence line project to be conducted by volunteers. A great fajita feed will be provided in the afternoon. You need to RSVP on the Sand Wash Advocate Team – Facebook page.
I encourage you to come on out and learn more about this Moffat County Resource.
Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash. Photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash Herd is a passion with her. For more of her photos and adventures find her Facebook Page: Sand Wash Adventures.Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash. Photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash Herd is a passion with her. For more of her photos and adventures find her Facebook Page: Sand Wash Adventures.
Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash. Photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash Herd is a passion with her. For more of her photos and adventures find her Facebook Page: Sand Wash Adventures.
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