The Blm Billings Office released their Gather decision and EA. I was up late on Wednesday night reading it, and spent all day yesterday going through it again. Here is a link to it from Matt’s Blog: Link You can click the link or go to the left and click on “April 4, 2012”.
I knew it was coming, but it did not make it easier when I saw the report. I pretty much knew that they would be going forward with this gather. I was just hoping that it would never come. But it is here now and we must deal with it. Before I go on, I would like to make some things clear. I am here for the horses. I know Alex feels the same way. I love each one, and enjoy the time I have been able to spend with them. I am not “pro-BLM”, nor am I a BLM hater. I certainly do not agree with alot of their policies. But I do believe that there are some good local BLM people who are trying to work with us. I am not a “groupie” of any groups. I am my own person. Here for the horses. I form my own opinions on each thing that comes up about the horses. I weigh each thing separately and try to look at all sides of the issues. There are times for law suits, and I feel this proposed removal is not one of those times.
I found a list compiled of the horses that they plan to remove. They are listed in 3 Categories or “tiers” as the Blm has it listed. The first being the most likely ones to be taken and then the 2 tier would be the next, 3 the last and least likely to be removed.
As much as I hated looking at those names (there was not one name I liked seeing), I could see some reasoning behind some of them. First and foremost I want to make a big point. There could be up to 20-30 new foals born this year. That is a pretty big number. Why is that number so high when the PZP has been in place? For one, the PZP has only been in place for a few years. Some mares seem to be resisting its effects. The other reason is that there seems to be a pretty large number of mares that fall into that “No PZP” age group this year. So that being said let me go back to my point of this paragraph. If the BLM is not allowed to do this removal, due to a lawsuit being filed, well the next step that will be coming is a gather with the use of helicopters. I do not want that to happen. Do I think this range could support more horses? Most certainly the answer is yes. But until the AML is raised it won’t happen. Removing the horses with a bait trap method is much easier on them then a helicopter gather. So much easier.
We have to look at this situation reasonably and think it through. One thing is for certain. There will be a gather. That always seems to be the case here. It can be an easier one or the horses can be put through the stress of a helicopter gather. More horses will be removed then, and they may not be as selective as they seem to be right now. This type of removal is going to be done over several months time, creating less stress for the horses. A helicopter gather would be over a few days. I want to point out again, this removal is very hard to accept, but because of the current AML numbers it seems it has to be done.
There are a few names on the “1 tier” that Alex and I would like to see stay on the range, or at least be moved from the Tier 1 category. The reasons are not personal, but there seems to be an overlook of genetics here and we wanted to give this some attention. The first one is Kayenta. She is the daughter of Teton and Warbonnet. She is the only offspring of Teton and Warbonnet. Teton has other offspring on the range, but Kayenta is the only one they have together. The likelihood of Warbonnet having another foal with him is small, so we feel that leaving Kayenta on the range is important.
Another one is Duke and Madonna’s daughter July. She has another full sibling that is listed on tier 2(which means may be removed). We would like to see these horse switched. Lariet was injured this past summer and her injury may cause her problems or even death if she is not removed, so placing her in Tier 1 and July in Tier 2 is the order we would rather see.
Next is Leo, who is listed on Tier 1. He is the only living offspring of Custer. He does have a half-brother, Kaibob (same mother, Fiasco). Kaibob is listed on the Tier 2 list. Kaibob is clearing not as healthy as his brother Leo. We would like to see them switched around in their places.
The last in the group of Tier 1 horses that we would like to see moved to a different Tier is Kane. Kane is the only son of Sequoyah and Two Boots. Remember that Sequoyah is Cabaret’s mother. Since Cabaret is no longer alive this blood line is becoming much smaller.
The Pryor Mountain Horses are luckier than some other wild horse herds in the west. Their adoption rate is very high. Most times they are 100% adopted. So all of these horses will go to good homes and won’t have to endure travel to long-term holding facilities like so many other horses have to do. I keep telling myself this. Over and over. It is supposed to make this a little easier, but somehow this upcoming removal is hard to accept.
I leave for the Pryors again, next week. I am looking forward to seeing the horses. I especially want to spend time with those who will no longer be there in a few months. This should be a wonderful time, looking forward to spring and new foals. But right now my thoughts are with those horses that will no longer be there. The horses will have to move forward and continue to survive and so they will and so must I.