The RMP: Which Alternative To Choose? An Understanding Of The Choices.

Jemez, July 30, 2012
Jemez, July 30, 2012

Today I am going to spend some time explaining the best I can what each Alternative means and what the impact of each alternative will mean.  I am no expert, so please, if you have more questions: 1.  You can ask them here and I will try to find out the answer. 2.  You can contact the BLM directly for answers. (I have Jared’s number listed at the bottom of this page.)

I am also under the understanding that you may ask for a combination of the alternatives.  I intend to do that, as there are some things from a couple of the alternatives that I like and some things that I don’t.

Here is the link to the fact sheet that the BLM put out about these alternatives.  You can click FACT SHEET to go there.  I also encourage you to spend some time reading the RMP, not just the fact sheet.  You can go there by clicking on RMP.  And to take you back to my original post on the RMP that I posted in March, click on POST.  You can also see the maps of the proposed alternatives on the fact sheet.

When you make your written comments, please be as specific as possible.  This RMP is including a lot more land and issues than just the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.   I encourage you to take some time, study and submit a comment.  The plan that goes through will be in place for the next 20 years, so this is a very important issue.  We all need to help do what is best for this herd.

This is from Lori after attending the meeting last night in Lovell: 
“In Spring 2014 there will be a “proposed RMP and Final EIS, and a comment period after that. Then in the summer of 2014 there will be a Record of Decision, Final RMP and the public will have 30 days to appeal their decision.”
AND also from Lori:
” Also, give the reasons why you would support a certain thing, and/or not support it. This helps them to understand exactly what people want and for what reasons. They did talk about that last night.”
So let’s take a look and break each Alternative down.
Hamlet
Hamlet

Alternative A: This alternative is what they are doing right now, so no changes will be made.

I think some changes can be made to better the range, so I will not be recommending this alternative.  Also to be noted, some of these specifications in A transfer to other alternative choices.  For example:  In Alternative D there are some things that are the same as in Alternative A. 

Alternative A, the No Action Alternative, continues current management of resources within the planning area under the existing plans.

  •   Manage wild horses on approximately 24,595 acres of BLM administered lands (37,494 acres all ownerships -BLM, NPS, USFS, private). Keep the administrative pastures closed as well as areas adjacent to private lands to reduce public/private conflicts.
  •   Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed for all representation in the herd, not allowing specific colors or bloodlines to dominate from management manipulation.
  •   Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having the maximum amount of wild horses the range can sustain while preventing deterioration.
  •   Range improvements would be authorized through site-specific analysis. Vegetation conversion treatments would not be allowed.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – allowed, but discouraged.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – not allowed, but harassment of wild horses not locally defined.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – motorized travel limited to designated routes. Therewould be no seasonal road closure during foaling season or for habitat protection.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – exclusion fences for study, riparian protection or rehabilitation would beallowed.
  •   Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – no current management decision provided.
  •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: Considered on a site specific basis.
  •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – no current management decision provided.
  •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – no current managementdecision provided.
  •   Livestock Grazing: The PMWHR would be unavailable for livestock grazing, except for trailing throughBad Pass.
  •   Special Recreation Permits: Current levels of permitted use with approximately 1,200 visitor use days inthe PMWHR would be managed per application, with no limit on commercial permits.
Sykes on the left, Burnt Timber on the right
Sykes on the left, Burnt Timber on the right

Alternative B  This plan Eliminates 6,341 acres from the existing horse range!!!  Including Krueger Pond. (Please look at maps on this to confirm).   I personally will not be recommending this Alternative.

Alternative B emphasizes conservation of physical, biological, heritage, and visual resources with constraints on resource uses.

  1.  Manage wild horses only within the boundaries of the original Secretarial Orders from 1968 (23,204 acres BLM-administered lands and 31,153 acres all ownerships). The rest of the Herd Area would be closed to wild horse use in order to maximize protection of plant species of concern, sub-alpine meadows and to protect wild horses from commercial uses. Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed through natural selection with no promotion of any characteristics or preservation of colors or bloodlines. Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having a minimum amount of wild horses to improve ecological conditions, protecting other resources and individual animals. Range improvements and/or vegetation treatments would not be authorized in wild horse habitat; only natural processes would be allowed to occur. Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – not allowed.
     Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – Interrupting their behavior or disruption of their daily activities,outside of management activities, such as moving animals to take photos or filming, feeding, or touching orattempting to do these things would not be allowed.
     Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – Motorized routes within the PMWHR would bedesignated according to the Pryor TMA. Burnt Timber Road from the East Pryor Mine (the abandoned uranium mine) to the USFS boundary and Sykes Ridge Road from the Sykes horse trap to the USFS boundary would be closed to provide protection during the primary foaling season and protecting habitat when roads are not ready for travel due to moisture content in soils (March 1-June 30). Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – No exclusion fences would be allowed within the HMA.
     Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – Domestic horse use would not be allowed except for special

recreation permits or livestock trailing.

  •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: No vegetation treatments would be conducted in wild horse habitat, only allow natural processes to occur.
  •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – not allowed (approximately 8,301 acres).
  •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – Not to exceed 15 milesper hour.
  •   Livestock Grazing: The PMWHR would be unavailable for livestock grazing.
  •   Special Recreation Permits: No commercial special recreation permits (SRPs) would be authorized in thePMWHR. Non-commercial organized group events would be considered per application dependent on site specific analysis and monitoring.
  • Starman, July 2011.
    Starman, July 2011.
  • Alternative C has some things that I like and some things that I don’t like.  In this alternative, the range would be Expanded by 7,361 acres.   Please see map for specific expansion details.  That will be one of the couple of things from this Alternative that I will ask for.
    1. Alternative C emphasizes resource uses opportunities within the planning area and reduces constraints on resource uses.
      •   Manage wild horses on approximately 28,622 acres of BLM-administered lands (44,855 acres all ownerships). Designate the entire Herd Area as the Herd Management Area.
      •   Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed for and to promote the public perception of the quintessential Pryor horse that is Dun or Grulla with striping and line back markings.
      •   Same as Alternative A – Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having the maximum amount of wild horses the range can sustain while preventing deterioration.
      •   Maximize the amount of acres available for vegetation treatments and/or water developments that potentially increase forage availability for wild horses that is compliant with other multiple-use decisions and restrictions.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – allowed as long as no moving or chasing of horses.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – Same as Alternative A – not allowed, but harassment of wild horsesnot locally defined.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – motorized routes within the PMWHR would bedesignated according to the Pryor TMA. There would be no seasonal road closure during foaling season orfor habitat protection.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – Same as Alternative A – exclusion fences for study, riparian protectionor rehabilitation would be allowed.
      •   Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – Domestic horse use would be allowed during overnightcamping (16 day limit). Recreational domestic horse use would require proof of a free-use permit to ensureanimals have health certifications to protect wild horses from disease transmission.
      •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: Maximize the amount of acres for vegetation treatment and waterdevelopments that would increase forage availability for wild horses, to maximize and/or increase wildhorse numbers within other multiple uses and restrictions.
      •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – allowed (approximately 32,767 acres).
      •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – no speed limit.
      •   Livestock Grazing: Bad Pass Trail would be managed as a livestock grazing allotment for a trailing useonly. The remainder of the PMWHR would be closed to livestock grazing.
      •   Special Recreation Permits: An Outfitter Permit Area (OPA) would be established in the PMWHR in orderto protect wild horses, resources within the range, and minimize conflicts based on site specific analysis and monitoring. Visitor use days for both commercial and non-commercial permits would be analyzed through a site-specific analysis and monitoring and would also consider other commercial permitted uses.
    Jackson, February, 2013
    Jackson, February, 2013

    Alternative D is the Preferred Alternative by the BLM.  There are many things in this alternative that I do like, but some I don’t.   I will be combining some of this Alternative and also some things from Alternative C when I submit my comment.

    1. Alternative DAlternative D represents the BLM’s ‘Preferred Alternative’ at this stage of the planning process. The Preferred Alternative seeks to balance resource protection with resource uses/production.
      •   Manage wild horses on approximately 27,094 acres of BLM-administered lands (39,994 acres all ownerships). Designate the closed portions of the Herd Area known as the administrative pastures to be included in the Herd Management Area. Due to private property conflicts, the “buffer” area would remain closed.
      •   Same as Alternative A – Within an HMAP, herd structure would be managed for all representation in the herd, not allowing specific colors or bloodlines to dominate from management manipulation.
      •   Same as Alternative A – Appropriate management level (AML) determination would be made within the context of having the maximum amount of wild horses the range can sustain while preventing deterioration.
      •   Same as Alternative C – Maximize the amount of acres available for vegetation treatments and/or water developments that potentially increase forage availability for wild horses that is compliant with other multiple-use decisions and restrictions.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Public feeding – Only allowed for management purposes.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Harassment – Same as Alternative B – Interrupting their behavior or disruption oftheir daily activities, outside of management activities, such as moving animals to take photos or filming,feeding, or touching or attempting to do these things would not be allowed.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Seasonal road closures – Motorized routes within the PMWHR would bedesignated according to the Pryor TMA. Burnt Timber Road from the East Pryor Mine (the abandoned uranium mine) to the USFS boundary and Sykes Ridge Road from the horse trap to USFS boundary would be closed to wheeled vehicles and motorized vehicles to protect wild horse foaling and their habitat (April 15 to June 15) providing consistency with the USFS seasonal closures.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Fencing – Exclusion fences for study, range improvements, riparian protection or rehabilitation would be allowed through site-specific analysis.
    •   Wild Horse Protection: Wild horse health – Domestic horse use would be limited to day use only. Recreational domestic horse use would require a free-use permit to ensure animals have health certifications to protect wild horses from disease transmission.
    •   Wild Horse Habitat Enhancement: Same as Alternative C – Maximize the amount of acres for vegetation treatment and water developments that would increase forage availability for wild horses, to maximize and/or increase wild horse numbers within other multiple uses and restrictions.
    •   Public Health and Safety: Target Shooting – Not allowed on T. 8 S., R. 28E., Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (approximately 6,720 acres). Allowed in remainder of PMWHR.
    •   Public Health and Safety: Speed limits for mechanized and motorized vehicles – Not to exceed 15 miles per hour within T. 8 S., R. 28 E.
    •   Livestock Grazing: Same as Alternative C – Bad Pass Trail would be managed as a livestock grazing allotment for a trailing use only. The remainder of the PMWHR would be closed to livestock grazing.
    •   Special Recreation Permits: SRPs for wild horse viewing would be initially limited to existing SRPs. Additional (new) wild horse centered SRPs would be permitted only when determined not to result in congestion, wild horse displacement, or cause an adverse experience for members of the public viewing wild horses outside of an SRP experience through monitoring of existing SRPs and visitation.
    • Map
      Click on the map to view it in a larger size.
    Issaquah, April 28, 2013
    Issaquah, April 28, 2013

    Please feel free to use this post as a discussion on the Alternatives.  The more we understand, the better our comments will be in this process.  All comments have to be in by June 28, 2013.  I plan to have mine ready to send in by June 1, 2013.

  • Sandy
  • Meadowlark, August 30, 2012
    Meadowlark, August 30, 2012
  • The public may submit written comments related to the Billings and Pompeys Pillar National Monument DRMP/EIS by any of the following methods:Email: Billings_PompeysPillar_RMP@blm.govFax:    (406) 896-5281Mail: “Billings/PPNM RMP Comments,” Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101.Hand-deliver: Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT.  59101.  Please address letters to : Carolyn Sherve-Bybee, RMP Team Lead
  • All letters and emails should include the first and last name of the individual commenting and a complete mailing address.  Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.
  • For further questions you can always contact:

    Program Contact: Jared Bybee, RMS/State Wild Horse & Burro Specialist (406) 896-5223 

    Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
    Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

An Update On The Scoping Notice For Changes To The PZP Program In The Pryors.

Kiva's foal, Madrid, July 2012
Kiva’s foal, Madrid, July 2012

There have been a lot of questions and confusion on the scoping letter that was sent out last week.  You can read about that letter by clicking SCOPING LETTER.  I decided to make another post on it, so that those that want to know more can read it in this post, instead of having to wade through all the comments from my previous post.

I am still waiting to hear from The Cloud Foundation on what exactly what their proposal is going to be.  I have been in contact with Ginger and I hope to have that answer soon.

So while I waited, I contacted Jared to ask for some clarification on what this meant.  Thank you so much Jared for getting back to me so fast.  Here is what he had to say:

Sandy,

 
You really need to ask TCF what they exactly have in mind.  The scoping letter pretty much explains it. TCF isn’t the only party that has wondered if the current PZP prescription is adequate, based upon the details provided in the scoping notice about demographics, efficacy, timing due to access, etc  TCF just requested BLM do more. The first place to start to determine the feasibility is a scoping notice. There has been no proposal from any party for an Assateague model, that died in 2010 when the preliminary current  EA was issued and the public saw exactly what they asked the BLM to do.  This is an opportunity for the public to send BLM a proposal, instead of BLM sending one out and trying to read the tea leaf’s.  Any scoping comments provided to the BLM are public record.
 
Hope this clarify’s things
   
Jared Bybee

Rangeland Management Specialist
Montana/Dakotas State Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
5001 Southgate Drive Billings MT 59101
Desk:406-896-5223
Mobile: 406-698-4831
Fax: 406-896-5281
Lakota, June, 2012
Lakota, June, 2012

I have my letter ready to send, but will wait until I hear from The Cloud Foundation on their proposal.  But, I am thinking it will not change.  Here is that letter:

Dear Mr. Sparks,

In regards to the scoping letter regarding the PZP program released April 1, 2013, I as a Montana resident, frequent visitor to the Pryors and permit holder within the Pryors request that the current PZP program remain in place.  I feel I have been able to observe and study the horses in their home intently.  This year alone, I will be with them for more than 50 days.

I feel that we should see how the current plan works on a good year. With the NPS assisting in the darting of the horses, I feel that the horses will be given the injections in a more timely manner. We should give this program some more time to see how it is working and then re-evaluate as necessary for the next phase starting in 2015.

I would hate to see a rushed decision on changes to the PZP program.

I do not support any changes to the current plan.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Sandra P. Elmore

UPDATE:  Here is the link to TCF proposal, just released tonight.  I still stand by my letter above.  Click TCF to go there.  

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

BLM Releases RMP

Below is the press release about the RMP that I made a post about in February.  You can read that post by clicking on OPENING A CLOSED AREA.

This is our official opportunity to submit our comments regarding the re-opening of the Adminstrative Pastures.  So please follow the directions below in regards to where to submit your comments.  And remember that this RMP includes more than just the horse range, so please be specific about that in your comment (see below), so they know you are talking about the horse range.

Also, if you can, attend one of the meetings.  I know I will be.   You should be aware that these are “open house” type meetings.  There will only be a very short process-oriented presentation and introductions.   Other than that, the remainder of the meeting will be reserved to answer questions in an open house style format where individuals visit with various resource specialists.  You should come prepared with questions that you may need answered to help you formulate comments.

Here is another link telling more details: BLM RMP.  Please make sure you read the link pertaining to the Pryor Horse Range throughly before submitting your comments. You can click HORSE RANGE to go to those pages (this is a fact sheet).  Please go into the actual RMP (chapter 2) and look at sections on Wild Horses  and the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.  By Clicking CHAPTER 2.

Please remember that there are many other sections of the RMP that will have management prescriptions that apply to the horse range (for example the travel management sections, vegetation, noxious weeds, recreation, wildlife, wilderness, fire, etc).  So please read it carefully.

Sandy

Looking towards Bighorn Canyon from Sykes.
Looking towards Bighorn Canyon from Sykes.

Bureau of Land Management

Contact: Carolyn Sherve-Bybee (406-896-5234) or Kristen Lenhardt (406-896-5228)

For Immediate Release, March 29, 2013

BLM Releases Billings and Pompeys Pillar National Monument Draft Management Plan for Public Review

BILLINGS, MT – The Bureau of Land Management has released its Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) describing different alternatives for managing public lands within the Billings Field Office and Pompeys Pillar National Monument.  The draft plan also includes a range of conservation measures that address Greater Sage-Grouse for this area.  This action kicks off a 90-day public comment period for interested publics to submit comments to the BLM.

Compact disks of the document are being delivered to a number of businesses, organizations, individuals, elected officials, tribal governments and state and federal agencies for review.  A limited number of paper copies of the draft document are also be available from BLM’s Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, or on the internet at http://blm.gov/4ykd

The Billings and Pompeys Pillar National Monument Draft RMP/EIS describes a range of alternatives (including a draft preferred alternative) for managing all of the BLM-administered surface (434,154 acres) and federal mineral estate (1,839,782 acres) managed by the Billings Field Office in Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland, and Yellowstone counties in Montana as well as portions of Big Horn County, Montana and Big Horn County, Wyoming.

The release of the Draft RMP/EIS marks the beginning of a 90-day public review and comment period and as part of the review and comment process, public meetings are being scheduled throughout the area to answer questions and gather comments concerning the Draft.

Community Location Date Time
Bridger Bridger Senior Center/Golden Age Society118 C Street April 30, 2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Big Timber Carnegie Public Library – Community Room314 McLeod St. May 1, 2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Red Lodge Senior Center207 S Villard Ave. May 2, 2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Roundup Emergency Service Bldg. Ambulance Barn704 1st St. East May 6, 2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Lovell National Park Service Bighorn Canyon National Conservation AreaVisitor Center20 Highway 14A East May 7, 2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Billings Hampton Inn (Lewis Room)5110 Southgate Dr. May 8, 2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Others, if needed To be announced

These meetings are scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m. and will be held in an open house forum.  Each meeting will include introductions and a brief BLM presentation, but the purpose of the open house will be to offer an opportunity to talk individually with various BLM resource specialists one-on-one.  The BLM will not be able to accept or record verbal comments during the meetings, but comment forms will be provided for members of the public to submit written comments, which are considered in finalizing the document.

The public may submit written comments related to the Billings and Pompeys Pillar National Monument DRMP/EIS by any of the following methods:

Email: Billings_PompeysPillar_RMP@blm.gov

Fax:    (406) 896-5281

Mail: “Billings/PPNM RMP Comments,” Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101.

Hand-deliver: Billings Field Office, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT.

Whenever possible, please reference the page or section in the DRMP/EIS to which the comment applies.  Specific comments addressing concerns that are within BLM’s legal responsibilities and can be resolved in the land-use planning process would be most helpful.  The Draft RMP/EIS was developed with assistance from local counties, the state, other federal agencies, tribal governments, BLM’s Eastern Montana Resource Advisory Council, and a variety of interest groups.

All letters and emails should include the first and last name of the individual commenting and a complete mailing address.  Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

After the comment period ends on June 28, 2013, a proposed Final RMP/EIS will be issued.  Because these are combined planning efforts, separate Records of Decision (RODs) will be issued for the Billings Field Office and Pompeys Pillar NM.  Until the Final RMP/EIS ROD is signed, the Billings Field Office will continue to manage public land resources under the 1984 Billings RMP, as amended.

For more information, contact RMP Lead Carolyn Sherve-Bybee at (406) 896-5234.  For the latest BLM news and updates visit us on the web at: www.blm.gov/mt  and on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/BLMMontana.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land – the most of any Federal agency.  This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs.  The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends.  In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget.  The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

Opening A Closed Area On The Range

Sunrise and moon 8-1-12

Lately, I have been hearing about and also getting asked a lot about an area at the base of the range that has been fenced off.

This area is called ” The Administrative Pasture”.  I was not sure of its exact location, so I did some research and came up with several interesting discoveries about this area.  I plan to take a closer look at this area when I am there this week.

1.  There are different references to its size.  Some say 3,000 acres, some say 3,600 acres and another said 4,000 acres.  So we do know that it is over 3,000 acres.

2.  The location is: Southwestern area of the range.  The southern side is all fenced with the boundary defined by the county roads (Crooked Creek Road and Road 16).

3.  This pasture was closed off to the horses in the 1980’s.  It was used when the removals were done on horseback.  This pasture allowed the wranglers on horse back to push the wild horses into this area and then taken to Britton Springs.  This type of removal has not been done since 1994.

December 1, 2012

There are several people (and I am one of them), that would like to see this area reopened to the horses.  Matt, in his blog post dated October 27, 2009, stated in one of his comments:

“I honestly don’t think it would take the horses a lot of time to repopulate that area if it was totally opened. Sitting Bull’s harem are frequently near that area. Some of the other Dryhead horses, especially Bristol’s harem, drift nearby there, and it is common to see Burnt Timber and Sykes Ridge horses wintering in the area.”

This is a really good post and you can click October 2009 to read it.

Sitting Bull in the early morning light, August 2, 2012
Sitting Bull in the early morning light, August 2, 2012

I have contacted both Jim Sparks and Jared Bybee of the BLM, regarding this matter.  I hope to hear back soon from them.

I encourage everyone to take a minute and write a polite email, call them, or mail them a letter, asking them to consider reopening this pasture.  You can click BLM, to get the contact information for them.

With the drought of last year, I believe that the forage this winter is not as good as it should be.  By opening this pasture it would give the horses over 3,000 acres that have been closed off to them for more than 25 years.  I request that this be done as soon as possible for the benefit of the horses.

I would be happy to volunteer and work with Jared to help remove or repair any fence lines to make this possible.

Sandy

Clearing The Air

Lakota, July 2011
Lakota, July 2011

From the beginning, I started this blog to not only share my experiences with the Pryor Horses, but I also had another  intention in mind: To Be There For The Horses.  To work with those involved with the horses for the better good of them.

I knew that some things that I would say or do would not “sit well” with some people or groups.  But I pretty much say it like it is and how I feel.  I have said it before and I will say it again:  “I am here for the horses.  I am not a BLM hater, nor am I a BLM lover.”  Also: ” I do not belong to any one group, I am here for the horses.”  I will work with everyone involved if they are good, HONEST people.  I would like to be treated with respect and I also expect the same for my friends and family.

Let’s just say, I don’t mind ruffling a few feathers if it gets the job done.

So, it is with that mind set that I am publishing Lori’s story.  I love Lori like a sister, and I stand behind her.  We are a lot a like.  Don’t back us in a corner, it won’t be pretty. But stand beside us, and we will fight to the end for you. (and bring you chocolate chip cookies).  We don’t hesitate to state what is on our mind for the animals (and people) we intend to protect.

Because of my post in August: “Please Stop , Thank you” (click HERE to read that), my blog got the attention of some people in Washington, DC and caused quite a wave of trouble here in Montana and also for Lori in Wyoming.  I don’t regret a thing.  I would do everything the exact same way, except I guess I would let Jared know that it was coming.

Sandy

316876_2188535278653_561258961_n

From Lori:

Liesl and Lori’s Story

Since someone has asked a question about how Liesl injured herself, I thought I would answer this question as honestly as I can. I was not going to bring it up because I did not want the Center to appear “insensitive” or “irresponsible” to Liesl’s blindness, but since it has been brought up, I think it is only fair that everyone should know what happened. I will start from the beginning so that everyone will understand how and why Liesl got hurt.

When Kaibab & Liesl came to the Center, Diane Granger (board member) and I volunteered to be the care takers for them. Since that day both of us have been feeding them, cleaning out the Shelter, and spending time with them. Diane has a heart of gold and loves those two horses, and the ones who run wild and free!!  She has been going to the range faithfully since 1993!

Diane and Liesl
Diane and Lisle

At this time there were other horses in the field outside of the corral, including Exhilaration. As time went on we were seeing bent & damaged panels on the corral.

Kaibab
Kaibab

I am sure that Liesl did some of the damage as she is BLIND and was frightened of the other horses poking their heads through nipping and kicking at her, but, one has to imagine not being able to see the threat that is real through Liesl’s eyes. Her reaction is to kick & run away from the threat of danger. This is normal behavior for a blind horse. Also, keep in mind that her whole life has been this way…picked on, kicked, bitten, and chased away, because she is blind. I found this information while researching about blind horses: You can read more on this website, by clicking BLIND.

Horses are herd animals with a social hierarchy and a well-defined pecking order. Usually the blind horse falls to the bottom of the pecking order. The others sense the blind horse’s vulnerability and take advantage of it. A blind horse will get beaten up, chased away from food, and run off from the group. It is not a pleasant life. Blind horses can get hurt in a herd environment because with their fight-or-flight instinct, blindness leaves them with only one choice: flight. And fleeing from a bully in the herd in a blind panic (literally) is when a blind horse will run into a fence or a tree and get hurt.

We’ve found that even in an otherwise easy-going small herd of four or five horses, it only takes one sighted horse to bully the blind one and you have a potential injury on your hands.

The answer is not to isolate your blind horse, but to give him or her a compatible pasture buddy to hang out with. Horses need company, and a lonely horse is an unhappy horse. So we keep our blind horses in pairs, or with a sighted pasture buddy (we call them our “seeing eye horses”), in separate pastures. The rest of our herd – elderly sighted horses – stay together as a group in a different pasture. 

We’ve seen that even small groups of blind horses can create pecking order problems. A lot depends on the individual personalities of the horses and the ‘social chemistry’ when they’re together. You’ll quickly discover what works and doesn’t work for your blind horse in your situation. 

Although there are exceptions, in general a herd is a bad place to be for a blind horse.

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The decision was made (not sure exactly who made this decision) to take all of the other horses, except Exhilaration, home. They needed the corral to gather up the other horses and so Liesl & Kaibab were released out into the field while the other horses were rounded up into the corral and loaded up into a trailer.

After that Liesl & Kaibab were in the corral with the heated water tank, and Exhilaration was on the outside. Everyday someone had to let Exhilaration in to get water, and the little ones went out into the field. At night Liesl & Kaibab were locked into the corral, and Exhilaration was on the outside.

Still we were noticing panels being dented and actually one of the bars on a panel was broken in half. It was then that someone decided to bring Exhilaration home. The Center has replaced the two panels that were totally destroyed, and since then there is no more damage to the panels.

From the beginning Diane and I had reservations about letting Liesl out into the field as it is fenced with barbed wire and the fact that she is blind, for the most part.

Our fear of Liesl getting hurt on the barbed wire became reality on the 16th of January.

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I was getting their food prepared (they eat pellet mare/foal & some hay) and Kaibab was already in the corral. Liesl was making her way around the fence and just walked right into the barbed wire fence. She bent a T- post and ripped a section of her shoulder. It was a pretty nasty wound, but since I have horses at home I usually have medicine for these types of injuries.  I went home and got some Fura-zone salve and applied it to her wound for three days. I have been spraying Vetricyn on it since then. It is healing well. Diane asked our Veterinarian about antibiotics and she said to just keep a close eye on it and as long as it did not look infected it should heal up well. Thank goodness she is healing well and should be fine.

Liesl's wound
Liesl’s wound
Liesl, January 29, 2013
Liesl, January 29, 2013
Liesl, January 29, 2013
Liesl, January 29, 2013
Liesl and Kiabab
Liesl and Kiabab

I am not placing the blame on anybody; I am only stating the facts.

I think that the Center is planning on replacing the fence with wood this coming spring/summer.

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Since resigning from the Center I am now a volunteer for the care of Liesl and Kaibab, but am not the one making the decisions concerning them. I can only make suggestions.

This leads me to the rest of my story:

I have always had the horses first and foremost in my heart and that has always been and still is one of my main concerns. I am a very passionate person when it comes to what I believe to be right. I will not compromise my principles, and I will not back down from what I believe is the right thing to do.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I never claimed to be “politically correct”, nor am I afraid to “make some noise” and stand up for what I believe in. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is an old English idiom. Sometimes it makes a difference and sometimes it does not. But to sit by and do nothing when I believe something needs to be said is not an option for me. It is not in my nature. I admit that I can be a bit outspoken and blunt at times, but it is never without conviction from my heart, and I never intend to hurt anyone on purpose.

With all of this said, this past August I questioned the BLM and the NPS (by telephone) as to why they were gathering more horses from the Dry Head part of the range. I thought it strange that they would remove more mares and foals as there are way more stallions than mares in the Dry Head.

Kerry and Maclean, July 30, 2012
Kerry and Maclean, July 30, 2012
Malayna and Kaelia
Malayna and Kaelia

I had also made a couple of “personal” comments, from my “personal computer” on Sandy’s blog stating my “personal opinion” on the continuing gather/removal. I did this from home, not at the Center and in my mind it had nothing to do with the Center or my job as Director.

I believed that I was doing the right thing by the horses, and that it was part of my job. I believed that it was my job to question those who are responsible for managing this herd when and if the need arose. Well I guess I believed wrong. .  I suppose they did not want any “friction” from the Center and “how dare I” question the government!

The BLM certainly did not appreciate my questioning and they sent a letter to the Board concerning my “combative behavior”   among other things.  They never even mentioned all of the good things I had said about what a good job they were doing throughout the gather or what excellent care the horses that were removed were getting!

The majority of the Board did not stand behind me (although John Nickle did and I believe Diane Granger also) but the rest did not, and so I felt that there was only one choice for me, and that was to resign.

If I could not have a personal opinion, and I could not question what I thought was a legitimate cause for concern, then I could do better for the horses on my own and through other avenues. Also, I suppose the Center does not need someone as “feisty” and “outspoken” as me to be the Director.

I gave my heart and soul to the Center, and so did my most loyal and compassionate husband.

It is with great enthusiasm and passion for these beautiful horses that I will continue to observe, study and protect the Pryor Mountain Wild horses. I also have peace in knowing and believing that I did the right thing for the horses, my character intact!

Liesl
Liesl

I want to thank Sandy for allowing me to help with her blog, and also for doing this post!!

Thank you Sandy for your dedication, honesty, passion and generosity to and for the Pryor Mountain wild horses!

Lori

A couple of quotes that I like!

Character is higher than intellect.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.  ~Thomas Jefferson

 

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Some Thoughts and Recognition on the Removal

I found out this week that the BLM Billings office was going to be presented with an award for the job they did in the removal this past summer.  This award was presented to Jared Bybee yesterday in Washington DC.

I was happy that Jared and his team were getting some recognition on a job well done.  Hopefully other HMA’s will ask him for advise on how to better do their gathers.  They can ask him to come and show them, but they cannot keep him, he needs to stay here with the Pryor Horses!

As I said in my April post about this gather, there are some good people in the BLM and we need to make an effort to continue to communicate with them.

Just in case you did not remember how I felt about the removal you can click on SANDY and it will take you to a post I did the beginning of April.

Also here is the link to the list of Awards.  Click on Awards to go to that page.  I also copied and pasted the paragraph telling about the Pryor Gather award:

BLM-Montana Pryor Mountain Horse Gather and Adoption Team, recipients of the Director’s Team Accomplishment Award.

This Award recognizes this year’s tremendously successful Pryor Mountain wild horse gather and adoption. Thanks to outstanding public engagement, sound decision making, and cohesive teamwork, this gather and adoption were completed safely and with positive public support.”

It is still painful for me to think about the horses that were removed, those I will not see on the mountain again.  But I know where most have gone, and I will continue to see how they are doing.

But I am glad that the Pryor Horses have a team of BLM people who for the most part listen to our concerns and hopes for these horses.  I thank them for that.

I believe that if everyone would take the time and effort to effectively communicate with them that the management of these horses may just continue to get better and better.

Sandy

Polaris, Isadora, Lemhi and Rosarita, July 2011

 

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Starman

I have been wanting to do a post on Starman for a long time now.  But with the new foals, all of my trips and the removal updates, I have not had a chance.  Now that things have slowed down a bit I thought it would be a good time to do it.

I think this is especially important because Starman is not on the range right now.  He is on the “wrong” side of the giant fence.  He is on the Custer National Forest side.

The last time I saw him on the range side of the fence was in June.  Since then the openings in the fence have been repaired and he was the only horse left on the other side.  The last I saw him was on my way out on my trip the beginning of July.  I have seen his “stud piles” each time I head up the road on my way to the range, so I knew he was still there.  When I saw him in July, he looked really great.  Starman has been happy being a loner since he lost his band in 2011.  I am sure he enjoyed his vacation away from conflict of other horses, he probably enjoyed eating  all the untouched forage, but it is time for him to be back on the range.

I am hoping to be able to report soon that the BLM  has safely moved him back to the range. I am not sure if Starman will be able to survive a winter on the “wrong”  side of the fence.  At the age of 23 he deserves to live out the rest of his life on the range.

Starman outside the range, July 10, 2012

Starman was born on the Pryor Mountain Range in 1989 to the mare “Loner Mare” and the stallion “Head Light”.  I don’t know his whole story, but I believe he was named by the Reverend Floyd Schwieger.

Starman also has a very faint freeze brand on his neck (you can see it in some of the photos I posted).  I would like to know the story behind that and how it came that he was released after apparently being removed.

Even without knowing his whole story, Starman is very special to me.  He has crossed paths with me many times over the last few years.  He is also the grandfather of my horse, Kiowa, who I just adopted.

Kiowa, March 2012

Starman has three daughters on the range, all three are with his former mare, Rosarita.  His daughters are:  Half Moon, born in 2007.  Half Moon is the mother of Kiowa.  She also is the mother of Missoula.  She is currently in Teton’s band. Before that she was with Lakota.

Half Moon, May 20, 2012 (Kiowa’s mother)

Another one of Starman’s daughters still on the range is the beautiful Feldspar.  Feldspar was born in 2005 and is currently in White Cloud’s band.

Feldspar, July 2011

The third daughter is Isadora.  Isadora was born in 2008 and is currently in Blue Moon’s band.

Isadora, September 2010

I first came to know Starman in September 2010.  My husband Bill and I were heading down the road, towards the range,on the Custer Forest side (this was before the permanent fence was complete).  We saw Starman and his mare Rosarita and their daughter Isadora walking down the road towards us.  I stopped the truck and we watched them walk by us.  I instantly really liked this stallion.  He seemed so wise.  I found myself drawn to him and every trip after that I looked for him.  Bill also became fond of Starman.  Starman was the first wild horse that Bill ever saw.

Starman, September 2010
Starman and his mare Rosarita, September 2010.

I saw Starman again, a few weeks later in October 2010.  This was one of the first days that the new fence was complete.

Starman, October 2010
Starman and Rosarita, October 2010

The next time I would see Starman would be the following July.  By then he had lost his little band and would be alone.  I never got the sense from Starman that he missed being a band stallion.  He seemed to enjoy being alone and that is how I would see him most of the time over the next year.

Starman, July 2011 You can see his freeze brand in this shot.

I only saw Starman that one time in the summer of 2011.  I hoped he was okay.

My next close encounter with him would be in May 2012.  Again, Bill was with me.  We had driven up Sykes Ridge road that day.  We were just passing Penn’s Cabin when I looked off towards Mystic Pond. There in the distance I could see a lone horse trotting down towards the pond.  I instantly recognized that blaze.  It was Starman!  I had heard from several other people that he looked pretty thin.  He did look thin, but he seemed to feel pretty good.  He was trotting and this was the day that he would show Santa Fe that he still had plenty of spunk left. You can read that post by clicking HERE.  He and Santa Fe spent some time sparing over Santa Fe’s mare Judith.

Starman, May 2012
Starman, May 2012
Starman, May 2012
Starman and Santa Fe, May 2012

Both Bill and I were impressed with his spirit.  He seemed to enjoy baiting Santa Fe into sparing with him.  He sure did not seem like 23 years old to me!

I saw Starman again in June.  I was told that he was going back and forth between the range side of the fence and the forest side.  My friend Linda and I  would see him on both sides of the fence this trip.  He seemed to easily slip back and forth in one of the damaged openings in the fence.  I knew that they were planning on repairing the fence in the next few days and I was relieved when I saw him by my campsite one of my last mornings that trip.  We would see him again on our last night heading back towards the fence.  I hoped he would stay on the range side.

I noticed this time that he was missing part of his left ear.  I wondered when that had happened.  As I looked back at photos for this post, I saw that he had all his ear in 2010 and was missing it in 2011. Maybe he had lost it in a fight trying to keep his band.

Starman heading back on the range from the Custer Forest side, June 2012
Starman, June 2012 Visting us at our campsite.
Starman, June 2012

I would see Starman a couple weeks later, the beginning of July.  Stuck on the wrong side of the fence.

Starman on the wrong side, July 2012

It is time for Starman to come back to the range.  I would like to suggest that they use a bait trapping method, similar to the removal this summer.  I am sure by putting some goodies out and maybe even some water, that it won’t take Starman long to go in the trap.  I would love to get a call from Jared, Jim or Ryan telling me that they have been successful in accomplishing this!  You guys have my phone number! Thanks so much!

I will keep you updated on any news of Starman that I may receive!

If you would like to contact the BLM and ask them about Starman, click on BLM and it will take you to all the contact information.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

The Day Before the Adoption

I don’t know how much sleep I will be able to get tonight.  Tomorrow is the adoption and I am hoping that all the horses get adopted to good homes.  I was able to spend several hours with the horses in the pens today, some of it was alone, which I really enjoyed.  I was hoping when I visited last Saturday that I would be able to get some clarity of who would be my final pick, but that was not to be for what ever reason.  Today I got that opportunity.  I tucked a piece of Lakota’s tail hair in my pocket today, hoping that in some way that would help me.  I started out with a top 10 pick, then narrowed it down to a top 4 and today, I have my number one.   I won’t share who that is yet, but I think it will all work out.  Some of you that I spoke to today, know who I am talking about.  Depending on how it goes, I may come home with more than one.

It was hard for me to decided.  Knowing almost all of the horses so well, it made it harder, so much harder.

I also had the opportunity to watch a demo by a wonderful horseman, Dave Weeding.  He has competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover several times.  In 2 1/2 hours he was able to take Kane (son of Sequoyah and Two Boots) from a scared and unsure wild horse and turn him into a willing (but still a bit stubborn)  accepting and calm horse.  Dave even laid on his back.  It was very amazing.  I have studied Natural Horsemanship for 12 year now and I always enjoy seeing it in action.  I love watching someone new and hope that I can somehow soak in their knowledge.  I find the more I know the more I learn.  I hope that makes sense.  It was a wonderful two hours and I hope that sometime I may be able to take a clinic with Dave or work with him personally.  Tomorrow morning before the adoption he will be working with another horse and I am going to make sure I get there in time to witness it.

I am going to end this post by saying that I know that a lot of emotions ran high during the time of this removal and adoption.  But I want to thank those that were involved.  I got to meet and talk with several of those people today.  Cass from the NPS was there today and I really enjoyed getting to know her.  Don, who has taken such great care of the horses during their time at Britton Springs.  I really enjoyed talking with him and learning about how much he cared for the horses and the Pryors. (yes, lets hope some new signage can go up to educate people on range and what they should not be doing up there!!!)  The horses all look good and well cared for.  Thanks Don!  Jared and Ryan for the care that they showed the horses during the gather and after.  Nancy, who has a hard job with all the cordinating of the adoption.  She has a beautiful horse from Calico that I got to meet today.

These are real people that care for the horses and I think that people really need to take the time to realize this and reach out to them, it would benefit the horses and everyone involved with them.

Kane, July, 2012

I will make a quick post tomorrow to let you know who I will be bringing home on Sunday.  I am also going to try to keep track of who adopts who.  I hope I have a lot of good news for you tomorrow!

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

 

 

THE REMOVAL IS OVER!! August 24, 2012

The removal is over!  There were no more horses removed!  YES!!!!!!!!  Click on BLM for more details.

Jewel and Mercuria, May, 2012

Please click on ADOPTION, to see photos and details of the horses up for adoption on September 8th.

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Removal Update, August 23, 2012 # 38 and a foal

The National Park Service and the BLM removed a mare and foal today.

Kerry is the 2010 daughter of Ireland and Prince.  Her foal, a colt was born in June.  You can see more photos of Kerry and her foal by clicking on KERRY.

We all thought Kerry had died in the winter of 2010-2011.  But she survived on her own as a yearling and was discovered by Lori (PMWMC). She was with Durango.

Alex was especially fond of Kerry.  You can read his post about her and Kitalpha by clicking on ALEX.

PLEASE DO NOT TAKE KITALPHA.  Please allow one of these strong and surviving horses to live out their life on the range.

Kerry, July 30, 2012
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell