Wild horses corralled by the BLM with no protection from harsh wind storms.

BLM rejects offer of wind protection for coralled Wyoming Mustangs

The BLM are warehousing wild horses and young foals, some newly born, in an elderly corral in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where they may be blasted by fierce winds with no protection.
The BLM are warehousing wild horses and young foals, some newly born with more expected, in an elderly corral in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where they may be blasted by fierce winds with no protection.

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In late January Lisa Friday and Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation (TCF) met with BLM District Manager, Mark Storzer, in Rock Springs, Wyoming to discuss ways to protect the over 600 horses held captive in the 30-year-old corral facility. Harsh westerly winds regularly blast the corrals and the BLM has tried to deal with the problem in the past by putting up plywood on the corral panels, but few of the wooden windbreaks remain.

“At the meeting, we discussed what might work for windbreaks and Mr. Storzer indicated that plywood is too heavy and the wind could topple the entire fence,” states Kathrens, Executive Director of the Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization. “A week after our meeting with Mr. Storzer, we were excited to find a state-of-the-art lightweight product that is easy to install. I contacted Mr. Storzer and Joan Guilfoyle, Chief of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program in DC, to let them know what we had found and that we were willing to purchase the material and have it installed at no cost to the agency.”

“But BLM chose to look a gift horse in the mouth,” states Friday, a TCF Board Member and wild horse adopter. “Via email, Mr. Storzer reversed course and told us ‘This facility has been in operation for many years and there has not been a need to install or construct wind breaks.’”

During the same time period, Kathrens informed the American Humane Association (AHA) of the situation. They communicated with BLM, asking to help with the corral windbreak project and received a conflicting letter from the DC office of BLM in which Ed Roberson, Assistant Director of Resources and Planning stated that “Animals held at the facility receive… protection from the harsh winds through both man-made and natural windbreaks…”

Mr. Storzer explained in his email why there is no need for wind protection for the mustangs saying “On the range, within these herd management areas, the weather conditions are cold with few natural wind breaks due to the desert terrain.”

Carol Walker, noted wild horse photographer, author, and Board Member for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, disagrees with Mr. Storzer’s statement. Walker has photographed horses in the area for years and states “I was just in the area two weeks ago prior to the big snow storm that came in, and I watched several bands of horses move to sheltered, protected areas that had little to no wind because of high cliffs. This area, which has many rock formations, mesas, and cliffs has an abundance of shelter for wild horses. These horses have the freedom to get out of the worst of the storm unlike their extremely unlucky brethren who are trapped in pens with no windbreak and no alternative but to huddle together in the freezing cold, snow, and wind. This is not humane treatment. This is abusive.”

Justin Scally, National Director for Humane Intervention at American Humane Association in Washington, D.C. said, “American Humane Association remains deeply concerned about the welfare of hundreds of beautiful horses after hearing reports that they are being warehoused without basic and/or adequate sources of shelter. These animals are now dependent on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for their protection and while we applaud their requirement that potential adopters provide basic shelter for any horse someone adopts – they must be held to the same minimum standard.”

“How hypocritical to require shelter for adopted animals but those kept captive for years are provided none,” adds Friday. “The BLM’s denial of help seems short-sighted if their main concern is for these poor horses that can no longer find shelter as they would in the wild.”

“In many states, confining horses in conditions like this is illegal!” stated Timothy J. Harvey, Humane Advocate, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “The fact that these windbreaks would be installed at NO cost to the BLM is in direct line with recommendations the Advisory Board has made in the past regarding accepting volunteers’ help both financially and with volunteer labor efforts. I do not understand why the BLM would turn down this offer.”

Adopters of any wild horse must provide proof of shelter before they can obtain an animal. Specific instructions state, “You must provide shelter from weather and temperature extremes for your adopted wild horse or burro. Shelters must be a two-sided structure with a roof, well-drained, adequately ventilated, and accessible to the animal(s). The two sides need to block the prevailing winds and need to protect the major part of the bodies of the horse or burro.”

Ed Roberson publicly asks for help in managing wild horses, yet continues to refuse help to care for those animals the BLM is supposed to be caring for.

Kathrens first contacted Mr. Roberson and Ms. Guilfoyle over a month ago regarding wind protection for the Rock Springs horses. To date Mr. Roberson has not responded to Ms. Kathrens. Ms. Guilfoyle only responded after she received a draft of the Press Release on Feb. 27, 2014 from Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. Ms. Guilfoyle indicated she did not have time to review the “draft docs” by today. “We are unclear which ‘draft docs’ she is referring to besides the press release itself,” commented King. “Ms. Guilfoyle suggested we proceed with the press release.”

“In the meantime, a foal has recently been born in the corrals, the first of likely numerous wild horse babies,” Kathrens concludes. “This little one and the other little ones to come deserve protection. I remain hopeful that something positive can be accomplished to help the captive mustangs.”

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BLM Warehousing Wild Horses in Rock Springs Without Adequate Windbreaks or Shelters
BLM Helicopter Roundups Continue to Destroy Wild Horse Herds

11 thoughts on “BLM rejects offer of wind protection for coralled Wyoming Mustangs”

  1. Wrote BLM Director Neil Kornze twice last December asking for shelter to be given the 600 wild horses in Rock Springs after a woman at the Wild Horse and Burro Dept., in Washington said they don’t get any special shelters. The rim surrounding part of the corral is enough for wild horses she said. She also said that observers of wild horses just want money for their videos, and horses just reproduce and over reproduce. This are patented lies. With people like these at BLM who want to destroy our wild heritage, there is no reasoning. Ordinary citizens would be procecuted for animal cruelty and abuse if they did this, but BLM is a Federal agency gets away with it. They need to be held accountable. Nkornze@blm.gov


  2. I often do well to try to be as reasonable and open-minded as possible while still being opinionated, but this just set me off. As Lisa Friday put it, “How hypocritical to require shelter for adopted animals but those kept captive for years are provided none.” The government’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach to the law is already sickening as it is, but although we all know that the BLM is completely responsible for bypassing their own rules, the fact that we were willing to install windbreaks at the holding facility out of our OWN POCKETS but they rejected the offer is downright unbelievable. Yet again, I wonder why this should surprise me. The ‘Rule of Law’ seems to be completely ignored and the voices of the American public just goes through one ear and out the other nowadays.


  3. The foals being out in the these snow storms that are happening all winter is what I mentioned a few weeks ago. The foals being born now are the ones that may die unless the BLM puts up some type of protection. What gets me is why the BLM will not install the 3 sided sheds that they demand the public build. They created the mess but they refuse to except free help and equipment to help the horses they took on the responsibility to take care of. Does these twits have to be taken to court again? With the left wing bought off judges it would probably be a waste of time and resources, so where does a tax payer go to demand the BLM follow its own rules?


    1. Within the DOI is a Board of Appeals and Hearngs who review all agency decisions, including those of BLM. This is one that Ginger and possibly even Timothy Harvey might present with their documented attempt to make improvement. We as the public may be able to as well.


  4. Just cant take the B
    LM anymore. They slaughtered our Indians off thier lands and now they “slaughter” our natural resource, our wild mustangs. What to do?


  5. It is a joke. Advocates ask not much more than that the horses be treated slightly better than animals waiting to be slaughtered. It is absolutely embarrassing that these managers cannot think of an excuse better than the fence will fall down. Hmmm, what about a few fences. How about a berm? How about plannting a windreak with fencing. How about breaking the pens up with big berns and rocks? The federal government has access to some of the greatest engineers in the world! Wonder how the government handles wind protection in the Arctic? These people have got to go – they just don’t have the brain power of life experience to handle the responsibility. We don’t need livestock handlers, we need wild horse handlers.


  6. It is just frustrating to deal with someone like Roberson and Guilfoyle who has the government backing their decisions. What is the answer? Is it getting officials elected that are sympathetic to this issue or continuing to try and change the mindset of those officials already elected. Great hopes for Sally Jewel, but not much different from Salazar in her inaction.


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