Adendum: I take it all back. Since the letters were given, the BLM has not only not made a decision on Mercuria but have also taken Montana (only non-inbred offspring of his dam Fresia) and Moorcroft (one of Brumby’s two remaining kids – a mare who has now seen 4 out of 5 offspring removed and 3 out of 5 grandchildren removed, with another likely to be removed next year). Jared is a lazy moron who is taking horses just for the sake of removing them, with no further thought towards the importance of their bloodlines.
Great job everyone! Brigitte delivered 39 letters to Jared early this afternoon supporting the release of Mercuria and Paquita. She currently is busy enjoying her time in the Dryhead – she’s earned it! So here is the update:
Brigitte delivered the letters and had a nice conversation with Jared Bybee (Pryor Wild Horse Specialist) explaining our position on Mercuria and her filly Paquita. Jared was described as being a good listener and semed like he might be receptve to the idea.
So now we play the waiting game. One I know what will happen to Mercuria one way or another, I will let you all know. If I had to take a guess, I would say that the odds of Mercuria’s release are 50/50. The letters and the manner in which they were delivered should give Mercuria a chance. At the same time, the odds are stacked against her.
Win or lose, though, I know in my heart that this did matter. So lemme explain:
If you are familiar with my blog or me as a person, you will know that I am not the BLM’s biggest fan. I’m an ornrey, argumentative cuss and I don’t like it when people go against what sems like simple logic. I think a lot of people reading this can relate. Fighting The Man is exhausting, especially when The Man is doing things like zeroing out herds to make ranchers happy, or removing horses to make room for more oil and gas.
The funny thing about the BLM, though, is that they aren’t all bad. Wait! Keep reading, I ain’t done yet. I firmly believe that the organization as a whole is corrupt. They are, after all, a part of the federal government and thus are inclined to corruption and questionable business practices. The BLM as a branch of the government does not bat an eye when approving the zero-out yet another wild horse herd or at the death count when the helicopters literally run the older and younger horses to death. They don’t seem to care about 26 year old stallions who die in their pens after the stress of being gelded, nor have they ever apologized for selling Tom Davis thousands of horses that disappeared down in slaughter faciliies in Mexico.
Yet while the organization is bad, not everybody who works for the BLM is a mustache-twirling villian. I like Jared Bybee and Jay d’Ewart, the wild horse specialists out of Rock Springs and Billings, respectively, as people. I do not like the decisions that come out for the herds they are charged to monitor and care for (and sometimes I suspect they probably don’t either), but I have never doubted that those two men do care about the horses and do not want to see them come to any harm. This is not true of every wild horse and burro specialist – some are real jerks.
So I guess what I am getting at is that Jared is good people. I may not like this roundup. I may not like the number of horses they are taking or some of their specific choices. But all those quibbles aside, this removal was the first time that I felt like the BLM actually listened to my comments and took my suggestions into account. That may sound silly, but after spending hundreds of hours over the years writing comments on EA’s, sending emails, and making phone calls there was something so wonderful about just feeling like the BLM acknowledged my opinions. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Jared will listen again and release Mercuria & Paquita.
But at the end of the day we just don’t know. Maybe Jared will release Mercuria. Maybe he won’t.
Either way, this can make a difference. Thirty-nine people made their voices heard today, and did so in a calm and polite manner. This wasn’t about giving the BLM grief or busy work or flambeing them over an open fire. The local BLM now knows that we deeply care about this young mare and her filly, and they have information laid-out in front of them as to why she is so important.
Even if it was not enough to save Mercuria and Paquita, at least it sent a positive message. When we can be polite & friendly while still openly disagreeing, it can open doors for the next time. Maybe Jared rejects the idea of releasing Mercuria & Paquita, but he lets Jewel stay off PZP long enough that she can foal whether she hits a threshold or not. Maybe Mercuria doesn’t get to enjoy her freedom, but this united message gives us enough respect and leeway that we can stop something like this from happening next year. Because mutual respect builds up. It may take a while, but it does make a difference.
Maybe Mercuria & Paquita get to go free. And isn’t that a nice thought?
Now just to give a few other updates: the captured horses all look fantastic. The internet adoption (link here) is off to a good start – 9 out of 12 of the horses on there have received bids. There are three horses who have not been bid on yet: Meriwether, Norte, and Ojai. There are 9 days left, so if you have the room in your yard and the space in your heart for a new friend, there isn’t bad one in the bunch.
Or maybe you are interested in adopting a horse, but for a variety of reasons the Pryor horse of your dreams is not a practical choice. There are other excellent horses from other herds that have not been bid on yet.
The Sulphur Springs horses that are in the Delta, Utah facility also have a Spanish heritage, and last I read, actually have the highest concentration of Spanish blood amongst wild horse herds in the U.S. Sulphur horses are also a little taller than Pryor horses, so if you are 6’2 and think you’d look a little silly riding a horse that will max out in the 13-14 hand range, the Sulphurs could have the horse for you.
Palomino Valley & Fallon also have some beautiful horses who deserve to get the heck out of those facilities. They come from a wide variety of herds, and can range from short to tall, beefy to refined.
And if you live in the Midwest, there is a nice little short term facility just a ways southwest of Kearney, Nebraska that has some nice older horses with gentle eyes up for adoption. There are another three that are up for bid in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma. It’s not their fault they ended up there, so won’t you protect their sensitive, pure ears from the shouts of Boomer Sooner no all sides?
And did I mention the burros? There are all the cute little long-ears you barn/boarding facility/future barn or boarding facility can only dream of housing!.
Sorry, not sorry about the extra adoption spam. I just got my application approved as an “emergency backup” for one particular Pryor horse (it’s probably no great mystery who), and seeing all these other horses without a single bid… it just tears me up a little inside. Even if I know that I know that adopting a ten year old bay mare with sad eyes who reminds me of Ziggy is not practical right now… I know we can’t place all 50,000 captive wild horses into good homes, but boy it’s a tough pill to swallow. I just want to save them all.
Anyway, thank you all once again, so much for your amazing outpouring of support! I will let you know once I hear the final word on Mercuria & Paquita