The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

The Bordo Altravesado HMA, Comments Due: This Friday, May 14th

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on May 10, 2010

Info courtesy of Linda…

T., this is off-topic to Calico, but I hope you won’t mind if I post it here.

The Bordo Altravesado HMA is one of only two extremely small BLM HMAs in New Mexico. Soon there may be none. COMMENTS DUE THIS FRIDAY, May 14th. I’m still working on mine, and I’m hoping to send them by Thursday.Please email your comments to:  This is the link to the EA:

This post was posted by admin with information courtesy of Linda. T.

– – –

The following are links to information about the BLM Socorro District in New Mexico:

Socorro Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
901 S. Highway 85
Socorro, NM 87801-4168
(575) 835-0412
(575) 835-0223 FAX
Also see comments by Donna Hummel, Deputy Chief, BLM Office of External Affairs and further comments by Linda…

39 Responses to “The Bordo Altravesado HMA, Comments Due: This Friday, May 14th”



  2. Linda said

    I want to emphasize we have no way of knowing if there is Spanish blood in the Bordo horses unless genetic testing is done. A number of horses were introduced in 1992, 1997, and 1998 and there is no mention of their breeding. They were introduced to “maintain the genetic VIABILITY (i.e. numbers) of the herd”, but not necessarily to maintain or enhance the horses’ unique and/or historic characteristics.

    These are the direct links so folks won’t have to cut and paste or type.


    Email comments to:

    Saving the Old Spanish bloodlines is what Wild Horses of the West is doing on their private preserves.

    Wild Horses of the West:

  3. Hello,
    I work for the BLM in New Mexico. We appreciate the opportunity to dispel the persistent rumor that we are planning to eliminate the Bordo Atravesado Wild Horse herd. This is false and possibly based on a tentative 2010 gather schedule that does not accurately reflect our plan for the herd.

    Please refer to our Environmental Assessment for the proposed gather at:

    In this document you will find the alternatives we considered for this gather. Our preferred alternative is to gather approximately 107 horses, remove 40-60 of them, and leave the remainder on the range.

    Thank you.

    • Linda said

      Donna, when the numbers in tentative 2010 BLM Gather Schedule didn’t square with those in the Bordo Altravesado EA, it certainly got my attention.

      I appreciate that you’ve cleared this particular issue up for the record.

    • Linda said

      Donna, would you give me permission to quote you directly on the blogs where I’ve requested people submit comments on the Bordo EA? I don’t want folks getting bent out of shape over something you’ve already cleared up. I promise I won’t change a thing.

      • Hi Linda,
        Yes of course.

        Just an FYI, I did some additional posting on other sites this afternoon when we realized that there was a misperception that we were planning to eliminate the herd.

        Thank you.

    • sandra longley said

      Donna, congradulations-you got it right! Seriously, is there something in your drinking water that is making you all smarter in that neck of the woods? You are definately the poster children for something right about the BLM. This is the kind of thought and study that needs to go into every EA, and you need to be singled out for your effort! Thank You

      • terry tadano said

        Good morning,
        As the President of the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, I am proud of the wild horse management of the Socorro BLM officials. After reading the EA for the Bordo Atravesado Wild Horse Gather (EA# NM-A020-2010-07-EA), we were pleased that the BLM experts have decided to use humane and scientific methods to manage our local wild horse herd. We agree with proposed action alternative 2. The use of a man made water and corral to catch and inventory the 100 plus animals is the best lowest stress way for the veterinarians to check the health of each horse. At this time, any horse that needs medical care will be treated and the others will be kept in family units while checking on their sex, age, color, and other genetically important features. Hair samples will be taken to inventory in order to determine the genetics of these horses for future diversity management. Approximately 40 to 50 of the best and healthiest horses will be returned to the wild within their family units, especially the foals and dams to maintain the herd.

        The Socorro County Chamber of Commerce whole heartily support the proposed gather in order to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance. Thanks BLM Officials and scientist for your hard work!, Barbara Romero, President.

        • Linda said

          Dear Barbara,

          I do not fully support either alternative presented in the Bordo Altravesado EA, but a compromise between the two.

          As a New Mexico resident, I am constantly amazed that there are so few legally-protected wild horses in the very state that was the point of origin and provided foundation bloodstock for many of our American mustangs.

          I have lived in the state for over 20 years, and my husband has lived here 60 years. Neither of us had any idea there was an opportunity to see wild horses in the Socorro area until about a year ago.

          The national BLM Wild Horse & Burro website has recently begin promoting the idea of eco-tourism on the herd managment areas. As you know, much of New Mexico’s revenue depends on tourism, and, in my opinion, showcasing the Bordo wild horses would make a fine addition to the state’s many attractions.

          People flock from all over the country and the world to tour New Mexico and the American West, and the iconic wild horses are what many hope to see.

          Bordo’s proximity to the internationally-known Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge would provide thousands of visitors with the unique and exciting opportunity to see and photograph wild horses roaming free on the scenic vistas of their home range.

          Naturally, economic benefits to businesses and residents in the Socorro area would increase as more visitors became aware of the Bordo wild horses and chose to travel and spend time in the area.

          The Bordo Altravesado herd is one of only two BLM Herd Management Areas in New Mexico, and the only herd with numbers that even marginally approach genetic viability.

          The other HMA is Caracas Mesa in Northwest New Mexico, with an estimated population of 12 wild horses in 2007, and only 23 allowed by the BLM.

          In other words, Bordo is New Mexico’s last, best hope for legally preserving and protecting an extremely important part of the state’s heritage for posterity.

          Linda Horn

          • sandra longley said

            I agree Linda, New mexico has a strong horse history, wild and otherwise..In early years it was known as “little kentucky”, fine horsemen and horses..such a shame ..I sold my ranch in Oregon and moved their..never saw a wild horse..the only herd I knew of was the White Sands Missle Range horses..and that was a disgrace and a travesty..Their are alot of big cattle ranches, I would think they could give some of that land that has been removed from the horses back to them, and hope this is a begining of a more forward looking attitude..I would certainly like to encourge that..and press congress to make sure that it happens..Governor Richardson has a fondness for horses and would hope he would take a stand on this issue

        • reveil39 said

          Although I do not fully understand how one can catch a horse with water, I am impressed that the horses will be kept in family units.

          • reveil39 said

            Just wish the horses would be let to run free.
            100 animals. Such small herds. Isn’t the genetic viability around 150?

          • sandra longley said

            That is a real concern. However, I see they have tried to minimize that in the past by bringing in a couple of new stallions, which is a great idea.New stallions can alter the inbreeding coefficients immediately..stallions have a greater impact- faster-on turning herd genetics around-mares are limited ecause they contribute only 1 set of genetics a year where as a stallion puts many of his genetics on the ground in a year..A genetically inferior stallion can destroy your program in a year.

    • First off, thanks Tracie for bringing this issue forward. It’s one of many issues that we tend to overlook as we get caught up in other matters.

      I think this is a very good opportunity for the advocates to go on record with some practical and sensible recommendations. My suggestion is all to read the EA, develop some talking points and discuss them on this board, if you think it appropriate. Then we can get our game together and see if we can’t produce the best possible outcome.

      I haven’t had a chance to download the EA but I imagine that some gathering of horses is inevitable. So my preliminary thoughts run towards urging conservative and selective removals, not repeating the mistakes of Calico, not collecting horses that a judge could rule BLM doesn’t have the authority to hold, and making a conscious effort to preserve the distinctive characteristics of this herd. The advocates need something positive to go after and considering that Donna Hummel seems approachable, this is a good place to start.

      Also I think we absolutely have to get off this “Spanish blood” business. It’s a loser issue.

      First of all the original horses were from Iberia (Portugal) and the Barbary Coast. The Spanish just rode them. They are actually Sorraia and Barbs, should that matter at all, which it really doesn’t.

      It wouldn’t matter if the horses originated from Clydesdales. This is a wild free-roaming herd that has been culled and shaped for generations by the forces of Nature and its true “herd characteristics” are whatever are necessary to survive in this environment. A wild horse is a wild horse by nature of its survival for generations in a natural environment. In contrast the horses in the proposed Salazoos will simply be pasture horses. My point is that “Spanish” blood could be an added incentive, but the mere adaptation and survival of these animals where they are found is significant enough to warrant their continued presence.

      Maybe wild free-roaming Clydesdales was an extreme example but I think you get my point.

      “:O) Willis

      • sandra longley said

        Spot on Willis, we live in the land of the mongrels..both sides of my fathers family came over on one of William Penns ships..not the Mayflower..those that left the Quaker community moved west, marrying out of aristocracy and widening their gene pool, it allowed them to adapt to their environment and the challenges they faced..I sure hope I got some of those genes!

      • Linda said

        Maybe I should have said “Spanish Colonial” horses, refering more to the people who brought the horses to New Mexico than to the variety of breeds.

        The reason I’d like to see more horses with old line characteristics on Bordo isn’t because I think they’re superior to any other wild horses, or more deserving of care and protection.

        It’s because I think those characteristics might be more appealing not only to New Mexicans, but also to visitors from other places. The more value humans place on something, the more they (and their governments) are likely to protect and preserve it.

        What can I say – I spent my career in advertising and marketing, and I look at many things through that lens.

    • carson said

      Here’s a link to a post I wrote last April about my attempt to find the Bordo Atrevasado herd, if anyone is interested. It sure is a relief to know it will still be there the next time I go looking.

      • sandra longley said

        Enjoyed your blog and photos of the Bordo HMA area, and T and i can relate to being out in the “Big Lonely” anticipating a long walk.. .in the valley of the snakes… holding a phone that says “you are out of the cell service area”! In the old days, cell phones were big enough to use as a weapon – not so much anymore. I am waiting for someone to build a weaponized one…

        • Um, Sandra… they already make cell phone pistols…

          “Don’t point that phone at me!”

          “:O) Willis

          • sandra longley said

            gives a whole new meaning to “phone a friend” luck..I would shoot myself in the head while answering the phone..LOL..but then..there are some conversations that make you want to consider suicide.

          • Suzanne said

            Where can I get one?!!!!

        • LOL oh yes ma’am! Snakes, creepy crawlies, and not a soul for miles! ‘Cept o’course “lady ranchers” and a DirecTV installer who’s only thought was to turn down the ladies’ offer of help and set out a safety cone in the middle of the desert!!! LMAO!


      • Carson! How ya been!? Thanks so much for the link and info! I think we all echo those sentiments on some level… The gather is set, the bait is ready and its very likely this one will happen, but at least there will still be some “yet to be un-wild” ones out there.


      • reveil39 said

        Nice photos, Carson. I enjoyed following you on the journey. Thanks for sharing.



    I just spoke with Mark Spencer at the New Mexico BLM State Office regarding the Bordo Atravesado roundup EA, specifically, ” The gather will not be open to the public to minimize the stress on the horses.” I asked Mr. Spencer if NM BLM was bound by Federal BLM policy ie; “Humane Observers will be allowed access to all BLM gathers.” His answer to me was yes but to his understanding this was on a case by case basis – and “they’re closing the gather to public observation as well as “excess” BLM employees, but he would “familiarize” himself with Federal law”! Told me to call Stephen Matthews, Socorro officical in charge of the gather for specifics. Here’s that catcher – Spencer also told me the gather would be conducted on private land. Sounds a bit familier (Calico Complex) and just BLM typical (siding with/involving ranchers). Private landowner is Vincent Del Curto – haven’t done any research on him yet.

    I need your help. Should I call local media? What, if anything can we do to stop this roundup until Mark Spencer “familiarizes himself with Federal Law”?!

    Numbers: New Mexico BLM (505) 954-2222 – ask for Mark Spencer.
    Socorro BLM (575) 838-0412 or (575) 838-1250 – ask for Stephen Matthews.



  6. Stephen Baker said

    Hello. I work for the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management with Donna. I wanted to take the opportunity to respond to a recent request to allow observers during the horse gather. For the record, this gather will not be open to the public. As of now, there is no legal requirement to allow public observers at horse gathers. We want to minimize the stress on the horses and provide for the safety of BLM employees during the gather. Thank you.

    • Steven,

      Thank you for your comments. We really do appreciate hearing directly from you guys in an open format and we are very glad to see you guys so comfortable here.
      I wanted to ask if you could clarify something for a few folks… There have been some comments made about what exactly water bait trapping involves and how exactly the process works, its efficacy, and what the possible dangers to the horses are when this method is used. Could you explain this process?

      Again, we really appreciate all of you guys in Socorro being so open with us. It truly does make things much easier.


      • Stephen Baker said

        Stephen from the BLM here. We had a question about how exactly the water trapping gather will be conducted. Here’s how it works: The contractor shields himself from view of the horses at existing livestock waters located inside of existing corrals. The contractor waits for horses to come to the water as part of their daily routine. When the horses enter the corral, the contractor shuts the gate behind the horses. The gates are set up on a pulley system where the contractor just pulls a rope to close the gates. The horses are then moved to adjacent pens where they have access to water and will be fed twice a day until the gather is complete, at which time 40-60 horses will be removed and the rest released. This safe and humane gathering method is used to minimize the stress on the horses and allows us to keep the bands together.

    • sandra longley said

      I can see the problems with allowing observers at water trapping,=in order for the horses to feel safe in entering on their own-privacy and quiet would be absolutely necessary-which is why the gate is closed by remote. I am completely understanding..It is one of the many advantages of bait trapping-and I am all for it..I do think it is to the benifit of the BLM to do its own documentation of the process and post pictures/video in a timely fashion to show the process and condition of all the horses-that goes a long way to smoothing things out. Imagination can be a ten headed beast.

      • Linda said

        I, for one, would never expect or condone observers disturbing a bait or water trapping operation, and I don’t believe ANY of the experienced observers would do such a thing. They would move to the site along with those doing the gather. If the BLM feels it MUST remove the wild ones, the last thing any of us want is to interfere with a more humane technique.

        I fully agree that the agency could go a long way toward rehabilitating it’s image with the advocates by accurately documenting and publishing activities associated with all gathers.

        I sure hope there’s a rocket scientist reading this, because I guess that’s what it’s going to take to get the message across. Cooperation, not confrontation, but “it takes two to tango!”



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