The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

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

Pine Nut Mares/Foals Release Update, Tuesday Late

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on December 1, 2010

Sorry this is out so late. When we got clear of the release we had to go to Silver Springs as 10 wild horses had wandered onto the highway side of the range border fence and we had to encourage them to go home.

The release of mares and foals back onto the Pine Nut Mountains HMA went flawlessly – except maybe for the bone chilling cold while everyone waited for the release activities to be undertaken. At the end all the horses appeared to be completely content. A summary with a number of photos can be seen below or at the AOWHA’s page:

Again, our thanks to Mark Struble and Alan Bittner at BLM for making sure this happened. The crew from Palomino Valley Center who handled the horses were also extremely careful and professional. This was a great ending to the Pine Nut Mountains operations.

“:O) Willis


Dayton, NV
November 30, 2010

22 mares and 21 foals were released back onto the BLM Pine Nut Mountains Herd Management Area early Tuesday afternoon. 22 mares and foals that had been removed and separated had been reunited at Palomino Valley Center. 21 of the foals solidly paired up with their dams. One weanling age foal remained independent and was determined to be at risk of predators if released. That foal has joined other weanlings at the center and will be put up for adoption.

Over 20 advocates and local residents stood by under a cold, gray sky as BLM crews constructed a round corral. The horses were shipped in three trailers, the foals separate from the adult horses to minimize the risk of injury. They were to be reunited in the corral before being released. The entire process was painstakingly slow and careful, and all the horses eventually quietly returned to the range.

Right after the first load of mares had been placed in the corrals with the foals a Navy rescue helicopter came through and flew right over the corrals. The spectators held their breath however the horses were too busy reuniting and paid no attention to the helicopter.

The strategy worked as the horses remained calm throughout the operation and didn’t venture more than a few yards from the corral when released.

Trailer with foals arriving

Foals being unloaded

One of the trailer loads of mares

Mares being unloaded

Allowing the horses to settle and eat some hay

A section of the corral is opened

The first horse ventures out

The horses move down a shallow wash

The BLM crew checking on the horses

Horses just moseying along

A view of the layout (Corral in the left center)

The mares and foals simply hanging out and grazing


8 Responses to “Pine Nut Mares/Foals Release Update, Tuesday Late”

  1. Linda H said

    Glad to see the BLM monitoring this release. They need to be monitoring Sun J every minute, as they (BLM) are totally responsible for every action or inaction of Sun J. Apparently Sun J needs a lot of monitoring. (I experienced their work at the East Douglas roumdup.) Congratulations to Herd Watch for their livestream of the roundups and this release. We need this total transparency for any kind of trust to be earned.

  2. Linda Horn said

    Thanks to EVERYONE for helping to make this happen. Good to see the horses peacefully grazing on their natural forage. Hope they’ll reunite with stallions soon, even if the bands are somewhat mixed up, so they’ll all feel secure.

  3. Jan said

    if the blm could do this for this small group of mares and foals why cant they do it this way for all the horses – apparently some members of blm do know how to handle horses – they just need to do it more often so some of horse people can trust them a little bit more

  4. Not So Happy said

    I’m not happy about the situation with the 2 foals left behind they didn’t get to be with their Moms They sent some mares off too soon – they must be devastated! Why couldn’t have they let the 2 foals leave with the group they might of reunited with their Mothers, now the 2 foals will be sent off for adoption..if they are lucky.

    • There was one weanling age colt that remained independent who will be put up for adoption. This is not a source of great concern at the moment as this is a colt that is likely already weaned, hence the reason for his not” pairing up”. However, because he didn’t pair up, he is more likely to be a victim to predators.
      I don’t think there was an issue of” sending off mares too soon” as 21 of the 22 had paired up. And given the age of the colt (weanling) there was likely not a “devastation” experienced by the dam.
      They couldn’t let the colt leave with the group because if he didn’t pair up with a mare, he would be without the protection of the herd and thus at risk for predation.
      Adoption is the next step.

  5. betty said

    So nice to see the horses calmly grazing. A sure sign they weren’t too worried about anything!

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