We named this stallion Lion. He was rounded up during the Triple B 2011 roundup. This photo was taken Aug 24, 2011 at the temp holding pens. This was the first day that I went to a roundup and the first time I was at a holding pen.
He captured my attention right away at the holding pen because of all the commotion he made in the stallion pen. I’m not sure when he was captured. This day I was an observer in Newark Valley and I reviewed all my 900 images I took that day and could not identify him in them so it’s not likely he came from Newark Valley.
While walking around the holding pens, trying to get good photos to share, there was a moment when he was staring at me. I began talking softly at him, telling him not to be angry with me and apologized to him that he was caught because I didn’t want to see him or other others captured.
As my friends joined me in the following days at the roundups in Butte Valley and we visited the holding pens, everyone remarked about him. He stood out above the other stallions as the leader of them all! He always dominated this end of the holding pen because it was the closest to his mares. In between the wet mare pen and the stallion pen was a small pen with a branded horse in it.
By the end of the round-up, my friend Maureen, decided she was going to adopt him. I was elated to say the least because I fell in love with him and I knew he would be safe at Maureen’s place and I would see him again!
BLM sent him to Gunnison. Maureen let it be known she wanted him intact – BLM acknowledged that would be fine. However, Maureen discovered they gelded him anyway but she still was going to take him.
On the day she arrived at Gunnison to pick him up, he died while they were trying to load him – he broke his neck while Maureen was in the office signing papers to take him. She was devastated! She loved him too. She called me the next day and told me what happened – I was crushed for days! – a horse I barely knew but felt an instant connection with him.
- When Lion died, I hadn’t been a horse advocate for very long – maybe 10 months. Even though I had heard about the atrocities at roundups, experiencing one was a sure eye-opener – one that I will never forget! But what happened after the roundup was just as bad – not only because Lion died but there were horses in short-term holding who also died as a result of colic. Since BLM doesn’t count the foals, there’s no telling how many of them died in holding pens!I know how all my friends feel about losing a horse they love (I have never had a horse) and I understand how one can know the magic they feel when they first see or meet a horse with an instant connection.Lion is in my heart forever and is my driving force to see the wild horses and burros back where they belong – running wild on public lands!I know experiences like this are hard to handle but it’s real important for as many people as possible to go to a roundup so you can share what happens at a BLM roundup. Be a witness before they are all gone from the wild places in which they belong.
©2013 afroditi katsikis
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- On Wild Horses, the Secretary of the Interior Needs to Listen to the Scientists – Andrew Cohen – The Atlantic (hippies4horses.wordpress.com)
- Where is the Shelter for BLM Wild Horses and Burros in Holding Pens (hippies4horses.wordpress.com)