Owyhee Roundup, Nov. 26 - Dec. 23, 2012

Photo credit: Stephanie Martin, Wild Horses The Film

On November 26, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began the largest roundup of the winter season -- the removal of 847 wild horses from the Owyhee Complex in northern Nevada -- a 3,000-square-mile area. Originally the agency planned to remove up to 1,600 horses but due to the lack of holding space that number has been reduced to 847. Since 2009, livestock use of the public lands grazing allotment in the Owyhee Complex has increased dramatically, yet BLM proposes to reduce the harm to the range caused from overgrazing by sheep and cattle by gathering wild horses while making no effort to reduce the negative impact of livestock grazing. Additional information about this BLM roundup is available here.

Following are weekly reports from the field:
Week 1

Week 2

Week 3
BLM Daily Reports

The Owyhee roundup has been brutal, with stampeding horses crashing through barbed wire, wranglers hotshotting (electro-shocking) horses  to get them to load onto trailers, and at least five deaths:

  • 2 year-old sorrel mare "euthanized due to blindness in right eye and a pre-existing physical defect of the front left leg which had also caused club footedness."
  • Palomino mare, 2 years-old, found dead in temporary holding after apparently having died overnight. Initial findings showed enlarged heart and signs of pnuemonia.
  • Bay mare, 2 years-old, euthanized due to chronic incurable injury to right rear hock joint. 
  • 20+ year-old stud with a pre-existing broken hind leg. Body condition 2.5. [elder stallion with injury stampeded for miles and trapped before his life is ended in terror and tragedy.]
  • 5 year-old stud with a poorly healed broken front right leg. Body condition 3.. 


This photograph, taken on December 6, 2012 by Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education shows a tiny foal who apparently collapsed after being stampeded by helicopter for miles. Able to run no farther, he was picked up - limp - and brought in by wranglers on horseback.

These photographs below were captured by Stephanie Martin, director of the film Wild Horses, and graciously shared with AWHPC, tell the tragic and brutal story of the BLM’s Owyhee roundup on days 3-5.

Helicopter Stampedes Horses Into Barbed Wire

BLM Contractors Hotshot (Electro-Shock) Horses While Loading Onto Trailers

Steam Rises Off Horses Stampeded by Helicopter for Miles in Frigid Temperatures

Horses Stampeded & Crammed Into Pens