Mae’s BoG Installment #2

In installment one, I called in my report and Val Cecama-Hogsett of CAES put my experience into words (linked at the bottom of this article). I feel it is important to state that this is all new to me. I have been involved and reading about wild horses and burros, but decided it was time for me to hit the road and see it for myself.

I reached out to CAES, and they were very happy to have me on the BoG or Boots on the Ground team. I hope as I learn the road, literally, and the things that help me document the story I see, you will all have patience and understand this is an educational journey upon which I am sharing my observations.

After leaving the Elm Creek Facility I traveled to Montana, went to Pryor Mountains and spent 4 hours driving in search of wild horses. I am sharing the pictures I took. While I saw no wild horses (learned after that I should have called someone who is familiar with the herd to show me where they would be this time of year, I assumed I would see them not knowing what an expanse the HMA really covered), I didn’t want to waste gas, which many of you have been donating to support my trip. I was amazed at how much empty land there was, with no wildlife, the only thing I saw was a chipmunk that scurried across the road in front of me. But as you can tell from the photos, Pip, the parrot enjoyed his turn at driving through the Pryors. It is such amazing beauty, I just don’t understand why there is no room for horses? How can they claim we have too many when the land is so healthy, and there is so much of it?


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Pryor Mountains 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)

After leaving there and getting to a place I could call-in I spoke with Val, from CAES, and she said that I should check for an advocate or photographer’s group for each HMA I was going to. So, I told her of plans to go to McCullough Peaks. We found a photographer’s group on Facebook and asked for a guide. They answered very quickly and were happy to meet me and show me some wilds in the wild. 45 beautiful, very well fed, gorgeous horses. I was surprised there were no foals, and 2 young (maybe yearling) horses. I was told there are 2 water holes. I went and found 1. There was a lot of wildlife, and I had forgot how beautiful pronghorn antelope are, with their cute white butts.  I took lots of pictures here too. In taking a lot of landscape pictures, not just animals I am making a point on both of these places:  LOTS OF EMPTY LAND, AND I MEAN LOTS. I wanted to do 15 Mile but ran out of time and really pushed to get to Rock Springs, WY for the roundup.

USE ! 2
McCullough Peaks 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)

So, here’s where this is all me and my opinion… this was my first roundup, and my last. I have felt completely broken, and I could only stand to watch the first group brought in by the helicopter.  I met really nice people, Mr. Brown the BLM man there, was very personable. I think sometimes we forget that the BLM heads are the ones making the decisions, and not every employee agrees with the removal and treatment of the horses. (Not saying this is Mr. Brown’s opinion, just that I am always surprised to meet friendly, honest people from an agency I have so long been disgusted with). We talked for a long time.

The day started at 6 am, in the dark, with lots and lots of fog. We waited until 11:30 or so for the helicopter to be able to fly.  Everyone there had big cameras, me with my pad. (CAES would love to be able to supply their BoG team with good equipment but said they remain focused on funds to keep fighting in court, although keeping me on the road is one of their goals). So I apologize the pictures not as good as those you see from some others, maybe I’ll write a book and finance a proper camera!  I am hoping Jen Howe, CAES BoG team leader can do something with them.

Think of your 1st roundup, for those that have been, and for those that haven’t, your views and expectations largely depended on your stance on the wilds and the BLM. For me, I started this trip to find the GOOD BAD AND UGLY TRUTHS. To share my thoughts and what I find and see.

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Rock Springs Gather 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)

I feel broken, like my heart and soul was assaulted. I called Val to talk about the experience and she told me that she knows it is traumatizing, that the experience almost if not definitely leaves you with PTSD. I told all watching the gather I would be crying for days, and I still am.  This is why it has taken so long to be able to put the words into a report for all of you to read.

There were only 3 observers and a few BLM. I didn’t last an hour. The helicopter was herding them to the pens.  We were very far away (more than a mile) all you could hear was the whir of the blades… such awful noise. Then I spotted them, 3 young wilds, running SO hard away from everything, far ahead of the group that were soon to be in view and who were the first victims of the big metal predator.

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Rock Springs Gather 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)

Then, they came with the helicopter on them, running for their lives. All that fear, it was all I could see, and their determination to stay free. They kept trying to go back, to go home, but it wasn’t happening. They kept veering away from the path the helicopter pilot wanted them to go, and the helicopter kept adjusting to force them toward the trap tunnel. I learned they really do not pay much attention to the ‘Judas’ horse and follow it in.

There was a young horse, who turned back to the helicopter. The rest of the group, 7 or 8 horses, turned back also. It was a standoff, these beautiful animals attempting to face their foe, that huge, loud predator, and find an escape route to home, to freedom. The helicopter dipped its blades SO low, it looked like he was going to hit the land. They just stood there, facing their enemy as if to say: “NOPE NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.”

This is when I lost it. My heart was shattered to know they were about to be forced into that trap, separated from their families, never to be free again, and very possible be those the government is voting to kill. I said to all, “I can’t do this.” I was walking away, going back to my car, to my Pip, my friend, my comfort. I was told promptly told this was not allowed, I had to wait until the helicopter was finished.

22156991_1527253970673753_1881516934_nRock Springs Gather 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)
22127474_1525497767516040_1994231575_nRock Springs Gather 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)

I simply could not bear it, I could not watch anymore, I felt I would fall apart. I turned my back to them all. I didn’t want everyone watching me while I was crying so bad. I waited until I was told I could go. That just made me cry harder, it meant they had were trapped, no freedom again ever, maybe even facing death.

Do you know that the BLM has armed guards at these roundups? He, followed me to my car, nice guy really, though I was at first nervous about having an armed escort. Pip just came over to me, got on my shoulder and rubbed his face on my cheek to comfort me. He just stayed there. They know, animals know if their loved ones need them.

22155255_1525497820849368_112189556_nPip the Parrot 2017 ©CAES, photo credit Mae Martini
(More photos on Mae’s Gallery)

After they got me out of there, I made my way back to Rock Springs for another night.  I just felt numb. I felt useless out here, wondering why I am here. Am I going to be able to do any good, am I going to be able to make things different, better, safer for these animals I love so much? I didn’t know what’s next on this trip or where I would go next, I had just decided that I had to carry on. I must see…what, what am I trying to see?

I don’t even know that yet, perhaps I am trying to see some kind of justification for the claims that I hear from my own government, some reason for rounding them up, locking them up, often killing or hurting them in the process. Some answer to why they claim there are too many, somewhere they have destroyed these beautiful lands, somewhere the horses are starving.

Somewhere, just anywhere, there has to be some answer that tells me WHY I should ever be okay, in my own thoughts and sense of morals, for the death of these horses being proposed as mass euthanasia or even by going to slaughter. Are the answers out there? If not, what can I do?

I do know that was my first and only roundup. I know this is pretty long, but I had to share this   with all you.  Just as watching the kill pen, and that draft horse that it took 11 tries before he died   this will NEVER be forgotten, not ever, by me. If this should light a fire in your hearts and souls, that’s good. This genocide of these wilds MUST END.  WE ARE THEIR ONLY VOICES.


contact Val at out office @ 541.315.6650

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Mae’s Bog, Installment 1

Installment 3 coming soon



  1. The Wild horses do not need o be rounded up or removed from their home land! This is an enormous tragedy and is really illegal. The government must stop this now!

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