from Horseback Magazine
Hope Springs Eternal
By Laura Leigh
HOUSTON, (Horseback) - On January 22, 2010 I was given a tour of the Fallon holding facility after my observation days (Calico gather) had been cancelled by weather twice.
I had witnessed the gather on January 16, and met Gene Seidlitz (Winnemucca district manager) and Heather Emmons, both of the Bureau of Land Management. Both appeared to be very willing to accommodate and provide access in as transparent a manner as possible Gene spoke to me many times about the concept of finding areas for dialogue and co-operation. I had hoped to write an article based on that concept.
On January 22, Seidlitz and Lisa Ross, BLM public relations coordinator for Calico gather met me at the agency’s Fallon facility. John Neill is acting BLM manager at Fallon. I was given free access to photograph and ask questions. I was also allowed to videotape the “hospital” facility at Fallon. I soon saw a row of small pens near the entrance to the facility next to the area being built to process horses. The plywood for windbreaks was stacked but not installed.
The pens held mostly foals and a few mares. Each horse I saw demonstrated some form of lameness. Many had bandages on their legs. Of particular concern was a foal that would not rise when approached.. His eyes were glassy.
Over the next few days I made several attempts to gain information about that foal. I sent e-mails to Gene, Lisa, and John. I was told the foal was up the very next day and doing well. Information I found hard to believe because I did not think he would even make it through the night. I requested a vet report and was told I would have it as soon as one was available. I requested that the foal be released to me and I would facilitate his placement into a facility that could properly care for him. The request was denied, the BLM saying it was not needed.
I named him “Hope Springs Eternal.” I began to make inquiries to find a facility to bring him to. He would have a home.
Several more conversations with John Neill continued to assure me the foal was fine. John said he was busy and if I did not get the vet report to please call him again.
I called today. I was told the vet report is online. It’s not. He was euthanized Saturday because his hooves had begun to slough.
My emotions are many:
So much for a timely exchange of information. So much for the concept that the “guys on the ground” are any different than the guys in DC, something they want you to believe. So much for the idea that co-operation toward problem solving with the best interests of the horses at its heart will ever be a reality. So much for “ Hope Springs Eternal.”
The baby I saw on January 22 was in incredible pain to the point that, as a wild animal, he could hardly lift his head as a strange human, a potential predator, approached. All the others rose and limped away. This baby languished in that facility with no windbreak in agony. A baby that had a chance if the humans involved could have attempted to create an opportunity to work together. Releasing that foal would have cost the BLM nothing… and maybe created the sensation that somewhere in this madness a spirit of humanity could overcome this battle of obstinate adherence to outdated bureaucratic protocol. I had “Hope.”Little spirit you are now free of this administration’s unwillingness to recognize your worth. “Hope Springs Eternal,” rest in peace. You are loved.