Wild Horses: The Adobe Town Wild Horses in Prison

These beautiful, gentle horses were torn from their legal, Congressionally designated range by the BLM over the protestations of many Wyoming citizens.

What's ahead for them now? For the lucky few, adoption by people who will support them in one of the sanctuaries where they can live as close to the wild as possible. Others will be adopted by people who - HOPEFULLY! - will train them into the wonderful personal horses that they can be. They won't be wild, but they will be loved.

For the unlucky, Long Term Holding by the BLM. They will spend the rest of their lives in BLM Prison - sterilized, separated by gender, all under the tender mercies of the BLM on land from which the public is forever barred. They will disappear into the void, never to be heard from or accounted for again.

For the really unlucky - such as the sale authority horses - who can be sold "without limitation" (that means sold to anyone) the future holds nothing but a long, terrifying trip to a Mexican slaughter plant unless advocates can raise enough money/adopters to support them, and there are 255 of these innocent creatures. Don't they deserve more than a Mexican slaughter house? There is a killer buyer in Texas already trying to get them.

If you know of a place where these horses can go and be safe, PLEASE, contact Carol Walker at the links below. There is a link in this post where you can see pictures of these majestic horses.

We CAN save our precious wild horses IF we work together!

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Wild Horses: The Adobe Town Wild Horses in Prison

One of the stallion pens
On Friday, I went to the BLM’s wild horse and burro facility at the  East Cañon Correctional Complex near Cañon City, Colorado. I was there to visit and to photograph the 1000 wild horses from Adobe Town and the 170 horses from Salt Wells Creek that were rounded up in October and November. These horses are in jail, separated from their families, their homes, and yet they are innocent of any wrongdoing. They are simply guilty of living on our public lands.

Feeding time for the horses
Cañon City is the largest BLM short term holding facility in the country, and it is a unique situation – the BLM has the help of 55 trained prison inmates to feed, water, care for and train the horses at the facility.  It is a situation that helps both prisoners and horses, and on my tour of the facility I was impressed by the efficiency and quality of care provided for these wild horses.  If these horses have to be in jail, this is the best possible place for them to be. I saw horses in individual pens that had come in thin, and were given a much better chance to get enough food so they could fatten up.  I saw prisoners working with wild horses, getting them ready to be border patrol mounts.  They were being slowly introduced to and led over obstacles on horseback.

The mare pens - mares as far as you can see
And then I was able to see my beloved Adobe Town horses. Pen after pen with horses – mares in one area, stallions in another, and weanlings, yearlings, and mare/foal pairs.  It was when I was standing in front of the fourth pen full of weanlings, and realized that there were hundreds of them, that I was hit by a wave of despair.  How could all of these horses possibly find homes? It is always the youngsters and the trained horses that are best able to be placed in adopted homes, but who was going to take HUNDREDS of youngsters? How could they have removed all of these horses when the adoption market is at its very lowest? How could 55 prisoners possible train all those horses?  It cannot be done. Most of these horses will go to long term holding.

One of the weanling pens - blue tags mean "Wyoming"
The weanlings were the most approachable and the most curious.  I had a few following me as I walked along the fence of their pen.

a curious weanling comes close

One of the weanling pens
The stallions stayed far away, and were extremely flighty still, not yet reconciled to their captivity.  As the feed truck came through with copious amounts of hay, they ran and stampeded, running with fear in their eyes.

Stallions running from the feed truck

The large stallion pen - over 100 horses
Those stallions – I have always had a soft place in my heart for them – so magnificent, some with gorgeous long manes, proud faces, all colors, red roan, many greys, bays, sorrels, and one lone gorgeous cremello.

Grey stallion with long mane
I found the older gray stallion who had put up such a valiant fight at the roundup.  He was in a big pen with many other gray stallions, so it was only the distinctive hoof- shaped scars that had him stand out in the crowd.
Older grey stallion
I looked in vain for the red roan stallion who had waited for and called for his family – and hope that he was released.  I did see his pinto palomino mare in the mare pen.

Pinto palomino mare that was with the red roan stallion
The stallions have not yet been gelded – that will happen in February. The horses have not been sorted yet by age, so there are young and old faces together in the mare and stallion pens.

Grey mare and foal

Mare and foal in the pairs pen
When I approached the mare/foal pair pens the mares were protective and kept their babies far from us.  But when we drove through the mare pens, the mares did not seem disturbed, in fact a couple of young mares came right up to the truck, curiously looking at us.  We discovered a newborn foal in one of the mare pens – a bit of hope here for the future!

Newborn foal!

The weanlings - "pick me!"
I spent quite a bit of time with the weanlings, taking photos as I know they will be the most easily adoptable.

I also was glad (and sad) to see that pale palomino colt with dark legs was indeed the one I had followed in the wild, with his gorgeous sorrel father, who I believe was released.  I had decided that I would adopt him, and bring him home to my herd of two other mustangs.  It seems like such a drop in the bucket- there were 8 other horses adopted that day.  I wanted to take them all, put them in a sanctuary where they would be free to live out their lives with their families………….maybe someday I can do that.
Two weanlings
Until then, I am getting the word out about the next adoption in Cañon City – Friday, December 17th.  They are offering an unprecedented free delivery within 150 miles. Contact the BLM if you are interested in attending and adopting, and want to have a wild horse for the holidays like I do. Here is a link to my photos of many horses there:

Two stallions
There was no way in one day to do justice to all of them, but you can see how beautiful they are, and larger in size than horses in many other herds.  This herd has been blood tested and found to have a high percentage of Spanish blood in them. Steve Mantle, who has probably trained more of these wild horses for the BLM than just about anyone else says the Adobe Town horses are his favorite to work with.  Please spread the word.

About Carol Walker

Carol’s images illuminate the relationship between horses and their people, as well as showcasing the beauty of horses at liberty.

Read more at www.wildhoofbeats.com

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  1. They are all so beautiful This is such a tragedy. Unfortunately, I see no end in sight for these horses. I'm wondering if the powers that be in Washington even know or care what's going on.

  2. I think what advocates have to do is, working together, get all the horses onto sanctuaries as we're trying to do with these. There are quite a few sanctuaries and people acquiring land as we speak. Hopefully, we can save these for now.

    There are lawsuits - including the one Grass Roots Horse is sponsoring - and others. The government is not going to do anything, except POSSIBLY defund the BLM. These new Republicans should be happy to do THAT!

    It's really not as bleak as it might be, but I think the horses' time on PUBLIC LAND is running out. If we work together, we CAN give many of them a good life though. And, on sanctuaries they will be SAFE - something that will never happen on public land. Unfortunately, the powers that be in DC DO know what's going on, and they aren't going to lift a finger to stop it.

    This is about FAR more than horses. It's about our own Department of the Interior selling water, mining, etc. rights out from under Americans so companies in the Middle East and China can destroy our West in the quest for minerals. It's frightening enough for me in Indiana. If I lived in Nevada especially, I'd be fighting with all my might. Unfortunately, they are so far behind the times, they don't even realize that the horses and their advocates are NOT the enemy.


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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra