After a trip to the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area and experiencing the thrill of seeing horses in the wild, we realized there may be others who wish to observe unbound Mustangs. So armed with our cameras, binoculars, maps and 4WD we will venture into these wild and rugged places. Within these electronic pages we will share what is out there… Where The Wild Horses Are… living life naturally. Exploring also some of the places they come to be when removed from these management areas.

The posts contain many photos, click on them to enlarge for more clarity, but please do not copy or reproduce without permission. email us. Thank you for visiting and we hope you enjoy the trip!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Release Day

On March 31, 2011 BLM's Eagle Lake Field Office Public Affairs Specialist, Jeff Fontana, announced they would be releasing a small number of horses, mules and a Jack burro back out to the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area on Wendsday April 6th, 2011.

The release included two stallions at Shinn Ranch Road in the Observation South Home Range and two stallions at Horn Ranch in the Observation North Home Range. 11 mules and one burro were released into the North Twin Peaks Home Range at Buffalo Meadows Ranch near Parsnip Springs. Also released were two mare-foal pairs and two additional pregnant mares into the Skedaddle-Dry Valley Home Range near Telephone Springs. All four mares were treated with the fertility control drug PZP while in foal.

"The mare release will achieve the targeted sex ratio of 60 percent stallions and 40 percent mares in the home range," said Ken Collum, manager of the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office. “The stallions have the saddle horse conformation and size that will maintain the characteristics of the Twin Peaks wild herd. The mules and burro are being released because they are over adoption age. The mules will not contribute to population growth.”

The BLM removed 1,579 wild horses and 160 wild burros from the Twin Peaks HMA in a roundup conducted last August and September.

According to the BLM a three-day helicopter survey was conducted in October 2010 showing there are now about 790 wild horses and 160 wild burros remaining in the HMA, slightly over the upper limit of the appropriate management level of 448-758 horses and 72-116 burros.

An independent areal survey shows numbers far lower.

We made the trip to Litchfield arriving at 8:15 AM  in time to watch the trailer loading. First the mules and burro, then the 4 mares and 2 foals, and finally the 4 stallions.

Loading trailers.
We had to stay outside the perimeter fencing.
The Stallions. More pics of them here.
The Paint mares headed down the ally toward the waiting trailer.
The Dun mare watches.
Dun and Buckskin mares with their foals coming down the ally.
Mares and foals loaded, wranglers checking everything over.
One crew member stated the safety of the foals was his highest concern.
Ready to roll
The Mollie Mules. These eyes belong to her.
Leaving the corrals!

4 trailers, loaded with the lucky ones who were returned to their home land, each headed in a different direction.
We chose to follow along with the mares and foals.

The road into the Skedaddle Range.
The gate comes open and the Dun mare was first to emerge from the trailer.

Closely followed by the Buckskin and both foals.
Seen the day she was captured at Shinn 1 trap site in the Observation North Home Range,
here, here and here
(Note- in the last photo here the young smaller buckskin mare, on the right side of photo,
perished at the corrals on 1/21/2011, she was only three years old.)
They pause looking back for the others who were calling to them from inside the trailer.
Her son that was with her the day of capture... seen here and here

Then out come the Paint mares eager to catch up.

Leaping the sage brush.

With the Buckskin mare leading they made their way up the hill.

They have already stopped to nibble the new spring grasses.
The last glimpse of the baby as they moved to the other side of the hill.
One last look back.

Plentiful new spring growth.

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