Palomino Armstrong is taking the story of her rescued colt, Honey Bandit, to Washington, D.C. in hopes lawmakers will end federal roundups of wild horses across the West after they hear the colt's tale.
Honey Bandit nearly died last September after the Bureau of Land Management rounded up the colt from rangeland east of Susanville in late August.
After the then-2-month old foal's mother quit lactating, other horses in his corral attacked him, kicking and biting him. The tan colt weighed 120 pounds, 55 to 80 pounds lighter than he should have been, when Armstrong adopted him in early September.
Now he's up to 350 pounds and gaining in health every day, but he won't make the 2,700-mile trek with Armstrong.
"He doesn't feel good enough to make the trip right now," Armstrong said.
Armstrong said she's set to spend three days in Washington, D.C., meeting with members of Congress and asking for an end to the BLM roundups.
Armstrong is traveling with Jennifer Gillespie of Redding, who's also a critic of the BLM roundups, and about 10 people from the Cloud Foundation, a group advocating for the preservation of wild horses on public land. Armstrong said she didn't know yet which members of Congress they'll be meeting with.
She and Gillespie are set to fly to the nation's capital Sunday.
The BLM last month rejected a plan to build a more than 500,000-acre wild horse sanctuary in Nevada proposed by Madeleine Pickens, the wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens. It then started another wild horse roundup that continued this week.
Since Jan. 23, the BLM has rounded up nearly 430 horses, one of which was killed after it slipped and broke its pelvis, according to BLM online updates.
Critics say the roundups lead to injury and deaths for too many wild horses, but the BLM argues that they are necessary for population control.
Without the roundups, wild horse and burro herds would double in size every four years, according to the BLM's website.
While acknowledging that wild horses and burros are injured or killed during the helicopter roundups, Tom Gorey, spokesman for the BLM in Washington, D.C., said it's a small fraction of the animals.
He said that in 2010 the BLM rounded up about 10,255 horses and burros and less than ¼ of 1 percent or about 24 died.
"It's not possible in the real world not to have any injuries or any deaths from these gather operations," Gorey said.
About the author
As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.
She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.
Staying up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..