Preparation Underway for Wild Horse Gathering
MESA COUNTY, Colo. Preparation is underway for the gathering of wild horses from the Little Book Cliffs Horse Range. Due to favorable conditions and successful fertility control efforts, a gather hasn't been held since 2007. The Bureau of Land Management says while they never want to conduct gathers, it is necessary for the future health of the herds and lands. They've been working closely with the nonprofit organization, Friends of the Mustangs. "I love all horses, don't get me wrong. But once you gain the trust of a Mustang, they'll do anything for you," said Georgia Manus, a member of Friends of the Mustangs. Manus has adopted several wild horses, "Nothing can touch it in my mind, when you get a wild horse and you tame them down and gain their trust." She and other volunteers help the BLM manage wild horses in the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range. Public affairs specialist with the BLM, Christopher Joyner, said, "If we were not doing the management of the herd and just let the herd just grow at will, what you would run into is a scenario of a boom and bust." "Mother nature doesn't always work for us and it's just a necessity we have to do for their sake and the range," said Manus. In February the BLM did an assessment of the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, "Mother nature has a vote in this, the horses have a vote in this. So we knew at a worst case scenario it could be as many as 50 horses," said Joyner. After a recent assessment, they've reduced that number to roughly 15 to 25 horses. Officials will be utilizing a new method to Mesa County to gather them. "We put out bait as far as food, water, hay, to get them to graze in this area and then we will put panels up. Then we will be able to close the gate and pick what we want," Manus said. Officials say the effort will protect future herds and the land, "The BLM does not want to conduct a gather. The ideal situation is natural selection would maintain her numbers," Joyner said. "It's just something I really believe in. It's just good for my soul," said Manus. The bidding for horses removed is scheduled for Sept. 28 at the Mesa County Sherriff's Posse. The public is invited to come see the horses prior to this day.