A contractor and helicopter pursue a mare on Sunday during the Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area roundup in Utah. Photo by RTF humane observer Steve Paige.


Ninety-nine wild horses were captured on Sunday during the ongoing Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area helicopter roundup — but it was the harrowing escape of one mare that observers are unlikely to forget.

As 18 members of the public looked on, a contractor’s helicopter and horseback rider relentlessly chased down a painted mare that had lagged behind the rest of her band and refused to go into the trap. Once roped, she tumbled to the ground after leaping a barbed-wire fence and escaping with the rope still around her neck (see photos above and below).

No wild horse injuries or deaths were immediately reported. The BLM’s page with gather reports for the Cedar Mountain roundup was not updated as of Monday morning, however.

A total of 128 wild horses have been captured during the first two days of the roundup.

BLM intends to capture 700 wild horses. The agency plans to separate out and permanently remove from their home range 200-300 “adoptable age” wild horses. Those not adopted will be moved to government holding facilities, according to the agency.

The other wild horses captured — including about 200 mares that will be treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine — will be returned to the range.

The 197,275-acre Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, located about 50 miles west of Tooele, Utah, has a BLM-assigned Appropriate Management Level of 190-390 wild horses and a current horse population estimated at 960, according to the agency.

BLM planning documents related to the roundup can be found here.

Cedar Mountain is the fourth helicopter roundup of 2017.

Photos from Feb. 12: 


Cedar Mountain: 29 Utah wild horses captured as BLM begins year’s fourth helicopter roundup, Feb. 12, 2017

BLM to begin capturing 600-plus Cedar Mountain (Utah) wild horses Saturday, Feb. 7, 2017

Bureau of Land Management begins busy season of horse roundups in Utah, Jan. 7, 2017

BLM roundup schedule: Don’t let wild horse captures go unseen, Jan. 5, 2017

BLM approves February western Utah wild horse roundup, Dec. 9, 2016

You can help:

Please consider a contribution to the Wild Horse Defense Fund, which makes it possible for Return to Freedom to have humane observers on the ground at roundups. Having an active voice has proven valuable for holding BLM and contractors accountable for the humane handling of wild horses, pressing for improvements to humane standards, and educating policymakers and the public about how tax dollars are being used.

Viewing the roundup:

Members of the public can view the roundup on BLM-escorted tours departing at 5:30 a.m. MST from the Flying J gas station at 1605 East Saddleback Blvd. in Lake Point, Utah. Information will be updated daily on the BLM’s hotline, (801) 539-4050.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. They should dress for harsh winter weather and know that restrooms are not available after tours begin. Binoculars and four-wheel drive vehicles with a high clearance are strongly recommended.