Saturday, October 24, 2009

Onaqui Wild Mustang herd

This is a guest post from my friend Gene Praag. Gene graciously acted as my guide to observe and photograph the Onaqui herd last June. This experience touched my heart and became the inspiration for my latest series of paintings, "Among the Mustangs". Please take the time to read Gene's post, and visit his link to see the amazing shots he has gotten of this herd during the past several years.

Update On The Wild Horses!

Today I went to the BLM wild horse and burro center to see the Onaqui herd. I saw a lot of horses I recognized in the wild, they rounded up a total of about 200 horses. This includes the General, the paints, the roans, Praire Roses grays, and my favorite Marv. The BLM has informed me out of the 200 horses only 25 will be returned. All the females will have a two year contraceptive shot and the BLM assured me that in three years there will be 200 horses out there again. The BLM informed me that the horses that they could not capture during the roundup have been scattered approximately within 100 square miles and it will take them 3 months for them to band together again. They also informed me that the amount of horses in this horse management area which consists of 48,000 acres isonly 200 horses. I talked with three different BLM officials and could not a consistent answer of why they were rounded up. They told me the horses that don’t get adopted will be shipped to Oklahoma to live their lives in a beautiful green pasture with flowing rivers. He told me with conviction that a healthy horse in never euthanized. He told me that this is totally against there policy. A policy I am still looking to find! I have taken the time to sign many petitions, contact the local news and sent a letter to the white house and governor's. Please take the time to do the same! On a lighter note as my wife and I were leaving one of the wild horses actually walked up to the fence and let me pet him. It tore my heart out!
This is a picture of one of the numerous corrals the horses are corralled in.


Carol............. said...

Oh, my I love that little Paint!
Thanks for the link to Gene.

Karen McLain said...

Doesn't that just touch the heart? Gene is a wonderful photographer, and has spent so much time with this herd over the past 5 years.

Anonymous said...

I just found out tonight that 'my' mustangs have been rounded up and that only around 25 of the 200-plus will be returned to the desert. I say they are 'my' wild horses because I have spent most of my Saturdays for the last 24 months watching and photographing them. My young son and I have given them all names, watched as young ones have come into the world, witnessed stallions fighting and wounds heal from the battles, and even two horses that had been shot.

This news tonight has made me very sick. I feel as if I will be losing some of my best friends, spending so much time with them has endeared them all to me and my family.

Gene Praag's photos inspired me two years ago to go see the mustangs. My son and I have taken over ten thousand photos of the herd and many of the individual horses. I still get e-mails from all over the the world from people who have seen my images and want to know about them.

I am so glad my son was able to see the wild horses living out in the desert, he too is heartsick.

I wish them well. They are a big part of me.

If you would like to see some of our photos of this herd, please visit

DB Young.

Karen McLain said...

Thank you for your post. I know how deeply these wonderful horses can touch your heart. I believe that there is a way of managing these resources and links to our heritage and identity, in a way that preserves the genetic make-up and the vegetation.