The Devil’s Garden gather began October 10th amidst much controversy. The operation was in planning for quite some time. A plan established in 2013 set the appropriate management level of the territory at 206-402 adult wild horses. With a current population estimate of 3,900 horses on the territory, the Forest Service set a wild horse roundup in motion. According to their website, the roundup will reduce impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, grazing, and traditional cultural practices. Reduced herd numbers will allow the grasses to recover and will provide much better habitat for the wild horses that will be allowed to remain on the range. Click here to visit the Forest Service Devil’s Garden wild horse website. Gather reports and resources to help you through the adoption process are available there.
Opponents of the gather claim that the wild horses are being forced off the land by ranchers who desire to claim the rangelands for their cattle. Several Mustang advocacy groups have been very outspoken against the gather. The gather has received a lot of media attention. The main reason for disapproval of the gather is that there is a chance that some of the horses could end up at slaughter facilities. After a lot of confusion generated by some misleading headlines, interns from the Forest Service made a webpage to explain the details of the distribution of the horses after they are rounded up. Of the approximately 1000 horses gathers, around 700 head who are under the age of ten, pregnant mares, or mare and foal pairs will be sent to the BLM Litchfield Corrals near Susanville, California where they will available for adoption through the BLM. Approximately 200 horses all over the age of ten will be held at the brand new Double Devil corrals and will be available for the adoption fee of $125 or sale with limitations for $25. Originally, the older horses were going to be held for 30 days. After so much uproar from organizations and the public, the Forest Service released a statement saying that they had extended the holding period to 90 days. Once the holding period has passed, the older horses will be for sale for $1 each. The Forest Service says that their intentions were for the horses to be affordable to trainers and sanctuaries. Critics of the plan point out that kill buyers would also be eligible to purchase horses that would end up being sent out of the country to slaughter facilities.
Daily updates are available from the Forest Service on the progress of the gather. You can find them on the FS Devil’s Garden site or on the volunteer-run Devil’s Garden Wild Horses Facebook page. So far, a total of 191 horses have been gathered in four days with no injuries.
May 14, 2018 Update From Double Devil Wild Horse Corral Facebook page.
Gather update: 10/14/18
“Gather operations were discontinued for the day due to variable winds before any horses could be gathered. This decision was made for the safety of the horses and gather personnel alike.”
Photos of older Devil’s Garden mares at the Double Devil Corrals in Alturas. These mares will be available for adoption/sale. As you can see, the stallions are in much better condition overall than the mares. A number of mares who were previously captured and then released back to the range in late 2017, were recaptured this week. They have both the BLM freeze brand on their neck and a hip brand indicating they received PZP.
Most of the stallions appear to be in decent health, but some of the mares are significantly underweight. Colors captured so far are bay, chestnut, sorrel with flaxen mane and tail, gray (dapple, steel, and flea-bitten), dark bay, buckskin, black, and bay roan. There is one black mare with a bald face and one blue eye. There hasn’t been any information shared regarding the size of the horses. Devil’s Garden horses are known to contain some draft bloodlines so they are generally stocky. There have been comments released by the wranglers about how calm the herd is. This herd is known for having really good minds. One thing that I’ve noticed from scouring all of the photographs I’ve found posted on the DG Facebook page was their incredibly gorgeous feet. Talk about your perfect Mustang feet! I’ve also noticed that this herd has some really pretty heads.
All of the beautiful photographs you are about to see were taken by Stacy Snow of Photos by Sno. She takes a lot of Mustang photos, on the range as well as in the corrals. She is active on Facebook sites such as Devil’s Garden Wild Horses. Stacy has been such a valuable asset to all of us looking to adopt one of the horses from the Devil’s Garden herd. Thanks to her hard work and incredible talent, we have photos of these beauties! Thank you, Stacy! Be sure to follow her on Instagram so you can see all of her work.
All photos credit Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals Facebook page.
These photos were all found on the DG Facebook page. I will be going to Alturas, CA on October 20th to observe a day of the gather and to take my own photos. Please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram to see the photos. Cell service permitting I will Livestream on Instagram. If all goes according to plan, I will tour the Double Devil corrals on Friday the 19th, and then watch the gather all day on the 20th.
A list of TIP trainers for the Devil’s Garden herd. If you’re not familiar with the TIP program, read about it here.