PICTURE STORY: Wild Horses of the West - "The Vast Roundup"

Assignment: Louisville Courier-Journal

Published: Louisville Courier-Journal Sunday Magazine

Text and Photos by Tammy Lechner

©Tammy Lechner/STILL Productions/Inc


For decades mustangs have waged a losing battle with ranchers for a share of the Western range. Yet many attain a new lease on life through roundups and adoption programs conducted by the Bureau of Land Management. With Tennessee and Kentucky leading the way as the top adoption states, the BLM staged the beginning of the largest roundups to date in the Spring of 1985 in Wyoming's Red Desert.



A cowboy drags down the burlap, which served as the blind trap leading to the capture corral, while the horses are immediately sprayed with an insect disinfectant. Manes that have gown long from years of running on the range are clipped.
It takes 40 acres of dry, steep and rocky Wyoming range to feed one ranch cow, or one wild horse. Roundups for adoption is the only humane method for dealing with the proliferating mustang population, and lessens the realities of horse hunting and slaughter


At a holding center where the horses remain for several weeks after capture, a veterinarian determines the horse's age by checking it's teeth. Then the horse is tagged with a freeze brand, wormed , vaccinated tested for disease and cataloged. Finally they are shipped to adoption centers across the nation where their fates can vary.

Wild Horses Of the West: The Vast Roundup
Written & photographed by Tammy Lechner©


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