Frisco HMA roundup resumes: Eight Utah wild horses captured

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Above: Wild horses are driven into the trap by a contractor’s helicopter on Thursday at the Frisco HMA. Below: A moment of confusion when the trained Judas horse leading the wild horses in fled the helicopter, the pilot of which was attempting to force a seventh wild horse into the trap. All photos by Steve Paige for RTF.

After being postponed for three days because of high winds and winter weather, the Frisco Horse Management Area helicopter resumed on Thursday with seven wild horses captured.

After driving six wild horses into the trap, the pilot spun back to retrieve one that had split from the group. Then, in a moment of potentially dangerous confusion, the helicopter spooked the Judas horse: a domestic horse trained to lead wild horses into the trap. It leaped through a trap wing, but instead of fleeing went around the outside of the trap and into the pens.

The Bureau of Land Management also reported that a 6-month-old foal followed ranch hands who were removing cattle from the range. BLM officials shipped the foal to the Axtell Contract Off-Range Corrals.

So far, 58 wild horses have been captured since the roundup began on Jan. 6.

BLM plans to capture 150 wild horses, permanently removing 90 from their home range. Some will be returned to the range fitted with radio collars and global positioning system tracking devices as part of a population-control experiment.

Wild horses not returned to the HMA with radio collars are to be made available for adoption, according to BLM. Those not adopted will be sent to long-term holding facilities.

Members of the public interested in viewing the Frisco roundup should call the BLM gather hotline: (801) 539-4050. Participants must provide their own transportation (four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles are recommended), as well as their own water and food. They should wear clothing suitable for harsh winter conditions.

Photos from Jan. 12:

You can help:

Please consider a contribution to the Wild Horse Defense Fund, which makes it possible for RTF 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.

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