Roundup Report: The 2021 Onaqui Roundup

The roundup of the beloved Onaqui wild horses began on Tuesday, July 14. 

The roundup contractor is Sampson Livestock, who will deploy helicopters to capture 400 of the estimated 500 wild horses living in the Onaqui HMA. Following the roundup, the estimated population left in the HMA will be approximately 200, which is at the high end of the Allotted Management Level (121-210 horses). The roundup will take place for up to 12 days. Of the 400 horses targeted for capture, 300 will be permanently removed, while 100 (50 mares and 50 stallions) will be selected for release back to the range

The BLM has stated that it aims to capture 50-70 animals per day, will attempt to avoid pushing large numbers of horses into the trap on the same helicopter run, and will call the roundup early, likely by 10 am each day, to avoid the high summer temperatures. 

The BLM has stated that it will have volunteers tracking the location of the famous senior stallion “Old Man” and will attempt to keep the helicopters away from him. The BLM has also agreed to try to avoid capturing several other senior stallions who are also regularly observed alone, away from the main herd. 


July 18, 2021: The Onaqui roundup has concluded with 435 wild horses removed, and 1 death -- a young mare who suffered a severely broken leg from what was likely a kick sustained in the chaos of the trap.

91 horses were brought in this morning in one run, with no deaths reported today. The removal number exceeds the BLM's roundup target of approximately 400 horses. The excess horses are being taken to the holding corrals for genetic testing and will be released with the other 100 captured horses who will be selected for return to the range. 

A huge appreciation to the Onaqui Catalogue for the grueling and extremely difficult work at the trap identifying the horses coming in. This work not only documents the horses who have come off the range and will assist in placing these cherished animals but also will assist the BLM in making the best decisions possible about which horses to return based on thoughtful criteria including keeping family bands together.

Photos by Brian Clopp.

July 17, 2021: In clouds of dust, Day 4 of the Onaqui roundup is over. Per the BLM, 108 horses were captured - 60 stallions, 39 mares and 9 foals, with no deaths reported.

So far 344 horses -- including some of the most famous individuals in the Onaqui herd -- have been removed. 100 horses will be returned to the range. Tomorrow is expected to be the last day of the roundup.

Photos by Brian Clopp

July 16, 2021: Today, 128 wild horses were captured and there was 1 death: a 4-year old bay mare with a BCS 4, fracture to front left pastern, was humanely euthanized in accordance with IM 2015-070. The mare had a low prognosis for recovery.

The BLM caravan left the meetup at 5 AM and there was no briefing this morning. There were quite a few more members of the public on the ground today to observe than the two days prior. 

When we arrived, the majority of the North herd was grazing in the immediate vicinity of the trap site. 

The helicopters took off shortly after arrived. Because of the close proximity of the herd the captured horses weren't stampeded very far. 

Photos by Brian Clopp

July 15, 2021: Today marks the second day of the Onaqui roundup. We left for the caravan at 5 am to head to the trap site which was located approximately 1 mile from the trap site that had no visibility. 94 horses were rounded and removed today during the ongoing Onaqui roundup. The BLM brought in horses from the South herd and the North herd.

A grey mare jumped a 6-foot panel and escaped. From the Onaqui Catalogue Foundation: 

"From speaking with staff at the Bureau of Land Management, we have learned that the difference in gathered vs shipped is due to a mare jumping the panel on the range at the corral. There were no observed injuries on the mare. All 93 horses arrived safely at the holding facility. BLM staff reported that all horses were eating and drinking at the facility. There were no reported deaths."

Photos by Brian Clopp​.

July 14, 2021: Today, approximately 14 wild horses lost their freedom including approximately 4 foals. There were no deaths or injuries reported.


Individual horse photos provided by Onaqui Catalogue

There was great public and press turnout. The observation point for the public was located at the top of a steep hill, but we were not permitted to drive. It very far (approximately 1.5 miles away) from the trap which was hidden from view. It appeared to be extremely dusty and the horses would benefit from having the trap site watered down.

Photos by Brian Clopp.

A LIVE video from Kimerlee Curyl during the first and only run of the day.

Photos coming soon. 

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