Happy Ending for Foals from 2014 Helicopter Roundup

Published by the Lovell Chronicle on July 10, 2016

By Patti Carpenter

happy ending.jpg

Four foals, dubbed by wild horse advocates as the “Dry Creek quartet,” are now in permanent homes after living under the care of veterinarian Dr. Lisa Jacobson in Northern Colorado since April of 2014.

The foals — individually named by their rescuers as Maestro, Allegro, Cornet and Piccolo — were separated from their mothers during a helicopter roundup by BLM and State officials near Sheep Mountain in late March of 2014.

The BLM advertised the roundup as “estray livestock,” which doesn’t require the public comment or input as it would with wild horses. The heritage of the horses is not clear, but a number of the advocates connected with the Colorado-based organization The Cloud Foundation (TCF), a wild horse advocacy group headed by photographer and documentary filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, said they have seen horses roaming in that area for “many” years. Kathrens suspects, based on their appearance, that they may be descendants of wild mustangs who were known to live in the area in the past. The BLM claims they are domestic horses that were abandoned on BLM land by their owner.

The tip

In March of 2014, wild horse advocate and TCF board member Linda Hanick alerted TCF after the group received an anonymous tip on the group’s Facebook page that the BLM had rounded up a group of horses south of Lovell and taken them to a stockyard in Worland. The tipster said the horses were loaded onto a truck headed for a slaughterhouse in Canada.

Cloud Foundation founder Ginger Kathrens enjoys a moment with “Cornet,” a horse saved from slaughter due to the efforts of her organization.
photos courtesy The Cloud Foundation

“On March 25th, our Facebook Manager and Board Member, Linda Hanick, called me,” wrote Kathrens on her blog about the rescue. “She has a message on our Cloud the Stallion Facebook page. A person wishing to remain anonymous said that a crowded truckload of mustangs had crossed over the Wyoming border into Montana. The informant said the truck driver was bound for Shelby, Mont.

“When Linda said the word Shelby, my heart dropped. Shelby is the place where horses are held before being transported over the border to Canada and the Alberta slaughterhouse. The informant said the horses were healthy and fat and fresh, meaning they had just been caught. They had come from the Worland Livestock Auction and were going to quarantine in Shelby for 30 days.”

Foals rescued

TCF learned that a kindhearted stockyard owner in Worland, Stacy Newby, spotted the baby horses among the adult horses that she knew were about to be shipped among the other horses to Shelby. Newby insisted that the foals be kept off the truck and eventually convinced the slaughter-buyer to let her have ownership of them. The foals were very young at the time they were separated from their lactating mothers. One foal (Piccolo) was estimated by Jacobson to be only a few days old. The oldest (Allegro) was no more than a few months old.

When TCF and other horse advocates got wind of the fact that Newby had rescued the foals from slaughter, they called to offer their help placing the foals in permanent homes. Newby placed the foals in the custody of TCF. The foals were taken to Jacobson in Colorado, who worked to socialize the young horses and keep them healthy until they were ready for placement.

“After they were 1-year-old, TCF then began a search to find top adopters for these four special babies–with a stringent adoption agreement for the potential adopters,” said Hanick.

Allegro was the first to be placed with a client of Jacobson’s who lived only a few miles away from her practice in Berthoud, Colo. Cornet and Maestro were adopted to a home in Virginia. Piccolo was adopted to another individual who lives near Jacobson. Hanick said Piccolo’s home was a “match made in heaven” because there were three adopted burros in the home and Piccolo had taken a fancy to a burro while staying at Jacobson’s home.

Though the heritage of the young horses still remains unclear, what is clear is a happy ending to their saga.

“All four members of the Dry Creek Quartet have wonderful, carefully screened homes, and this is a great ending to a sad story,” said Hanick. “TCF wants again to thank all the
wonderful people who came together to save these
little babies from that first message about the roundup to the kind woman who kept these babies off the slaughter-bound truck.
And of course, Dr. Lisa Jacobson, who raised them
to be the happy, healthy young horses they are with her expert and nurturing care.”

Kayah Swanson