The Mystery of “Trooper” – What really happened to this orphan’s mother?

January 11th, 2010 by Nicole Meyer


Trooper the Calico Orphan, courtesy of; W.S. Lamm, Jan. 2, 2010

Several days ago, I wrote the post below about the orphaned foal rounded up in Calico and now housed by himself at the BLM’s Fallon holding facility. The little dark brown/bay colt has since been named “Trooper” by the horse advocates who are monitoring the situation.

Since that posting, Sue Catoor, the BLM helicopter roundup contractor, has stated that Trooper’s mother is not the older mare who was shot by the BLM.

Of course there is no way to verify this information, due to the BLM’s lack of transparency and the agency’s failure to give continuous access for public observers to witness the Calico roundup activities. This restriction directly contradicts the public statements of BLM horse program chief Don Glenn that “All of our gathers are open to the public; the public is invited to come and watch all the time.”

ue Catoor says this is the older mare "euthanized" by rifle on December 28, 2009

If true, Ms. Catoor’s claims beg the question: if this mare is not little Trooper’s mother, then who is and what happened to her? How did this little foal end up by himself, held alone in a pen, without his mother or another horse to give him comfort or shelter from the biting Northern Nevada cold? And why didn’t the BLM allow the elder mare, who reportedly had a yearling with her, the opportunity to be adopted by horse rescue groups, instead of being terrorized and traumatized in a helicopter stampede before being shot in the head in what BLM calls a “mercy” killing.

Stay tuned as we try to unravel this mystery as well as the true story behind this brutal winter roundup of the beautiful Calico Mountain horses.

UPDATE ON ORPHANED FOAL from Jan. 8, 2010 :

Sad news on the poor little foal whose mother was shot by the BLM in the first days of the Calico roundup. The agency says it “euthanized her by rifle” because she was in poor body condition, yet horse rescue groups were standing by and would easily have taken this older mare and her foal, thus sparing the little colt the agony of losing his mother.

After being trucked to the Fallon holding site, this baby was placed with two mare/foal pairs. Photos taken by Willis Lamm (see below) show this baby bonding with one of the mares, standing near her for the comfort and security his mom would have provided. Disturbingly, on January 7, the BLM reported that it had separated this foal from the mare/foal pairs. This little horse is now housed by himself in an adjacent pen; with no one to provide him comfort or shelter from the cold.  The BLM says this was for his own good, just as it claims that the brutal helicopter stampedes and capture of these majestic animals is for their own good. The heartless policies continue, but hopefully for this beautiful and innocent foal’s sake, the agency will let Mr. Lamm adopt him and provide him with a good life as soon as possible.

The photo and text below from; W.S. Lamm, Jan. 2, 2010

1/2/10 on-site observation of the new contract horse holding facility in Fallon, NV: Our horse observations started at the mare and foal pen. Two of the youngsters were still nursing and were in with their dams. The orphan foal appeared to have socially bonded with one of the nursing mares and her foal. The first two photos show the orphan foal on the left and the third shows interesting markings on one of the nursing foals.

Update from Willis Lamm, January 7, 2010:

John Neill promised to provide an update on the “Calico orphan.” I received the following report this morning.

Willis, just a quick update on the orphan. He has been gaining strength each day. We did relocate him to an adjacent holding pen next to the pairs in order to provide him more nutrition than he would consume through oat hay. He presently has both oat hay and alfalfa along with BLM formulated pellets for foals. Dr. Sanford and I continue to monitor the health of the animals each day.