A three-year-old 'wild horse' was adopted by Carly Acosta of Madera from the Bureau of Land Management. He was born in the Twin Peak horse herd in Lassen County. There the horses roam free. She calls him her rescue horse. For a year now she's painstakingly getting Levi to accept and trust her. "I spent the first three months just doing stuff on the ground with him. I put a saddle on him but I didn't get on him."
While Acosta is glad to have Levi she believes far too many like him are being rounded up needlessly. The Bureau of Land Management disagrees ... the round-ups that began just a week ago at Twin Peaks are necessary and will continue for a month or more. "Our goal is healthy horses on a healthy range ... making sure they have room to roam as well as enough forage and water sources to sustain."
The BLM says the horse herds now number over 2,000 on a range that can sustain just 450. Those who oppose these reductions say it would be unnecessary if cattle grazing here stopped.
"They have 798-thousand acres and they're saying that 2,000 horses is too many to be on the land but you have livestock 30 to 1 on that land."
The BLM is tasked to allow such grazing and says it is limited and seasonal. "We do have limits on how many cattle are allowed to graze as well as where and when."
This horse owner supports the BLM's ongoing efforts to limit herd numbers with contraceptives. But she and others of like mind would rather see this symbol of the west sharing their refuge with native wildlife only. And that is not the Bureau of Land Management's current mandate from Washington.
"That is why occasionally we have to come out and gather up some of the horses," said Erin Curtis with the BLM.