Bonnie Briant enjoys the company of ponies.

Call me old fashioned, but I get really excited when photographers have a cause. Bonnie Briant, who works as both a photographer and designer, recently spent time documenting wild mustang farms. In her ongoing project, we are confronted with the good, bad, and ugly treatment of these animals. Photographing the gruesome conditions of mustangs would have been the easy way out. Instead, Briant makes you care about the animals and works to express each one’s unique personality.

Bonnie was kind enough to describe her project to me. Her text is below.

“I traveled to the American West to photograph the wild mustangs for the first time during the summer of 2007 and truly came face to face with both the disastrous situation they are in and all the efforts being put in to try to save them. I was able to spend time on sanctuaries and rescues, as well as traveling to mustang auctions and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facilities.”

“In 1971, Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act designating 47 million acres of public land to 303 herds, which were to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Since 1971, 111 of these herd areas have been eliminated (approx. 12.5 million acres and 200,000 horses) for slaughter and to make room for privately owned live stock and other development, and more and more herd areas are being targeted for reduction. The number of horses on this land are now a meager 28,000, up against the 6 million private livestock.”

“Even with this already extreme ratio, the BLM still plans to lower populations, through periodic helicopter roundups, which is very traumatic for the horses, often causing panic, injury and frequently separation of herd. The rounded up horses eventually make it to BLM holding facilities where they await adoption, yet these adoptions do not guarantee any sort of future for the horses, with them often going into unsure hands that can lead to slaughter for profit.”

“Even worse, in 2004 Senator C. Burns of Montana slipped a rider into a budget bill, making it legal for the BLM to “dispose” of all horses over the age of 10, or horses who have been unsuccessfully offered for adoption three times. These horses can be sold ‘without limitation’ for as little as one dollar. Slaughter of wild horses was banned in 2006 with in the United States, but not in Mexico or Canada, so the horses are still not protected.”

“There is very little attention being paid to the situation that the horses are in, with many Americans not even knowing that there are wild horses that need protection. The mustang is a symbol of national heritage, an icon of the spirit of the old west and deserves much more, considering all it has done for us.” – Bonnie Briant

Please pass on this post to anyone you think might be interested! If you’d like to contact Bonnie directly about her project, her email is:

Related Links: Return to Freedom, Bonnie Briant

1 Comment


    Bureau of Land Management on Rampage to Destroy Famous Wild Horse Herd
    For Immediate Release August 10, 2009

    Cloud and the wild horses of Montana’s PryorMountains are world famous but fame it appears is not going to protect the herd from a drastic government round up planned to begin September 1st in their spectacular wilderness home.

    There are currently only 190 wild horses (one year and older) living in the PryorMountains. The BLM plans to remove 70 of them, plus foals. According to the foremost equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran, 150-200 adult horses are needed in the herd to ensure their genetic diversity, which is vital to their long term survival.

    These 70 horses would be placed in jeopardy. Any horses over 10 years of age can be bought directly by killer buyers and transported over the Northern border to Canadian slaughterhouses or south into Mexico. Younger horses not adopted would be put into government holding with 33,000 others that the BLM has removed from the wild and has proposed killing because they can no longer afford to feed them.

    BLM cites poor range condition as the reason to remove the horses but abundant snow and rain for the past two and a half years has produced wonderful range conditions according to all who have visited Cloud and his herd. The Agency is not listening to anyone. They want this herd gutted. Nearly all the mares returned to the range would be given an experimental two-year infertility drug, PZP-22.

    This helicopter round up is just one among many that the BLM is trying to complete, perhaps before the Obama Administration can catch up with what is going on.

    The PryorMountain wild horses are descendants of the Lewis and Clark horses who were stolen by the Crow Indians in the early 1800’s. They can be traced further back to the horses brought over with the Spanish Conquistadors in 1500 making them one of the most Spanish of all wild horse herds in North America.

    Please contact The Cloud Foundation for more information,, 719-633-3842

    Great Pictures and a very nice style Barbara Ellen ries


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