What's New: Onaqui wild horses

All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Onaqui wild horses’

Stargazer’s story


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

My name is Melissa and I just joined AWHC as their new Deputy Director. I’m reaching out today to share my story about why I’m all in on the fight to protect America’s wild horses and burros.

I’ve always been a photographer at heart. As a passionate advocate for animal protection, I’ve been behind the lens — as the owner of RJStein Photography — to bring awareness to the plight of wild mustangs.

My journey began in 2018, when I attended a photography workshop in Utah with the beloved Onaqui wild horses. I’ll never forget the moment — first I saw the dust clouds on the horizon, then I heard their hooves from afar. All of a sudden dozens of the most magnificent wild horses crested the hill and I was able to capture every stunning moment through the lens of my camera. It was truly life changing.

When I looked at my photos, I was awestruck by a beautiful dun pinto stallion who was known as Stargazer. He was living as a bachelor back then, and hadn’t yet started his family. I was in love. I continued to go to Onaqui over the next several years to visit with Stargazer and was delighted when he finally found his first and only mare — a beautiful grey mustang named Northstar, or Nora for short.

In 2021, the BLM’s helicopters descended on the Onaqui wild horses, and Stargazer was captured. This once brave stallion looked so lost and confused. Not only that, but he was without Nora.

At that moment — looking at the photos of him being rounded up still makes me cry — I was determined to reunite him with Nora so their story could continue on. I refused to allow their bond to be destroyed by the BLM. My husband and I adopted the pair so that they could live happily together on our farm — the next best thing to being wild and free. It is so special to know that they can never be torn apart again.

Photo credit: Darlene Smith Photography

I wanted to share this story because it’s a critical part of why I joined AWHC — it is the largest grassroots organization in the U.S. doing real, meaningful work to protect our cherished wild horses and burros.

So if you can, please consider making a donation today to support AWHC’s efforts in the field, on the Hill, and in the courts to protect more wild horses and burros like Stargazer and Nora!

We couldn’t do this without you,

Melissa Tritinger
Deputy Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Melissa with Stargazer on her farm.

Help us enact lasting change for wild horses and burros


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

The roundup of the beloved wild horses from the Onaqui Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah has officially ended. In total, 435 mustangs were captured, and there was one death of a young mare who suffered a severely broken leg after she was likely kicked in the chaos of the trap.

Approximately 135 Onaqui horses will be released back into the wild and our friends at the Onaqui Catalogue Foundation are using their comprehensive database of the Onaqui herd to assist the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in making the best decisions possible about which horses to return based on thoughtful criteria like keeping family bands together.

We are devastated, heartbroken, but more importantly we are fired up to fight harder than ever. The unnecessary mass roundup of most of the Onaqui wild horses has launched a rallying cry for true change. 


For 50 years, the BLM has all but ignored the will of the American people who want humane management of our Western herds. It has flipped the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act on its head, and instead of protecting these animals from “capture, harassment, and death,” its outdated management practices actively harm these beloved animals. What’s worse — Congress has granted the agency more than $100 million dollars to continue on with this woefully mismanaged program with no restrictions to prevent the BLM from using the funds to roundup more horses without implementing real change. 

But we have an opportunity to change course during the next federal budget cycle. In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to pass Fiscal Year 22 appropriations legislation that includes language, championed by AWHC and U.S Representatives Dina Titus, Steve Cohen, and Mark Pocan, to require the BLM to allocate at least $11 million to implement humane fertility control as a step toward eliminating cruel roundups and evaluate relocating these federally protected animals as an alternative to their removal from the range. Very soon, the Senate Appropriations Committee will also consider this protective language.

Time is of the essence. Join us in a day of action for the Onaqui wild horses who lost their freedom, for Velma Johnston, aka “Wild Horse Annie,” whose work contributed to federal wild horse protection 50 years ago, and for the millions of Americans who want wild horses and burros to be protected and preserved on our public lands for generations to come.


  1. Click here to send an email to your Senators today. Then, follow up the email with a call.
  2. Download this graphic and upload it to the Interior Department and the White House Facebook pages.
  3. Click here to send an automated Tweet to President Biden and Secretary Haaland.

Let’s harness the outrage over the roundup of the Onaqui wild horses to make lasting change today!


Thank you for standing with us and with wild horses,

Suzanne Roy
Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

ACT NOW>> How you can help us reform the roundup-and-stockpile system


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Late last night, advocates around the world waited with bated breath as we learned that the roundup of the beloved wild horses of the Onaqui Herd Management Area (HMA) had been postponed for another day. This was the second time in five days that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) postponed the roundup because of a pending federal court decision.

This morning, a federal judge denied an animal rights groups’ motion for an injunction to stop the roundup. The BLM then announced that the roundup will begin tomorrow.

Our work to reform the costly and cruel wild horse program doesn’t stop here, however. Can you sign our petition to the Biden Administration calling for meaningful reform to keep wild horses and burros in the wild where they belong?




Collectively, wild horse organizations threw everything we had at the effort to halt this roundup. 

AWHC launched SaveOnaqui.com to mobilize our grassroots army, which resulted in thousands of messages sent to both Congress and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. We garnered 50,000 petition signatures and hand-delivered them to the U.S. Department of the Interior. We worked with actress Katherine Heigl on developing and delivering letters to Congress. We held a virtual rally attended by hundreds of people around the world. And, we worked with our friends at Western Watersheds Project to develop a detailed, scientifically-based proposa for long-term management of the Onaqui wild horses, which was reviewed at the highest levels of the BLM.

We want you to know that while we did not stop this roundup, our collective voices have been heard. The BLM understands the high public interest in protecting this herd and has committed to working on a collaborative plan to humanely and sustainably manage the iconic Onaqui horses and protect the public’s interest in viewing them.

This morning, AWHC’s Field Correspondent Kimerlee Curyl was with the Onaqui herd documenting what will likely be the last moments of freedom for many of these cherished mustangs.



These heartbreaking images only strengthen our resolve, but not just to ensure that this is the last helicopter roundup that ever takes place in the Onaqui HMA. We’re also working nonstop to reform the entire roundup-and-stockpile system that is leading to slaughter for far too many of these cherished animals.

Thanks to the many photographs who follow this herd, we know the Onaqui wild horses as individuals and families, and the prospect of their roundup is painful. But the reality is that all wild horses and burros are individuals who love their freedom and their families and suffer under the current federal management program.

Our work will not stop until we ensure that all wild horse populations are managed humanely in the wild, where they belong. Please support this work by signing and sharing our petition to the Biden Administration calling for meaningful reform to keep wild horses and burros wild.



Stay wild,
The AWHC Team
P.S. — We’ll be on the ground to witness and document the removal of the Onaqui wild horses. Be sure to stay up to date on our social media channels for the latest: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Katherine Heigl joins the fight to save the Onaqui wild horses!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

The Onaqui wild horses of the West Desert in Utah just gained a powerful voice in the battle to save the iconic herd from a brutal helicopter roundup planned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this summer. What’s at stake: the fate of 300 of the 500 Onaqui wild horses targeted for removal by the BLM. 

Actress Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), is using her platform to join AWHC in speaking out for this beloved herd, known for its striking colors, unique social dynamics, and acclimation to photographers and other visitors from all over the world. 

We’re grateful to Katherine for tweeting out a link to our website, saveonaqui.com, spreading the word about the plight of these cherished mustangs and ways to join the fight to save them!

A growing chorus of celebrities and activists is speaking out against the BLM’s inhumane mass roundup and removal of thousands of wild horses and burros every year from the public lands they call home. As was revealed by our investigation and confirmed by a New York Times exposé — far too many captured wild horses and burros are adopted then dumped at slaughter auctions across the country.

Katherine makes a great point: 
Why are we spending so much time and money to round up the Onaqui wild horses, separating their family groups, terrorizing or even killing them, when there is already a humane fertility control program in place to control the population? 

The Onaqui roundup is scheduled to start on July 12th. Please take action now to help us stop it: Visit saveonaqui.com to learn how you can protect the Onaqui wild horses today!

Here are a few ways you can help right now:

Thank you for joining us in speaking up for the Onaqui wild horses,

American Wild Horse Campaign

Young horse lovers, get excited!!!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Young horse lovers can get excited! A new trailer for the upcoming movie, Spirit Untamed has just been released, including Taylor Swift’s re-recorded song, “Wildest Dreams.”

In the movie, a girl and her new friends must save a wild herd of mustangs from rustlers. That sounds a lot like what the American Wild Horse Campaign is working on!

Click here to check out the new trailer for Spirit Untamed and consider making a donation to support our work in the fields, in the courts and on the Hill to protect wild horses and burros.

This movie provides a great opportunity to not only inspire a new generation of young horse lovers, but it also speaks to the very important issue of protecting wild horses.

In fact, right now, the Bureau of Land Management is planning to round up and remove hundreds of Onaqui wild horses from the West Desert in Utah. We are putting together an action plan to protect this beloved herd and preserve their freedom, but we need your help.

If you’re like the young person in the Spirit movie and you care about protecting wild horses, then please click here to watch the trailer and then donate $30 to our cause.

Thank you,

Suzanne Roy

Executive Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

Thrilled about Secretary Deb Haaland’s historic confirmation!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Here at the American Wild Horse Campaign, we are thrilled about the news that Deb Haaland has been confirmed by the Senate to be the next U.S. Interior Secretary.

This is a critical role for not only the management of America’s wild horses and burros, but also their ability to roam freely and stay wild.

We applaud this historic nomination and look forward to Secretary Haaland’s inspired leadership in the fight to protect America’s public lands and wildlife. She has long been a champion for reforming the mismanaged federal wild horse and burro program, and we look forward to working with her to implement sensible solutions to humanely manage these majestic animals — which 80% of Americans want to protect.

Will you donate $25 to keep the good news for wild horses coming?


This is a HUGE victory for wild horses. The American Wild Horse Campaign successfully launched a grassroots push, which resulted in over 5,000 letters sent to Senators all across the country in support of Deb Haaland’s confirmation.

Now we have a wild horse-friendly Secretary of the Interior who we will work with to put the brakes on the BLM’s plans for mass roundups and inhumane sterilization of wild horses.

The work has just begun and Secretary Haaland will need our unwavering support to overcome opposition to reforming the BLM’s mismanaged wild horse and burro program.

The stakes are high. Right now, the beloved Onaqui wild horses of the West Desert in Utah are scheduled for roundup and removal starting July 1. The Bureau of Land Management is still planning to conduct brutal sterilization procedures on captive wild mares from the Confusion HMA in Utah. And Congress has begun its annual Appropriations process and is considering funding for the BLM’s inhumane Wild Horse and Burro Program.

We are counting on your help to stay in the field, in the courts, and on the Hill to protect wild horses and burros! Will you donate $25 or as much as you can today?

Thank you,
Grace Kuhn

Communications Director
American Wild Horse Campaign

We delivered your signatures to BLM


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

We wanted to let you know that on Friday, April 5 we had an incredible turnout at a rally at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state office in Salt Lake City to stop the roundup of Utah’s Onaqui wild horses. 

People from all over the country – including New York, Florida, Tennesse, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and California – joined a fabulous group of Utahns to be a voice for these horses. Watch a video of the rally below!

After the rally, AWHC and our coalition partner, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, delivered 100,000 of your signatures and met with top BLM Utah officials about collaborating for the humane management of the Onaqui wild horses.

The BLM is to be commended for its work to develop existing fertility control program there (in conjunction with Wild Horses of America Foundation) and its openness to collaborating with our groups to further expand the program as a humane alternative to large-scale roundups from this Herd Management Area (HMA).

The meeting opened a positive dialogue between our groups and the BLM, and we plan to meet again with the Utah officials in 1-2 weeks to further discuss how we can collaborate for the benefit of the beloved Onaqui wild horses.

Thank you for taking the time to sign our petition. You have made a difference!

The AWHC Team


Reminder: #SaveOnaqui Day of Action TODAY!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:




Today is the day we put a stop to the BLM rounding up 80% of the famous and beloved Onaqui wild horses in Utah.

Help #SaveOnaqui today by sharing your support online! Take one (or all!) of the following easy actions, and help make a huge impact for the Onaqui wild horse herd.


You can also take it one step further, and make the phones ring! Call BLM Utah, (801) 539-4001 and BLM National, (202) 208-4896 – and let them know why you’re against the government rounding up 80% of the beloved Onaqui herd.

Here’s a sample script:

I am calling to urge the BLM to cancel the Onaqui wild horse roundup and expand the existing PZP fertility control program instead. This will save taxpayers millions of dollars and will allow these cherished horses to stay free with their families. Thank you.

Remember to follow our Facebook page today for the latest updates on our rally at the BLM’s Salt Lake City office.



TOMORROW: Onaqui day of action!


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Tomorrow is our rally to save the Onaqui wild horse herd. You can participate ONLINE!

Tomorrow is our day of action to save the Onaqui wild horses. Join us – in person or from afar! – as we protest the BLM’s cruel plans to round up 80% of this beloved herd.

Here are all the ways you can take action (and get #SaveOnaqui trending!)

Share our images with #SaveOnaqui on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve put together some beautiful graphics of the Onaqui horses free on the range – simply download and share! Let’s create a storm!

Tweet at leaders with #SaveOnaqui, to help us raise awareness and send a message! Let them know you’re fighting their plans to destroy the Onaqui herd.

Post on the Interior Department’s Facebook page to let them know you’re fighting to preserve the Onaqui wild horse herd.

Add the #SaveOnaqui Facebook frame to your profile picture. It’s a simple way to raise awareness within your networks and encourage other supporters!

Make the phones ring! Call BLM Utah, (801) 539-4001 and BLM National, (202) 208-4896.

I am calling to urge you to urge the BLM to cancel the Onaqui wild horse roundup and expand the existing PZP fertility control program instead. This will save taxpayers millions of dollars and will allow these cherished horses to stay free with their families. Thank you.

Follow along on our Facebook page tomorrow, and share #SaveOnaqui posts as we hold a rally and press conference at the BLM’s Salt Lake City office. The rally starts at 11:00 AM MT, to urge the BLM to forgo the removal of the beloved Onaqui wild horses and instead work with advocates to expand the fertility control program as an alternative to cruel removals from the range.

Rally to #SaveOnaqui
Friday, April 5, 2019 @ 11:00 AM MT
440 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT


Together, we have the power to change the BLM’s cruel plan to destroy the wild Onaqui herd – but we need all of our supporters to tune in and make noise! Join us tomorrow, and make sure one of America’s most famous herds is left to live free for another day.



All the ways you can help #SaveOnaqui


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

This is the most important week in our campaign to save the famed wild horses of Onaqui in Utah.

We’ve got a lot going on – and we need your support. Whether it’s on the ground in Utah or from afar, every action you can take this week will make a difference.

  • Friday is our rally at the BLM office in Salt Lake City, UT. Please join us as we protest the round-up of 80% of one of the most famous wild horse herds in America, and tell the BLM that their plan of action is unacceptable.
  • Our petition to save the Onaqui herd has gathered almost 97,000 signatures, and counting! Help us hit 100k! Please share with your networks, as we need as many signatures as possible! 
  • Also on Friday, we’ll be holding a Digital Sit-in to #SaveOnaqui. Support the movement by sharing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the #SaveOnaqui hashtag. More on this later.
  • You can help show your support for the Onaqui wild horses by purchasing our Onaqui Apparel, proceeds of which will go directly to saving the Onaqui herd.

A majority of Americans oppose rounding up wild horses and using taxpayer money to put them in holding pens for life. And while the BLM has come after so many of America’s wild herds, the Onaqui wild horses hold a special place in our nation’s hearts.

As one of the most viewed wild horse herds, they not only offer a unique opportunity for people to witness the magic of horses roaming free in the wild, they also contribute to the local community by bringing in thousands of tourists every year.

Make a donation this week to support our efforts to Save Onaqui.

Thank you,


PS – Keep an eye out for an email this week with more information on our rally and digital sit-in to #SaveOnaqui happening Friday.


Tales of Onaqui


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Kimerlee Curyl is a renowned fine art photographer who has been working amongst the Onaqui wild horses since 2009. She is one of many artists who has come to know the herd very well, in a place that now feels like home.

We can’t let these beautiful horses, who have roamed Utah since the 1800s, lose their families and their homes in a BLM roundup.

Chip in now to help us rally the public and political support needed to fight the BLM’s cruel plan for the famed Onaqui horses.

Photo by Kimerlee Curyl

Kimerlee explains just how important these horses are:

“My first journey to the area was in 2009. While numerous visits have followed, I will never forget the magic and mystery of that initial trip. The Onaqui horses have called the historic Pony Express Trail in Utah home for generations. To remove them from this territory – one they once helped man traverse in the name of special interest – is a betrayal to our past, especially when access to cost-effective solutions have been offered and declined by the BLM. They are woven into the fabric of this landscape and deserve solutions to be expanded upon. They deserve to be here.”

Photographers like Kimerlee come from all over the world to visit and photograph these wild horses. But in a few short months, 80% of the herd could be gone forever.

Donate now, and help us work to save the Onaqui wild horses.

Thank you,



Join us! A rally to save the Onaqui wild horses


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

On Friday, April 5, we’re holding a rally in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah at the BLM State Office to save the Onaqui wild horses. We need a huge showing to make sure the BLM hears our voices loud and clear – and we hope you’ll join us in taking a stand against the BLM’s planned roundup that could wipe out 80% of the herd.

Click here to get more information about our rally on Facebook, and confirm your attendance.

BLM Utah State Office

440 W 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1113

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., April 5, 2019

This rally is our chance to speak up for the beloved Onaqui wild horses – one of the most famous herds in the West that draws thousands of eco-tourists to the area every year. With a great showing of support, we’ll be able to get the attention of the media and generate the national grassroots pressure on the BLM to spare this historic and unique mustang herd.

Help us generate a strong showing for the wild horses to #SaveOnaqui.

On April 5, we’ll be there… will you?

Thank you,


PS — For more information about the Onaqui horses and the BLM’s planned roundup of 80% of the herd, click here.


WATCH: Beyond the ski hills and festivals


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

This week, we launched a campaign to save the Onaqui wild horses in Utah. To truly understand how special these horses are, you have to see them for yourself.

Watch this video about the Onaqui wild horse herd, and share it with your friends to raise awareness of their perilous situation.


The BLM plans to round up 80% of the herd and put them in holding pens for life – because they say the horses are overpopulating the area. But it’s not true and it doesn’t have to be like this. Cattle and sheep grazing consumes the majority of the resources on these public lands, and we have safe and humane solutions to control wild horse populations that the BLM has failed to implement adequately. Instead, millions of dollars in taxpayer money will go toward cruel roundups and confinement.

These horses deserve to be with their families and to roam free in the wild where they belong. This is an incredibly unique, tightly-knit society of horses. We can’t let the government destroy their herd.

These iconic wild horses need all of the teammates and fans they can get right now. Watch and share our video, and help us spread the word to save the Onaqui mustangs.

Thank you for helping save these national treasures. Let’s #SaveOnaqui.

Grace Kuhn, Communications Director