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Wild Horse Corrals


9/17/12, Litchfield, CA (Coord. N. 40 deg, 22.168 min.; W. 120 deg. 23.962 min.)

Today was another nice and interesting day as the lads and I crossed another segment of high desert and entered civilization once more.

About 4 miles into the morning trek, I stopped for a break and met a couple of nice people.  The first was a lady who lived on a small ranch in the area, the second was Bob, who also has a ranch in the area. Bob, invited me to spend the evening at a set of corrals he owns just west of the town of Litchfield.

As we drove downhill into the valley of the Susan River, one of the first things I spied were the Wild Horse Corrals for the BLM.  The corrals are a staging area where the BLM brings wild horses and donkeys that are overpopulating their range. From the corrals, the BLM tries to find adoptive homes for these equines.  This program is necessary as wild horse herds left to themselves, will double their population every few years.  If some of the horses arenít removed from the range, they would have a large winter kill due to lack of grazing.

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I actually drove in the facility and took a look around. The wild horses and donkeys are kept in pens in the rear of the facility, with only horses used to work the stock up front.

Unbeknownst to me, the son of my host tonight manages the corrals for the BLM. The herds in the area frequent about 700,000 acres of land.  Recently, a very large fire in Northern California and Nevada burnt up about half of this range, including most of the summer grazing.  This fire was just recently extinguished. The wild horses are currently grazing on their winter range, which has little available water. Tomorrow, my hostís son is taking a reconnaissance flight to try and assess the situation with the wild horse herds, many of which will probably have to be rounded up so that the others can survive.

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Wild donkeys in the foreground and horses in the rear at the BLM corrals.

At lunch, I had a very pleasant chat with a California Highway Patrolman.  State Police and Highway Patrolmen have been extremely helpful on my trip and go out of their way to ensure automobile traffic is driving safely along my route.

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This is Kenny, a nice guy that does a difficult job. He dropped by during lunch to chat and find out about my trip.

Tonight Iím staying with Bob, an ĎOl Cowboy who has a roping arena, located just west of Litchfield.  Bob spent most of his youth cowboying on one ranch or another.

After the grandkids did their chores, to include feeding a good sized herd of cows, they had a chance to meet and ride on my lads.

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In this first picture, you see a couple of happy Ďcowkidsí sitting on Billy. When they wanted to transfer their seat to Doc, there was really only one Cowboy way to do it - They stood up on Bill and stepped over to Doc. I would have filmed this, but I didnít have a third hand.  I had a hold of Bill with my left hand and Doc with my right.

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A train never switched to another set of tracks more efficiently than these kids switched mounts.

Tonight, the lads are happily munching their hay in a large roping arena. 

Tomorrow, I have a stop to make in the City of Susanville. Bobís wife Nancy works for an assisted living home for the elderly.  I promised to swing by with the lads and let the residents meet them.

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Itís nice to have the team in a hard fence at night. When theyíre in the electric playpen, I always sleep with one ear cocked incase I have to jump up in the middle of the night. Letís see, if I put an extra blanket on the bed so the morning chill doesnít wake me, I might be able to sleep in a little?