Cruel Pursuits by Arla M. Ruggles

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From my place of concealment among the pinon trees, I had a view of pilot actions not soon to be forgotten. His unrelenting assaults on each band seemed intentionally brutal, as he pursued stallions, mares, and foals back and forth across the brushy desert before driving them into the traps.

This band was run for at least ten miles before escaping at the mouth of the jute trap. Another few miles saw them into the trees, and the day’s activities were called off, for the pilot’s complaint that the trap was not set up properly.

Butte Valley, NV

**Wild Horses, Mustangs, And Other Non-Domestic Equines
NEVADA: The Silver State

Canon 550D EOS
Canon 400mm + 1.4 teleconverter


wild horses, mustangs, roundup, blm, helicopter, documentary

Great Basin Life exists … between … high desert expanses and majestic mountain wilderness.

Daily, I watch the winds of change sweeping away what remains of our western culture and heritage, and the land that has produced them.

My mission is to preserve as much as I can, of that which will soon vanish, through my photography.

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  • BasantSoni
    BasantSonialmost 3 years ago

    Fine presentation with movement of running horses…!!

  • Thank you, Basant. At this point in the chase, these horses were nearly exhausted. Between the lasy horse, and the bay horse beneath the tail of the helo, you can barely see the head of a foal, struggling to keep up.

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • shortshooter-Al
    shortshooter-Alalmost 3 years ago

    It must be a nasty business Arla. I hope you gradually beat these roundup guys.

  • Yes, Al – It is truly horrible to watch the torments these horses are subjected to. THIS time, we had more people. Enough to watch from different places, and in places that the BLM did not know about. Now, they were not able to regulate what observers were allowed to see – and what we saw was documented abuse, in violation of the laws of Nevada.

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • ducilla
    ducillaalmost 3 years ago
    You can give yourself and ALL of the volunteers a huge THANKS!!! From a native Nevadian that thinks this practice is despicable and without cause. Your tireless efforts are to be rewarded at some point.Perhaps this current judge will shut them down?…Thank you Arla…dennis
  • Thank you, Dennis! We learned many things in ten days. Paramount: One observer is virtually useless. This effort is going to require manpower. PHOTOGRAPHER power! One day, we were able to install two shooters at the trap – one shooting stills, the other on video. At times, thet were able to engage BLM in conversations that will be exposed. Meanwhile, two photographers set up on a knoll where they had a good view of the steep mountain where the pilot was flushing out wild bands. Simultaneously, I was on 500x telephoto with a videographer, at a place on the hillside opposite and a couple of miles north of the first team. We were able to document the unbelievable course of the chase. Being outside the perimeters of the trap site, we made no effort to conceal our presence …. and the Sun J broke trap very quickly at the end of this “run”.

    NEXT time, we’ll have a better idea how to set up this observation system.

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Lynn Bawden
    Lynn Bawdenalmost 3 years ago

    So important to let the public know what’s happening to these beautiful Mustangs. This photo shows it! Congratulations, Arla~Lynn

  • Thank you, Lynn. For the first time, I feel encouraged that we are making progress toward reform, and an end to this cruel process.

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Corri Gryting Gutzman
  • teresalynwillis
    teresalynwillisover 2 years ago

    this is a truly GREAT photo Arla, as much as I HATE IT!

  • Definitely worth a night spent in the dirt to get into that location undetected.
    This practice needs to STOP.

    – Arla M. Ruggles

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