Public tour of Indian Lakes holding facility

Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 4:47 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Tours of the Indian Lake holding facility happen two times a year. That’s because this is private land leased by the Bureau of Land Management and there are liability issues with public tours.

Nevertheless, about a dozen interested parties gathered to take a look at the horses and holding pens here.

The horses have been gathered off the range by the BLM because the land cannot sustain their numbers. Just at this facility alone there are approximately 3700 horses of all shapes and sizes.

Steve Paige with the American Wild Horse Campaign says he’s been on the tour before.

“I think it is important that we can see the horses and see how they are treated and what condition they are actually in,” says Paige.

The horses are separated by gender, age, where they came from, and how long they’ve been here.

They receive a mix of hay which they have access to all day long. There’s water available as well. Most of the stallions and colts will be gelded eventually.

All of the horses receive immunizations. And because they are no longer on the range, their hooves need to be trimmed---that is a full-time job here.

If this seems like a lot of horses---and it is, consider the BLM has implemented a birth control program with some of the horses, which means mares will be released back to the wild.

“Such as the Calico Complex gather that just took place this last month,” says John O’Neill with BLM Nevada Facility Operations. “They are treating 145 of those mares that are currently at Palomino Valley. So, I believe next week they will be applying the vaccine to those animals. And then they have to follow-up with a booster 30 days later. And then those animals will be transported out to the range.”

Most in the group took still pictures or videoed the entire two-hour tour. The tactor pulled us back and forth the 320 acres and its 75 holding pens.

Many in the group are wild horse advocates and take advantage of such tours whenever possible to make sure the horses are treated well.

The BLM says they are happy to show off the facility for complete transparency.

The BLM will be opening another holding facility near Winnemucca which could hold up to 4,000 animals. Public tours will be made available as soon as construction is complete.