Loading Selected Work...
Menu

Borba-Landia: Where Truth Takes a Holiday

I’ve been spending the past week in Borba-Landia: Where Truth Takes a Holiday for scofflaw trespass rancher Kevin Borba. It started innocently enough. Last Tuesday, July 28 on Hwy 50 in Nevada, I noticed something didn’t geel quite right and wrote about that in the last post. A beat up long yearling that had been pushed out and fenced out.

Little did I know I was about to step into a middle of a range war between a trespass rancher and BLM.

It was late so I found a place to camp and continued on to Battle Mountain the next morning to meet Shawna Richardson, the Wild Horse and Burro Specialist. She had invited me to come find out about the comprehensive contraception she had implemented there. I met Shawna last October at the Great Basin Advisory Committee meeting in Elko. She has nearly twenty years experience managing the BLM wild horses and I’d come to respect not only her passion and commitment, but her transparency.

I’d tried to get here for over a month, but fate had different had plans and my delay put me right in the middle of a rancher/BLM sh*t storm. Made it to Battle Mountain Wed afternoon. One of the angry signs in the empty lot across from the Mount Lewis Field Office said, “Impeach Doug Furtado” the district manager, and other epitaphs. It was disconcerting. I showed Shawna the pics of the colt. She had concerns. The next morning, Thursday, July 30 I drove to the Fish Creek HMA with she and Laura Leigh. Leigh, who has been a thorn in the side of both ranchers and BLM, was now an official volunteer, trained by Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick to dart the contraceptive PZP.  We were to set panels near the southern water source in preparation for possible water trapping and contraception treatment later this year.

When we got there horses were at the road head and Shawna remarked that something did not feel right.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien  Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

We were lucky to have the  fire crew guys to do the heavy lifting. (Woo hoo!) Shawna and Laura changed out the cards in the game cameras and we looped back north to check other water sources.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

We spotted several bands moving toward a marginal water source. They don’t look so bad here on Thursday. Rancher Kevin Borba apparently shadowed us to the place where we set the panels and right after we left  recorded a video, carefully implying the water was his without actually saying so. I pulled the permits and BLM owns two of the three permits for that water. There is a third registered to the previous lease owner. Seems like someone forgot to do their paperwork. Part of the grazing lease agreement is the responsibility of the leasee to maintain water sources. Not only that, on any HMA in Nevada, wild horses have a right to water. Click here: Nevada Water Rights for Wild Horses You can see the Borba video here: Kevin Borba water claim video.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

Here some of the Fish Creek horses go down to a marginal water source. We were soon to discover the reason. A float malfunction on their main water source had caused the water to drain prematurely.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

We immediately drove to Eureka, about 30 minutes away to procure gas for the generator that fills this tank. It’s Thursday, July 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm (date and time taken from the photo metadata) and the water is running. Problem solved, one would think. We won’t know how long the horses were without a good source of water until the game camera photos are analyzed. While we had coverage in Eureka it was discovered that there was “slam the BLM” video on Facebook, linked above, where Mr. Borba implies the southern water is his. Tensions escalated.

Things began to unravel from there. Later Mr. Borba took it upon himself to begin watering horses  at the road and continued to do so, posting inflammatory videos and stirring up an enormous backlash. Click here to view  Borba video 2 This would later snowball in the media sensation around Sarge, the extremely sick horse that became once again, a propaganda pawn. You have to wonder how a busy rancher has so much time to kill.

The storm that brewed over the weekend had hysterical people calling literally, from all over the world. I had put my ass on the line saying that there was water there and was being accused of using old photographs, even though this was the first and only time I’d been here. I felt compelled to drive the 150 miles back down to Fish Creek to make sure for myself. I was warned that Mr. Borba was filming, probably with Protect the Harvest, a right wing, pro rancher coalition and maker of propaganda videos, financed by by Dave Duquette and Lucas Oil, gazillionaire, pro-slaughter rancher and race car aficionado, who have been using Mr. Borba as their poster child. One of the last videos posted by Borba show him expressing his gratitude to Protect the Harvest for the ATV they gave him.

I was warned to be careful. Tensions were running high in Nevada. There was a dispute, similar to the Cliven Bundy issue over the Argenta Allotment. The tension in the air was palpable.

It was dark by the time I got there so I slept in the van.  I woke early and reveled momentarily in the peace of dawn in the desert dawn. When I got to Antelope Rd. this is what I saw.

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

Mr. Borba’s trough was dry and I hoped that he had ceased watering as asked so the horses would return to their regular source. There were no horses visible. I hoped that they had gone back up to their good water.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

Far in the distance I saw a group of eight horses making their way back up in the direction of water.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

Taking their sweet time, grazing as they went. So much for the hysteria on FB with people wanting to bring them food. Plenty of graze out here right now, thank Dog.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

Relieved, I saw that there was plenty of good water.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

And glad to see hoof prints, including a foal’s as well as deer and pronghorn. Something bothered me though. There should have been a lot more action at the trough. It seemed that only 4 or 5 horses had been there. I hoped that Mr. Borba had stopped watering and that the horses that I saw coming this way would show up soon. But they did not.

 

Fish Creek HMA NV - Photo by Kerry O'Brien

I went to Eureka for breakfast and came back in the afternoon. Good water and still no horses. Hmmm… But wait… more videos from Mr. Borba!  Borba video 3

After illegally watering horses for five days, when they had good water waiting for them, and the viral nature of these self promotional propaganda videos there is a massive backlash against BLM for “not doing something.” Shawna Richardson, managing twenty eight Horse Management Areas, and stationed 150 miles away, was catching flack for not being the all seeing eye. Seems Mr. Borba, who is having financial issues with his ranch, saw an opportunity and grabbed it.

For more background on this here are some links:

Horseback Magazine 2/15 gives even-handed background on the Fish Creek Contraceptive program and why it’s important as well as a bit on Borba.

 

I will continue with more details as I have time to post. This is just the half of it.

 

16 Comments

  1. Cindra
    August 5, 2015

    What a mess!

    Reply
  2. Patricia Hayes
    August 6, 2015

    I’ve been watching those video’s, and I voiced a comment to a friend that the horse they were using couldn’t be a wild mustang. You could not walk up and halter a wild mustang, lead him to a trailer and load him as pictured. I can’t believe people are believing any of this!!

    Reply
    • Kerry O'Brien
      August 6, 2015

      Sarge was very sick with multiple infections and injuries from fighting. Additionally he is known to have been handled as a foal or very young horse. When the horses were gathered in February he was very social with human in holding. Now, having even more interaction with people, he will probably be put up for adoption after being treated for his conditions both in Eureka in Palomino Valley where he is being held. But you are right. The whole thing is a crock.

      Reply
    • Mary Adkins-Matthews
      August 6, 2015

      I think the wild horse advocates must be slacking lately to see that there are people out there buying anything that this horse killer has to say!

      Reply
    • Tere
      August 6, 2015

      The horse was badly injured and couldn’t eat properly! Of course is going to be more docile!

      Reply
      • Kerry O'Brien
        August 7, 2015

        There is no mention of a docile or injured horse in this blog. You must be confusing it with some other source.

        Reply
  3. Patty Anderton
    August 6, 2015

    What a mess is right! Thanks for exposing Mr Borba for what his intensions actually are…..and for the giving of your time to set the records straight. A sad day when one involves their kids in such nefarious actions!

    Reply
  4. Margaret
    August 6, 2015

    What a truly ugly storm it’s been. Glad to hear further truth about what’s going on behind the scenes. Laura has been taking unbelievable flak. The kind that would break anyone’s back.

    I’m trying to be polite because this isn’t my site.

    Definitely want to share this out! I hope you don’t mind if I do copy and paste. I of course will ensure I get your name so as to protect your copyright.

    Reply
  5. Margaret
    August 6, 2015

    Slight correction…I saw the fb button share button. Am using that instead!

    Reply
  6. Ann Lee Gyle
    August 6, 2015

    I feel so helpless. Here I sit. I’d like to be helping these poor horses get to their water and get rid of the ranchers but that’s a joke. Money talks and horses don’t have any money………SO SAD!!!

    Reply
  7. Melissa Langlois
    August 6, 2015

    Great write up..I’m currently following a couple FB pages regarding Mr Borda and a small band that’s been trapped on one side of the fence and he’s taken the water source away..unreal..I’m sick and tired of the BLM and these ridiculous ranchers..breaks my heart these horses die at the hands of greedy humans

    Reply
  8. Sarah Buck
    August 6, 2015

    Observing Borba in the video one cannot help but notice the forked tongue …. He doesn’t look at anyone … just glances away. As a wild horse advocate, I am not fooled; and it’s easy to not be fooled by a slithering snake like Borba.

    Reply
    • Kerry O'Brien
      August 7, 2015

      Sarah, I think it’s important to keep things civil. There are two sides and a lot of co-incidence that has unfortunately worked in Borba’s favor and he’s taken full advantage of it.

      Reply
  9. Kelly Taylor
    August 7, 2015

    I watched videos and it was fake concern plain and simple. I commented I didn’t care who’s horse-it looked in need of help. What you have done here is point blank proof and thank you for pictures and specifics! Especially after the race you’re doing for the horses!

    Reply
  10. bantal silikon
    November 9, 2015

    Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style
    seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!
    http://www.marinirseo.web.id

    Reply
    • Kerry O'Brien
      November 9, 2015

      No problem. WordPress.org. Custom Template by Minimal

      Reply

Leave a Reply