Gelding an older stallion is dangerous and less than ideal. However, once an older mustang is removed from the range, there are no good options. These horses are not good candidates for transition to domestic life. Mustangs who lived for more than two decades wild and free often spend their final days and years in feedlot pens and holding pastures. Some die from traumatic injury or other stress-inflicted disorders. Some just give up, stop eating and waste away. Others, like Grulla #3907, die from complications of gelding. This is the reality of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program, and #3907 has given the world a tragic glimpse into it.
The medical reason given for his death is "heart attack." But his rescuer, who has devoted the last five months of her life to saving him, believes the real reason was something else:
"I have watched this magnificent mustang in holding over the past five months. We all have seen his sadness in the photos I've shared. He lost his freedom, his family; and then, his two best friends were adopted and taken away a few weeks ago. If you ask me, he died of a broken heart."