Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keep The Mustang Wild

The other day we drove out to the wild mustang management area located only a few miles from where we live.
The weather was warm, had been very sunny all day, but on this early evening the weather was becoming increasingly unsettled.
A link to the BLM site describing the program:
 According to a tourist publication that I picked up on the area:

A wild horse is defined by federal law, is an unbranded, unclaimed, free roaming horse found on public lands in the United States.  Wild horses and burros are descendants of animals that were released or escaped from Spanish explorers, ranchers, miners, the US Cavalry, and American Indians.

One of the programs managed by the BLM under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, is the Wild Horse and Burro Act.  The BLM's primary responsibilities are to preserve and protect wild horses and burros and to manage for healthy rangelands.  When an overpopulation of wild horses and burros exists on the range, the excess animals are removed and offered to the general public for adoption.
As we pulled onto BLM land and slowly drove down the newly graveled road LC and I looked up at the sky and were amazed by what we saw.
There were still large patches of blue sky throughout the region but as we looked around us we also counted five rain storms scattered throughout the region.
Incredibly isolated, most of them gradually making their way up and over different mountain ranges and dropping down into the basin.
And most of them traveling very quickly along the plains.
I remember living in Toronto Ontario in Canada way-back-when in some other life that I don't even recognize as mine now.
It was the middle of summer, I was young and thin and running while listening to a Top Gun tape that was playing in my heavy personal tape player that I had clipped to my shorts.
I was up on top of a small hill and could look out over a major swath of this disgustingly large city that I hated living in so much.
As I looked out over this clean and friendly but oh so huge metropolis I could see a large band of rain methodically working its way in my direction.
I stood in the warmth and sunshine watching it come my way.  
Stood there so long mesmerized by its travel, watching it as if it almost had a mind of its own.
An actual intelligence.  A will.
Watched it until it finally and inevitably arrived, and then I ran home in the pouring rain.
Running on a highway to the danger zone..............
With the thousands of acres these wonderful and free animals have to roam we had no idea if we would actually find them or not.
Within only 10 minutes of pulling off the highway and wandering down the gravel road newly regraveled for the benefit of summer tourists we found them.
They were at the far end of a large pasture.
All colors adult and young.
Relaxed, beautiful, unstressed, quietly grazing, free................
Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Click again to enlarge even more..............
We pulled off the BLM road and parked the truck, climbed out, grabbed for the binoculars and spent a long time watching these very beautiful animals.
This horse was separated from the rest of the herd, all of whom were wandering easily from one small group to the next.
We watched the black horse wondering and speculating why he/she was separate.
Our best guesses at first were either pregnant horse with impending delivery or a sick or injured animal.
For a long time the animal simply stood in one place - neither eating or walking or even looking around.
And then finally it began to walk and easily graze, and as it turned side ways and we had a good look at this horse we realized that it was the stallion.
The healthy and watchful leader of the herd.............
For the longest time we were very intent of the black horse.
So intent in fact that neither of us even noticed the other horse up on the ridge until after I downloaded these pictures...............
Sun and cloud and bands of rain all around us..........
In all we must have seen forty horses.
They were spread out in small groups all over the pasture...........
After spending a very long time in one place watching these animals walk and graze and run and bond we followed a mustang tour van down a double track dirt road.
We had been concerned about getting too close and disrupting or stressing these animals but when the tour bus veered so did we.
After a couple of minutes the van pulled over to the side and a handful of excited tourists climbed out.
We continued further, pulled the truck over and watched these horses until the rain finally hit............
It was getting late in the day, some of the rain storms had passed us by.
We were eventually hit hard by one rain storm, made a run for the truck and slowly began our drive back to the highway.
Surprisingly the hard rain lasted all of two minutes and blew by us almost before we knew we had been hit.
A rainbow took its place in the wildly unsettled sky..........
And then two rainbows...............
I took a good number of pictures over the space of the couple of hours that we spent on BLM land the other day.
We will definitely visit again soon.
With luck they may be closer to the road next time.  If not, that is OK too.
They are wonderful animals.

Wild Horses
by Susan Kosicki

The beauty and grace of horses so free,
to watch and to wonder how great it would be.
through the great mountains, across the white sand.
In the wind they will run from dangers that come,
wild horses they are until death of the sun.

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