Day 18 of the Checkerboard Roundup Where Less and Less Horses Stay Free by Carol J. Walker
On the way out to the Checkerboard Area in Adobe Town, we saw a group of horses, several families, that we surprised as we drove by. I knew that they would not be here when we headed back to Rock Springs, and I wished I could tell them to hide as they ran away.
When we were shown our location for observation near the Haystacks, a unique formation of hills, we set up and soon realized that we would see very little – between the distance to the trap and the ridges and sagebrush in the way, we only got quick glimpses very far away.
But we soon became very lucky because there were horses coming down the rock formation! A little family, with a stunning sorrel stallion, his grey mare and her grey look alike filly. They looked down at us, and I realized they were going to come down the steep formation to get away from the helicopter, which was behind the butte.
They started carefully down, the mare and filly first, and the stallion bringing up the rear, guarding his family from danger. When they hit level ground they started to run, and they ran by us, far more concerned about getting away from the helicopter than they were about our presence, as we stood still and watched.
As they disappeared, no helicopters in sight, I found myself rooting for them to get away. “Go, go, go” I think.
Soon afterward, we saw another family coming near our location. There were two mares and foals, one foal was quite small, and a red roan stallion. They were running, but the palomino mare pauses for a minute with her foal and looks at us. I am stunned by their beauty. The foal is shedding his coat around his face in a way that tells me he will end up grey in color, which is the dominant color in the Adobe Town Herd. Coming face to face with wild horses even though they are running for their lives, is a moving experience. A minute later she and her foal run to catch up with her family, and they disappear through the sagebrush heading a different direction than the other family.
Soon the helicopters return and continue chasing wild horses into the trap, out of our sight.
Later we find out that the red stallion and grey mare escaped. I am thrilled. Unfortunately the larger family was not so lucky, and went into the trap. The foal stayed with his mother. I am relieved.
We watch as the trailers carrying the horses pass by, getting small glimpses of their faces as they look out from the bars of the trailers, a very sad sight. 144 wild horses lost their families and their freedom that day.
I have spent hundreds of hours with the wild horses in this herd over 13 years. These are some of the wildest and least accustomed to people of any of the herds that I visit. I am not surprised when I hear that one of the horses, probably a stallion, leaped over the fence at the Rock Springs corrals and escaped. I hope he never looks back.
To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation please visit our website, www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org