Last week when I was driving in the northern part of the Sand Wash Basin Herd Area, I had Nancy Roberts with me. She has been observing, photographing, documenting and working to protect this herd since 2009.
The Sand Wash Herd is in northwestern Colorado and is on over 150,000 acres. I first visited this herd during the roundup of 2008.
We drove onto the northern boundary road, CR-67 and saw a disorganized group of bachelors in the middle of the road, looking over the boundary fence at two young two year old fillies, the pinto Destiny and the bay Ohynee. These two fillies were outside the Herd Management Area, and their stallion Blue was nowhere in sight. The boys ran in front of my car along the road, and the two girls followed on the other side of the fence. Nancy knew where the gate was, and so we planned to see if we could get the fillies to move toward the gate. But it was not going to be that easy – the boys split off and ran back to where we had seen other bands watching, and then the girls ran back the other way as well.
We drove down to the gate which Nancy opened, and then got behind the two fillies again. Over the hill trots Half Moon, a gorgeous red roan bachelor stallion. He moves to the fillies and touches noses, and as Nancy walked behind the girls, I drove behind Half Moon who paralleled them along the fence. The horses seemed to know that we were trying to help – they could have run away at any time.
As we approached the open gate, Destiny shied away from it, with Ohynee following close behind her, and they both ran down to the corner. We decided to try again, with Nancy walking behind the mares and me driving on the road behind Half Moon, but I hung much further back this time, not wanting to crowd the horses. As Destiny approached the open gate this time, Half Moon stepped away from the fence, out toward the Herd Area, leading the way, and Destiny finally ran out the gate toward him, with Ohynee on her heels. As they met up in the road and ran free together into the Herd Management Area, I was elated. Half Moon had won a new family, and the mares were reunited with the herd.
To find out more about the Sand Wash Basin Herd, visit their Facebook Page:
And Nancy Robert’s Blog: http://sandwashwildhorses.blogspot.com/