In September last year when I first saw a noble older wild stallion with spectacular spots leading his family in Adobe Town, my heart broke because I knew what was going to happen to them in a matter of days – they would be separated from each other and lose their home in Adobe Town and their freedom forever. When I called Manada Kalimian of the Cana Project, I was hopeful she could save a few of these horses from living out their days in holding pens or an even more uncertain future.
A week and a half ago, six wild horses from Adobe Town that were rounded up in the Checkerboard Roundup and were held in Rock Springs, Wyoming arrived at Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, and families were reunited as they joined the four Adobe Town horses that had come from Canon City, Colorado in January.
We arrived as the sun had just disappeared and needed headlights to make sure the gate to the corral was secured before unloading the six wild horses into the corral next to their family members. All of them got out of the trailer and walked into the corral, and with hay and water ready for them, I felt sure that they would be fine overnight, and I headed to the cabin.
Just before dawn I was out to their corral, and I saw them standing together at the highest point, looking over the fence toward Bronze Warrior and the other three. Suddenly I saw Bronze Warrior’s head over the corral, and heard him calling softly to his mares. This is the first time he had seen them since October 1 when they were rounded up by helicopter and separated in the short term corrals. There was Gwendolyn, the 16 year old mare who had lost her baby just days before, her 3 year old daughter Flurry, and Sabrina the 16 year old chestnut mare. Although Bronze Warrior had been sent to a facility in another state, with amazing luck, the three of them ended up in the same pen at Rock Springs, and so at least they had had each other.
Storm is a striking grey pinto mare who was either a sister or daughter of Theodore, Aurora is a gentle 15 year old Appaloosa mare who looks so much like Bronze Warrior that she has to be his daughter, and then there was the lone gelding, Sundance whose striking coat proclaimed him another Bronze Warrior offspring. He was 8 and so had been on his own for a while.
I watched the horses for several hours that morning, and Sundance was trying to assert himself as the leader of the entire group of 5 mares. No doubt after riding in the trailer with them for 8 hours, he decided they were all his, and he was determined to keep them. He had been gelded about 4 weeks ago, but the testosterone clearly was still at work. It was an unruly group however, with Bronze Warrior’s mares eager to be with him, not this young upstart. We wondered if they would settle down if they could go into the much bigger corral with the other four.
Sundance remained determined to keep all of the mares, despite their reluctance. Storm and Aurora had bonded together and seemed to content to let Sundance drive them around, but Gwendolyn, Flurry and Sabrina were having none of it, and kicked at Sundance and each other in frustration. They kept trying to sneak off when an opportunity presented itself while Sundance was eating hay.
Then Bronze Warrior approached them, and Sundance and he faced off, with some sparring. Bronze Warrior, at 22 was a veteran of many fights, and knew when to retreat and wait for another opportunity. The worst insult to Sundance was when Bronze Warrior walked away yawning, seemingly bored with the whole thing.
Theodore had no interest in sparring with Sundance, and was simply intent of keeping Diamond Girl away from him. Snowfall, who is definitely a lover and not a fighter had no interest in conflict either.
As things did not seem like they were going to settle down between the horses any time soon, I was concerned about Bronze Warrior and did not want him to get hurt by the much younger, but very determined Sundance. Susan Watt, the director of the Sanctuary had been having the very same thoughts, and she decided to see if they could split the group, leaving Sundance with Storm and Aurora, and allowing Sabrina, Gwendolyn and Flurry to remain with Bronze Warrior. As I headed out that afternoon, I was confident that Susan would make sure that everything would work out between the horses.
I knew that I would be returning in a few weeks to witness the Adobe Town horses being turned out into one of the many huge pastures at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary where they would be able to live freely with the other horses at the sanctuary.
Related Posts in this Story:
Manda Kalimian’s Cana Project:
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, where you can visit the 10 Adobe Appys: