Almost one year after the wild horses that had been removed from their homes in Adobe Town and separated from their families had been reunited at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, I am headed to visit them. It was a dry, windy day when I arrived, and as I looked out the window into the big pasture I was able to pick out Snowfall up on the hill with two mares, and then as I got closer to the gate near the Sanctuary office I spotted Bronze Warrior and his mares, and Sundance with his mares. It was very good to see them.
The next morning I went into the pasture before dawn, my favorite time of the day to shoot, before the feed truck would come to feed the horses. I saw Bronze Warrior and his mares and Sabrina’s filly, who had grown quite a bit. They all seemed relaxed and more willing to let me get a little closer to them. The filly was a little shy but did come up and sniff my hand.
I was delighted to see Diamond Girl and her filly had rejoined the rest of the group – since Diamond Girl finally had put on some weight and apparently extremely eager to get out of the corral. Her filly is taller than she is now, and is extremely friendly. The biggest problem I had photographing her was getting back far enough away – she was very interested in what I was doing, and liked nibbling on my jacket.
Aurora’s filly was very friendly as well and followed me around as I was photographing the other horses, and did not hesitate to come between me and other subjects as I was photographing them, which made me laugh. She enjoyed being the center of attention.
Theodore had a group of mares from the Sanctuary that he was happily spending time with, and Snowfall had his group of mares that he had found as well.
Sundance was just as close with Aurora and Storm as ever, but all three were more relaxed and even the normally shy Storm did not look alarmed as I walked toward them to take some photographs.
Later that afternoon I watched Theodore running with the mares down the hill, tail streaming out behind him, and the sight embodied the freedom that he and the other Adobes enjoyed now at the Sanctuary. It was not the same as being in their original home in the Red Desert, but here at least they would be able to live out their lives unmolested by helicopter roundups, and free to be together, not standing in pens with horses that they did not know.
The next morning when I went out, Bronze Warrior was watching me very closely. I walked up to his family, and stopped, and he walked toward me. I almost held my breath as he kept getting closer and closer, finally stopping about 5 feet away from me. He seemed content to just spend time near me. When a few of the other horses from the Sanctuary started being a little pushy with me as I stood there, he drove them away, then returned to stand near me. My heart was very full as I stood there and looked at him. Bronze Warrior is 24 years old, the oldest horse that was rounded up during the Checkerboard Roundup in the fall of 2014. I always get a feeling of wisdom when I look into his eyes, and he is the epitome of a survivor. His left front knee is large from a long ago injury, but it does not slow him down. He is still the protector of his family, and it brings me great joy that he is able to live with his two mares Sabrina, Gwendolyn and his two daughters Flurry and Sabrina’s filly.
Just before I left, Susan Watt, the Director of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary walked into the pasture, and we watched the Adobes together. We watched Snowfall greeting his and Diamond Girl’s filly.
Then of course the fillies had to come up and say hello and make us laugh.
Afterward I head home, happy to have spent time with the Adobes, and content that they are doing so well in their new home.
To get more information on the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary and how you can visit and donate to help the horses:
Watch for information about how to listen to Susan Watt’s interview on Wild Horse and Burro Radio coming up the evening of March 9!
To read about the adventures of the Adobe Town Appaloosas, you can buy Galloping to Freedom: Saving the Adobe Town Appaloosas here:
To find out more about Cana Projects, who sponsored the Adobe Appys and Galloping to Freedom: