Last month I was feeling a sense of urgency about visiting two of my favorite wild horse herds as impending round ups loom large for both herds.
When I drove out to McCullough Peaks, the first morning I was able to get a little closer to the elusive horses of the Coon Creek area, and have a better look at a gorgeous grey stallion. Unlike the Adobe Town Herd, greys are not very common in this area – pintos, cremellos, buckskins, palominos and other extremely colorful variations yes, but not greys. This stallion was extraordinary, and he was sparring with another stallion.
In the past, I have found that certain bands stay in roughly the same area, but this trip the horses were moving around alot. The first afternoon I was out I realized that there might be a good reason. I had my binoculars out, and at a far distance spotted a huge group of horses running. This was curious because the horses don’t usually run unless they are headed to water and thirsty, and there was no waterhole nearby. I drove over to the area I had seen them go, and the horses were grazing, but seemed a little jumpy. Suddenly a white private plane came very close overhead, buzzing them, and the entire large group, including a couple of very young foals, set off at a run, kicking up dust as they went. I was reminded of how terrifying the wild horses find the helicopters that are used to drive them into traps during round ups, and that soon this would be happening to them – in October in fact. Many of these horses have experienced this in the past, so a small plane or helicopter flying over them is very frightening.
The next day when I went out I watched a cremello colt that I have been following since the year he was born,in Indigo’s band, playing with a bay filly the same age. I am always amused by the play when two colts or bachelor stallions grab for each other’s legs, but this is the very first time I have ever seen a filly play this way! Maybe growing up with two brothers the same age she has become a bit of a tomboy. I got a close up of them playing with my very long 500 lens.
The last evening I was out the little palomino foal that I saw playing on my last trip got very frisky at the waterhole just as it was getting dark, and zoomed around his friend and the rest of his band for over 10 minutes.
I am planning to visit this herd again when I am up in the area for the Pryor Mountain roundup. There is a petition you can sign to prevent the round up of Cloud’s Herd:
Please pass this link along
Your photography is gorgeous Carol! I need to learn more about the round up. You have brought the issue to my attention, and I appreciate it. I know thinning the herd is periodically necessary for their health, just as it is with deer. At the same time, a good balance is required with a variety of genetics. I will look further into the BLM's research and management plan to come to my own decision and act accordingly. Thank you.
When I turned the page on my calendar this morning, I thought, which of these horses will no longer be free? I live in Arizona, and my representative voted against R.O.A.M., but Congressman Grijalva is my hero (wish he was my representative).