The recent months have truly been a whirlwind...I'm very used to this time of year being on the go but this year has been different...
In May I visited the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in SD. 13k acres of ruggid and rich territory, steeped in history and heritage with two people who work tirelessly to keep it afloat, Dayton O. Hyde and Susan Watt. They could not have been more gracious with my visit. Four glorious days were spent here and very much look forward to returning. From here my friend, Marlene Dodge who is the founder of Valley View Equine Rescue picked me up in her Road Warrior truck and trailor and we headed west across I80/Wyoming, right on through and past the Great Divide, we saw wild horses from the highway and I was beyond pins and needles knowing that is where my boy whom I was about to go pick up is from along with knowing I would be returning there in June. When we arrived in Gunnison, Utah at the correctional facility, saying I was extremely anxious would be an understatement...what if ... what if ... what if ...when they walked him out I burst into tears...he was perfect and about to get in a trailor and come home with me! When I walked up to the gate to meet him, the inmate who was working with him was having a hardtime saying goodbye to him. "Ok lil buddy your the lucky one, you get to break out of jail, meet your new owner and Regalo just wanted to keep near him...(I choke whenever I tell this)..The gratitude I have for being part of that?... Truly, was a blessing. My journey across the desert (with a horse with no name) and Marlene was amazing and a memory I will never forget. Then came the annual photography clinic at Return to Freedom, always amazing new friends from all over who shared my joy and excitement over my newly adopted boy. New students each year bring new wild horse warriors to the team in an effort to raise awarenes about wild horses and Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary.
Then I was off to the Great Divide Basin...Back to where my new boy first called home.
Again...my trip was magical...always are. I can never get enough of it, as soon as I return I wish to be back. The sense of freedom, space, goodness and the commitment to helping these creatures remain free is as enormous as the land we drive through.
My dear friend Leslie and I tend to know exactly where to be out there, and move like a school of fish amongst the herds. We laugh, we cry, we solve all the worlds problems while out on these sacred lands. We blare Dirt Road Anthem as we drive down dusty rocky roads with cold beers in our hands(don't worry there's a lot space) and we watch the late setting Wyoming sun. These vibrant sunsets surround you and fill you, its as if the universe reaches down and cradles you. Washing away all worry and relieveing you with such a shear sense of peace and insight. To be immersed, wind in your hair grit of dirt in your teeth while amongst these free roaming icons of our history is such a gift. Mother Nature is the finest form of poetry, many greats have put into words the essense of land, wind and sky ... to be enveloped by it is truly a way to "BE". I'm so fortunate that I can open up hundreds of images and be transported back to these horses...back to that sense of freedom...back to what feels right for me.
Returning to an area after a round up you never know what to expect. The horses were healthy and vibrant and it was moving to see some familiar faces. One older mare, (pictured below) not sure how she avoided capture, was alive and kicking, many would think looking at her, she is old, thin, bring her in, put her down, this mare is strong and had a beautiful brave feisty foal at her side. It was such a joy to see her again. Sadly the male to female ratios were very much askew...leaving many healthy males fighting for mares, which also makes for more injuries. Injuries are very much a part of life for a wild horse, however this trip was a bit more than I'm used to seeing. To be back in Great Divide again, after adopting my boy~el REGALO(the gift) and his round up in October 2011 was so emotional, my sense of the land and honor seemed larger and I was not sure that was possible. Horses give us such purity and honesty...being a steward to my two is one of my greatest joys in life...wether I'm watching them graze, surrounded by that sweet smell of munched grass or doctoring wounds, or taking temperatures at 4 a.m. or teaching a young wild horse our new path together in life...the joy of responsibility is enormous and gives to me so much.
Please take the time to learn more about the issue these horses are facing...and please always consider adopting.