He'd stood up there on the ridge watching us intently. The others had slipped back over the knoll and out of site as we climbed up the hill towards them. But not this colt. He was keeping his eye on us. Ears flicked forward, he looked every bit the part of a young herd stallion.
Of course, it was nothing more than a training exercise for the young colt. A long yearling, we surmised. Very aware of his surroundings, but too young for it to mean much of anything.
As we reached our destination, we stood in wonder, wild horses all around us, mingling quietly with one another and not too terribly surprised at this human intrusion. The colt went back to grazing and paid us no heed. Darling was fascinated with how quiet he was in our presence. A second pinto colt wandered up alongside him, watching with a bit more hesitation. Darling began a slow approach towards the pair. A few steps, and a few quiet steps more. Then she'd stop and take a photo or two before inching in closer.
The first colt paid little attention. The second was a bit more cautious, and by the time Darling had gotten within 20 feet, he slipped off to the distance where he grazed with some older, wiser friends. The first colt, however, barely noticed, and Darling was eventually able to work her way to within ten feet of him.
We dubbed him Dibs..."Darling Calls Dibs", to be precise. She wanted him, she said, when the herd was gathered.
But since then, Darling has decided she wants to jump, and she's got Steve Holt! for that. Dibs, from the looks of his chunky yearling/coming two year old self, most likely would not fill that role. And since Darling does not want to part with Steve Holt!, who is a sure thing, the thought of Dibs becoming hers has diminished.
That did not, however, prevent the jumping of the heart and the longing to have her fingertips be the first to make contact with this striking young horse when she heard yesterday that Dibs has been captured.
We knew the odds were that he'd end up in the corrals...but there was a little part of us that hoped he'd stay free, roaming the high desert and growing into the herd stallion he was born to be.