Friday, December 18, 2009

No Longer Free

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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8 comments:

wilsonc said...

Wow! I cannot tell you how many times I've wondered about your header picture...whether or not that was you or your daughter with the camera. It was the first thing I thought about again this morning as I opened your blog. Imagine my surprise and pleasure to find the story behind the header! A wonderful story, and I hope Dibs finds a wonderful home.

Shirley said...

I hope you get to track what happens to him, he is a very striking fellow.

froglander said...

I hope Dibs finds a wonderful home! Still so wish I could adopt him :( Too bad I can't talk my mom into doing it, things are already all set up for a mustang....

jane augenstein said...

Tracey, thanks for the comment about my Christmas card....so much fun to make!
OMG!!! How cool for Darling to get that close to those wild horses! How beautiful they are, I hope that they get a good kind home. To see wild horses in their element....sigh, that must sometimes bring tears to your eyes watching such magnificent creatures!
Keep up the great posts, this is the only way I will ever see a wild horse. It's wonderful to be able to see them through your camera lens!
blessings to you and yours...
Jane and Gilly

Sharon said...

Please keep track of him. He has a spot in my heart. Sharon

Tracey said...

The good news is that I was contacted last month by someone who'd seen the header on my blog, wondering about the horses in the photograph. She'd recently lost her gelding, and had just finished training a horse for a client...a mustang...so had begun searching for a mustang that looks like her old guy. She was immediately drawn to Dibs.

I emailed her when I heard Dibs was at the corrals, and she's excited to go see him! While it's heartbreaking to realize that we may never see him face to face again (she lives in CA), it's comforting to know we've helped find him a home with someone who has a soft spot for him.

Breathe said...

What comforting news - if not free, then a good home.

wonderful story and photos!

Karen McLain said...

Last June I had the opportunity to observe and photograph the Onaqui herd. It profoundly touched my heart. In Oct 200 of them were rounded up. I hope that Dibs can find a loving home. You photos are beautiful, touched my heart all over again.