Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Special Day

Happy 4th of July! Today marks my last week here in the badlands and I must say that today was truly a special one. There was a lot of activity out on Linbo Flats where 6 bands had congregated this morning. I ventured out to get the weekly evaluations and focused on getting observations of 2 bands that had foals heats going on. (Wind Canyon and Brutus). Mares will have an estrous cycle 7-10 days after they foal so this provides us with an opportunity to see if there is reproductive behavior with mares that were vaccinated last fall. Dove

What an experience this has been. Getting to know 60 mares, 24 stallions, 2 yearlings and 27 foals thus far has been something I will always remember. They are each unique in their individual ways and I hope people will be able to enjoy their presence just as I have. Theodore Roosevelt wrote about the wild horses in the Badlands and this park's birth came out of tribute to him. They continue to live wild to demonstrate TR's experiences in North Dakota for he said that if it was not for his experiences in North Dakota, he would have never become President of the United States of America.

Chaps (filly out of Betty Blue and by Wind Canyon II)

She has her sires gentle eyes.

Redface giving himself a dust bath.

Cassiopeia (filly out of Sapphire by Wind Canyon II) this mare was bred today as she is in her foal heat.

Copper was chasing Strawberry around today ....

and finally caught her. Her foal died about 2 weeks ago at a month of age. This must be her second heat cycle.

Copper defending Stawberry from Redface. She was with Redface originally this year.

The neatest thing happened today while I was getting evals on the double band. I was approached by Papoose, Pretty Girls' foal. She came from behind and looked like she wanted to smell me. I slowly reached out my hand as her nose fuzz touched my fingers ever so gently. It was like I was in the movie "The Horse Whisperer" or something. This feeling of amazement came over my body and I played with her lips for a few seconds. She continued to move forward and I reached my hand under her chin to giver her a little scratch. She loved it. It wasn't before long I was cautiously rubbing her neck, back, and her a little massage. I kept having to remind myself that this was a wild horse and sometimes foals can play spinning a round and kicking or rearing up and boxing with their front legs. The mares in the band watched us with care, wondering what was going on. Dove seemed interested too in what Papoose was doing by me. She walked over with her head held high and I slowly reached out my hand. She touched it, smelled it and then decided it wasn't for her. Papoose however continued to place her self against my body, asking to be scratched. What would make a foal do this? Why was she not afraid of me? I don't know the answer but I can certainly tell you that it was one of those moments I will never forget. It was almost like she saw me as one of them......maybe not but it sure felt that way. What a day!


Papoose tearing around the dirt pit.


Blaze moving across the flats.

Bella in the sweet clover.

Wind Canyon II (right) and Brutus (left) dueling it out over their mares in estrus.

Tomahawk playing with a piece of cedar.

NEW FOAL!! This little colt was born 6 days ago to Escape (in Brutus' Band)

Al and Jennifer took Alanna and I riding yesterday up to the needle's eye. Here they are along Paddock Creek.

Lindsey on Cache and Alanna on Q.

Jennifer joins the photo on Buck.

Prairie Rose....the state flower.

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