I never know what I’m going to see when I go out to the horses. Sometimes it’s pretty exciting and adventurous, and sometimes it’s quiet, and not much to talk about. Last time I was with the Onaqui’s I would say it was somewhere in the middle. The weather was cool, but not I couldn’t feel my fingers cold. But when the breeze blew, I was glad to have the five layers of clothing I had on.
For the most part, the horses were quiet. Not a lot of studs challenge each other as they do in the spring when It’s breeding season. I still haven’t decided if there really is a set breeding season for wild horses. The gestation period for horses is 11-12 months. And for the most part, babies hit the ground in the spring. So I think most breeding happens in the spring. But from lots of personal observation, a stallion will try and breed a mare if she barely winks at him any time of the year, whether she meant it or not.
But I did have one unique thing happen that day that I hadn’t seen before. Most of the time, the horses are all grouped together. There may be a few bands broke off from the main herd here and there. However this day was different. The main herd was broken off into two different herds. The herd I spotted initially and started taking pictures of was on the bottom of a sloping hill. I didn’t notice it at first, but after a period of time, I spotted the other part of the herd was way up the hill about a mile and a half away.
I stayed with the first bunch and photographed them for a while. As it got later in the day, the horses started drifting towards the waterhole, I have seen this part before. They slowly start drifting toward water, and before you know it, they are all on a dead run. I was anticipating that part, so I got in my side-by-side to get in front of them and get set up before they got there.
Once they arrived and started drinking, you could see the other group of horses running into the waterhole way out there! Within a few minutes, they arrived, and it was pure chaos! The horses that were drinking stopped and ran over to meet them, and they all started running around each other, and before I knew it, they were all off and running again!
I jumped in my side-by-side and took off to follow them! I couldn’t believe how far they kept running and how hard and fast! They ran right past the next waterhole and halfway to the next before they finally slowed down to a walk. All in all, it was probably three or four miles from where I started photographing for the day. Eventually, they made it to another water trough, they all drank and quietly meandered off to the grazing grounds for the night.
I’ve seen them take off and run like that, but never that far. And let me tell you, there is nothing better than watching two hundred wild horses run wild! They almost went from one side of the Herd Management area to another. I don’t think I will ever fully understand equine behavior and why wild horses do what they do. And that’s ok, it’s what keeps me coming back!