Finally there they were! The main event! As we came out of a stand of trees and a field opened up in front of us we couldn’t miss them. They were everywhere.
Krista slowly drove the SUV right into the midst of them. I was surprised that they didn’t run or stampede or something. Krista said the recent rains had finally broken the drought and the hoses were gorging themselves like they were at an all you can eat buffet. With this banquet in front of them, they paid no attention to us as long as we moved slowly and quietly.
Krista pointed out that the horses seem to segregate themselves. The herd had many different colors and patterns from roan to pinto to white or black but within the herd each color pattern seemed to stay close to others of the same pattern.. I had never heard that before but as I looked I could see that Krista was right.
Krista let us get out of the car but told us not to approach the horses so we stayed close to the SUV. We didn’t want to disturb these beautiful animals. We just wanted to enjoy the sight.
Eventually Krista said we should move on. There was another herd she wanted us to see so it was back in the car. Over another hill and we slowly pulled into another herd. Here is where I got some of the best shots. These horses were busy eating too but they also showed more interest in us.
Some of these horses had birds riding on their backs. The birds eat the bugs and flies from the horses’ coats.. The color/pattern segregation continued in this band too.
Back in the SUV we followed tire tracks past more horses to a lookout over the Cheyenne River Valley. Krista explained that the Cheyenne bends back and forth 7 times so is considered sacred by the native people. She said some of the herds never cross the river. They stay in the rugged “wild side “ of the sanctuary and only come down to drink from the river. Today we didn’t see any. The river valley was quiet.
At this point Krista said she was going to take us to see the petroglyphs so it was back in the SUV.
More on our Sanctuary visit in my next post.J