We were headed off to another area of the Sanctuary where a band of Spanish mares and their stallion, Don Juan hang out. Krista told us that Don Juan was small but mighty, keeping a loyal band of followers in line.
She said the Spanish Horses all have bloodlines that go back to the horses brought to the New World by the Conquistadores which is how they got the name “Spanish”. They can be recognized because they all have distinctive markings on their legs similar to the stripes you see on Zebras. Some also have lines on their rumps similar to buckskin markings and many are dusky colored although that is not a color requirement.
On the way we had the thrill of seeing a small band of horses doing what you dream of wild horses doing, running. Krista pulled over so I could get out and try for a picture. The horses were way out of range of my zoom but even so it is one of my favorite pictures right up there with the Prairie Dog with the flower. I am sharing the original which gives you some idea of the scale of the land and the cropped version that features the horses. I like both! What’s you favorite?
We stopped at one point so we could admire a beautiful dun colored mare that seemed to have all the markings Krista had been telling us about plus a little bird. Sometimes everything just comes together!
If you look closely you can see the stripes on this mares rear legs.
We found Don Juan and his band of mares at one of the artificial watering stations that are set up around the sanctuary. Krista said they have tank trucks that make the rounds and fill the water tanks daily. The color segregation continued in this band too.
That wrapped up our tour and we headed back to the welcome center. In the process we drove by the spot we had seen the loose horse when we came in. It was gone so the wrangler must have rounded her up. Nearby a tiny Western Bluebird fluttered to a stop and I was lucky enough to get a picture. We heard the meadowlarks here too. It’s such a beautiful area.
Back at the parking lot I spotted a chicken coop but the chickens were different than any I’d ever seen. Loads of fluffy little chicks were running around.
There was also a coop of albino peacocks. Krista had pointed those out when we started out. I wasn’t interested then. I just wanted to see the horses so I said I’d get a picture later…but I forgot. So you’ll just have to take my word for it. Krista said they were mean anyway J
Leaving the Sanctuary we turned our sight toward Mount Rushmore, the main reason for the trip. We would be driving Iron Mountain road to get there. That was fun!
Interested? The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary can use our support. Check them out at www.wildmustangs.com