What a fabulous weekend in Sand Wash Basin! None of my photographs came out very well, but I was having too much fun to bring myself to care. But where my camera skills failed, the memories remain. So I am going to share the horses stories with you.
I thought about going in chronological order, but then I thought why be obvious? So instead I’m starting smack dab in the middle with little Tripod. When will you hear about Mingo and Picasso’s foal, White Out, Hopscotch, or ornery old Benson? Heck if I know. Guess you’ll have to keep checking back here. 😉
But onto little Tripod! Tripod is a classic underdog. His right hind was severely deformed from an accident as a foal. As a result, he hobbles around the range. The first time I saw him, I wondered how he was still alive. He was alone, unable to keep up with the other bachelors running about, and seemed so small and gangly compared to the more robust 3 year olds running about.
This trip helped change my opinion on Tripod. It’s a little less towards the how the heck is this poor baby still alive and closer to he’s had a bad shake in life but he’s just another wild horse living out his life. Tripod, you see, is a classic example Mustang tough. He may never have a band, and he may not be able to keep up with the other bachelors full time, but Tripod is still surviving and has a shot at a life that isn’t half bad.
My new friend Eva (more on her eventually) and I travelled the ridge without much luck when suddenly we see a white speck off in the distance. It was Tripod! And he was in almost the exact spot where Lauryn and I had seen him back in April.
Tripod grazes for a bit before moving off, completely unconcerned by his doting admirers nearby. Something spooked him, making him leap straight up.
I was surprised by how agile he was. The limp is pretty extreme and he definitely tilted right, but he took off easily and didn’t seem to be in terrible pain.
We moved on to the water hole and watched as Benson and then Twister’s bands come in for a drink. Slowly but surely, we see Tripod’s little head bobbing up and down the hills.
He made his way over, and was immediately chased off by Twister and his satellite, Phoenix. Undeterred, Tripod trots around to the other side of the water hole, only to encounter Benson. Benson was even more aggressive in chasing Tripod away.
(Benson was a total meanie head to, well, everyone)
It all seemed a little harsh, but then, that’s the problem with being human, isn’t it? It’s very easy to anthropomorphize these horses. I see a poor little gimp who isn’t allowed to get a drink by the big mean stallions. But to the horses, pecking order is everything. It’s important that Tripod knows where he stands with the other horses. Taking that away from him would be taking his identity; what makes him Tripod. And that’s even more cruel than his fellow stallions showing him who’s boss at a water hole.
Persistent little Tripod circled back around Twister’s mares and finally settled to drink in the spot he had originally gone towards. I see Phoenix streamline towards Tripod with his ears pinned and cringe. C’mon, I think, he’s no threat. Cute the guy some slack!
And sure enough, Tripod keeps drinking. This time, rather than chasing Tripod away, Phoenix hops in the water and starts to groom him. Or possibly he was just using Tripod to itch. I’m not entirely sure how much was adorable and how much was self-serving. It was definitely cute, though.
Eventually they start splashing one another. Then Benson, silly, obnoxious Benson, starts trouble. Phoenix rejoins Twister’s band and they move off.
It was a lovely afternoon. I love to see little Tripod doing so well, and I hope that he continues to stay healthy and happy.
Tripod may continue to survive in his home. He is facing a risk just as big as a bad winter or more injuries to his hock, and that’s the threat of a helicopter roundup. With his deformity, there’s no way little Tripod could stand to be chased for miles by a helicopter into a trap site. Even if he makes it there, there’s a good chance that the BLM would “euthanize”. They have killed horses for a lot less. It is important that we all come together to insist that Tripod is left alone. He might die next week or next winter. Who’s to say? But one thing is certain, his fate should not lie in the hands of man. Tripod deserves better than that.
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