Mighty Tripod

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.

Please note that all of my photos are protected by U.S. and International copyright laws. These photos may not be used, downloaded, or reproduced without my express permission. Photos are available for purchase at www.reevesimagery.com or you may email me to request a specific photo. Thanks!

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12 thoughts on “Mighty Tripod

  1. karen says:

    grand pictures.

  2. Nina Guinn says:

    Horses are amazing creatures.. So full of life, and love.. Thank you for sharing this story.. Tripod is like so many wild horses, judged for what I consider a small issue.. When he should be judged by the size of his heart and will to live.. Leave him on the open Range, exclude him from round-up.. Let him live the remainder of his life as he started it.. Free and strong willed..
    Thank you again.. As a horse owner,of over twenty head.. I love these stories…

    • You said it, girl! I believe that if the BLM is to continue with helicopter roundups which they seem wont to do, then exceptions must be made for horses who are lame like Tripod as well as for bands with the very old and very young. Of course, the ultimate goal is to get rid of helicopter roundups altogether… there are cheaper, more humane ways to remove horses so why aren’t we utilizing methods like bait trapping for all the herds?

  3. Beautiful story on Tripod (one of my favorite horses at Sand Wash Basin). Love the photos also.

  4. Deborah Prichard says:

    Rachel, we met at the mall show on Saturday. Your photos are gorgeous. We searched all day, but never did find Picasso and his band. Did capture some other beauties though. My husband and I will be posting later in the week, once we return home. Please feel free to “Friend” us on FB so you can see our photos. Deb & Charlie Prichard (The Aurora couple with the poodle). 🙂

    • Cutest little poodle ever! ❤ I sent the friend requests. I will post either tonight or tomorrow (probably tomorrow) about Picasso's foal. His band was hanging out in a little draw on Sunday and they were kind of tough to spot. I'm sorry you didn't get to see them.

      I really look forward to seeing your pictures!

  5. chris1055 says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m too far to see them in person. My best to Tripod and all the wild ones.

  6. rlebt says:

    LOVE it!!
    Sooo much!

  7. Stella says:

    Hi Rachel, met you in Craig at the SWB club meeting, and saw you out in the range last week, you were photographing Cowboy. Saw your truck parked on Sunday, and wondered where you were, I think you must have been out with Tripod. Love your article, and we will all fight for Tripod! The BLM would have to put me down first to get to him!!! I saw a post from Nancy that said the HSUS would agree to letting him go if someone wanted him (not sure if that’s true) but I think he is in the right place. I’ve seen him looking lonely out there, but I’ve also seen him with his buddy Snowman, and watched him run off into the sage at a fast speed with Cowboy and Benson (before he got his band!). So I hope to camp out there this summer, well soon, I’ll watch out for you and next time stop and say hi! Thanks for your tribute to the Mighty Tripod!

    • Hi! I hope you’re well. I’ve heard that there are several people who would gladly give Tripod a good home if he ever was removed. Unfortunately, the BLM has the ultimate say-so, not the HSUS, and the BLM does not have a good track record in this regard. There have been multiple times where an advocate has requested to adopt a particular horse to save them from euthanization, but the BLM kills them anyway. That is why it is so important that we spam the internet with Tripod, so more people know his story and learn to love him like we do. Unfortunately, that’s the best protection I can offer him right now.

      I hope you do get to camp out there and have a splendid time! I don’t know when I’ll be out next … possibly Memorial Day, but I’m going to try to hunt down the survivors in another herd, White Mountain, first.

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