Recently we adopted three American wild horses from the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary. Their names are Lucky, Dream, and Hope. They are brother and sisters of a herd originating from Hart Mountain, Oregon, and were sired by the same stallion. All three horses were born in 2001, so they are now six years old. In my studies of horses, I have read a great deal about herd dynamics, but there is nothing like observing them firsthand. My first day with these three amazing creatures was life-changing.
On a magnificent, clear spring Oregon morning, I watched the little herd move around its new pasture. It looked almost like a team of trick horses moving in synchronized motion. The sight caught me off guard, because my domesticated herd of three has never moved that way. Yani, Rocky, and Harley travel together, but they do not move together. This little wild herd moves like it is one body. Clearly, they are of one mind and one heart, even with their already detectable, adorable individual uniqueness and personalities.
Dream, a red roan with a long and flowing rich red mane, is the lead mare. This fact became apparent in the first few minutes of their arrival. When we led them from the trailer into their new home, Dream galloped the perimeter of the pasture as Lucky, her brother, and Hope, her sister, stayed close behind, following her every cue. You could immediately see her masterful ability to pay attention with her eyes and entire body. Dream was completely in the moment and she could see, hear, and feel with an intensity I can only imagine. Her direction was clear and her energy was focused. Hope and Lucky followed her without doubt or question. Their sense of confidence in her leadership was palpable.
Shortly afterward, Dream made her way to the fence line where my herd was waiting to greet the new arrivals. Dream went to greet Rocky, nose-to-nose. Their love at first sight was quickly interrupted by Lucky. Lucky ran in front of Dream and placed his full body between Rocky and the fence separating them from each other. It was almost as if he was saying, “Hey, that’s my sister! Back off!” Dream graciously allowed her little brother’s protection, but at the same time continued to stretch out her nose to Rocky. Their eyes never left each other. I was mesmerized.