The Wild Mustangs of the Little Book Cliffs Range
Wild and free, thundering hooves pounding across the plains, billowing dust in their wake. They are the epitome of what we think of when we consider the wide open spaces of the old west, and we are drawn to their romance and mystery. Known as 'mustangs', the English version of the Spanish word 'mesteno' which means wild or stray, the wild horses of the West are descendants of the horses of the Spanish, the American Indians, and the settlers. At the turn of the twentieth century their numbers were estimated to be about 2 million. Currently that number is estimated to be about 30,000. The Bureau of Land Management has the responsibility for managing these herds.
It is my understanding that there are about 40 wild horse sanctuaries being managed by the BLM, of that number there are 3 that are protected as 'treasured herds', and one of those is the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Herd in Garfield County, Colorado. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit their 39,000 acre home where the Friends of the Mustangs, a volunteer organization, is a valuable help to the BLM in managing and protecting these magnificent animals. Here the 100 or so mustangs are strong and healthy, and while every few years there is a round-up and horses are adopted out to manage the size of the herd, they are guaranteed their right to this home.
My day with the mustangs went beyond my wildest dreams.
The presence of the three of us didn't bother them. At one point, a band of 4 young stallions came within 4 or 5 feet of me as I was sitting quietly on the ground taking photos. They were just curious, so I kept clicking...
Our task is to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature ~ Albert Einstein