( Intermediate Level )
The natives call him The Warrior but the local ranchers call him a menace. This proud stallion has run free since he was a colt by his mother’s side.
His father, the strong alpha of his herd, taught him well .Whatever it took, his father protected his family. Fighting other stallions or helping elude the lassos of ranchers.
It was destined from birth that Warrior would have to leave his father’s herd and start his own which he has successfully done. He has collected seventeen mares and sired many young.
He is a bit stealthier than his father was. His father kept his herd far from any human contact. This was a beast he did not want to battle. For Warrior, humans didn’t matter.
Under the cloak of darkness, he would sneak in, close enough to the rancher’s pastures, beckoning their prize mares to follow him, adding to his already large family.
Ranchers would look for days for their mares but never found them. Warrior had taken them far away from the confines they once knew.
He knew he and his family were safe past the ridge to the north. This was his territory. His home. The land where he could run free.
Once a year the reach, even in this area, was not safe. The reach of man encroached on their safety to the north. Round-ups, as they called them, helped reduce the size of the wild horse herds, which decimated the lands due to overgrazing.
This is an ongoing battle between cattlemen and these majestic horses. Cattlemen need these lands to graze their cattle. With the wild herds growing, year by year, the lands are left barren.
This year’s round – up was no different than each year before. Ranchers would gather and plan what areas to go to and how many were to be captured.
This was the first year the ranchers came to his lair. Warrior knew he needed to keep his family safe when the ranchers came. He knew he could not win the battle against them. So when they came, he ran away with great speed, hoping his family followed.
Unfortunately, some of his family were captured or died trying to escape. They tried desperately to keep up with him but failed maybe out of fear. The ranchers used the sounds of gunshots to separate certain horses from the main group leaving them vulnerable to their lassos.
Once Warrior could get his group to safety he would walk around the group, snorting, as if he was seeing who was missing. He listened to the sound of their whinnies.
One was not heard. He bellowed again and still nothing. He was listening for the whinny of his mare. The alpha mare.
He pawed the ground out of frustration. Where was she? He looked out into the distance. He could see the dust being kicked up from the ranchers herding the captured horses into makeshift corrals in the distance.
He circled his group once again and started to move them even deeper to the north. He didn’t want to lose any more of his family to humans.
When the sun started to set and his herd was settled he knew he had to go back. Go back to see if he could find those who were not with his group.
That evening after the sun had set he made his rounds with his herd. Nuzzling some and nipping gently at his young. It was his way of reassuring them that everything would be alright.
He quietly made his way down the mountainside to where he knew the drama had unfolded earlier. He knew this land well so traveling in the dark was not an issue.
He saw the light from a campfire as he approached. He listened carefully, staying out of view. He heard the voices of his enemy. Man.
He quietly moved around to find the corrals, all the time staying far enough away so as to not be seen by the ranchers but close enough so his family could smell him. They knew somehow to stay silent so as to not alert the men of Warrior’s presence.
Warrior waited until the campfire nearly burned out. Only the glow of hot embers remained. This meant the ranchers would settle down for the night. Now was his chance to get his family and any extras that have been captured.
He slowly approached the circular corral. He let out a deep low throaty sound as if to say hello. Warrior walked around the pen making this sound stopping periodically to hear a response from his mare.
On his last pass, he heard her. He heard her respond back and this excited him. She was there in the center surrounded by others.
She made her way to the edge and they greeted each other through the wooden slats. Each talking low. You could see the sense of relief felt by Warrior. She was there. Now he had to get her out and back with him and the herd.
He looked over to where the ranchers had fallen asleep and his eyes gazed there for moments. He was looking for movement which he did not see. It was now or never.
He quickly turned and with all his might, he began to kick and kick the panels of the corral. The noises of the horses became louder and he worked feverishly to break the side down. This noise would surely wake up the men.
“Hey! What’s going on over there?” yelled one of the men, who woke to the noise. One last kick and the panel fell. Warrior jumped forward and let out a loud commanding neigh that echoed in the valley. This was the signal to the once captured to follow him.
All took off, into the darkness, leaving the ranchers helpless. All they heard were the sounds of their hooves stampeding off into the night.
As soon as the group crested the first hill he stopped and looked back to make sure they were out of danger. No one had followed. Now he could slow the group down until they reached the others.
Another hour passed and he reached his destination. His family heard and smelled him coming so they eagerly awaited his arrival.
Many greeted each other as if they were happy to see them. The newcomers were quickly greeted and accepted into the herd.
Warrior now could relax and look for his alpha. She was found by a group of young. Many of these were her young. He nuzzled her once again and talked to her with his deep neighs.
For the next few days, They all grazed as The Warrior, aptly named by many, stood guard over them. He would be taking them higher ground far far away from any humans. He would do as his father did. Next time he may not be as lucky.
Legend has it that Warrior lived until his end, in the mountains to the north, eluding man and siring many sons. His sons run free, carrying on his legacy.
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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen
Thoughts from Angel:
I, personally, would like to see the wild horses continue to run free. I have read reports that many captured, with the guise of adoption, do not get adopted and end up as horse meat sent overseas. I hope this is not true.
If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:
menace – noun: thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger
alpha – noun: someone or something strong and powerful
elude – verb: evade or escape from a danger, enemy, or pursuer
lassos -noun: a rope or long thong of leather with a noose used especially for catching horses and cattle
destined – adjective: fate
sired – verb: of a male animal, especially a stallion) cause the birth of
stealthier – adjective: a cautious manner, so as not to be seen or heard
herd – noun: a large group of animals
the cloak of darkness – metaphor: under the darkness of night
beckoning – verb: encourage or invite
confines – verb: the borders or boundaries of a place, especially with regard to their restricting freedom of movement
decimated – verb: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage, in this case the vegetation
ongoing – adjective: continuous
barren– adjective: too poor to produce much or any vegetation
lair – noun: a place where a wild animal lives
vulnerable – adjective: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm
frustration – noun: being upset or annoyed
makeshift – adjective: serving as a temporary
unfolded -verb: reveal or disclose
circular – adjective: having the shape of a circle
throaty – adjective: deep and husky
feverishly – adverb: excited or energetic
neigh – noun: high-pitched sound of a horse
stampeding – verb: movement in a rush, wildly and in a sudden mass panic
aptly – adverb: appropriate or suitable in the circumstances
Question ( s ):
What do you know regarding the wild horses that run free in the United States of America?
Do you think animals create a long lasting bond with their natural families as they do with their human families?