Season of Thanks

bay roan gelding

This time of year is one where we should focus on all that we have and all that has come to pass during the year. This time last year Hank was a newly captured horse without any idea what was going on. His entire life was turned upside down and he was probably very confused (to say the least).

photo taken by Stacy Snow, a photo she posted on the Facebook page for Devil’s Garden horses.

The End and the Beginning

My name is Hank, well, that is what the human calls me. The human I refer to is the human that seems to enjoy feeding us and cleaning up our poop. She tries to get close to me. She is very vocal and there are a lot of sounds that she makes. The sounds aren’t all that important to me but her tone of voice and how loud or soft she is are things I use to decide whether or not there is danger.

Danger, I am very aware of that feeling. Of being in danger, of being aware and vigilant. Not so many moons ago I was out in a large forest and grass lands. I was always watching for danger. During the first 15 years of my life the seasons passed quickly. For the past ten years I was in charge of making sure my herd was safe. Day in and day out I stood guard and watched to make sure nothing would hurt us.

Then the time came for loud noises and shiny things to chase us. Other herd leaders had mentioned these strange things. I knew my area would be visited by them sooner or later. It was a tough summer, too much sun and not enough grass. We had to walk to find water and often the food we found was brittle and sour. It was a life I knew well but a life that had challenges. The strange things drove us towards a large area with panels. We followed the path and they let us rest. There was so much noise and so many strange smells. I wasn’t sure what to do but when the humans came towards us we moved away.

They loaded us up into large metal caves. We were moved and brought to a place with lots of dirt and piles of dried grass. There were large containers of water and I was released from the metal cave and allowed to stay with other herd leaders. The mares were not around but I herd the occasional whinny. For the most part, we relaxed and ate the food that was provided. There were many times my friends and I thought we had to run but the danger would pass and we would go back to eating.

Having this food and not having to search for it was something I was thankful for, but I knew that something else was bound to happen. Over time we were driven through metal panels and trapped in something that held us fast. Then there was nothing. When I woke up I felt tired. Sore, all of the other herd leaders felt the same way. We were different but although I was confused I was happy I had access to plenty of food.

The weather grew more cold and my herd mates would disappear from time to time. They never returned. Those that were left feared the humans. These creatures that moved like hunters and had branches that swiveled and moved even when the wind was still.

bay mustang gelding
photo by Stacy Snow; originally from Facebook group Devil’s Garden Horses

Then spring arrived and I could smell the young being born. I wondered where my herd was and if they were safe. It was my job to keep everyone safe but I was unable to do that and decided that if they were here at this place they were probably safe enough. Most of the herd stallions were gone. Those that were left wondered what would happen. There were so many sounds and so many things that moved outside of the panels.

One day during mud season I was sorted out by the humans. They sent me and my herd mate to a smaller corral. It was quieter here but I was uncertain; what did this mean? What was happening? Where are the other horses. I watched and waited as I ate the hay the humans provided. I had to make sure I was ready for anything because something told me things were changing.

Stay Tuned for the next part of Hank’s adventure!

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