Hank’s Journey East

five mustangs in two corrals. Two bay roan geldings laying down and sleeping
The first morning the horses arrived in Connecticut from left to right: Hank, Ruger, Lark, Snow & Magpie

Horses remember things differently. My name is Hank and as you read in the last blog post I was uncertain as to what was going to happen to me and my friends. Most of my life was spent roaming vast amounts of land searching for food and water for me and my herd. It was a life that passed without much change and I was always hungry. I had companion relationships with other herd stallions and I had bonds with various mares.My harem of mares changed each season. I had to be vigilant all the time because I was always worried that one of my mares would be taken or one of my foals would be eaten. It was a life that I was used to. However when we were gathered and brought to the corrals it took some time getting used to the fact that I didn’t have to roam for miles each day to find food. We always had fresh water which tasted so much better than the run off water that we drank while out on the range. There were perks to being in captivity. It was just so strange having humans so close all the time.

photo of bay roan gelding in a holding pen
photo by Stacy Snow

When the humans at the corrals sorted me and a fellow former herd stallion into a smaller pen I was uncertain about what was happening. After a few days of nothing the humans drove us forward to one of the small pathways with very tall sides. I think they called them chutes. At the end of the chute was another one of those metal caves. It was different than the previous one, maybe this metal cave was going to bring me back to my home. Still, it was a metal cave and being confined was something that went against all of my instincts. The humans had us cornered. My buddy and I had no where to go but up into the metal cave. The humans called it a trailer. I don’t know what that means but as soon as the two of us were in it the back of the cave closed with a loud metal clang.

video provided by hauler

The trailer was not taking us back to what I considered home. It just kept moving. When the trailer did stop we were offered food and water. My legs ached from having to balance and follow the motion of the trailer. After several days the back of the trailer opened and we were able to stretch our legs and eat and drink without having to compensate for the movement of the trailer. That evening I laid down and so did my herd mate. We were so relieved to have solid ground. The smells of this place were different and the skyline was foreign to me. The panels around our enclosure were tall, who was I kidding? I was too exhausted to even think about escape. My fellow herd member pointed out that we should stay if they feed us food0. The three mares all stayed close together. They seemed just as exhausted as us.

The air smelled crisp the morning after we arrived at the place. The female who was at the old place asked the new female what she thought. They agreed that the familiar lady should stay a few days until the snow storm ended. The words they spoke made little sense to me but I knew I had to keep vigilant, to pay attention to everything even if I had no idea what any of it meant. The temperature was colder than the old place. A little after the female humans disappeared into a very large cave the sky opened up and white things fell from it. The white bits of stuff were cold and it just kept falling. It reminded me of the rain we had back at the old place but this was different. It was both wet and not wet. Neither my herd mate or the mares knew what to make of this. We ate all of the hay the humans provided. We watched as the world around us grew quiet. The other horses at this place said the humans called the white stuff snow and that snow is what happens when it is too cold for rain to fall from the sky. The five of us just watched it fall and wondered what was next. I felt it in my bones that my journey wasn’t over yet. The way the humans moved and talked made me think that there was more to come and that once the snow was done we would be put back into the metal cave.

After the third day of being in this place the humans started hustling about and the big metal cage was lined up next to our pens. We were wary of getting into that cave again however we also knew we had no other choice. The cold was something we didn’t like and we hoped that the next place would be warmer.

As before the metal cave seemed to move and then would stop for a bit and then continue to move. It was tiring; the path we traveled on seemed to be made of varied terrain but the outside moved too quickly for it to make sense. After a day or so the pace of the cave slowed down. There were so many sounds around us and the smells were so different from the other places I’d been. I could sense many humans and everything around us was so strange. I wanted to flee but my body was tired. After a very long time we felt the trailer slow to the point that I could see a little bit of what was outside of the cave. It was dark but there were strange orbs hanging from dead trees that shed light from it’s single branch. There were so many caves like what was at the place we left a few days ago. The trailer slowed even more and I felt and sensed our journey was over. The metal cave bounced over rough ground and then it stopped. Voices sounded outside. The female who’d brought us to this place and several others. Then we felt the trailer go backwards and sideways. The strain on my legs was worse than if I’d had to run for miles up one of the mountains from the place we came from. It was dark out but a bright light shone into the trailer. There was so much noise and so much excitement in the air. We couldn’t move. Not until the weird light was gone. Then the three mares were sent down a chute. I heard a gate clang shut and then it was our turn to leave the cave. After a few minutes we jumped out of the trailer and stumbled into an enclosure with hay, shelter and water. Thankfully, none of that snow stuff was around. After a time the strange humans stopped staring at us and it grew quiet. The female with the metal cave and loud metal animal left. She was gone and I had no way of getting back to my old land. The world around us was so very strange. I didn’t know what to make of it but I was glad that I wasn’t in the metal cave and that I wouldn’t have to get back into one of those things.

photo of Hank dreaming about coming here in April of 2019

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