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Rescuing An Abandoned Wild Foal

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Stock photo of a foal for illustration purposes only – not the actual foal rescued

Wild horse photographer Carol Walker was making a trip to the Red Desert this past spring when she came across a foal, less than a week old, abandoned and totally alone.

She tells the story of how she was able to rescue the little foal on her blog, “Wild Hoofbeats” – I know you’ll love it!

Wild Horses: Rescuing an Abandoned Salt Wells Creek Foal

By Carol Walker

On Sunday, I was driving in Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Area in the Red Desert of Wyoming. This area is over 1 million acres in size, vast and beautiful in parts, with power plants, a few ranches, wildlife (which includes deer, antelope and wild horses), plus cattle and sheep. You can drive for over 30 miles on dirt roads from I-80 south and still not reach the border of the herd area.

I was there because a judge in Wyoming Federal Court signed a Consent Decree which will eliminate all wild horses from this Salt Wells Creek Herd Area this summer. I wanted to see and photograph some of the over 600 wild horses inhabiting this area that would soon be separated from their homes and families and end up initially at the Rock Springs Short Term Holding Facility.

The last time I had visited this herd was in August of 2010 before the last round up of Salt Wells and Adobe Town.

On Sunday it was rainy and sunny alternating, and there was a storm that was supposed to be coming in that evening, and the roads were wet in spots, so I planned to stay to paved and extremely-improved dirt roads only. I was driving along and saw a sign for County Road 27 and the road looked good, so I turned. I drove and saw manure from wild horses and stud piles, but no horses. The scenery is varied and beautiful, and there was one ranch along this road which I passed.

I saw no other vehicles, and I had been going for about 10 miles. Soon there was a turn for Aspen Mountain, and the road underneath my tires got looser and looser and I started to slide. I almost turned around, but I got this urgent feeling that I needed to keep going. I turned north up CR 27 and drove a little bit, and the road got a little firmer which was a relief. But the clouds started coming in, and I almost turned around. Then I spotted a horse—finally!

As I got closer, I realized that this was a foal, and he looked miserable, head down, standing next to a post. I looked and looked but could not see any other horses. I drove closer and got out, and got my binoculars. I could see for at least a few miles in every direction, but not a single other horse was in sight. The little guy had worn a path around the post, and from the little bits of manure it looked as though he had been there awhile. I approached slowly, not wanting to scare him, and noticed a big bite mark on his neck from another horse.

It looked like a big scrape, not a deep wound, and it was not bleeding. He was bright-eyed and moving just fine. I wondered how he had come to be there all alone—perhaps he had a young first-time mother who had wandered away, perhaps a stallion had bitten him and driven him off, or maybe his mother had died shortly after having given birth. I knew he was less than a week old.

When I got closer he whinnied at me, a little high pitched happy noise, clearly glad to see another creature! I was able to touch him, and he tried to nurse on my fingers. He was thirsty! I knew foals this small could not graze and need to nurse from their mothers every few hours, and there was a big storm coming in the next day, so he clearly needed help. I could not fit him in my vehicle, let alone lift him in, and also there were regulations about how to interact with wild horses and so I needed help.[More …]

[Source: WildHoofBeats.com]


Carol’s beautiful book “Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers”, is one of the best instructional and inspirational guides to horse photography in existence, and is available from Amazon in hardcover or on Kindle. Be sure to check it out.


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