November 2007 Report
We carried this report into the first part of December because we have a mystery, still unsolved.
November was a quiet month on the Preserve with the horses spending most of their time in their mini pastures but also taking long walks through the forest and visiting their favorite water holes. Steadfast, the most recently rescued dog, (who came in as a three month old pup) has become familiar to the horses, and they to him. He knows to stay away from their feet, and the horses graze with complete unconcern when he is around.
Last spring a friend and I tracked the three outside stallions, you may remember the report. We always seemed to be just moments behind them and would catch only very brief glimpses of them. We werent able to do any positive IDs, but there were at least three sets of hoof prints. Kim remarked that one set of hooves looked awfully small, and I admit, they did, but there was no answer to that question. I didnt mention this in the report since it was so odd and at the time we had no way to keep tracking until we found out.
After four days and about 20 hours of trekking and tracking, Kim, Ilona and I saw and photographed two of the outside stallions, Hadar and Achernar, looking great. But, we have a mystery. Over the weekend I met another friend who said he and a acquaintance were in a small plane over the Preserve around Thanksgiving and saw 4 horses outside, one brown and rather small, apparently with white legs.
Last spring, when we last caught glimpses of the horses, we saw a set of very small prints, foal sized, but as there was no explanation, they were simply noted.
At one point Kim followed a separate trail not far from us. She came rushing back, we hiked out and found the two. But just before she could get our attention without making a lot of noise, she had seen two OTHER horses, a brown and white, likely Capella, and a SMALL brown horse about yearling size. At no time were four horses seen by all of us at once, and Kim emphasized that she never saw four together either. But the movements of the two pairs, one set going off behind some trees and the other two hidden in a slight declivity and some distance away, makes it fairly certain that she saw two sets of horses, not one set in two places. Based on size alone, the fourth horse could not have been Hadar moving between the other two stallions, it was too small and the color was wrong. The time frame was too short. And, we saw once again sets of smaller prints near larger ones in two of the marshes.
Last spring we didn't even get a glimpse. The prints were made by some degree of small horse. End of story. We know all the mares. They are inside. And last winter there were no signs of pregnancy. Yet it has become fairly apparent that there is another horse out there, a young one. There is, no doubt an explanation, and it may take as long as finally getting everybody into their area and then doing DNA work on the little on to find out what is going on. It's about the most amazing thing I've ever encountered. And four horses were NEVER seen on the farm, even though there were a few brief sightings of the three late last spring.
So, I did not see four horses, Ilona did not see four horses. But it seems very likely that there are three bachelors and a baby out there. I'll be going back out twice a week when possible, some of the terrain was just appalling but we've made some trails of our own and I can stay in radio contact with the security men.
For 9 photos from the trek, click here.