Sept., Oct., Nov., 2003 Monthly Report
September, October and most of November were spent installing the perimeter electric fence around Phase I of the Abaco Wild Horse Preserve.

On November 21, taking only two and a half hours with seven helpers, eleven horses were moved onto the reserve. The two primary bands took up residence, leaving only two bachelor stallions and one elusive pair outside. The bachelors have been observed trying to get into the reserve, but our attempts to get the fence down in time have failed so far, and they refuse to approach the gate area where their entry would be easy. It is hoped that they will be moved in December with some extra assistance.

A two horse trailer had been donated, placed on site and is being used for storage.

Within ten days of being moved onto the reserve, there were noticeable differences in the horses' appearance. Dr. John Turner, who visited the horses last year and has had decades of experience with wild American mustangs, was enthusiastic about what he saw this second time. He corroborated my observation that the younger fillies (haven't had foals yet) had lost their bloated bellies and were beginning to show some muscle definition. He observed that the horses' feces were smaller, more dense, more uniform, darker in color, all signs that the food they are eating is being better utilized. The fecal matter is much more similar now to that of the truly wild American mustangs. He said this can only be of benefit. I further noted only one instance of limping, and it disappeared quickly. Anticipated soreness from moving on to harder ground has not appeared so far.

The horses have made good use of the two marsh areas in the reserve, drinking and rolling in mud, much to the detriment of their appearance, but sure indicators that they are 'happy.' Other water holes have been used. The horses are traveling and have been seen at the lowest (southerly) end of the reserve all the way up to shortly away from the entrance. Hoof prints have made it clear that the main gate has been explored and all but the northern most section of the fence line has been explored as well.

While all of this is still early into the move, all indications are that it will continue to be a success.

We don't usually jump ahead in these reports, and we will make only the barest mention that we had our first forest fire in December, everything is fine, details will follow in the December report.

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