Wild Horses of Missouri Diary Update - July 22, 2019
In this edition of the Wild Horses Diary, I share updates on the four main herds of the Shannon County Missouri Wild Horses that are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways near Eminence.
I follow the herds weekly and share the story of these majestic wild horses with you.
If you want to try and find the horses, I have a very detailed step-by-step guide on how to find the wild horses of Shannon County here on my website. I provide a lot of valuable information for you so you can have a safe and enjoyable experience and make sure you are well prepared. I keep this guide up to date and so you can set out on your adventure with confidence.
FIELD SIGHTINGS & HERD COUNTS
Over this last week, I was able to find the Shawnee Creek herd on several occasions as well as a rare sighting of the subset of the Round Spring herd over near the Grassy Creek area.
I was able to confirm 10 members of the Shawnee Creek herd this week with one very young foal. This number remained at 10 all week long. I verified 8 members of the Round Spring herd over at the Grassy Creek location, with one new foal over here as well. It is my belief these 8 horses formed a smaller band from the once larger Round Spring herd. I am not clear on when this happened or how long this may continue.
LOCATION RELATED UPDATES
The fields at Shawnee Creek were mowed and baled this week. As you can see in the photo to the left, I verified this on Friday when I stopped to see if the herd was around. The grass was over six foot tall in some places and very difficult to navigate. I fought the tall grasses since early summer, so it was a huge shock to see the freshly mowed fields.
I didn't see the horses at their usual place, so I headed over to the Highway V fields and didn't see them over there either.
It was getting dark, so I returned Saturday morning at sunrise. I didn't see them at either location Saturday morning either.
On Saturday evening at around 7 PM, I found the Shawnee herd had returned to the freshly mowed and baled fields. I was very surprised by this because the Broadfoot herd fled their fields after it was moved and baled and have only been seen one time in the last month.
In regards to Broadfoot, I verified on Saturday morning (7/20/19) that about half of the bales had been picked up and it looked like they were coming back soon to finish. This is great news because maybe things will finally settle down at this location and the herd will return to the fast growing grass and start grazing here again. It's been a lonely summer without the Broadfoot herd and I am excited to see them again soon.
Anytime something alters the horses environment, you can expect some type of chain reaction to happen. The Broadfoot herd has only been seen once in the last 5 or 6 weeks after the roundup and capture event that happened and then the fields where mowed and baled. They finally returned after the capture event a couple of weeks ago, only to leave again when the mowing started. They have been very difficult to find this summer, so I am hoping once the final bales are removed this week that things will settle down and they will return again.
On Saturday evening, I noticed one of the mares in the Shawnee Creek was limping badly and struggling to keep up with the rest of the herd. Once she met up with the group, I could tell they knew she was in pain and struggling. I stayed until dark and they remained in the same spot until that time. I returned the next morning on Sunday at sunrise and found the entire herd down by the river and under the canopy of the forest. I did not notice the mare limping because I was busy photographing the stallion while he was in the woods. It was an exciting experience to watch him interact with the group. He watched me very closely and I continued to ensure I had plenty of distance between us. Using a long telephoto lens, I was able to get some spectacular photographs of this experience. I will be developing the film in a couple of days and if they turn out as good as I expect, I will share one of the new prints with you in the next update.
I also went through the Klepzig and Rocky Creek areas several times over the last week and no sightings to report. Usually I find tracks and manure, but this week, I didn't see hardly any fresh signs of the horses. Some of these fields have also been mowed and baled, so the very elusive Rocky Creek herd hasn't been seen for a while now. Other than the new bad of horses that I saw from the Round Spring herd over near Grassy Creek, I didn't see the other members of the herd. I am starting to think the herd may have permanently split, but only time will tell.
WHY I PHOTOGRAPH THE WILD HORSES WITH B&W FILM
I know that people protect what they love and in our increasingly busy and technology-driven world, it would be easy for these wild horses to be pushed to the background and forgotten.
By conserving and protecting natural resources and wildlife, we are promoting biodiversity, and it is this biodiversity that directly contributes to the sustainability of all life on the planet. Everything is connected.
I am photographing and telling the story of the wild horses so they won't be forgotten or pushed to the background in our busy world.
To reach the secret places in our mind and souls, I believe that we need to make deliberate steps away from reality. Color photographs created with modern digital cameras recreate what you might see in nature, and while I can appreciate those images, it isn't suitable for my creative vision.
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