Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri Adventures - Rocky Creek Herd 03/27/2022

March 29, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Rocky Creek Herd 03/26/2022 by Tim Layton Fine ArtRocky Creek Herd 03/26/2022 by Tim Layton Fine Art The Rocky Creek horses are the most difficult to find group from the Wild Horses of Shannon County, Missouri herds. 

They are elusive, very aware of anything in their environment, and the rugged terrain makes it particularly challenging.

Today started like most other days; I took my 4WD truck in the backcountry, searching for even a sign of the horses.  I frequently find signs in the form of tracks or manure, but rarely do I get the opportunity and privilege to see them in person. 

We had been out for a few hours starting at daybreak, looking in all of the typical locations, and we just above gave up.  At about the time when I was going to say, "well, it looks like they got us again today," I spotted something out of the corner of my eye in the woods. 

I was in a field, and there was a small band of woods between me and another area and then a large canvas of woods behind this field.  I started to slowly walk a little closer with my hand shading my eyes to try and get a glimpse of that flash that caught my eye.

As I got closer to the first band of trees, I realized there was a creek that I needed to cross.  I saw fresh tracks and very fresh manure that was still warm. 

Rocky Creek Herd 03/26/2022 by Tim Layton Fine ArtRocky Creek Herd 03/26/2022 by Tim Layton Fine Art

My heart started racing as I knew maybe today was the day I might see them after a long 20 months of not seeing the horses. 

I got down on my hands and knees and climbed up the bank on the other side of the creek.  I wanted to stay low so the horses would not notice me as quickly.  

As I peeked over the bank, I saw a big, beautiful mare looking straight at me, probably 200 yards away, and she was with 15 other horses. 

It was immediately evident the big white mare was the lead mare, and she knew that I was in her environment.  The lead mare is effectively the herd leader because she determines when and where they eat, get water, flee an area, etc. 

The stallion is typically in the back of the herd, waiting to step in and defend his pack if and when needed, and he frequently decides the order for drinking water.  Otherwise, he is usually reticent and not noticeable. 

Enjoy this video of these 16 amazing wild horses in their natural environment.  As you can see in the video, they thrive because they are wild and free.  The Ozark National Scenic Riverways area provides them with everything they need (i.e., food, water, shelter), and they get to do what we can only dream about - live wild and free. 

Wild Horses of Shannon County, Missouri Adventures With Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County, Missouri Adventures With Tim Layton

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