On my last evening on the mountain I sat in my chair at my campsite and watched band after band go by me. Galaxy and his girls seem to want to be close to me, especially in the morning and evening. This started happening back in August, on my last trip to the mountain. The had settled in around my campsite peacefully grazing. Galaxy was flirting with Hera, who was heat. Seeing this made me wonder. She is in the age group (5-10 year olds) that do not get PZP. She had Maia in 2011. This year she did not have a foal and now that she is in heat in September, it either means she will have a foal in August next year, or maybe not foal again.
As I sat and watched the horses, I noticed Hera had stopped grazing and was looking intently at something. Sometimes that can mean another band is coming. But she seemed more alert than normal.
It wasn’t long and Limerick joined Hera. Then Maia. Ireland was a short distance away and seemed not to notice whatever it was these girls were looking at.
After a few minutes, Limerick got bored and went off to scratch on a nearby tree.
Galaxy finally turned his head to look at whatever it was the girls were looking at. It was then that I saw 4 wild turkeys making their way towards the girls, enjoying the many grasshoppers that jumped in front of them.
I have only seen wild turkey’s up here one other time. It was earlier in the summer, down past Penns. This was not the typical sight for horses to see up here.
Hera’s gaze never left the turkeys. It was such a fun thing to watch, this interaction between different species.
Finally, Hera was the first one to approach these strange things. Limerick was right behind her and it only took a a second for them to realize they could push the turkeys anywhere they wanted.
I immediately thought of my many horsemanship clinics with Dave Ellis. When a horse can make another animal move, it builds their confidence. (For instance, cow work is great for horses to do.) So even though the turkeys were much smaller, these wild horses were learning they could push another species besides their own. Perhaps building their confidence. It was an interesting thought, but even more interesting to witness in the wild.
It wasn’t long before all of Galaxy’s Girls joined the fun and disappeared down the hill. It took Galaxy a minute or two to realize that his girls were gone. He raised his head and looked around, wondering where they had gone so quickly. I could not help but laugh out loud! His expression was priceless. Then he saw them and joined the fun.
After several minutes, they got bored with the turkeys and returned to my campsite to graze and breed. The sky was beautiful, a feeling of peace was all around me. I had Galaxy and his girls in front of me, Jackson and Coronado to my right and I could just make out Morning Star and Band coming down the road towards me. It was a glorious night that I felt fortunate to be able to witness.