Let me set up the scene for you.  It’s Christmas Day 2017.  It’s one of the colder days we’ve had, but we’re warm inside the house.  Presents have been opened; it is now a little after lunchtime.  I walked into the kitchen and stopped short.

Come All Ye Horses

It’s the “Moutain Gang!”  They came to wish us a Merry Christmas.  What a beautiful present.  I walked to the back door and noticed them exchanging holiday greetings with our boys, “Poppy,” and “Drinker.”

I grab my camera and hit the door.  All heads pop up, and all eyes are intently watching my every move.  I take a few quick shots and back inside.  It’s Christmas, and they need a gift of some sort.  I’ve got it.

I talk my husband into throwing on a coat, and out we go.  My friends deserve a feed treat.  Merry Christmas Samson, Muddy Pond, River Tenne, Sister Namaste, Delilah, Tiger’s Dancer, and all the foals and young stallions!  And a Happy New Year to All.

One More Question and…

I don’t know why Bryant kept asking if I had duct tape.

The gang’s visitation schedule began changing.  It became sporadic.  There would be weeks between visits.  Still every day I was out there checking the feeding area.  No sign of their coming in.  I checked the trap area.  No sign of them.

“Where did they go, Bryant?”  “Why haven’t they come back, Bryant?”  “Will they come back?”  “When?”  “Did something happen to them?”  My thoughts went on and on, and I expressed each one of them to my dear friend.

Awe, I understood the reason for the duct tape now.

Horses, Sweet Horses

From December 29 to January 18, 2018, the “Mountain Gang” had not been on the place.  I was bummed out!

I’ve never been one who enjoys surprises, but that day, January 18, I received one that had me smiling from ear to ear!

Standing in the back pasture, I spotted the “Mountain Gang.”  They had finally returned.  I gathered shoes, my coat and out the door I ran.  “Where have you guys been?”  I shouted.  They looked at me like I was crazy.  And I may have been just a little LOL.

Nothing had changed.  I made my way to gather a feed treat while Muddy Pond and her colt followed closely behind.  When I came out of the feed room, I noticed Samson standing within feet of me.  Okay, maybe something had changed.  A little intimidated, not going to lie.  I stuck my hand out in front of him.  I watched his nostrils expand.  My heart was pounding so loudly I just knew it would scare him.

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Then the moment was gone.  Muddy Pond ran out of patience and began nudging the feed bucket which in turn brought Samson back to reality.  He stepped back a few feet, and our love affair was over.  Thank you Muddy Pond!

Déjà Vu

“Samson” and band didn’t return for a month.  February 18th they trotted in for a short visit.  I captured a few photos, not realizing at the time those would be the last pictures.

The gang’s visits stopped altogether.  It was déjà vu.  Every day I walked out to the feeding area.  No sign.  Walked to the trapping area.  No sign there either.

By then our relationship had grown into a mutual respect for each other.  I provided the band their space, and in return they allowed me to hang with them.  I had become used to seeing them every morning, bringing them a treat and spending several hours watching them interact with each other.  All that came to an abrupt stop.

And I wasn’t sure why.

Horse Hibernation?

Every scenario ran through my mind.  Each month passed by with no sign of the “Mountain Gang.”  It was now June.  My mind jumped through all the different situations, maybe something terrible had happened to them or perhaps they had been caught because I gentled them somewhat, or maybe they just went back to the mountain.

Sadness, anger, and guilt were all emotions that exploded every time I walked that trail and found no sign whatsoever of the band.  It was like they had gone into hibernation.  One day here, then gone, disappeared.

I couldn’t understand the sudden departure.  Where did my “Mountain Gang” go?  All I knew was wherever they were, the gang had a small part of me with them!

Time to stay busy, distracted.  What helped?  Well, Bryant does have several other horses that need tending to and photographing.  He can keep one busy if needed.  But I don’t think a day passed that I didn’t wonder about “Samson” and the band.

Educational Moments.  Learning Experiences.  Seconds, minutes, and hours that can’t be reproduced.

The Next Part

Now I know this seems unfair.  I expected to finish up the story here too!  The thing is the next part has several surprises, and it will add many more layers and sections.  So, for the simple reason to keep this from being a 5,000-word post, I will split it up.

Bryant and I had no idea about the unexpected twists that ended up playing out.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, so be sure to come back for what I promise…an incredible part of our “Mountain Gang” story.

Much Love,

‘Namaste’ and ‘Mamma D’

What were we doing last year at this time?  Follow the link to find out:

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words