Meeting a Painted Red Desert Wild Horse Family

Carol WalkerWild Horse Tales

Icarus leads the way

In October, I spent over two weeks at the Red Desert Complex Roundup in Wyoming, which was a very sad event for the wild horses who were losing their freedom and their families. Before it began, I went out out to see if I could find horses in the areas that I had spent so much time in this summer and fall.

A new family!

Icarus and lead mare Demeter

I saw colorful horses in the distance through my binoculars, and what I thought was the palomino pinto stallion Hermes whose family I often see in this area. But as I got closer, I realized that I did not know the splashy red pinto lead mare, and the markings of the stallion were different. I had found another palomino pinto stallion and his family! I would not be at all surprised if he and Hermes are related, their color and markings are very similar.

The whole family headed toward me

The stallion who I am calling Icarus was very protective of his large family. He led the way as they wanted to approach me, and stayed in front of them. Demeter, the lead mare, was out in front when Icarus fell back to the rear or moved between me and his family.

My favorite interactions with families of wild horses that are new to me are when curiosity wins out over fear and they come close to see me. It is a thrilling experience to see them coming toward me rather than running away, which they could so easily do.

Icarus comes between me and his family

The lead mare is a proud red and white pinto with tall stockings and a proud attitude. Her black and white yearling followed her closely. There are two palomino pinto foals in the family, who both look very much like their dad. As I sat down to watch, they moved as close as they felt comfortable.

The foals look for reassurance

Demeter stands proud

One of the palomino pinto foals

Once they had gotten a good look at me, they continued up the ridge and along it, on their way to the waterhole. Icarus looks back at me as he follows them up the hill, and I hope that I will see them again, still wild and free.

The family moves up the ridge

Icarus looks back as they move out

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