Stallion Battle

Stallion Battle

Often, we look at a horse and think that they are such gentle animals. And indeed, in many cases, that is exactly the case, especially when it comes to domesticated ones. Even if we see a horse trying to buck off a cowboy, or racing across a field, we still think of them as completely “tame” animals. But when it comes to wild horses, nothing could be further from the truth. And when we consider the instincts and traits of the stallion, the results are spectacular to behold. When two stallions fight, it is a true battle, a contest of strength, will and cunning. These battles have been going on for as long as horses have been horses, and it is a part of them.

This stallion battle began in the Red Desert, located in southeastern Wyoming, and managed by the BLM. The Red Desert’s low rolling hills stretch for endless miles, as we chatted about in Desert Trot,  without anything except the low sage brush growing to any appreciable size. There isn’t a lot of water, so there aren’t any trees, and there certainly isn’t any grasses. If you look from the top of a hill, you can literally see for miles. The horses know this, too, and they use it to their great advantage.

Moments before this battle began a mare was in the paint’s, the stallion to the right in this photograph, band. It was clear she wasn’t happy where she was, for the moment she spied two fine-looking stallions in the far distance, the grey and red to the left in this photograph, she took off towards them. As stealthily as she could, she tried to give her band the slip, but they paid attention, and saw her leave. As she sped up, they sped up, following her, doing their best to persuade her to stay. Her mind was made up, however, and she continued on to the new stallions. Soon enough, everyone met everyone. It was not an overly pleasant meeting.

The stallions eyed each other, and sized each other up, all without giving a hint to humans of what was to happen. Before you could even blink the battle was enjoined; one fighting to keep the mare and the other to claim her for his own. Dust flew everyone, and it was a very confusing situation. They reared into the air, time and time again, and the dust clouds roiled in protest. Hooves were flying, the stallions were calling out, and the battle raged on as each tried to best the other. Eventually, however, the stallion on the right decided to acquiescence, and as quickly as it all started, it ended. Just like that, the horses stood around together for a moment, deceptively peaceful. The red, however, left with the mare, and they trotted off into the distance. No one was hurt, thankfully.

The wild horses of the desert remain just that: wild and free. It is up to us to ensure that they remain so.

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