Monday, June 09, 2014

A little horse sense . . .

Early May we spent down in eastern Oregon, visiting friends at Eagle Crest for a blissful week of hiking in this high desert country. On one of our walks, we came across a paddock of horses and watched them for awhile. They watched us as well.

On this hot afternoon, the horses were taking turns before they drank deep at a single barrel filled with water on one edge of the field. They seemed to wait for permission from one alpha horse before they dipped their delicate noses into the barrel.

The strong and fattest horses ate first, using nickers and nudges to keep the scrawny horses from getting too close to the bundle of hay spread in the field.

I had never seen horses interacting like this in groups before. Maybe this is part of Darwin's "survival of the fittest," to not waste food on the weak. Or the influence of the environment, this dry, dry land. We sedentary city folk are only a few generations away from living this close to the land, when taking care of animals like these meant survival. 

Any horse stories to share?

Note: Click on any image to see it a little bigger.

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