Monday, February 1, 2016

BRINGING INANNA AND HIDALGO HOME: Unloading them at Gates of Inanna Ranch








The five-hour drive home from Craig was easy.  My heart swelled up in my chest as I drove down into our pasture to back the trailer up to the run where the babies would be stabled.  Our three horses, Captain, Julietta, and Enki, and miniature burro, Shrek, raced back and forth in their dry lot, calling to the babies.  This was such a big moment in my life!  For years I have had the vision of adopting a wild horse, and here I was with not just one, but two baby wild horses!


Their run and stall was cleared of anything that we imagined could get them into trouble.  The only thing these 5 month old weanlings knew was hundreds of acres of open space.  Their first experience of confinement was this morning when they were gathered into corrals with their mares.  Therefore, we did everything we could to make their space as safe as possible.  We removed everything that they could possible get caught on, cut on, or run into.  We took out the metal feeders, put duct tape over electrical sockets, and brought in panels to close off the opening at the bottom of the fencing in the run.  To protect my horses from potential disease, and to protect the babies from potential bites and aggression from the “big guys,” we ran a double line of electrical fence all along the outside of the babies’ corral, creating a buffer between the two areas.

















After aligning the horse trailer with the corral gate, we slowly opened the door, and Inanna and Hidalgo jumped out.
            They settled down quickly.  All of the horses were silent and fixated on each other. 


We noticed right away how sensitive they were to unfamiliar sounds like gates and barn doors opening and closing, the pounding of hammers, and scraping of manure forks.  They had never heard these sounds before.





On that night, under a starry sky filled with moonlight, I felt it was important to close them in the stall since they were not familiar their surroundings, and because of the presence of bear and puma in our area.  They were standing just outside of the stall, and as I held the intention that they would understand, I opened my arms and gently walked towards them, and silently asked them to step inside of the stall.  One by one, they willingly and peacefully stepped in, and I softly closed the door.


In that moment, I had the realization that I was embarking on an amazing journey into the mystery of building trust, understanding, relationship, and respect with the wild.

Friday, January 29, 2016

BRINGING INANNA AND HIDALGO HOME: Picking up the baby wild horses.


Early on the morning that we were going to pick up the baby wild horses, my dear friend, Mary Burg, and I sat quietly on our hotel room beds in Craig, Colorado, and connected with the babies through the ethers as we had done several times before.



We reassured them that this would be a safe passage; that we meant no harm.  Through our imaginations, we walked through all of the steps we would be taking with them :  we would arrive in our big truck and trailer; they would be separated from their moms; they would be leaving their moms and the other baby horses, the family band that they knew, and they would get in the trailer and come home with us.  We told them that we would love them unconditionally and take excellent care of them.

Knowing that horses are highly sensitive to scents, We sprayed ourselves and the inside of the trailer with the essences Adaptation, Separation & Travel, and Balancing Oil, formulated and purchased from wild horse expert, Mary Ann Simonds, with whom I had been mentoring.  I am convinced that these essences have had a huge impact on the babies’ transition from the wilds to the domesticated life they will live at our ranch, and I am eternally grateful to Mary Ann for sharing her wisdom and expertise.

 When we arrived at the ranch, the gentle wrangler had already brought the mares and foals into the corrals.  This was a poignant moment for us all.  I could feel how much this cowboy cared for these horses; how much he, too, wanted this transition to go well.


The three of us worked as a team moving and separating the babies from the mares, and putting them in a corral right next to the mares so that they could say their good-byes. 


Then we gently and slowly pushed the babies toward the chute that led to my trailer.  We were able to separate all but one white colt from the two colts we would be bringing home.

To our surprise, those three colts jumped right into the trailer on their own!  I am convinced the essences had everything to do with creating a safe space in the trailer.  Donald got in the trailer with the babies, trying to find a moment to sort out the white colt, and just before we decided to push them all back out and start again, I encouraged everyone to imagine that the white colt would jump out on his own, which he did!   The power of intention!


After expressing our gratitude, we slowly drove away to the sound of soft pawing in the trailer, and the distressed calls of the mares.  I was overwhelmed with so many feelings: the sadness of the mares for the loss of their babies and the joy of the privilege to live with them; the fact that if I hadn't adopted these babies, they would have gone to the holding pens, potentially for the rest of their lives.  The current 49,000 unwanted wild horses standing in holding pens across the United States, with no easy solutions to the complex dilemma of how to best manage them and the range that they depend on for their existence. 


May Inanna and Hidalgo be the mascots for my commitment to tell the story our wild horses in such a way that inspires an awakening to creative problem solving, collaboration, and contribution towards  conscious care and management for these sensitive, powerful creatures. 

With love and gratitude,

Deborah Inanna

Saturday, June 27, 2015

THE BIG ADVENTURE OF ADOPTING TWO WILD HORSE FOALS

Inanna, wild horse filly
Red Boy(temporary name), wild horse colt
I have envisioned adding a wild horse to our herd for a long time now.  I use the term wild horse rather than wild mustang because nowadays, most of our wild horse herds that are scattered across eleven western states are a colorful mixture of many breeds of horse, including mustangs.  Domesticated horses have been released out onto the range with the wild mustangs for many years, for many reasons.  

Sourced by my desire to photo-journal, advocate and educate about the current state of our wild horses, I have wanted to have the privilege of personally knowing and raising a wild horse.  

About a month ago, I mentioned this to one of my cowgirl friends, and she said, “I know two mustang babies that need a home.”  She went on to tell me that two domesticated mustang mares owned by a ranch in Craig, Colorado, had been impregnated by a wild stallion from the Sand Wash Basin that jumped the fence.  The Sand Wash Basin is a Herd Management Area, where approximately 400 wild horses are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the governing agency for our National Wild Horse and Burro program.

Robert and I drove up to Craig, Colorado this past weekend to meet these beautiful, healthy and strong foals.  The mothers are loving and gentle.  
Inanna with her Mom


Red Boy with his Mom

This is a costly challenge every year for ranchers whose property abuts the wild horse herd management areas.  The impregnated mares cannot work during the last part of their pregnancy, or the months that they are nursing their young.  It becomes the rancher’s responsibility to care for these mares and their foals until such time as the babies can be weaned.

"LIGHTNING", Sire of Inanna, Wild Sand Wash Stallion 

"SNOWMAN," (far right), possible Sire of Red Boy, Wild Sand Wash Stallion

The stallions will figure out a way to get to the mares if they want to.  Horses depend on their strong sense of smell and the body language of a mare to discern when she is in estrus (in heat and receptive to mate.)  

If someone doesn’t take on these youngsters, the ranchers are required to contact the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and the baby wild horses will be picked up and placed into the holding facilities.  Currently, we have over 49,000 wild horses standing in holding facilities across our country!!  This is a problem that direly needs our attention. 


So guess what!  We are adopting not one, but two 6 month old baby wild horses! We chose to adopt two rather than one because they know each other, and will have each other's companionship to support them as they adjust to life without their family band, and integrate into domesticated life on our ranch with our horses. 

We will be bringing the foals up to our ranch in Lyons sometime in the first week of July, when I will begin documenting their development on a regular basis.

Happy Trails!

Deborah Inanna Krenza
Founder and Herd Queen
Gates of Inanna Ranch



Friday, February 27, 2015

THE COMPLEXITIES OF MANAGING OUR WILD HORSES

"It's not a horse issue......it's a range health issue."


This well-written article and video clearly explain the complex issues and that have contributed to the  current challenges we face in managing our wild horses.  Currently, there are approximately 48,000 wild horses out on the range in eleven western states, and there are another 50,000 wild horses in holding facilities.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/us/as-wild-horses-overrun-the-west-ranchers-fear-land-will-be-gobbled-up.html?_r=0#story-continues-1


Friday, May 9, 2014

Video: Little Bookcliff Wild Horses

Friday, February 7, 2014

THE SOCIAL ORDER OF THE WILD MUSTANGS: THE LEAD STALLION

  THE LEAD STALLION

The medicine of Horse is Power and Freedom, and a Wild Mustang Lead Stallion is the epitome of these qualities. 


 The lead stallion is the patriarch of the wild mustang family unit, which is called a “family band” or “mustang band”.  

                                                                           


His job is to protect and hold together his family band, which consists of several mares, their foals and sometimes another stallion or two, which are called “Lieutenant Stallions”.  This stallion is standing between the photographer and his family band in a stance of the protector.



 



Stallions spend a good amount of their time working to gather mares with which they breed. 


The first mare they choose usually becomes the “Lead Mare”, who partners with the stallion to lead the family band. 





This stallion is displaying the Flehmen’s Grimace, where he curls his upper lip to expose olfactory glands that he uses to detect the scent of a mare in estrus.


Sometimes stallions vie for mares, demonstrating an impressive display of posturing and if necessary, fighting to win the possession of the desired mare.



I have observed many encounters between stallions out on the range, and I am impressed by their wise use of energy in these challenges.   They exert only the necessary amount of pressure and aggression to ward off their opponent.  Once one of the stallions submits to the other, the fight is over.  No grudges held, no vindictive retaliation. 


When I visited the Wild Kaimanawa Horses in New Zealand, I witnessed a chase between two stallions that went on for over thirty minutes.  When it was over, the two stood together and grazed - an exemplary example of efficient conflict resolution.


When a fight does occur, it is a brutal display of biting and kicking, rearing and pursuing.   Injuries can occur, which may result in fatal infections or crippling.




At some point, the aging lead stallion acquiesces his rank to a younger, viril bachelor stallion.   He leaves the family band, and lives out the rest of his life, mentoring young studs in a bachelor band.



A brave warrior, indeed 


 I offer much gratitude to Marianne Martin, of Real Life Portraits - www.reallifeportraits.com for allowing me to use her photographs in this blog post.

I am filled with joy for the opportunity to share the magnificence of these powerful creatures.
Madly in love with the Mustangs,
Deborah Inanna