Today’s post is about the Catnip herd of wild horses I photographed during my recent trip to South Dakota. But before I get to the images, here is a little background on the horses.
The horses photographed during my recent trip were roaming on acreage owned and maintained by the ISPMB (International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros). The ISPMB is located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, just a few miles from Eagle Butte, and is maintained by a wonderful lady, Karen Sussman, and a small group of employees and volunteers. The ISPMB is busy catalyzing actions for the protection, preservation and understanding of wild horses and burros as well as their habitat. Situated on 680 acres, the ISPMB cares for three separate and unique wild horse herds, the Catnip herd, the White Sands Herd, and the Gila herd. And they are currently working to purchase more land so even more of these wonderful creatures can be protected.
The subject of today’s herd is the Catnip herd. The Catnip herd (82 wild horses) were brought in from northern Nevada, where they resided within the Sheldon Wildlife Range. The SWR is not mandated by Congress to protect wild horses and it was proposed to reduce herds to 125 animals with the eventual possibility of eliminating wild horses altogether on the range. So, to protect these descendents of the ancient Spanish horses brought to America by ship, the ISPMB arranged for a portion of the herd to be captured and brought to their South Dakota sanctuary.
Now, for today’s photos. We spent 3 full days shooting the 3 wild horse herds at the ISPMB, including several trips to the pasture where the Catnip herd roamed. In this post, and the successive 2 posts, I will feature some images of individual herds. Then, in future posts, I will share some exciting behaviors we witnessed, as well as one very moving experience we shared with one of the herds.
Here are a few images from the Catnip herd. One thing to note about the wild horse herds is the long, curly hair of the horses’ manes and tails. Although not all the horses exhibit this trait, most of them do.
A mare stands by her young foal:
One of my favorite marked horses of the Catnip herd:
Or is this one my favorite? So many beautiful animals!
For more information on the wild herds or to adopt a wild horse, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, check with the ISPMB website.