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Wild Mustangs

Updated on August 3, 2014
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By: Wayne Brown

A snorting breath steams vapor into the desert morning air

He runs upon the mesa, tramping; his hooves do tear

Sniffing, snorting, nerves a twitch, ears pointed and alert

His mouth has never felt the bit; hip never touched by quirt

 

The herd hangs back down below waiting for his sign to move

Once he knows it is safe, he’ll put them on their hooves

They will move in a cantor, manes and tails flying in the breeze

Their muscles flexing, nostrils flared, moving with such ease

 

Their presence is so majestic against the scenery of the west

True ambassadors of American freedom, some of the best

Their heritage is a long one, going back to the early days

All these centuries they roamed holding on to their ways

 

Their freedom is mankind’s envy, nothing else even comes near

For all of their strength and courage, man is the one they fear

They ask nothing of anyone except the freedom to daily roam

They are painted on the west and it is here that they belong

 

The morning air of the desert floor is still, almost without sound. The air is cool still waiting for the warming of the sun. Nothing moves as if braced for that moment just before a major storm erupts. Everything seems frozen in time awaiting that sound. The sky is bright blue without one cloud in sight so the coming of the storm is hardly the reason for this quiet and solitude. The desert is awaiting the first sounds of day just as it is awaiting the arrival of the sunshine each morning.

At first the sound is a low rumbling. One has to listen close to pick it up but then it begins to build in amplitude much like that of an approaching freight train as it nears the station. The sound grows and grows as it come straight toward you. Then it is apparent where the sound is coming from as the rising dust from the desert floor begins to give it away. A cloud of dust moving with a rumbling sound across the wild mesa of the desert. As the sound comes closer, suddenly the source springs into view. A herd of wild mustangs crest the rise hurdling across the desert as one; literally running in unison to nowhere but each intent on getting there with the others.

Out front of the striding herd runs a magnificent stallion that appears almost perfect in every way with its long muscular legs outstretched in full run, tail and mane blowing wildly in the wind, and sharp hooves cutting clods of dirt from the path upon which it runs. The rest of the herd is focused singularly on this one horse. More than fifty horses are running behind him as if he were the Pied Piper on his way out of town with the mice. He is the leader, the unquestionable leader and they would follow him off a cliff if he chooses to run there. His strength and fortitude is unmatched by any other horse in the herd. The stallion knows it as does every one of the other mustangs in the herd. These ponies belong to him and for that he takes care of them finding food, water, and shelter on a daily basis and leading them on care-free jaunts across the desert such as this morning’s run.

The herd is filled with mares mostly although there is a sprinkling of younger colts not yet feeling their oats for the stud. The stallion allows them to stay in the herd knowing that the day will come when their challenge will confront him for the leadership of the herd. It has happened time and again. Each time, he has survived the challenge and sent the challenger away to find his own herd. Instinctively, the stallion will continue to face these challenges until one day, with age, he will be the one turned away as a younger and stronger stud takes the lead role. It is the way of the mustang. It is in their blood.

Within this body of running wild horses is an array of color and muscle all dancing together in a slow-motion beauty much like paints being spilled across a canvass. The muscles flex with each running step; the light reflects off the hairy coat of the horse giving off a glow such that the horse appears to shine in the sunlight. Paints, buckskins, sorrels, roans, and every other cross variety one can imagine is running in the blood of this herd. The wild streak is ever present and visible as some of the horses kick and bite at each other without so much as missing a step in this run across the desert.

As fast as they came, the herd is gone with only the dust rising from their track over along the rise. Their trek will take them first to a familiar watering hole to quench their thirst. From there, it's off to find grazing ground for the afternoon. By evening they will once again move back to the shelter of their desert draw for rest. The herd has developed a familiar routine in their daily movements. Their natural enemies watch from hiding hoping for that opportunity, that weak moment when one moves away from the protection of the herd and becomes a lone prey.

Man comes to watch the mustang as well. The romance of these strong and beautiful animals roaming the wide open world of the west pulls at man’s soul making him want to run with them. Spying humans, the herd will stop and a safe distance and for a time observe man. There is fear and respect in their eyes. The distance provides safety but the way they stare back at man makes one feel there could be room for a friendship of sorts. It is if there is some natural part of each mustang that knows it has a bond with mankind. At the same time, the call of freedom runs wildly through the heart and soul of each mustang and quickly overrides their curiosity of man. But still they stop and watch. Once their curiosity is satisfied, the stallion pushes them on their way, sometimes running behind the mares and colts and directing them, shoving them, with his nose. Man stands and watches in amazement and joy.

© Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.

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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Many years ago when we lived out west I saw a lot of wild mustangs and I loved watching them. Your poetry captured the essence of their being and I thought it was beautiful.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Pamela99...Thanks so much Pamela. They are fascinating to me and one of those things you just hope will survive mankind and the ravages of time. WB

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Wayne,

      Good hub, I could almost hear them snort, and feel their hot breath on my neck!!!!!!!!

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Tom Whitworth...thanks much Tom. Glad you could grasp the vision! WB

    • jiberish profile image

      jiberish 6 years ago from florida

      I read somewhere that they are rounding up the herds and selling them to make room for a BP gas pipeline. It almost makes me cry. Good Hub!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Wonderful descriptive poetry Wayne. I could see and feel the power and beauty of the mustangs because of your beautiful words.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @jiberish...yes...they have been rounding them up for several years as part of an adoption and slaughter destination. The government says the herds are over-populated. I hope the adoption side works well. WB

      @breakfastpop...Thanks a bunch Poppy...glad you liked it! WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      First of all the videos you placed here are fantastic. I can hear the howling of the plains Indian over the thundering hooves of the Mustangs. Silence is broken as these majestic hoofers run wild and their manes are flung free. What a beautiful sight to behold, freedom desperado's of the plains. No man can tame, these bold braves of long ago. You just made my evening with this one:0)

      The Mustangs are sacred in my opinion. But modern man as cursed as they are, will destroy this beauty, they will become spirits to roam with their ancestors on the plains with the bison. Lovely poem Wayne, I am super impressed, you are a magician with a poet's wand. Love your talent, keep it up. You should be a published author no kidding. I hope you get recognized real soon.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider1...Awwh Ken, I'll probably just be a lemonade stand poet and storyteller the rest of my days. With my luck, they'll wait until I'm about 80 and offer me a million dollar contract...that's the way life seems to go sometimes! Thank you much for the kind words on this. I think they are very majestic animals even with their woes of over-population and such. The Bureau of Land Management has been thinning the herds for a few years now. They started with adoption programs and had selected ranches where these horses were held until someone took them. I assume that if no one does, they eventually go to slaughter much like the dogs at the pound...a thought that breaks my heart. Their spirit will always run the plains along with that of the buffalo and the Native American Indian. Somewhere off in the distance, the spirit of the cowboy will watch with a pleasured smile. There's some great company in that bunch. WB

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      One of my favorite subjects - horses in general but the mustangs are truly special. Beautiful videos...makes me cry but good cry - love their beauty and their freedom.

      We have some here in Central Oregon - and a mustang adoption program. I have mixed feelings on it but I think that the folks who gentle them do truly love them. I believe though that they should be free as they were intended to be. We've seen a herd about an hour from here by the river and it was so awesome! Just one of those things in life that should be left alone but then I wonder if we will ever learn?

      Beautiful poem by the way!! Just marvelous.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @akirchner...America still has a lot of open range in the west that can serve these horses well for years and years to come. And of course like anything else, the government feels it should "manage it". I don't understand how the common house fly has made it all these years without government intervention! Thanks for the great comments Audrey! WB

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      On second thought, why don't they round up all the snakes and drive them somewhere far, far away and manage THEM? No such luck - probably end up getting away because the snakes might think they'd found their 'kin' if they were government officials!

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @akirchner...you are correct? Why is there no "snake over-population" as there is with the mustangs? Of course out in west Texas at Sweetwater, they have the annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Been doing it for years. They catch literally hundreds of big fat rattlers just coming out from their winter naps. Then, they have a big snake cooking. The ASPCA even comes out to make sure the snakes are killed humanely...I wonder how you do that! LOL! WB

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      Brilliant Wayne!! You know i love pieces about horses, we share a common thread that way. I second Ken's thoughts about that you should be a paid published author, then we can say we knew you "when". :) lvh

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @writinginalaska...I was not sure that I could come across credibly on this subject. I have seen a few small herds and I was always filled with awe at the freedom they held in this world we live in. I gave it a shot and it sounds like I did a credible job. Thanks for the good words. I hope that one of these days you can say you knew we "when"...but then I might be the one saying that about you! LOL! WB

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I came here after reading the Blue Star's (Annette Donaldson) tribute hub to you today and am glad I did. This is a stirring story about the Wild Mustangs and it was very interesting to learn about their history and daily life. Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @Happyboomernurse...Thank you! I ran right over to Annette's place to see what you were referring to and I must say I was very pleased and greatly humbled by the tribute. She had been a great fan of mine and I of her. Thank you also for the great comments on this story...so glad you liked it and I hope to see you here again soon! WB

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      A beautifully written hub.

    • Wayne Brown profile image
      Author

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      @B. Leekley...Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it. WB

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