Horses in TRNP

Despite seeing a lot of wildlife, the horses were why we came to the park. Our first views the previous day had been fleeting, and they had quickly disappeared in the rain. Now that the sun was coming out, we hoped to see more horses.

Unexpectedly, as we turned a corner, a horse crossed the road. He seemed to be in a hurry, but then he stopped. It was if he was looking for something, but he continued on and dipped out of sight.

Not to be confused with Cloud in the Pryors, this handsome stallion quickly moved out of sight.

Not to be confused with Cloud in the Pryors, this handsome stallion quickly moved out of sight.

We didn’t need to go far before we saw another horse. He was grazing along the road, and barely looked up as we approached. Although, with that long, wavy, mane in front of his eyes I wondered how he could see. However, he navigated the hill fine as he continued to graze, and we let him eat in peace.

Gray Ghost looked a little rough, but he ate nonstop, so I'm sure he's already looking better.

Gray Ghost looked a little rough, but he ate nonstop, so I’m sure he’s already looking better.

As we finished up the loop road, we saw horses across the river. They were far away from the road, but we were hopeful we could hike closer without disturbing them. There were bison near them too, but we were confident we could use the river as a buffer.

Our first impression of the "mystery band".

Our first impression of the “mystery band”.

Parking near a picnic area, we did our best to navigate to where the horses were. With all the sage, it made it harder to see than we expected, but we soon got low enough to see the horses again. Even with the Field Guide we had, IDing the horses was a challenge. There seemed something off about the mare, her foal, and the stallion.

I enjoyed seeing the horses and bison together.

I enjoyed seeing the horses and bison together.

We were confused because the horse with the mare didn't seem old enough to be a band stallion.

We were confused because the horse with the mare didn’t seem old enough to be a band stallion.

As I deliberated, I saw another horse out of the corner of my eye. We moved to a different vantage point, but he looked like he was moving in the opposite direction of the horses across the river. We moved to see the other horses better, but in a few minutes, the stallion had circled behind us, so we left to give him space.

Handsome Georgia's Boy surprised us along the river.

Handsome Georgia’s Boy surprised us along the river.

Before we left the park, we drove past the river to check on the band again. The stallion that startled us, had crossed to join the others, and we realized we were looking at Georgia’s Boy’s band. That’s why, when looking at them before, we were thrown off. Now that the band was together again, it made more sense.

The band back together: Georgia's Boy, Whiskey, Ranger, and Gates.

The band back together: Georgia’s Boy, Whiskey, Ranger, and Gates.

Finding the horses in the park was a lot of fun. It’s landscape is vastly different from the other HMAs I have been in, but the horses’ ability to survive is the same. Every time I visit an area with horses, I learn something new. I loved the park, and look forward to my next visit someday

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