Dynamic Domino

The next day dawned with more clouds. Since part of the road was blocked off for winter, we decided to park the car, and see how far we could hike into the range. The road may have been closed for vehicles, but it made for one of the nicer hiking experiences I’ve had in a horse range. We didn’t have to hike far before we started seeing stunning views. A little further, we saw two horses grazing on a hill.

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Domino moves to get a closer look. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

We first saw the black and white pinto Domino. As we carefully approached, it did not take him long to also notice us. His head shot up and we paused, waiting respectfully for him to settle. Another head popped up, and we realized he had a mare with him. More curious than wary, she quickly went back to grazing, and she became almost hidden by the sage again.

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Despite having a light coat, Aspen blends in well. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

Domino was not as easily distracted. Tossing his head, he trotted to the road to get a better look at us. Hesitating, we stayed put hoping he would realize we weren’t a threat. At a slower pace, his mare followed. Deciding to give them more space, we moved away from the road.

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May you always be as sassy as Mr. Domino in times of stress. Or not stress, or all the time like in the case of Domino. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

Still Domino approached. It was becoming an interesting situation. Most of the time mustangs defer to humans, either moving away themselves, or settling quickly when people pause. Not only that, he was marching straight to a stud pile. Looking at us, he contributed to it. Stallions contributing to stud piles is common, but usually there’s another stallion around. Either he was showing off, or he thought we were a threat to his mare.

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Aspen patiently waits while Domino continues to check us out. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

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I’m not sure if Domino was trying to impress us or Aspen. Maybe both. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

Still keeping an eye on us, Domino moved on. Again, his mare followed at a more leisurely pace. We clearly weren’t a big enough threat to continue posturing, but Domino had clearly made a decision. Respectfully, we let them pass. We did not try to pursue them.

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I guess I’d be full of character too if my hooves were so pretty. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

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I thought Aspen’s eyes were pretty. (South Steens HMA, February 2017)

To use a confusing metaphor, Domino had little dog syndrome. He wasn’t the biggest stallion I’ve ever seen, but he had presence. Despite how wary he was, I had never visited a HMA in winter, and was expecting to see them on a more limited basis. I would have been happy to get just a glimpse of Domino. To see him posture, even if it was at us, was a lot of fun.

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