I have always wanted to know: when you take away the training, take away the ropes, take away the fences, take away all pressure, do horses still want to connect with humans? If they have complete freedom to choose, would they choose to be our friends? I never knew how to ask this question honestly of the horse, until this year, we got a chance to truly ask these questions away from a domestic lifestyle and its inherent pressures.
In November 2018, we rescued 7 wild mustangs (5 mares - 3 were pregnant - and 2 stallions) from the Devil’s Garden Roundup in Northern Ca. We set them out free on a wild mountain in Southern Ca, to live the rest of their days wild as a herd in the sanctuary. Our Mustangs live in an environment that mimics their natural lifestyle, where they don’t need human intervention to thrive. The herd is free to live their lives without human expectation or interaction; it is fully their choice if they want to engage or not.
I always hoped and believed that when all force is gone, horses seek relationships with humans, yet I was still astonished and so humbled to discover that this seems to be very true. We have found, when given a real choice, many of them want to engage - naturally, they want to connect. They value and protect their freedom and don’t want to be told what to do, and still, when respected, they are willing to collaborate as equals. They have blown me away - and continue to everyday. There is so much to learn - and they have me really asking myself What is wild inside me that needs to be seen? We are still discovering the nature of this profound, inter-species relationship when both horse and human are free to be their true selves without expectation.