Beautiful stories of love happen on the Salt River every day, and many great photographers appreciate these social bonds between wild horses and write about it on our Advocates page, for people who may not be so lucky to see wild horses a lot. We call these family interactions “herd dynamics”, also nicknamed “As the river flows”. To join the page, just answer a few questions!
Katherine Kaiser Hayes | Salt River Wild Horses – Advocates
“Mother and Son”
Standing in a clearing I hear the soft whinny, the quiet talk amongst family, before I see the approaching band of horses. The first one I set eyes on is this gorgeous gray mare. She walked into the clearing with confidence and pride. As she should, because her pride, her son was walking close behind her.
These two are together every time I see them. They have a strong bond…that of mother and son. The handsome young stallion is the one many of us call Coyote. He has a protectiveness for this beautiful mare that is a wonderful thing to witness. One day when I was watching them, a group of bachelors caught the eye of Coyote. He felt the pull, as all young stallions do, to join the bachelors for a bit and enjoy some good natured sparring and not a little bit of trouble making.
In the meantime, another stallion was repeatedly “bothering” the beautiful gray mare. She wanted nothing to do with his advances and had repeatedly fought him off … but she was growing weary. Suddenly she let out a whinny, a call for help that pierced the very air of the clearing and carried her message to her son.
Coyote wasted no time in disengaging from his frovolity and charged back to his band to fight off the intruding stallion. And fight him off he did!
Afterwards, Mother and son shared a quiet moment, a barely perceptible nudge; a silent message of love.
And peace was restored.
One day in the not too distant future, Coyote will most likely be emancipated from his family. I know in my mind that this is a part of coming of age for these stallions and is a necessary process. And I have no doubt that one day Coyote will be a wonderul and strong lead stallion. But in my heart, I will grieve for the boy who was our little Coyote and the beautiful gray mare who will lose her son.