Today was another ambitious day, 33 miles. It was Takoda’s turn and I was curious to see how the mustang stallions might treat another male horse. Obviously they were drawn to Shyla but they never showed any aggression towards her. Would they be aggressive towards Takoda and think he was a threat? It didn’t take long to find out.
Within an hour of leaving camp we arrived at our first water trough of the day that was created for the local cattle. These troughs are a great resource for all life in the basin, from mustangs to pronghorn to thru-hikers. At this trough there were numerous cattle, pronghorn, and a half dozen mustangs. They definitely weren’t interested in making friends with Takoda as they snorted at him and kept their distance, but they were still quite curious and followed us for a bit. They would repeatedly come racing up behind us, cross the dirt road in front of us, and then stop and watch as we rode by.
Takoda and I saw six herds on this day, and all of them were very close to a water source. We even saw numerous foals running along side their mares with the herd stallion making sure to stay between Takoda and his herd. Only one herd showed a bit too much interest in Takoda. This herd was comprised of about a dozen individuals, all sorrel or bay in color, with two stallions. The two stallions were coming very close to Takoda and attempting to rush up behind him. Takoda seemed oblivious to them and the stallions seemed quite fearful of me. As soon as I talked to them or looked at them directly, they would turn tail and stay farther away. If I remained quiet and didn’t look directly at them they would get quite bold. It became a game of sorts of me looking away, the stallions trying to sneak up behind Takoda, then me whipping around in the saddle to glare at them once they got close and watching them run off.
This went on a few times before they lost interest. The rest of the day remained uneventful and we reached my mom and Shyla in the early evening before the sun set.