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The Wild Horse Project

  • Writer's pictureChloe Phillips


Picasso, I will always have an incredible soft spot in my heart for this beautiful boy. You see when we went to bring in this herd it was Picasso that stayed with the foal that had broken its leg. The foal was the entire reason I knew the group and it was what we went looking for. It took months to find it. We’d go and search after someone told us they spotted in but by the time we got there the herd would be gone. It happened multiple times.

Then one day we turned up and there this poor little thing was dragging it’s legs and limping along a gravel road with Monet, Da Vinci, Frida and Picasso all with it. The baby was clearly part of the herd and they all moved at a speed to stay with it. To cut a long story short, by the time we parked up, set up the yards we were using and came back, we could only find Picasso and the foal. I’m sure the others were around but they had faded into thick bush once more.

So we walked this poor little baby on foot to the stockyards, Picasso would not leave its side. Not once, you could tell he wanted to, he kept looking off into the distance to where i’m sure the rest of the group were, but he stayed by the foal the entire way. We gave him plenty of chances to go, we were on foot going incredibly slowly but he stayed. His duty it seemed was to look after this injured little one. All the way into the yards he went, never once leaving its side a grey guardian angel to an injured baby.

He stayed with the foal all that night standing watch over it in the yards. Early the next morning Da Vinci, Monet and Frida were all at the gate they had come back to look for the rest of the herd Picasso and the baby. The little herd standing as close together as they could with a fence separating them. This is how we managed to bring them all home together. We euthanised the foal, let the herd say goodbye and brought the four of them home with us. There are two many wild horses near me, and often I deal with stories like this where horses have broken legs and live in agony that leads to a slow death. It’s why we chose to bring the herd home. Its much easier to manage and remove small groups than do big musters.

It was Picasso and his loyalty to the baby that left a lasting impression. He is a young stallion, only four years old now. That foal was likely just a sibling, certainly not his own offspring. In the little herd he is Da Vinci’s foot soldier and right hand man. They will greet new horses together and if there is uncertainty Da Vinci will protect the girls and Picasso will go ahead to meet any new horse and check them out in a very friendly way first. The two boys are incredibly close and I love watching the dynamics as they work together. I have never really seen them fuss or fight for dominance. Da Vinci is boss, top dog and Picasso helps where he can. They are a team through and through.

Here at home, Picasso is calm, sweet curious and the type of horse that would have eventually tamed himself left long enough. He is a very chilled fellow and just likes to hang out around the place. Never causes a fuss and is probably the quietest naturally of the group always super inquisitive as well sticking his head into sheds, buckets, bags or anything else on his path to and from the barn. As you can see he also does it with the camera!

Wild horses are amazing and he sure is a shining example of how complex they really are.

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