This was my 2nd trip to Eagle Butte, SD to photograph the Wild Horses at the IPSMB Wild Horse Rescue in Lantry, SD.
The workshop is conducted by Weldon Lee, a well know nature photographer from Colorado that holds several workshops a year. I met up with Weldon in Eagle Butte at the only motel in town and met with him, his friend and one more photographer taking this photography workshop. We had a nice dinner the first night at the Dairy Queen. Yes…the Dairy Queen! You see, Eagle Butte is a small Native American community (actually it’s on a reservation) and so the town is poor and doesn’t support a lot of places to eat (although we later found a new Subway Shop had just opened).
We got early the next morning headed out to the Gila Herd of horses in the sanctuary. The ranch is about 700 acres in total and I am guessing there are about 600 horses among the 5 separate herds. Over the course of the next 3 days, I shot almost 3500 pictures and saw many a beautiful animal. I also saw heartbreak, as these animals are maintained in an environment similar to what they would encounter when in the wild. I saw a foal with a broken leg (which later had to be euthanized) and several adult horses with broken legs. The broken legs came from a combination of fighting with other stallions OR from stepping in the many Prarie Dog holes on the property. The horses will run and/or chase each other and then step into one one of the holes and snap their leg. Some have survived and learned to thrive with the broken leg and others would have to euthanized.
South Dakota is a beautiful place, and the ranch that takes care of these magnificent animals is also a beautiful place to visit. I will be back! If you’d like to learn more about Wild Horses and the specific Ranch that I visited..just go to this website: http://www.ispmb.org/index.html.
If you’d like to view some of the images taken from my trip… Wally Jarratt Photography.