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It's a little known fact that wild horses still exist in the United States today. As of September, 2000 and estimated 43,000 horses still roamed wild. Some of these horses are descendents of the Spanish mustangs that were brought by invading Spaniards in the 1600s. Until recently it was believed that no pure strains of these mustangs existed anymore, that all the bloodlines had been diluted by other breeds. In the 1970s, however, a small herd of wild mustangs was discovered in the rugged isolation of Southeast Oregon on the Steens Mountain. The herd consisted of 27 animals, and it was determined that these were pure descendents of the original Spanish horse. The horse was named the Kiger Mustang after the Kiger Gorge where it was discovered.

The Kiger Mustang has a distinctive dun coloring, varying from buckskin to a reddish color. They have "primitive" markings which include dorsal strips, "zebra" stripes on their legs and shoulders and rib and arm bands. It was this original coloring pattern that tipped the Bureau of Land Management workers who found the feral horses that this could be a unique breed.

Since the discovery of this herd, there has been a large public interest in the breed. The few Kiger mustangs that are available through the Wild Horse Adoption Program are quickly snapped up. Luckily, however, there are now quite a few places that breed Kiger Mustangs for selling, and one can be had for a price. By all accounts, the Kiger is an intelligent, curious, eager to learn animal and in great demand.

"Wild, wild, wild horses,"

Wild horses can also be found out on the East Coast. Actually, right on the east coast. Along with a lot of other wildlife, they can be seen at Georgia's Cumberland Island National Seashore.

While undoubtedly not as old as the Kiger Mustangs, these horses have been roughing it for quite a while. I cannot advise you, the everythingarians, on how well adjusted the horses are to humans, so don't run up and try to pet them as soon as they appear. Regardless, they are still arguably cooler than the other animals you'll encounter out there.

The Cumberland Island is picturesque enough on its own--so much so that John F. Kennedy, Jr. had his wedding there. However, if you want the ultimate postcard snap shot, wait for the horses to coming trotting through the surf and start rolling some film, or megapixels, whichever comes first.



"Couldn't drag me away."

"Wild Horses" is also a song by the The Rolling Stones. An excellent cover can be found by Bush. It's a great (probably solo) performance by front man Gavin Rossdale. One of the few covers that I think out does the original--Gavin just has a better voice for a slow and low delivery while Mick is just . . . Mick.

256 remarks that there there is some debate over "Wild Horses" and whether or not the Stones wrote the song or Gram Parsons. To the best of my research, Parsons was the inspiration for the song when Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wrote it. Parsons was allowed to record the song before the Stones did, so this may cause some confusion or frustration for fans of the different artists.

bol informs me that the best cover was in fact by The Sundays and used in an episode of Buffy. I cannot confirm nor deny the existence of such a cover.
256 informs me that almost all the 10 million covers are good, except the one by Iron and Wine; I trust anyone who lives their life in an 8-bit world, so he's the last voice I listen to on this one. No more suggestions.

We went looking for them. The wild horses. This was June, 2012.

We were ourselves on horseback, because there is no other way to reach the remote Inyo Wilderness, far on the East of California, spilling over into the wilds of Nevada, 8000 feet up. We rode for several days into the high desert all alone in the silence.

The horses here are descendants of the Spanish and other horses who have been abandoned or escaped into the wilderness over the last few hundred years. The foals are almost all killed by lions immediately upon birth; the few who survive are indeed the strongest and fittest. We found a herd of over 100 animals, adults and foals together.

Seeking good pictures, we tied our own horses up at a distance and walked towards the wild ones. When we had gotten as close as we dared, we sent the only child in our group, a girl of 17, ahead with a camera to see if she could get some good pictures from closer up. Perhaps this was not our finest moment. (!!)

The child approached, snapping away.

I saw it happen. I myself, I saw it with my own eyes.

The lead mare turned and looked at the child. She was not alarmed, this mare: her ears were up, she was interested. She began to gallop towards the girl. Why? Who can say?

Then the four or five horses around her also began to gallop. Then the whole herd stampeded, directly at the child.

It was one of those moments when you cannot believe your eyes. Wild horses run away, right?? But these are running right towards us!! This cannot be happening! They'll turn aside, right? Right? Right...?!

When the lead horses got within 20 yards of the child, the girl finally turned and ran back towards us. Never in my life have I seen anyone run so fast in cowboy boots! By this time we were all waving our hats and shouting, and finally the herd turned, right in front of us. The earth shook with the impact of all those hooves, a deep sound, as much felt as heard, the deep deep drums in a wild music.

That day I witnessed a force of nature, as much out of human control as a hurricane, and as majestic.

As wonderful and terrible as life and death themselves.

I looked right into its eyes. It was the same at that instant: death, and life.

"Is this about us?"

Drunkenly, you told me this was the song that you listened to.
(And, presumably, are still listening to when you think about me.)
I told you the feeling was mutual.
I told you I've missed you.
I started to tell you I still loved you, but I went to bed instead.
Two states away, we're both listening to what I've just learned has been our song.
Wild Horses.

Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can't let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn't drag me away

You're an alcoholic now.
(You've admitted.)
I'm just as lost as ever.
You're lonely because you've never moved.
I'm lonely because I've never quit moving.
I asked you if I would ever grow up and settle down.
You said that I don't know how.
"But for right now that is totally Fucking fine."

No sweeping exits or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn't drag me away

I always dreamed that a boy would give me a song.
Why did it have to be this one?
It's the kind of song that demands a stiff drink; a heavy heart; and a convoluted, weathered, but genuine love.

I guess the song is played at funerals regularly.
It seems fitting.
Loss makes us sentimental, while separation makes us romanticize the self-destructive.

Faith has been broken, tears must be cried
Let's do some living after we die
Wild horses couldn't drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we'll ride them some day
Wild horses couldn't drag me away



Obviously, this is in reference to the brilliant song Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones. The lyrics (in italics) are taken from this song. If you haven't heard it somehow, pour yourself something stiff and listen.
Also, many thanks to etouffee for his help with this writeup.

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