We have a birthday on the road today; Happy Birthday Isaac! Isaac is 7 years old today! He has been such a blessing to our family. On this trip, we have been able to count on Isaac to be full of questions about what he is seeing, and he has been pretty well-behaved, although he does like to get into mischief sometimes. -Rebecca
Today it didn’t take long to figure out what we were going to do. We were going to go to the Horse Sanctuary to see wild mustangs. (It was real cool to see a bunch of old Fords running around.)😉 The Ranch was started back in 1988, by Dayton Hyde. Dayton went to D.C. with several men who were in high positions at his side asking for a grant for a large number of mustangs. With some persuasion he finally was granted 300 mustangs. After some time he finally found a place not far from Hot Springs, SD to let all 300 mustangs prance freely through pastures. He named the ranch IRAM (Institute of Range And American Mustang.) Today they have about 600 mustangs. Many of the newer horses were brought there to retire. IRAM originally had only several thousand acres, but over the course of the years it has grown to be about 11,000 acres. At least two movies have been filmed on IRAM. For one of the films they made a replica of what they thought Fort Robinson would have looked like, but today it has no purpose but to store a few items and for the horses to go in. I seem to have neglected mentioning that though these horses live on a ranch they are pretty much self-reliant and only moved to different pastures when in need of grass and at the change of the seasons. In the drier times they are also given water but other than that they are technically wild.
When we finally got to IRAM it didn’t take us long to find some mustangs grazing in the field. We drove on to the main building complex of the ranch where we found out we only had 20 minutes to eat lunch before we got on a bus tour to see the mustangs and different parts of the ranch. After we sat down to eat lunch we got on the bus. The first two places we got out were overlooks. The first overlook was of the building complex which includes the barn, the office and gift shop, a few small pens with turkeys roaming around in them, and a bunch of campers and RV’s for the employees and volunteers to live in with a river in the back ground. The second overlook was of the fort. The guide told us this story where a bunch of rocks used to be animals while others were part of an old huge mushroom grove. It really was quite funny how so many people have such huge imaginations (though the guide didn’t truly believe these stories any more than the rest of us.) We then went through a field with hundreds of horses (which weren’t supposed to be paints but there was one which everyone thought might be one which was placed with these solids.) (When I say “solids” I mean a horse with a solid color.) There was one horse there which used to be part of a Mexican rodeo who had had the tip of its ears cut off. No one could understand how this could help a rodeo horse work better or why it was done to the horse. When we got to a gate to get to another pasture, we saw a paint which was supposed to be with the other paints but had somehow gotten with the solids. We then went through and were able to go by where some Native Americans from the Lakota Sioux were setting up teepees and such for their upcoming ceremony called “The Sun Dance” which takes a total of four days to accomplish (I think.) We then went on to see some paints where we were able to see quite a variety of beautiful paints of all colors. Many were VERY beautiful and majestic creatures. We then went on and were quite fortunate to see some ancient petroglyphs on some cliffs which had many different shapes. One or two of them looked like a horse which mystifies many because at the time these were carved there weren’t any horses to be found in the Americas. The guide believes that the image of the horse was carved into the cliff at a later point in time. Then there also were some other petroglyphs which looked like mammoths. They were super cool. We were all able to pet several horses while we were looking at the petroglyphs. We then went to yet another pasture where we were able to become somewhat acquainted with some Spanish Mustangs which were a smaller breed. I thought it was rather funny that the Native Mexicans thought that these small creatures with Hernan Cortez’s men were huge monsters with men riding on them. These horses really aren’t all that much bigger than a large deer. After this we saw an old homestead with the house falling down and the barn, well… there are only some signs left that there even was one. We then went by an old school which had been repaired and is now quite a beautiful old building.
When we got back from this two hour+ tour we had a snack and went and bought some postcards. We then got in the van satisfied with a fun afternoon of driving through horses and learning about their history of how they got into these pastures. Out of all of us AnaClaire had to have had the most fun. She was sticking her head out the windows and squealing whenever we got close to horses. It took her a couple of times of getting close before she warmed up to the idea of petting one. I think it really enlightened Dad on many things, and so now finally we got him to say that he would at least entertain the idea of getting a horse if we do the research. He is now convinced that if he gets one it may be best to try to purchase one of these mares’ colts, as these are supposed to be good at quite a variety of different activities. If any of you ever plan on coming to southwestern South Dakota, this ranch is a GREAT family activity and is sure to send the little ones squealing and the older family members into great delight. Again this ranch is called IRAM.
Written by: First Man on Mars (keep reading, there is a bonus below…)
An American Incite
Those poor English Ladies and Gentleman,
They all had to put up with such a pathetic Monarch, who was no true Man,
When they all heard of the land of the New Sunrise,
They all risked everything while others sold themselves to start on a new rise,
Crossing the ocean caused many to die while trying to insure another try,
When the survivors reached the land of the Sunrise,
They all knelt in prayer and thanksgiving to God for reaching the land of beginning,
It didn’t take long for these Ladies and Gents to figure out it wasn’t the land of the new Sunrise,
But the land of opportunity and New Beginning,
When these people started moving to the West Coast,
They all found a New Sunrise once more,
When they saw that risen sun they all remembered once more why they all moved to this land of opportunity,
That sun rising over the crested hills and coming out of the canyons caused many a man to kneel down and weep in thankfulness for their freedom and for their new chances which come with the sunrise every day,
The Sunset did the same thing,
It made them remember that even though that day may have been bad, the next day would bring new chances,
Today many take for granted the gift of the New Sunrise, forgetting that their ancestors came here for a new beginning which began with the New Sunrise,
Now the US needs to look towards the New Sunrise to remind it there is always a brighter day.
I wrote this while we were in the California-Oregon-Washington area
Composed By: First Man on Mars