Montana Horses: the last roundup, May 2012
One quiet evening in the fall of last year I was browsing the Internet looking for places where wild Mustangs ran free. Out of the blue and for no apparent reason I felt like typing the word Montana in. And that’s when it happened: the Montana Horses website came up and with it, some exhilarating images. I was blown away, I did not even know something like this still existed in today’s modern world. I kept on reading through and found out that the owners of the Mantle ranch in the Three Forks area, Renee and Kail Mantle, were announcing something that seemed to be of importance: the last round up. As they have decided to sell their ranch, the spring of 2012 was going to be the last time when their 300 and plus horses were going to be brought back to the ranch from their winter pastures during a huge 3 day event: the Montana horse drive. Still amazed at the novelty of it all, I somehow knew this would be an experience I could not miss. My love for horses, watching them run free almost like their Mustang brothers combined with my deep passion for exploring new places in this world were just a few of many reasons why I made the decision to attend. It did not take me long to make up my mind.
10 days after it all came to an end (May 7th), I feel like one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I could probably write pages about everything I have been through visually, emotionally, spiritually. But I will try to summarize it all and conclude: it has been one of the most rewarding things I have done. Not to say, one of the best birthday gifts to myself! I have met wonderful people in the process, surely made friends for life, got fully immersed in nature and was an organic part of its natural rhythms. A journey that I am sure does not end here, it just opened my appetite for more. It has revealed a new portal into a soon to be gone lifestyle. It has enriched my being with sounds and aromas of the West – a place that, as a kid, I was only admiring in movies. But even then I remember being intrigued with these sunburned and somewhat rough looking mysterious men riding their gracious horses high up into the mountains and confronting themselves with unthinkable dangers. Men and even women one with their surroundings, with deep knowledge and power to connect with their partners, the animals, a kind of knowing that goes beyond what us, urban people, can even imagine. And yes, these ways still exist, this kind of magic is still somewhere there.
And I can only be deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to witness it.