Young Bachelor Stallion, “Pocket”

February 12, 2011

(June, 2010) Just as we dropped off a hill and into a gorgeous valley area within the Salt Wells HMA, we sighted our first horse way off in the distance. Our first trip to this area and already we spotted a horse – a good sign.

This is BIG country. He looked so small against the vast landscape.

We pulled off on the side of the road, I grabbed my camera and started making my way out to see this solitary horse. As I did, he started moving in my direction.

I was surprised at how willingly he was coming towards me. It doesn’t happen very often. I decided to stay where I was. I steadied my monopod in the dirt and watched his approach through my lens.

He was definitely interested. He'd picked up his pace.

A handsome young bachelor stallion. Hi boy.

I was taken aback a bit at just how close he came to me. Not actually fearful, but certainly cautious. He was a wild horse afterall. I knew I needed to stay out of kicking and striking range just in case he got “a wild hair.”

Just so you know, this is too close. I'm backing up in this photo.

Well, maybe this boy has seen his share of people – I just didn’t know, but I wasn’t going to take chances with him. He still startled and spooked at some of my movements.

I started back towards the Jeep. He followed me making wide circles, stopping and looking at me with his sleepy, puppy dog eyes. That’s when I laughed and asked him if he just wanted to get in my pocket and come with me. “Pocket” became our reference to this stallion. It seemed fitting.

Just like another stud colt we observed at this HMA, (Firecracker) Pocket seemed young to be all alone. Maybe he was just craving a little company. I continued to talk to him and he continued to respond. I’d never had an interaction quite like this one.

When we finally decided to venture on, Pocket followed me all the way back to the Jeep playfully kicking up as he jumped across the bar ditch and onto the road.

Little show off. Look at you. Aren’t you something?!

I had visions of him running after us like a dog, but of course he didn’t. I’m such a sap. My heart ached a little as he got smaller in the rearview mirror. It had been a special morning with this curious, young horse. I was grateful and sad at the same time.

If he wasn’t rounded up last fall, I wonder what he’ll be like when I see him next year as an older and wiser stallion.

(Click on the images for larger/sharper views)

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30 Responses to “Young Bachelor Stallion, “Pocket””


  1. He is certainly a very striking boy. Gorgeous color and gorgeous build. I love the name Pocket for him, such a cute little story behind it. I sure hope he is still roaming wild and free.

  2. Katrine Pett Says:

    HiPam,wow! what a truly special connection you and Pocket have in those precious moments!Craving companionship! Thankyou for sharing-something extemely poingnant about this single stalion- I too trust that he will remain free!

  3. maggie Frazier Says:

    What a great feeling you must have had – having this beautiful colt so fascinated by you!!
    It is sad, tho, to think of him being alone without his own kind – lonely enough to connect
    with a human.
    Hope he has a family of his own.
    Maggie

  4. pnickoles Says:

    There are some horses out there that just become extra special to me. This boy is one of them because of our “connection” that day. I hope he’s still out there too.

    Later that same day – in the evening – we saw Pocket again. He wasn’t with horses, but he had found some cows to hang out with. I felt better knowing he wasn’t alone. 🙂

  5. ljbain Says:

    Maybe he was sent by the other horses to observe the enemy


  6. What a great post, Pam. Thanks. It is pretty spectacular when wild horses want to interact like this. It ranks among the greatest experiences of my life. I am so glad this young horse hasn’t been harassed and made extra afraid of people.
    However, I dearly hope no one feeds him. We love to feed horses, including wild horses, but it is the worst thing people can do to wild animals is feed them for our own warm fuzzies. It makes them vulnerable, they end up on roads… Okay, I’m off my soapbox.
    Really great post, Pam. Thank you so much. Really captured the spirit of this sweet, uncorrupted, very young stallion. I bet we see him again in your future posts.

  7. pnickoles Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree Elyse. NEVER feed the wild ones. I did a post a couple of years ago about that and included this very sad link: http://www.shacklefordhorses.org/stories/spirit.htm And I hope you’re right – that he’s in future posts. 🙂

  8. arlene orlando Says:

    Oh Pam he is stunningly beautiful, What a beauty, my heart skipped a beat just to look at him , wow how curious he is , Tell where can you find such a thing of Beauty like him !!!! Wow Pam, he seems like he is there just for you !!!!!!! God and Mother Nature doesnt get any better then this……….. Thank You Pam !!!!!!

  9. Kim Michels Says:

    Beautiful story Pam!

  10. Barbara Warner Says:

    What a gorgeous stallion. You won’t find any more perfect any where.

  11. Linda Horn Says:

    Such a striking boy in a beautiful landscape. I think many animals would not only tolerate, but be curious about human presence if we didn’t pressure or hunt them. That is, the animals that don’t look at us as lunch!

  12. Cat Kindsfather Says:

    Oh Pam, what a wonderful experience, the blessing way. You two are soul mates in a realm many would not understand. He is beautiful. Your story and images are captivating! Congratulations. Sweete memory, so hope he will be there to greet you next year. Thanks for sharing…

  13. Cat Kindsfather Says:

    SWEET!!!!

  14. Karen McLain Says:

    What a wonderful story about Pocket. Every interaction really touches me. It really seems like so much is happening between horse and human. Thanks for the post Pam!

  15. sandra longley Says:

    so this was June, before the roundup..well if he stayed alone he may have been saved from being gathered..we will hope. Its always heartbreaking to see one so young all alone, I remember the photos of the young one that clung to a fence post for companionship, a green metal fence post he did not want to leave..so sad

  16. Dr. Bill and Pat Rice Says:

    Wow, Kid! You’ve done it again! Why are we not surprised? Your gift of clicking the shutter at just the right time scores again! This is obviously a special gift with his presence, no matter the reason. We’re always surprised when we are able to see a wonderful example of beautiful conformation, as he is obviously eating well enough in these Winter months. Yes . . . keep the trips going and ‘one of these days’ Pat and I will try to join you – we shouldn’t be so busy in our retirement! Love and prayers, Your Other Family

  17. SHIRLEY LE GARDE Says:

    THIS LITTLE GUY CERTAINLY WANTED TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOU. I BELIEVE HE WOULD OF COME RIGHT UP TO YOU. RARE FOR A WILD HORSE BUT HE IS VERY LONELY AND LOST.

  18. Lea Williams Says:

    How fun that is. A stallion came up to me kind of like that in the Steens. Not a young guy but an older bachelor. He came at a strong trot and stopped about 25′ away like”what you doing here” then he sauntered off a ways and stood under a tree out of the snow that was falling. Such fun. He is a bay and white pinto. Loved it.

  19. Jan Says:

    He DID come right up to you, didn’t he?! Silly Boy! Lucky Girl 😉 There was trust there, Pam…you had to have felt it, along with his curiosity. I do hope he’s out there still, awaiting your return. How wonderful it will be to see him a year later…how he’s filled out, muscled up (maybe with a girlfriend, or a few bachelor buds)and even more incredibly handsome!

    Thanks, Pam…for a peek into his world!

    ~ Jan

  20. Puller Says:

    What a vibrant red he is. Like the earth. His trust reminds me of the little filly I met at the BLM event. Thanks Pam for sharing your experience with us.

  21. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks all of you for your comments. This really was a wonderful memory for me and I did feel very lucky. I always try to put happy, calming images into my head when I’m out with the wild horses (or my own for that matter). It was some good advice I got a long time ago from a lifetime horsewoman – my Aunt Peggie. I’m convinced that most of the time, the horses can feel I’m not there to harm them and that’s the reason I’m given some opportunities like this one. So special.

  22. pnickoles Says:

    And thanks for sharing your thoughts and stories with me! 🙂

    I’m very hopeful we’ll see Pocket this spring. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

  23. pnickoles Says:

    I apologize that not all of my posts are current, but we made so many trips to the ranges last year, I’m way behind on sharing them with you.

  24. Gerri Kier Says:

    WOW Pam what a GREAT day you had with Pocket! Fantastic shots…thanks for sharing them.

  25. Roxy Says:

    What a wonderful experience with this charmer! Hope we get to learn more of Pocket over the years – wild & free. You always make us feel like we are right there with you – thank you


  26. What a beauty! And he knows it, too. 🙂

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central


  27. Great story with beautiful pictures! A dream come true.

  28. Sue Charles Says:

    I love your photos, Pam! The amazing beauty of wild horses running free!! I pray to God this stallion will always live in the wide open spaces, as it should be for all the wild horses and burros. It’s so heartbreaking to think of all the beautiful free spirits who have been rounded up and lost their freedom, their family members, and many lost their lives. Please keep sharing your beautiful photos so more can enjoy and appreciate the amazing horses.

  29. Julie Miller Says:

    Pocket, looks just like a filly that I had a few years ago. It is amazeing that horses and humans have such an amazing bond. I’m sure that he was lonely and was looking for some company. But I also have to wonder if he knows that there are so many people trying to keep him free. Thanks so much for shareing.

  30. arlene orlando Says:

    Dear Pam !!! when you named him Pocket , it made me think of A pocket full of miracles, I think you experienced one of them,with Pocket, with your connection with him, of which there was definitely one miracle, I believe things happen for a reason, maybe unbeknown st to you now , but I am sure it will come to light for you !!!!! He just happened to be there all alone, and you just happened to be there???? I think Not !!!!


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