2019 – the second commemorative print honoring the wild mustang, Blaze. Blaze lived wild in the incredible badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND from 2002, the year he was born, until sometime on or around March 19th, 2017, when his spirit became a permanent part of the badlands. His spirit will carry forward to honor all of America’s wild horses by creating a commemorative print each year in his honor!
As a dear friend said – “he has gathered a great human herd!”
“Remember even if you don’t see me, I am always there just like the Moon in the Sky!” ~Kalpana Bhandari
This image was taken in May of 2015 during the Fly Without Wings three month journey in TRNP. A friend had driven up from South Dakota and we had spent the day in the park looking for Blaze and finally located him on the east end of Lindbo Flats, a part of the park named for the ranch family that owned the land at one time. We were as far north as the park boundary would allow us to go and it was the time of year for the wilds to congregate for the summer here. His harem was large and he had in tow his only foal born that year, a blue eyed filly we named Pinnacles. We being the CSU team (Colorado State University and doing research on the contraceptive project on the wild horses in TRNP) which had become part of this three month journey for me.
Blaze was being the stallion he always was and was busy gathering his harem to drive them back to the north ridge and away from the other stallions and their bands. He was very protective and aware of his harem, tending to keep them close and in sight. Close in proximity were the stallions Cocoa (now gone), Red Face, and Thunder Cloud.
This stallion and that project and all of the experiences surrounding it were some of the most profound, life changing, and emotional moments in my life. From the spring of 2015 through the spring of 2017 when we found him missing, life was full of moments of joy, friendships, hard work, belonging to a greater good, amazing memories, and wild experiences that will live on forever in this wild mustang stallion’s images!