National Geographic : 1971 Jan
Standing his ground, a stallion challenges the author in the Pryor Mountains after signaling his harem to retreat. Following, he will spur dawdlers and protect the rear, while a lead mare guides the band. Threats from rival suitors and from man keep the wild stallion ever alert, prompting J. Frank Dobie to call him the "eagle of the turf." Nineteenth century explorer David Thompson marveled at the reckless flight of wild horses, which plunged down steep hills as if they were on level ground. "They appear more headlong than the deer," he wrote in an 1809 diary. His dull packhorse, he also noted, quickly assumed the spirited temperament of the wild ones after it escaped to join them in the Rocky Mountains. The change in the animal amazed Thompson when he saw it later, with nostrils distended, mane flying and tail straight out.