Passion. As authors we often have it in spades. Whether it’s about politics, quilting, or organic foods, there is generally something we feel strongly about. And it’s always interesting to learn of others’ passions, whether similar or wildly different.
For instance, I spent last week in the Black Hills of South Dakota, one of my favorite places in the world. My husband and I hauled a couple of our horses nearly 600 miles so we could explore the Hills from our saddles.
I had never been there before, but had heard the story of a man named Dayton Hyde. He had a dream, a passion, if you will, for all things wild and for horses in particular. He had visited the Bureau of Land Management and seen how they were treating the mustangs that were in their care. Basically the animals lived in a feed lot and were getting just enough fodder for the
m to subsist on. They looked, he said, “depressed.” Moved to make a better life for them, he worked out a deal with the governor. If Dayton could find a space for them and find sponsorships, the government would pay $1 a horse per day for him to care for the animals. So, after a fairly extensive search, he bought some land in South Dakota. In fact, he bought 13,000 acres. Just so you don’t have to do the math, that’s more than 16 square miles…a veritable equine paradise of rugged, rocky, gorgeous country. Most of which is dedicated to the Spanish Mustang, the horse directly descended from the mounts brought here by the Conquistadors back in the 15th century.
You see, although the horse first originated in North America 48 million years ago (when they were about the size of a dog) the species became extinct here after they crossed the ice bridge into Asia. But when the Conquistadors came to this continent they brought their horses with them. Horses that had been bred to be hardy and aggressive in battle, horses with zebra striping on their legs. (You’ll see them if you look closely at some of the pictures.) Horses with attitude and intellect and natural camouflage. Some of those horses escaped and formed herds that lived, mostly undisturbed, for the past few hundreds of years. These are the horses Dayton Hyde felt compelled to save.
Perhaps Mr. Hyde is a very wealthy man. (He IS the author of 17 books, after all, and everyone knows all authors are rich.) I’m not sure what his circumstances were. But even at the age of 84, he is obviously one of those people who knows how to get things done…how to make things happen. He has a passion for horses, for the environment, for justice and lives right there on the property. As for the 600 horses he cares for, they‘re supported by donations, tours and the sale of foals. Me, I’m not brave enough to ‘take home a living piece of the west’ as they call it. But it was a thrill to be allowed to view a little bit of living history.
So, passion, most of us have a cause we feel strongly about. Something that twangs our heart strings What’s yours?