Total eclipse an unsettling experience for wild horses

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Some of the Challis wild horses before the eclipse on August 21.
Some of the Challis wild horses before the eclipse on August 21.

Idaho’s Wild Love Preserve wild horse sanctuary was right in the path of the August eclipse, and founder Andrea Maki learned a lot about equine behaviour in such an event.

On August 21, 2017 we experienced the total eclipse of the sun. Challis, Idaho was in the Path of Totality and expectations were high, with folks traveling from all parts of the world to witness the event, which, for us, happened around 11am.

While folks were scattered about the in their respective locations, eclipse glasses at the ready and countless cameras pointed towards the sky, I was just where I wanted to be, surrounded by our 137 Challis, Idaho wild horses at Wild Love Preserve – me and my wild four-legged family.

At first, there was a palpable stillness in the air; the horses were on certain alert. Calm, watchful, and mindful of everyone’s respective positions. There was an impending sense of uncertainty as the usual morning light was dimming. And when the moon shadow had almost covered the whole of the sun, the temperature dramatically dropped to an evening chill, and light sensors tripped as day turned to night. In the moment that seemed as though someone had flipped the light-switch off, stillness was instantaneously replaced by wild whinnies and hundreds of thundering hooves on all sides of where I stood. It was paradise!

As quickly as darkness fell, a curious glow of daylight returned, but the horses were wound up and remained unsettled. For more than 15 minutes it was thundering hooves mixed with moments of pause to watch and listen, only to thunder again, ever mindful of my position amidst them. In time, they slowed and headed towards me to check in and be assured we were all okay, just as they have done in past times of question. And I count myself incredibly lucky, to be their trusted person, in our circle of life, love, and truth – these magnificent wild wonders forever interconnected with the whole of my being.

Since I have been asked by so many how the wild horses responded to the eclipse, I decided to make a very special, real time, video with the sights and sounds and activities of this happening. Instead of a snippet or two, for full effect and treat, I have included the footage as I captured and experienced it. The result is nine and a half minutes that will have you feeling as if you are right there with me. It was happening fast and my iPhone video camera was getting confused by the day, then night, then day. But the randomness of movement, blur, grain, and light speaks to how it organically unfolded, so turn up the volume and join me the wonderfulness of this wildness.

One thought on “Total eclipse an unsettling experience for wild horses

  • September 15, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Thank you so much for making and sharing that video – it is astounding !! What a privilege it is for you to be part of that beautiful herd. I love the way they came back to check in with you. And the sound of the thundering hooves !!! WOW..Thanks again…


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