Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Home on the Range

Soon after we arrived at the Enchanted Springs Ranch, Cowgirl Sue asked us if we wanted to take a ride around the ranch to see some of the animals.

"Sure," was our reply, thinking that we would get a close-up view of some longhorn cattle

or maybe watch some buffalo roam.

And we did.

However, we learned that the ranch was rather unusual in that all the animals at the ranch were "rescue" animals. That is, all were animals that had been mistreated or brought to the ranch when their owners learned they could no longer care for them.

Even worse, others were abandoned by their former owners when they moved away and just left the animals behind, thinking (Sue guessed), "They're animals and they'll be able to take care of themselves in the wild."

So with that explanation, we were not too surprised to see the deer and the antelope playing on the range.

Then we were introduced to a group of the more annoying members of the ranch family--the zebras. These guys really enjoyed harrassing the horses with their kicks, so a while ago, they were separated from the horses behind a rather tall fence since they are accomplished jumpers.

But it was the glamour of the llamas that captured our prolonged attention. They have an aloof, regal quality to their appearance as they survey their surroundings.

Sue was able to approach one of the llamas, but we were too close for the second to feel safe enough to take some food from her. Incidentally, Sue has some ties to Pennsylvania, having lived in Norristown in the early 70's.

Two of the last residents we saw were these two ducks. They can obviously come and go as they please, but they have become permanent residents of the pond here--along with some of the largest catfish we've ever seen.

This pond was formed by what the native Americans called "The Enchanted Springs."

We returned from the Jeep tour of the Enchanted Springs Ranch with a good feeling about the philosophy of the owners (Steve and Vicki Schmidt and Grant and Pam Jacobs) and their staff. Animals were given a safe, natural setting in which to roam free without becoming props for a "safari tour" or targets for "big game hunters."

1 comment:

Reina said...

Those were wonderful photos! I was just reading a book (fiction) where one of the main characters took in rescue horses on their ranch and I think it's such a worthy endeavor. Remember, most of the menagarie of pets at my partent's house (and by association mine in the olden daycare days) were rescue animals--abandoned/mistreated birds, dogs, kittens, and exotics people didn't know how to handle when they got bigger (monkeys, lizards, snakes, and even an alligator!) I have such respect for them for doing that! We have a farm nearby that has Llamas on it, and I adore knitting with Alpaca wool (Peruvian Llamas). It's almost as soft as cashmere! I know that's totally off topic, but seeing the llamas reminded me of it!