Author Archive

Dark Day

It’s pretty gloomy out today. We got a half an inch of rain at the ranch last night and there been plenty more since then. Lightning has cut my day short…. The project is going well and it’s hard to believe I’ve been here for a month already.

Our data collection consists of 6 different forms… We get evaluations on the mares weekly, observations daily (multiple times a day on bands with known heats) and new foal forms to name them and identify their markings. Our daily observations consist of 4 forms which include a spatial ( how close are all the horses to each other in the band) , a 20 minute activity pattern table where behavior is recorded every minute on the minute, an all occurrence table ( noting all reproductive behavior during observation), and a data sheet telling who is in the band, who is collecting data, time, weather, GPS coordinates etc. I am excited to see some of the results from the data so we can learn from the statistical analysis on behavior. This project will continue for 4 years to see how efficacious the vaccine is and if all goes as planned, the park will have half as many pregnancies next year. The herd has had a 30% population growth for the last few years which forced them to round up the horses every 3-4 years to cull part of the herd. This vaccine hopes to reduce that need, saving the park and ultimately the tax payers thousands of $$. I think this project has so much to offer to the equine/bovine industries and it’s neat to be a part of the research.

Hunting for Horses

So I know that I am here to study horses but I just can’t help myself with all the wild flowers.  Below is a picture of one of my 2 year olds -Cache.  I have been taking him out into the park once a week to ride and look for horses.  The other photo is of a stallion named Blaze.   With a left blue eye, roan color, wild hair and big presence, he’s everything you would hope a wild stallion to be.  This ecosystem is so diverse and I am amazed by something everyday. This morning I saw a mother turkey with her brood.  They were walking up a hill and took off in flight and perched up in a tree.  These babies are the size of my fist and they can already fly.  Pretty cool.  The project is going well.  We have a young foal with a broken leg and it’s been hard to watch her struggle to keep up with mom and the rest of the band. The horses here are treated as wild animals as they live and die by the laws of the land…something very hard to get accustomed to with a background heavily dependent on fixing things and ending suffering. I hope the coyotes take her soon so she doesn’t have to try to survive any longer.  The Bad Lands are rough and unforgiving in such ways.  The people here are survivors, the cattle thrifty and the wildlife strong.  You have to be tough if you are going to make it in this place.

Week Two in the Dakotas

Hi everyone,

I’m not sure what happened to the posting last time but I must have just entered the pictures.  Anyway, I’ll re-introduce myslef….I am Lindsey and just finished my second year in the DVM program at Colorado State.  I am working on the GnRH immunocontraceptive vaccine research in Medora, North Dakota with the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I will be posting every FRiday and hope you enjoy all the wonderful photos I have gathered.  We have seen a few successful copulations in some of the bands and so our goal of recording reproductive behavior in theses horses is being achieved!  This week I rode all three of my horses out to find a few of the more aloof bands.  I hope you follow my posts this summer and I will hope to share some of the more interesting things I come across…..Oh, and I saw my first ratteler today:)  It’s some wild country!

North Dakota News

So, I am officially a Junior !!! Yeah! Here are some photos of this last week here in North Dakota. I am working on an immunocontraceptive vaccine trial study in the wild horses in Theadore Roosevelt National Park. My days are spent tracking horses and recording reporductive behaviors. I live on a ranch 15 miles south of Medora,ND where I get to help out with chores and AI cows on my days off. We just branded on Sunday and they let me rope off my horse which was a lot of fun! I’ll be chiming in at least once a week to update you on what cool things I have seen here in the park but in the meantime, here are some fun pictures of the Badlands….what a great place to spend the summer:)

-Lindsey

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