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Review for Wild Love Preserve, Kingston, WA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Challis, Idaho, is a single main street town with 1081 inhabitants, and the county seat of Custer Counter. Set in a valley surrounded by mountains above and the Salmon River nearby, it is the home of the Wild Love Preserve. You wouldn’t realize, nor notice, that the Preserve on US Route 93 is the ranch home for wild horses. Captured on the high plateaus of the surrounding area, they graze on a 400-acre expanse in wind swept solitude.

The ranch, the horses are the wild love of Andrea Maki, the Preserve’s founder. In June, Bonnie Way and I had a chance to walk among the wild horses as they, and we, roamed over the grassy, and sometimes water soaked, fields of the ranch.

It was quite an experience for me because I have never had a good relationship with horses when young. I never developed the skill to ride them. When I tried, I was usually bumped out of the saddle and landed on the ground with a jarring thud. As an adult, I stayed away from them.

Yet, these wild horses were never threatening and had a fascinating appeal to Bonnie and me. They would gallop away as we approached, stop when we stopped. Eventually, as we stood still and watched quietly, they would approach guardedly assessing us from the distance. In time, we met. They would touch and smell our clothes, nibble on our shoulder bags, nudge our hats, and allow us to touch them and rub their necks and manes.

The experience was thrilling, especially after avoiding contact with horses for so many years. Perhaps the wild horses sensed that we were not a threat to them, just as much as we felt safe in their presence. It was also heartwarming, and educational, to experience these wild, beautiful creatures in their surroundings. They have a wonderful place among the agricultural and outdoor pursuits of the people of, and visitors to, Challis. -Janis Rogainis

Role:  Donor