Seeker Archives

Wild Horses Respond to Native American Drumming

Wild horses appear to possess an instinctual response to Native American drumming, as evidenced by a recent event at Red Horse Nation.

This week at Discovery News you can read about how horses remain loyal to their human friends. Jill Starr, the president and founder of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in Lancaster, California, whom I interviewed for the feature, shared a wonderful story with me, that I'd like to share with you now.

Starr works to save American mustangs and domestic horses from abuse, neglect and slaughter.

(Wild mustangs running free; Credit for images: Jill Starr)

Her organization now includes Red Horse Nation, which helps Native American youths by enabling them to connect with the rescued horses through direct contact, teaching and more. During one program, student participants were allowed to select a specific wild horse for "gentling," meaning they could assist in taming and training that animal.

One sunny afternoon, when they had finished their tasks, the students and a few elders within their group brought a tribal drum to the site, much to the surprise of the instructors and staff.

"It seemed to just be a spontaneous happening," Starr told me.

The students sat around the instrument and began to chant and drum.

"When this happened, the horses followed the drums and, mesmerized, made a semi-circle around the students," Starr said. "Most of the kids were so involved in the drumming that they didn't notice, even though the horses had gathered just 12 to 20 feet away. It was so moving that many of us watching were crying."

Below is the only photo taken of that moment, just as the horses began to gather.

Three slideshows illustrating Red Horse Nation programs may be viewed at this page.