A Wild Horse Scientist's Legacy

Published by Natural Horse Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4

By Charlotte Roe

Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, Founder of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, an expert on the reproductive physiology of wild horses, died on Dec. 16,2015. His loss to the equine community and to all those dedicated to the preservation and humane managent of wildlife.

Rife in hand, a stocky man slogs through the brackish marshes of Assateague Island National Seashore. He is stalking a small sorrel wild mare grazing peacefully on dune grasses. Waves crash in the distance. Sandpipers burst off the beach in choreographed fight. The mare looks over her shoulder at the fock, and then continues foraging. The man takes one more measured step, raises the rife, aims and pulls the trigger. Instead of a deadly bullet, he fres a dart into the mare’s hip. She jumps forward and the dart pops back out. The mare sprints for a few strides, then stops and turns to look at her hip as if trying to fgure out what just stung her. She goes back to grazing. Little does she know that the nearly painless dart will allow her to live her entire life in freedom on her island home.

Kayah Swanson