Here I am, almost to the day of Lakota’s death two years ago. Has it really been two years? It is hard to believe in some ways, but in others, it seems like it was much longer.
Since that day in July 2012 (LAKOTA) I have seen many births and deaths on the range. I have learned to take them all in stride. Not trying to let them all affect me, trying to be strong. But it seems that each year that passes, there is one little soul that has touch my heart. Last year it was little Nacer (NACER), this year it was a little soul that lived for just one short week. I feel fortunate that I was able to see him on almost each of those days.
I had a wonderful group of woman for my tour in mid July this year. It seems this year, I have had wonderful guests for each trip and miss them when we go our separate ways, bonded by the spirit of the Pryors.
It was our last afternoon and we were returning to the truck after an afternoon hike which we spent with several horses. My guest from Iceland told me she had spotted a horse, so I looked through the binoculars and discovered a beautiful foal with the two-year old filly Moenkopi. With the suggestion of my Iceland guest, we all decided his name should be Obsidian. (Obsidian)
This was to be Lakota’s first great-grand child. I knew the odds of a two-year old raising a foal was slim. But I have seen Maia (Galaxy band) doing an incredible job, and so I was hopeful. Moenkopi looked healthy and at a good weight, which gave me even more hope. Obsidian seemed liked a determined little guy, even though his size was small, there was a strong will that pushed him on, even in the minutes before he could no longer stand.
It seemed each day, I was blessed with the gift of seeing Capuccino and his band, and yesterday was no exception. I had spotted some horses towards Clouds island yesterday morning and my guests (from France) and I along with my good friend Lanie, decided to hike to see them. It was a beautiful cool morning and we were all anxious to see the horses in this different setting.
Cappuccino and his band were the first that we came to. This band does not always show itself. They prefer to be left alone or give themselves on their terms. I saw the “stink eye” look from Blanca, and knew that I had better move along, and so we did.
I only wish that all people who visited the range would treat the horses with respect, learn to read their body language, give them their space. But this post is not about that, so I will not tell you more about what I witnessed on this day, not now anyway, this is not the time.
We continued to climb up a small hill and perched ourselves well above the several bands that showed themselves that morning. Gringo, Duke, Galaxy, Blue Moon, Bolder, Cloud, Mescalero, Garcia, Doc and Garay. All relaxing, playing, sparring and sleeping in the warm morning sun.
Some time passed (I am not sure how much, it seems that time stands still when I am watching them). I looked over and saw Cappucinno and his band slowly making their way in front of us.
Moenkopi and her increasingly fragile colt Obsidian were the last to show themselves. I was concerned when I had seen Obsidian the day before. I had been gone from the mountain for one day and was suprised at how fragile he was looking. He looked weak, very thin, but still had that determination about him that gave me hope he would somehow beat the odds that were against him.
Moenkopi loved this young colt. Her every movement showed me that, and little Obsidian felt the same about his young mother. I was touched to see them share many tender moments right in front of me yesterday morning.
I felt very lucky to witness this and had no idea that I would see this little one take his last breath in just a few minutes. His determination was so obvious. Moenkopi had milk, we saw it drip as this tiny little soul tried with all his might to nurse. But he was never able to nurse for very long, he was too weak, for whatever reason.
Blanca joined these two during their last moments together. Somehow they seemed to know, but he still tried very hard to live.
And then, little Obsidian could no longer hold on. We watched his little body drop to the ground. At that moment, Moenkopi turned and touched her little son. And then she cried out. With that cry came a reaction from the other bands that none of us expected. All the horses turned and cried with her, with Doc’s band ( which included Moenkopi’s mother Galena) rushing towards them. Cappuccino placed his strong body between Obsidian and Doc. Letting him know he should not take another step.
As we watched this scene unfold before us, we still held out hope that little Obsidian would get up. But he did not and we could see he was no longer breathing. Sharing this moment, bonded us all together in a way that is hard to explain. We will all be life long friends, a gift in a tragic moment.
The bands slowly started to move on, and we did as well. We checked from a distance (through binoculars) on Moenkopi several times in the remainder of the day and into the evening. Moenkopi would not leave her colt, she stood there for hours and hours, until it was too dark for me to see if she was still there.
This morning, she was not standing over his little body. She and her band had moved on.
Life in the Pryors goes on, but it is not always easy. Rest in Peace little Obsidian, I know you have caught up to Lakota by now. He will help guide you. Perhaps you will come back again, given another chance, and turn out to be the strong stallion I know you can be.