One of the things about wild horses that has captivated me from the start, is that they are unpredictable and you never know what surprises they throw at you!
For example you may think that a certain horse may be dead but after some time they just pop out again. This was the case with Kitalpha and Kerry, two fillies born in 2010.
Kerry was one of the first foals born in 2010 and is the daughter of the red roan mare Electra and the dun stallion Prince .
Originally a grulla with 2 hind pasterns , she roaned out into a beautiful grulla roan. One of the things I love the most about her is that she has some of the most expressive big black eyes I have ever seen.
Kerry came out of winter in fine health. She was with her family on Sykes Ridge early last spring (2011). But all of a sudden she just disappeared. It was so sudden that no one really knew what happened to her and just assumed that she had probably died.
Then in mid July 2011, she just reappeared out of the blue with the stallion Durango. They were in the Dryhead and she looked in tip-top shape!
It is hard to say how this happened. We will probably never know, but at least she is healthy and alive!
Ironically Durango is the father of Kitalpha. During the winter of 2010-2011 he lost his only mare Buffalo Girl. Buffalo Girls pregnancy and the strain of raising a foal was too much for her. She was in very bad condition. In fact Buffalo Girl weaned Kitalpha before she was even two months old. Basicly Kitalpha could be considered an orphan. Her only advantage was that she still had the protection of her family.
The effects of the lack of milk at such a young age were very evident. She was stunted in growth compared to other foals her age. She shed her baby coat very, very slowly. Even at four months old she still had her fuzzy baby coat. The most evident thing of all was her bloated stomach caused by malnutrition.
Buffalo Girl’s remains were found laying by one of the water guzzlers in the lower Dry Head last spring (2011). Kitalpha was thought to be dead as well. It had been a very hard winter and her condition had not been good going into it.
Kitalpha was spotted just a few weeks ago!! Knowing all that she has been through, the fact that she survived when all the odds were against her is just amazing!! This proves the strength and will to survive that Wild Horses have.
Kitalpha is with the grullo stallion Bristol on Turkey Flats.
She is looking good. Both Sandy and I think she will survive! The evidence of her ordeal are still apparent, such as her small size. But she has shed her baby coat and sports a beautiful grulla coat with very primitive markings, especially some very big neck bars.
Sandy had the luck of finding her on her trip last week. Let’s see what she saw!
I wanted to hike on Turkey Flats to look for horses, but especially one special little survivor, Kitalpha. When I heard that she had been seen alive I was hoping that I would be able to see her. I discovered that she is a full cousin of my Pryor filly Valerosa. Their mothers were full sisters. So finding her had some special meaning to me.
I knew the chances were slim. Turkey Flats is a very big area. We had just started out on our hike. I was leading the way and following a well-traveled horse path. We came around a small hill and there she was! It was hard to believe. Bristol was there by her, not too far away.
This little horse had already touched me deeply. I wanted to stay and watch her all day. She was a little on edge and cautious when she first saw me. But after spending some time with them, she relaxed and continued on as if I was not there.
I left them for a while to hike around and see if I could find other horses. Not finding any, I decided I wanted to spend more time with these two.
Kitalpha got comfortable enough with me, that she decided to take a nap. Bristol stayed close, watching over her.
When Bristol laid down too, I decided it was time for me to go. As I quietly walked away I thought once again how lucky I was to find this little horse in such a vast land. Thank you Kitalpha. Keep surviving.
Special thank you to Linda Dombeck and John Ashley for the use of their photos!