Searching for Lakota, July 7-10, 2012

I am just going to say it right away.  I did not find Lakota.

Lakota, May, 2012

It is easier for me to be strong when I am on the mountain.  I try to tell myself up there that these are wild horses.  Things happen.  Sometimes I can’t quite remember that and burst into tears up there, but most of the time I am strong.

I was this time.  Then I got in the truck and started heading down the mountain towards home.  I was still okay.  Then I plugged in my ipod and it started playing.  You know what I mean, some song that you downloaded started playing.  One of those “tug at  your heart” kind of songs.  That is what happened yesterday morning as I headed down the mountain towards Bridger.  I started to cry, hard.  Luckily, I knew the road well and I could only drive about 10 miles an hour, so no one was in any danger.   Why was it that the ipod would not quit playing those songs?   The tears would not stop and by the time I got to Bridger my eyes looked like I had been in a fight.  We stopped to have breakfast there, and I am sure the waitress felt very sorry for me, because she seemed to be extra nice.

Lakota, June, 2012

Let me back up a bit and tell you about my search for Lakota.  I arrived on the mountain early afternoon of the 7th.  After changing a flat tire on the truck and setting up camp, I went down Burnt Timber Road to try to find Lakota.  And that was pretty much what I did for the next 3 1/2 days.  Search for Lakota.  I did spend some time off and on with the other bands, but a lot of the time I was hiking around looking for Lakota.

The last time someone saw him was on July the 2nd.  I thought for sure I knew where he would be.  It is so dry up there right now, that water is very limited.  I thought Lakota might be getting water from a little ice cave not far from where he was last seen.  Either that or at the red mud hole that Shawn had shown me 2 weeks ago.

The mud hole was dried up.  I saw a big black bear there, but no horses.  At the ice cave were 6 tents.  It was a group of people who were spending time mapping out the ice cave.  I know nothing about that.  They were nice enough people, but I was concerned that they may have driven Lakota off with all the activity around there.  I left them my card (with the image of Lakota on the front and back) and asked them to call or text me if they saw him.  I hiked to the ice cave just in case they had missed seeing his tracks.  Nothing.  The were there for a couple of days and I asked each day if they had seen Lakota.

I stopped everyone coming up Burnt Timber or heading down, gave them my card and asked them to watch for him.

Lakota, October, 2011

I tried to think about where he might go for water.  It not only was dry up there, but hot and I knew that he would need to go for water.

The next water hole was off towards the fence line, more than a  mile away or more away.  A hard mile. Especially for a horse with a hurt leg.  It was down a steep hill over a huge meadow and down another hill.  I hiked it and looked around the water hole.  I then hiked up the next hill above the water hole and sat for over an hour watching and looking through the binoculars.  Nothing.

Lakota, May 2012

And so went the days, hiking and driving looking for Lakota.  I did not find him.

I really did not want to leave without finding him.   It was a very hard thing to do.  I will be back in a few weeks.   I am hoping that someone can find him before then.  I will let you know if  hear anything.

Stay strong Lakota and heal…



Lakota, May, 2012
Lakota, October, 2011

36 thoughts on “Searching for Lakota, July 7-10, 2012

  • Thanks, Sandy. I have been looking forward to this post, yet dreading it. Shawn’s last photo of him was not encouraging. Yet, they are strong. We know they are animals and eventually will leave us, but it is still hard to take. We all feel your pain and give you a large community hug… He is in our hearts.

  • Thank you for the care you take regarding the wild horses in Pryor. You seem like their guardian angel – letting the world know of their existence, their importance, their plight. I think not such an easy job to be a witness to someone else’s life. I think that is how the Lord feels from time to time – maybe always – as He looks down upon us wishing He could direct us in the right direction, diverting us from the wrong path, stopping us from self-destructing (much like parents must feel each time they gaze upon their children with a longing to always be there and always keeping their children from harm.) You have chosen a heart-wrenching place but possibly the fact that you have could save a species, a life. Keep up the good word and take care of your heart , take care of your soul.!!!

  • Sorry you didn’t catch sight of Lakota Sandy, but don’t give up hope. There are 38,000 acres of the Range, and as you well know, there are lots of places the horses can be without anyone seeing them for long periods of time. It has happened more than once. Lakota is strong and savvy, as evidenced by his guidance of his family thru many tough times. I’m not ready to give up hope for him, and I kind of think that the fact that you didn’t find ANY sign of him means that he has been able to get somewhere where he feels safe. I’m sure it’s not an ideal situation, because he does have a serious injury, but I won’t write him off yet. Remember that he was able to manuever himself around and roll over and get back up after laying down very soon after the injury. And I do realize that he is a wild animal and subject to the rules of Nature. I’m just really glad you didn’t find him deceased. If I have to accept the worst, I will, but I don’t think it’s time yet. I know worrying is hard, but remember that others are worrying with you.

    • Thank you Linda. I think he is still alive. At least I am hanging on to that hope. I am sure he is off hiding somewhere away from everyone until he heals.

      • This is my thought as well.. They can disapperar for long periods when they are injured, and he did not look to be in the worst condition, apart from his leg of course, in the last photos. If something had happened to him there is a good chance you would have seen something I reckon. Stay positive! All our thoughts are with him.

  • I know how disappointed you must be that you could not find Lakota. Matt said it was your goal for this trip.

  • I’m attached to this horse and I haven’t even ever seen him! I’m sorry you didn’t find him, but maybe he is taking it easy and hiding somewhere so he can let his leg heal. Can’t do that with people romping around ice caves… I hope I make it out to this place someday, it’s one of my dreams to see wild horses (I think Assateague is closer to where I live though–I want to go there too, I’ve been obsessed with it since I ready Misty of Chincoteague as a kid).

  • I know your heart is heavy with worry Sandy, but let hope be your guide and let this hope comfort you. Lakota is strong and I have to agree with Linda that since you idd not find him deceased then I also have hope that he is hiding and will show up one day all healed.
    You know in the winter months the horses are very hard to find and go to places unknown to us. I have a feeling that this is one of those times where Lakota’s instincts have taken him to a place where he will not be disturded and he can feel safe so that he can heal.
    My heart is with you!
    I will do my best to find out if anyone has seen him also.
    I will spend some time on the mountian with you and these beautiful wild ones the next time you come down to Pryor! My injury is healing too!
    We WILL find Lakota!
    Take care of yourself and stay strong.
    Thank you for the beautiful pictures of Lakota!

  • PS…I believe that they have trapped Kokopelli…he is the first one so far.
    Just my guess as of yesterday.

    • Even though we knew this was going to happen, it’s sad to hear about the first one. I suppose Kemmerer will be next. Thanks Lori, for this update.

  • Now wiping my tears , Sandy I know how you feel and reading the other post I thought about Apache from the Va Range Horses when he was badly hurt and was no where to be seen for a few weeks. Now I am no authority but as I said to the folk’s looking and hoping to see him, they are smart horses and their natural instincts set in, so as I am sure Lakota went to a safe place and probably by water so not having to travel for it and also to help with his wound I bet he will show up as Apache did a few weeks later. I know your love is huge and I pray your next visit to the Pryor’s you see Lakota, will look forward to the good news (((((hugs))))))

  • PS: Don’t forget they know places that no one else knows about, other horses, yes but humans I am sure do not, in my opinion only

  • I wouldn’t lose hope for Lakota yet. He’s a wise and strong stallion. I think it’s actually a good thing that you weren’t able to find him. If he had died I don’t think he would have made it far from the area he’s been in lately. He’s probably somewhere on the range that is only accessible (and known about) by the horses and I’m sure he knows of an unknown (to us) water source. There’s lots of places for him to disapear to. And remember some horses have disapeared so long they were assumed to be dead and then the reapreared. I know that’s been the case recently with Kerry and Kitalpha. I know you know all of this but it helps to be reminded 🙂

  • The Pryors are spiritual and magical … the Crow Indians had their Vision Quests there and found it to be good medicine! It is my hope that a strong warrior spirit is looking after Lakota and he will again bound in front of you with renewed health and vigor … keep the faith Sandy … I am!

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