Nacer’s Story

Nacer, July 9, 2013
Nacer, July 9, 2013

I received several emails over the past week asking if I would tell Nacer’s complete story.  There are a few other stories to share with you, but none as important or as painful as Nacer’s.  I have decided to share this story first for a couple of reasons.  The first being that her story needs to be told so that you can see a side of wild horses that I feel not many have witnessed.  The second being, I need to tell it so I can then hopefully move on and look to the future.

I will state right from the beginning of this post:  I will not apologize for my “human feelings” and interpretations of my observations.  There are some that will find fault in my conclusions.  But until they spend days with these horses at one time,  I feel they can just suppress their options until they do so.

Nacer was born around 3 am, July 9, 2013.  This night was not unlike many others that I have spent camping in the Pryors.  I was awoke by the sound of horses outside my tent.  There was a sound, that I could not detect what it meant.  Since being around this wild horses, I can tell pretty well what different whinnies, nickers and squeals mean.  But this was a little different.  I wondered what was happening.

I do not have many windows in my tent, and I did not want to disturb the horses by going outside the tent.  I was glad I did not, because I am sure I would have disturbed the birth of Nacer.  LaBrava gave birth to her just 80 feet from my tent.  For those of you that have camped with me, she gave birth right by where I hang the solar shower.

I returned later that day to photograph the afterbirth and the spot she had lied to give birth.

Birth sac and afterbirth.
Birth sac and afterbirth.
The spot where LaBrava gave birth.
The spot where LaBrava gave birth.

I tried to go back to sleep, and I might have.  The sound of horses eating right outside my tent had a lulling effect on me.

The activity outside my tent was growing louder and more tense.  I decided to try again to look out.  It was now about 4 am.  I saw Killian walk by my tent window and concluded that it was Bolder and band, just poking around my campsite like they often do.  I lay back down.  Only for a minute, because once again there was much commotion.

It was then that we saw LaBrava.  Little Nacer (spanish for” To Be Born”) was nursing.  She continued nursing for about 10 minutes.    It was still barely light enough to see much.  It was then that I realized I did not have my camera inside my tent.  One of the only times I have not had it with me.

We were so happy and excited!  A new little foal, and she had been born right by our tents.  My happiness was short lived though, as I watched the scene play out.

We watched as several horses grouped around LaBrava and Nacer.  It was hard to tell in the light who exactly they were, and it was very hard to see at all.  I knew I must not get out, I did not want to disturb what seemed to be a peaceful scene.   I had never witnessed a birth in the wild.  I wondered if this was normal for other bands to gather around the new foal to welcome it into the world.  It seemed like many more horses than what was in Coronado’s band, so I knew there were other bands there.  And I had seen Killian,(his light color was easy to spot in the dark). so I knew Bolders was one of them.

They were moving closer to us and I took some photos with Amber’s phone.  But wait, something wasn’t right here.  LaBrava did not have her foal.  Mescalero, Rosarita and Polaris had her now.  What was going on?

Mescalero's with LaBrava and Coronado's on the right.  The filly is with Mescalero's
Mescalero’s with LaBrava and Coronado’s on the right. The filly is with Mescalero’s

Mescalero and his mares acted as if the little one was theres.  I could see LaBrava looking on, just feet from them.

image-11

LaBrava, just feet from her daughter
LaBrava, just feet from her daughter

image-14 image-15 image-16 image-17 image-19

Mescalero snakes the filly and his mares, Polaris and Rosarita.
Mescalero snakes the filly and his mares, Polaris and Rosarita.

It was only a few minutes before Bolders band moved in on Mescalero.  It was very apparent that they wanted the foal and wasted no time taking her from Rosarita and Polaris.  They out numbered them by several horses, so it was not a hard thing to do.

Bolder and band move in to take the filly.
Bolder and band move in to take the filly.

IMG_6344

Rosarita and Polaris tried to go back to get her, but Mescalero would not let it happen.  We were sure that she was going to get killed, as the stallions fought right over her, knocking her down at one point during the fight and confusion.

IMG_6345 IMG_6346 IMG_6349 IMG_6350 IMG_6351

IMG_6357
Bolders band surrounds LaBrava’s filly.

IMG_6352 IMG_6353 IMG_6354 IMG_6355 IMG_6362

After Mescalero chased his mares away, Baileys came in and claimed the new foal.

Mescalero chases off his mares.
Mescalero chases off his mares.

IMG_6366

Moving them further away from Bolder and the filly.
Moving them further away from Bolder and the filly.

Baileys behavior was very disturbing.  She acted as though she wanted the foal.  One minute she acted like a caring mother, the next she would kick and bit Nacer.

Nacer with Bolder's Band
Nacer with Bolder’s Band
Nacer tries to nurse off of Baileys.
Nacer tries to nurse off of Baileys.
Mescalaro's band watches them from across the road.
Mescalaro’s band watches them from across the road.
Lobo and Nacer
Lobo and Nacer

IMG_6386 IMG_6388 IMG_6389 IMG_6390 IMG_6400 IMG_6405 IMG_6408

IMG_6412 IMG_6414 IMG_6416 IMG_6424 IMG_6428 IMG_6440 IMG_6443 IMG_6446

Nacer and Bailey
Nacer and Bailey

IMG_6449 IMG_6452 IMG_6453

One of many kicks.
One of many kicks.
Trying to nurse Baileys
Trying to nurse Baileys

IMG_6458 IMG_6460 IMG_6461 IMG_6462 IMG_6463 IMG_6471 IMG_6473 IMG_6477 IMG_6483 IMG_6487

While all this was happening with Bolder and his band, Coronado was just across the road with LaBrava watching her filly.  At times she would whinny for her, it was really heartbreaking to witness.

LaBrava watching Nacer with Bolder's band
LaBrava watching Nacer with Bolder’s band

Even though Baileys did not have any milk, she allowed Nacer to nurse on her for a short time.

Nacer nursing Baileys
Nacer nursing Baileys

IMG_6496 IMG_6498

Then Bolder and his band headed across the road in the direction of Coronado’s band.  We were hopeful that mother and daughter would be reunited, but it was not to be so.  At one point, LaBrava was just a few short feet away from her filly.  But Bolder would not allow her to get near her and Coronado did not confront him over it or do anything to help LaBrava.

Nacer trotted to keep up with Baileys
Nacer trotted to keep up with Baileys

IMG_6506 IMG_6509 IMG_6510 IMG_6515

LaBrava watches them get closer
LaBrava watches them get closer

IMG_6527

LaBrava makes a move towards Nacer
LaBrava makes a move towards Nacer
LaBrava is joined by her mother Blue Sioux
LaBrava is joined by her mother Blue Sioux
Blue Sioux takes the lead
Blue Sioux takes the lead

IMG_6534

Waiting for a chance to get her filly back
Waiting for a chance to get her filly back

IMG_6524 IMG_6520

Bolder makes a slow move toward them
Bolder makes a slow move toward them

IMG_6544

LaBrava watches just a few feet away from her filly
LaBrava watches just a few feet away from her filly

IMG_6546

Baileys moves the filly away from LaBrava
Baileys moves the filly away from LaBrava

Morning Star’s band watched this scene unfold and at one point Bolder thought they were getting to close to the filly (and his band) and confronted Morning Star.

Morning Stars band watches too
Morning Stars band watches.
Bolder and Morning Star
Bolder and Morning Star

We continued to watch.  I put my camera down.  It was heartbreaking.  At one point Baileys picked up the hours old filly by the neck and shook her.  Nacer’s legs were flying around like a rag doll.  Baileys dropped her and we were sure she was dead.  But about 20 minutes later she got back up and continued to ask for love.

This year there have been several mares that have looked pregnant and then the next time someone sees them, they look thin as if they lost their foal.  We wondered if a predator had gotten them.  Maybe a mountain lion or perhaps the wolves had finally made their way over to the Pryors.  But to learn that the predators were perhaps the horses, was something I did not want to except.  But as I watched this scene unfold before me, I realized that it seemed to be true.  Does this happen more often than we know about?  If I had not seen it with my own eyes, it would have gone unnoticed.   About an hour after daylight, a car came by and stopped.  They did not know the horses and assumed that this new foal belonged to the band it was with.  How many times does this happen?  How many times does a foal intentionally get taken from a young mother and slowly starved to death?   A shiver ran down my spine, just thinking about it.

I had texted Matt early in the morning letting him know what was happening.  He said it was a very unusual occurrence and he had only seen it happen a few times.  He told me that usually the foal will get back to where it needs to be.  That gave us hope.  I was under the impression that I could not step in, that I was to let nature take its course.  But it was hard to watch.  I did not like this nature.  We watched Bolder and Bailey (and the rest of the band) take the young filly further from her mother.

None of us could continue to watch.  We needed a break, but I found myself still wanting to follow her.  I did not want to give up hope.

Little Naser lied down to take a nap and Bolder and his Band walked off leaving her there.

Nacer naps alone.
Nacer naps alone.
Nacer waking up
Nacer waking up
Nacer
Nacer

I was willing Bolder’s band to move on further.  While Nacer napped, I watched Coronado’s band on the other side of the road from her and down the hill a bit.  Little Nacer was waking up and for what ever reason started heading in the direction of her mother.  I was thinking that maybe this would work itself off after all.  But LaBrava was lying on her side and seemed to be in some pain. (Her head would raise and look back at her stomach.  I have seen that look before in a horse that has coliced, so I knew she was in some pain).  I wondered if she was having some complications from the birth.

LaBrava lying on the left, her mother Blue Sioux by her.
LaBrava lying on the left, her mother Blue Sioux by her.

I stopped taking photos and got back in the truck.  I did not want to have anything happen to disturb this little filly from reaching her mother.  It seemed she was making a direct line to her mom.  She even lifted her little head up in the air and whinnied.  We all sat in the truck holding our breathes, willing her to keep going.  She was just about to step on the road when another car came up behind me and stopped.  Nacer stopped and stared at the white car for several minutes.  Then she did an about face and trotted further away from her mom and into the woods.

I could no longer see Nacer.  She was down the hill and into the woods, not far from Bolder’s band.  I decided not to look for her, as I was sure this would lead to more confusion for her.  We headed back to camp for a break.

From our campsite, we could see Morning Star’s band.  They had seen her in the woods and were trying to get a closer look.

Morning Stars band
Morning Stars band

IMG_6686

It did not take Bolder’s band to make another move and claim the filly again.

Baileys and Bolder by Nacer,  again.
Baileys and Bolder by Nacer, again.

IMG_6738

Bolder takes his band over the ridge.
Bolder takes his band over the ridge.

We watched little Nacer keep up with Baileys.  We than decided to head the way they were going, but instead of stopping to look for them,  we continued down the road to see what the rest of the herd was doing.  We needed a break from this painful scene.

On our way back, Bolder and his band was right along the road and we stayed for a while watching little Nacer try to nurse and then get kicked again.  It was clear she was starting to get weaker, but she somehow still tried.  Her will to live was strong.  She had already traveled over a mile down the road and was still getting up every time Baileys kicked her over.

IMG_7148 IMG_7151 IMG_7154 IMG_7158 IMG_7159 IMG_7169 IMG_7177 IMG_7185 IMG_7193 IMG_7198

I had two young girls on this camping tour.  Ages 11 and 12.  Their grandmother and I decided it was becoming to painful for them to continue watching this, so we left little Nacer and went back to camp.

That night I heard the horses going by our campsite at full speed.  Something was happening again tonight.  We all hoped we would wake up to little Nacer reunited with her mom, LaBrava.  It seemed unlikely, but I was still hoping for a miracle.

I woke to more commotion.  I crept out of my tent just before day light.   I was shocked at what I saw.  Little Nacer had gone full circle.  She was back near the area she had been born, 24 hours before.  But this time she was with Gringo and his band.  They seemed to be treating her much better than Baileys had.  I watched her try and nurse first Beluah and then Ketchikan.  Ketchikan was one of the mares who seems to have lost a foal.  I wondered if maybe she still had some milk.  Little Nacer seemed to be ever so slightly stronger, or was it my hopeful thinking?  She even played around with some grass and seemed to be more aware of her surroundings.

Some of these photos are very grainy because it was not light out yet, and I lighted the photos just so you can see what was going on.

Nacer by Beluah
Nacer by Beluah

IMG_7242 IMG_7247

Nacer and Ketchikan
Nacer and Ketchikan
Nasar tries to nurse Ketchikan
Nasar tries to nurse Ketchikan
Nacer and Ketchikan
Nacer and Ketchikan
Trying to nurse
Trying to nurse
Ketchikan, Nasar and Gringo
Ketchikan, Nasar and Gringo

IMG_7292

It was then that I saw Manuelita!   Coronado’s band was just over the hill and again within feet of LaBrava’s filly.  We all got very hopeful again.

IMG_7306 IMG_7308

And then LaBrava and Blue Sioux made another move towards Nacer.  Still wanting to get her back, even after 24 hours.

IMG_7313
Coronado won’t let them go towards Gringo’s band.

LaBrava gave one last whinny to her young filly and was quickly moved off away from her.

IMG_7320 IMG_7351 IMG_7360 IMG_7363

Ketchikan and Beluah care for the filly.
Ketchikan and Beluah care for the filly.

I never saw anyone from Gringo’s band kick Nacer, but when she lied down to nap, Gringo moved the mares on and Nacer was alone again.  Beluah and Kechikan reluctantly left her behind.

IMG_7374 IMG_7377 IMG_7379 IMG_7382

We watched her sleep and wondered if she would get up again.  She did wake and immediately set out to find anyone.  She spotted us over by my truck and began to trot towards us.  She even put her little head up in the air and whinnied at us.  She stopped under the Burnt Timber sign and stood there for several minutes before she lied down once again to sleep.

IMG_7392 IMG_7396

After talking with Nancy, Matt’s mom.  I called Jared.  It was then I learned that they could interfere with nature and take this young filly for some help.  Jared said they would assess her condition and either euthanize her on the mountain or if they felt she was healthy enough, take her to get some help.  She was about 31 hours old now.

Jared let me know that they had taken her to the vet.  But despite Jared’s and Ryan’s efforts, Nacer did not make it.

When I was heading down the mountain on Monday, I saw Ryan heading up the mountain towards me.  We stopped and talked for a minute.  I thanked him for his efforts with Nacer.  He said the vet told him that it is very hard to get a wild foal this young to take a bottle, and apparently that is why she did not make it.  After all her efforts to live, she had simply not be able to conform to our human world and decided she would rather run with the other wild ones that had passed before her.

I don’t know what happened or why it happened.  I do know that despite all the pain that she endured, she seemed to continue to fight.

And so, that is little Nacer’s story. I will never forget her.  Perhaps little Nacer you will get another chance to do it over again someday and perhaps the outcome will be better.

Sandy

I made two brief posts about Nacer shortly after she was born.  You can read about them by clicking on Nacer birth and Nacer update.

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

69 thoughts on “Nacer’s Story

  1. Such a heartbreaking story. And such a will to survive…poor young Nacer. She had to deal with a lot in the few hours she was on this earth. What an unusual circumstance and I hope this type of situation doesn’t happen very often. Perhaps it happened because there are so many bands at the top of the mountain this time of year? Lots of confusion on whom belongs to whom. Thank you for sharing Nacer’s story with us.

  2. I couldn’t even breath reading this Sandy … tears coursing down my cheeks … poor little Nacer. I did not know this type of thing would happen either … what a tragedy. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss when witnessing the harshness that can be “nature”. Thank you for writing the story, though, and sharing her story. Run fast and free little one ….

  3. That is so sad. I can’t stop crying. Mother Nature isn’t fair and certainly works in mysterious ways. I hope you never have to witness something like this again. Thank you for all your hard work and beautiful stories and photographs. Little Nacer will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m sure yours as well.

    Hugs to you and hats off –

    Julie

  4. This was a post I both wanted and didn’t want to read. I knew it would be heartbreaking. And I know if was even worse for you being there. And for what it’s worth I do not blame you for using “human” emotions. I use them as well. I’ve been around horses my whole life and they are also very emotional animals. These emotions may not all match up exactly to a person’s perspective, but many do and many of those that don’t exactly match come very close. I feel like people who say “don’t view horses (these or any others) using emotions” and “don’t place those emotions on the horses, because they don’t feel emotional in these ways” don’t really know or understand horses in general. There are many horses that I have shared very deep bonds with, which is something that can’t be explained to someone who hasn’t. And, reguardless, horses are emotional animals.
    Back to the post though, it seems Bolder knew that Nacer didn’t belong to Mescalero and his band. He seemed to know that somehow and moved in immediately in a seemingly protective way to protect her. I wonder how he knew. Although, I think you did say he was in the area when LaBrava was giving birth. I am struggling to find answers (for both of us) regarding Bailey’s behavior. When you first put a quick status update up to inform everyone of the situation I was honestly relieved when you said she was with Bolder’s band because Baileys was with him and I knew (or thought) she would take care of and protect Naser. And you were able to give a quick reply that she was not. I didn’t doubt you, but was very surprised to hear that she was not only not taking care of her, but that she was a part of the aggression. It is just so out of character. And like you said and as I can see in the pictures sometimes she was caring for her and protecting her and then other times she was kicking and biting. I noticed that her mother, Velvet, was really the only one she allowed near Nacer and even stood toe to toe with Bolder to keep him away. One set of pictures she would be doing those things along with sweetly nuzzling her and then the next set were of her kicking and biting. I’m struggling, as I’m sure you were and still are, with trying to understand what would cause her to display these very different behaviors. Was there anything that seemed to trigger the mood swings? Or did the appear to be random? I was horrified, dumbfounded, and all kinds of other words when you said she actually picked her up and shook her. I’m not sure if I would have believed it, or that there was some kind of misrepresentation, if it hadn’t come from you. Hearing that she was with Gringo’s band again made me hopefull, because I knew that Ketchikan had lost her foal recently and was hopeful she still had milk and even if she wouldn’t adopt her as her own (which I know is rare) she would allow her to nurse and at least get her through this rough period until she could get back with LaBrava or until someone intervened. I hoped both her and Jacinta would see her and also be seeing the foal they each lost. I know it also must have been so hard for you to not step in either. I know that even just from hearing this story from you I wanted to pick her up and put her back with the right band. Especially with them being so close. I know it had to be heartbreaking all around. Not just watching Nacer, but LaBrava as well. And Blue Sioux trying to help her. That mother-daughter bond is very strong. Nacer was very strong as well. Not many would have held on for as long as she did. It’s terrible that it seems one circumstance after another prevented her from having the life she should have. Like you said, she is now one of the Pryor spirit horses, and that is a very special place for one so small.
    And I have wondered if the drama between Chance and Gringo led to the loss of both Jacinta’s and Ketchikan’s foals. I’m not sure if this occurred to me until Ketchikan also lost hers. Predation was definitely a thought in my mind for the disappearance of Jacinta’s and Demure’s. I was thinking Jacinta’s may have had serious health issues or been still born or something to that degree since hers was never seen. But then I started to think more about it when two from the same band were gone. And with two stallions fighting it would be easy for a foal to become lost, separated, or even injured. And Gringo, having never raised a foal wouldn’t be accustomed to watching out for a foal, protecting it or making sure it doesn’t get left behind or injured. He wouldn’t have that experience and if it was to be in the first hours or days of the foal being born it would all still be very new to him. And the foals being there could have caused Chance to step up the challenge in his desire to look after them. It’s upsetting, every life lost. But Nacer’s seems especially tragic as well. Losing babies is also always upsetting, to both us and the horses. And I think we were “spoiled” and lucky last year with so many born and losing only Madrid (Kiva’s). This year there have been four lost, Jacinta’s, Demure’s, Ketchikan’s, and LaBrava’s. with 12 foals remaining. And while that is 12 lives that we are all happy and thrilled about, I think it’s important to acknowledge the ones lost even as we are upset about them and try to move on. As tragic as Nacer’s story is, I’m glad we know she was here.

  5. Sandy, I am so thankful you were there as painful as it was for you and Amber and your guests. Because of you, Nacer was deeply loved not only by you all even though her little life was so short. All who read of her hours will surely be touched and moved through your words and photos, and Nacer’s strong, sweet spirit will linger in our hearts. Thursday I could see the pain in your eyes and heart when you spoke of her struggle. Thank you for sharing in detail her heartbreaking will-to-live so we also could know of her.

  6. I am so sad to read Nacer´s story. She so didn´t deserve this. I have seen this happen once before when my mare stole a foal from a younger one but we could thankfully intervene and take the foal to the mother.
    LaBrava really did what she could only she was up against an older mare and a bigger band.
    Poor, poor Nacer.

  7. Here is a lovely comment I just got via facebook message. I thought I would share it with you. I am withholding the last name:

    “Lee
    I could not have watched and would have stepped in once seeing her get manhandled. I will have to think if that would have been good or bad. Even if in hindsight I felt interference was bad I would till interfere if seeing it play out again. As long as we are fertility treating mares we are already interfering so I have no problem moving in to make right what is possibly a man influenced behaviour. Or so I would convince myself,,,,,,”

    Thanks so much Lee. Guess I made the wrong choice. I thought we were supposed to let nature take its course and wait to see if it would work out. But now that I am thinking about it, I see people up there baiting the horses for photos with minerals and feed, going way to close to them, speeding by them, throwing rocks at them. What is worse? I am not sure. All of the above seems like a violation to me. I guess I should have picked up the foal and headed for home, heck no one else follows the rules, guess I need to change my ways.

    1. Hind sight is always 20/20 isn’t it? Should’ve done this or should’ve done that is always easy to say. Sure, you can say you should’ve stepped in, but when? And would it have helped in the long run? Those questions will never be answered. The general public has rules to follow and follow them should obey them. If they don’t, then we have “tame” wild horses that don’t act as they should and become dangerous. Jared (BLM) intervened and it was too little too late. But that is the way of the world. I know that sounds harsh, but I don’t know how else to say it. I know it was hard for you to watch and document, knowing that you love these horses as you do. Don’t let Lee get you down or make you second guess what you did. To sit at a computer and say you would do one thing or the other (and not be there), it’s like “couch coach”. You know, the guy who sits at home watching a football game and saying he wouldn’t have used that play…it was the wrong call. Whatever! He wasn’t there and you were. I think you made the right decisions. Were they easy? Heck, no! But you were there…Nacer is known to the world and her story is told. THANK YOU SANDY!

    2. There is no wrong choice. To do nothing is the only real right choice. The fact that two young girls were able to see this play out means we will have two more souls full of compassion and understanding to take our place in the future. They experienced a level of learning most will never get.

      1. Lola My comments were not meant to get anyone down but were instead an open confession of my own lack of restraint in the matter if I was to be faced with it.

      2. Lee – I can understand your willingness to step in and try to help as you see fit. I think we all felt that way waiting to hear from Sandy to see how Nacer was doing. But sometimes when we write stuff, whether it be email or a blog comment, and we can’t see how the writer is feeling, it comes out wrong. For me, your comment sounded like a direct attack on Sandy and her group because they didn’t do more for Nacer. I don’t know that there was a right or wrong in this situation…such a tough thing to watch. Thanks for clearing up your comment.

  8. So if you took her away to get her help and she died anyway, then would you always wonder and never have known if she would have lived if you have let the horses work it out? Sandy, we can only do what we think is best at the time. And that is for certain what you did. Please don’t beat yourself up and second guess the situation as can only be seen at the time. You did the best you could – as you always do – with always thinking of the horses first. No matter other comments, YOU were the one there knowing the exact situation. Anyone who was not there has no place in hind-sight judging your decisions. You have so much knowledge of the horses and their behavior; no one could have done better. Thank you for all you did – and all that you do all the time for the greatest welfare of the horses.

  9. Sandy, thank you for sharing what was clearly an exquisitely sad experience to watch. Nacer’s story drove home, for me, the essential role of the dam, and that precious bonding and nourishing time in the initial hours after a birth. Nacer was shortchanged by Mother Nature in that regard. As you stated, foal separation or rejection might happen more than we know. Those unlucky foals just don’t survive, and it’s a blessing if they don’t suffer for long. In Nacer’s case, she had a witness to her short life… your observations and photos help us understand the dynamics of wild horse herds, and emphasize the inherent strength and endurance of the breed, so evident in one small mustang foal. Bless you, Sandy. 🙂

  10. I was in western WY when I first heard this story. It was so sad. I worried and wondered and then saw the facebook that she hadn’t made it.

    How marvelous that you got to see this whole thing. Maybe that’s why these horses chose you. A horse advocate that could bring this story to life and make others realize that these horses belong in the wild even when its not fair or nice.

    The only other time I’ve heard of another story of a horse shaking a baby was obviously in Ginger’s first documentary. I too wonder if it doesn’t happen more often.

    I’d say don’t blame yourself for whether you should have tried to “interfere” or not. Knowing when and where you should step in I think is a very difficult call to make. Would it have helped? I don’t know. Perhaps LaBrava recognized the filly but would she have accepted her back hours after leaving her? We’ll never know.

    In the end I’m glad I wasn’t there to witness of any of this. Staying out of the fracas–and not trying to reunite Nacer and her mother–would have been excruciating to witness.

    1. Yes I immediately thought of that foal too. The filly was from Boomer’s band and had some kind of deformity in her back legs that prevented her from being able to stand as hard as she tried hour after hour. Looking Glass moved in with his band and chased off Boomer’s band who watched from a short distance away. The poor filly tried to get up when Looking Glass nudged her and when he saw she couldn’t he picked her up and shook her repeatedly. His mares (including Madonna) were screaming and trying to stop him and Boomer came charging in and challenged him, but it was too late. Both her and Nacer were beautiful fillies who’s lives were tragically cut short. I know Ginger said she was horrified and shocked and felt completely helpless, which is I’m sure how you felt as well Sandy.

  11. oh the pics & your story are amazing Sandy, I am crying right now. It so makes me want to get up to my herd, but I can’t until next weekend :(. I am going to sit with them & their foals & silently talk to Nacer & let the little one know how many loved that little foal.

  12. Wow, I had no idea this type of behavior existed in wild horses. Leads me to wonder if this type of behavior can be found in other animals, like bears, wolves, lions etc. Will bands of animals try to “steal” other animals’ young?

    I guess I understand now why mares try to pick a secluded spot to foal? If they foal with too many bands nearby, there’s the threat of bands trying to take away foals for whatever reason, maybe trying to increase their band’s numbers? Or well this is totally human emotion but maybe some of the horses have a grudge against Coronado’s band? Can horses be vindictive in that way?

    1. No, I don’t think horses are vindictive. But you are probably right why older wiser mares go off alone. This may be part of the reason. LaBrava was only 2 and did not have the experience to do that. I am sure that is part of the reason why this happened to her. Someone did remind me that Coronado had another foal in his band last year that disappeared. Kiva had Madrid in his band.

  13. This is so sad. Poor little Nacer. Nature can be so crule at times. Thank you for telling her story. I also feel sad for LaBrava.

  14. You did what you thought was best. I know you said you were beating yourself up over whether or not you should have called Jared sooner. And I’m pretty sure he would have waited it out too. The best situation would have been for her to end up back with LaBrava and that’s what you were hoping would happen. And like someone said in previous comments even if you had decided to remove her from the range earlier you would have always wondered if you should have given the situation more time.

  15. I am glad Jared stepped in to help. I am thinking about the foal born to Queen and Cloud in 2001. Ginger reports that Queen left Cloud and went back to King where she had Cloud’s filly. Queen died a few months after the filly’s birth, and Ginger reported it to the BLM who did not do anything to help the orphaned filly. She, of course, did not live.

    Don’t blame yourself. We always know what the right thing to do was after what’s done is done. It’s painful, aggravating, and even maddening to realize what we should have done, but either didn’t see it at the time or things were happening too fast. Ginger has witnessed much emotion-wrenching scenes, and her books tell of how cruel the wild and free life can bring: lightning, mountain lions, cold winters, sickness, injuries, fire, orphaned, and the horses themselves. But she explains it as being born wild and free is a privilege, no matter how short or how long.

    I think I can explain Baileys behavior. Since she has never had a foal, but wants a foal, she didn’t know what to do about Nacer. She of course wanted her, but she wasn’t hers. That is how I see what happened with Baileys and Nacer; desire for the foal, but not the instinct to fully take care of her.

    1. Very well said! I thought of that situation as well, and was happy to hear that in this case Jared stepped in to help.

  16. Thank you for telling this truly heartbreaking story of Nacer. I saw you post it a few hours ago but wanted to be alone when I read it. I also have been both eager to hear it, but at the same time dreading it. I know we can never really understand how tough this must have been for you to vitness, but you did an amazing job telling her story. You let us in to this world again and let us all feel the love for the little girl that she deserved. Even though she had such a hard and short little life, she still got to feel someone caring for her and that is important to remember. I am forever grateful towards Rosarita, Polaris and Gringos girls! Also Blue Suex for the help she tried to give to her daughter. I know there are probably reasons for why the horses act as they do, but it’s hard not to feel anger towards Bolder and Baileys. It’s not logic, but logic is not always easy to see when emotions are at work.
    As for that Lee person.. please don’t let that get to you! I’m disgusted by people who sit there in hind-sight and say “oh, I would have done that and that”! No one knows how one acts in pressured and stressed situations like that until you are actually there yourself! And this person clearly doesn’t have the insight about these horses to have a say! You did the right thing, Sandy. If nature had been a little kinder she would have been able to get back to Labrava one of the times she were so close, but sadly that was not the case and then you acted and called Jared. I don’t see what you could have done differently. Please don’t beat yourself up about this, but focus on all the love you have brought to the brave little Nacer:)

  17. Thank you Sandy for everything that you did for little Nacer. Wildlife and Nature surely are not fair in our “human” eyes. You did the right thing and interfering in that particular situation probably would have not made any difference. Nacer seemed normal to you, but possibly could there have been something wrong with her that we could not even know about or see, but the horses sensed? Never second guess what you did or did not do. I personally think that you did everything possible for that sweet little filly and at least she did feel love for the short time that she was on this earth.
    Nobody has the right to say what should have been done in this situation, especially when they were not even up there and have no clue about the ways of wildlife. Please don’t beat yourself up and think of “what if”. You did the right thing and anyone who does not understand the respect and love that you have for these “WILD” horses and to let them take care of themselves, does not understand nature and what being WILD is all about!
    You keep on doing exactly what you do and be proud of who you are.
    Your love and respect for these horses shines through brilliantly with your photo’s and your blog.
    Thank you again for everything you do for these horses and the passion that you have for them.
    I appreciate knowing that little Nacer was loved and her short little life was even known, thanks to you.
    We can not second guess life, ours or anyone else’s, man or beast. The “higher power” is always in charge.
    Run wild and free in the spirit horse world Little Nacer.
    Thank you Sandy!!!

  18. The interactions between wild horses will forever puzzle me. Nacer was a lovely little filly and will never be forgotten. I have seen similar scenarios with calves who are deprecated from their mothers on our ranch. I know it is our first reaction to blame Baileys in part but in all reality her behavior was quite normal. Even domestic mares are very difficult to get them to take an orphan foal and it takes very concise steps that don’t always work out. Mares will often kick out at and bite foals that do not belong to them and I do think she was honestly trying to tell Nacer she didn’t have any milk for her even though she wanted her to be hers. I’m so glad she was able to spend herlast few wild hours being cared for and I really wish Ketchikan could have kept her.
    I really wonder if Ketchikans filly was lost to similar cercumstances, compelling her to have compassion on this little orphan filly. Thank you for taking the time yo share this and God bless everyone who poured their hearts out for this darling little Angel.

  19. I saw a wildlife documentary a few years back where a herd of elephants stole a baby elephant that didn’t belong to them and apparently this does happen with elephants. The baby often gets trampled on, it is quite dangerous. Also emperor penguins whose chicks die will try to adopt any that wander too far from their parents, again the chicks can get squashed in the melee. I guess it happens with horses too. It must be why mares tend to go off alone to give birth and only return when they are properly bonded or the foal is stronger or whatever. Sad 😦

  20. I’ve had company-behind on reading the blog entries but Lee sent me this one and asked if I had seen it. Heartbreaking- to say the least. I’m pretty sure i would have felt and done almost the identical things you did including the human emotions ind interpretations. Bless you Sandy for being there and for caring like you do. I totally get it-

    While reading this I learned a few things I wasn’t aware of and will watch for. Stealing of foals, for one. I have heard of it happening in stories but have never witnessed it on the Steens Mountain…yet. Thank you Sandy- for sharing this. Bless you for your compassion!

  21. That was one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. Poor little thing. It’s nature, but it doesn’t make it any easier. You did the right thing. Unfortunately, whatever happened was meant to be and I think you were smart for not intervening in their horse world. On the plus side, you are an excellent photo story teller.

  22. Hi I just read your story of Nacer in 2013 and it was heartbreaking. Interning at a quarter horse halter breeding facility, hormones drive behavior as does the mustangs in the wild. I can’t help but think the pzp is messing with herd dynamics. Older mares are the teachers and to me if there wasn’t fertility control stallions would not be breeding these young mares, allowing them to be more mature when they do have their first foal. While I was reading I was worried if you did interfere you would have gotten hurt or killed. As heartwrenching as it was you took action by documenting the event for others. I also read the post of Ginger’s account of the foal not being able to get up and another stallion coming in to take care of it. I don’t know but it seems maybe that stallion was older and more experienced and did what had to be done for the safety of all. Anyway they are fascinating. I am enjoying your posts. I would love to be a part of one of your trips, will have to get more on top of it to book it 🙂 Thank you for bringing the Pryor Mustangs to those of us far away.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s