This past Monday (May 26, 2014) I noticed a photo posted on Facebook. It was from a person who had gone up as a guest for a day tour with PMWMC. Here is the photo, (taken from the internet):
The first thing I noticed was that this was part of Jackson’s band, with Santa Fe and Doc chasing close behind. I thought about this for while, thinking that perhaps Jackson was just out of the photo. I have photos were there are many bands intermingled running, so I was not too overly concerned.
But this morning (5-27-14), I woke up worried. With all the changes that seem to be taking place on the mountain, I thought maybe Jackson had lost his band.
I decided to email Nancy and ask her about the photo. She got back to me quickly, explaining what had happened. Jackson had lost his band sometime between May 4th and May 18th. My fears had come true, Jackson had lost his band.
I was hoping the Center would make a post about Jackson either by blog or Facebook, but they have not and Nancy said it was okay if I did. Update: The Center made a post about Jackson. You can read it by clicking on Nancy.
Jackson’s band is now split between Doc and Santa Fe right now, but we all know how quickly that may change.
When I saw Jackson (who was born in 1998) in February, he looked thin, but so did many other horses. When I saw him again the end of April, he seemed a little better and at that time had the biggest band on the mountain (11 including Jackson). However, many of those band members were offspring, but even so, it was still a large band.
I always have admired how Jackson can continue to keep a large band together. I always have said “Jackson runs a tight ship, he has to”. But at the age of 16 and with the long hard winter, I think that was perhaps taking its toll. Not to mention all of the younger band stallions and bachelors (young and old), determined to gain some mares this spring. It is “chaos on the mountain” this year. I have some theories on why so much of this is happening, but I will not take the time to talk about that right now.
I do know that when I read Nancy’s email, I burst into tears. Not just because he had lost his band, but more because he was not there by any of his band members. God please don’t let anything happen to Jackson. But really, I am not sure why I started to cry. I have learned to be tough. Right? I have to be. I see so much happen, that if I got upset over every little thing that occurred on the mountain, I would be crying all the time. But why am I now?
I have always had a soft spot for Jackson. Admired his strong, but caring personality that he shows each member of his band. Ask me if he was my favorite horse, and I would deny it. But could the reason be because I have denied myself the opportunity to care so much for another wild horse after my heartbreak with Lakota?
I am pretty sure that could be the reason. I spend so much time with these horses, that it is hard to not to care deeply for all of them. But some seem to wiggle their way a bit deeper into my heart despite how hard I try not to let it happen.
Jackson is without a band right now. My hope for him is that he is off healing his wounds, which are most likely not only on the outside, but emotionally on the inside as well. He, like so many other stallions on the mountain, lives for his band. He won’t lie back and take this change, that I am sure of.
Once his wounds heal, I look for him to swoop in and take back some of his band. Will he get them all back? Most likely not. But that in itself could be a good thing.
The personal politics of his herd is getting more complex than ever right now. This herd is loved by many people who have just as much right to know what is going on with the horses as I do. I strongly feel this way. For many that read about the Pryor Horses, it is their only glimpse into the life of them that they may get. Does that mean that just because you may not physically get to see them, you don’t have the right to know what is going on? I don’t think so. I think we all deserve the same advantages.
I know that when I started this blog, I vowed to myself that I would report the happenings on the mountain as soon as I saw them first hand. Why should there be secrets? Why should news be withheld? Now, if I was personally asked to “wait” a day or two, perhaps I would do that (for whatever reason). But as we all know, a social media posting only takes a minute, not requiring a waiting period at all. I have done it several times, many times while on the mountain. So why wait to report? Why keep secrets?
There are many that will read that last paragraph and say “people don’t need to know everything that goes on with the horses”. I agree, there are little things I don’t report, make notes and watch before I post my observations. But when something significant happens, I don’t hesitate to let all the people who follow and love this herd know. They are after all, everyone’s horses.
No one should have the right to decided what should be shared and what shouldn’t.
But it is not all bad. A few years ago, I asked and wondered why we all could not get along for the sake of the horses. Try to work with everyone involved. Included in this idea was one small thing that I wished for. That wish was that everyone involved could agree on one name for the foals. Silly and small to some, but important when you are communicating about them on a regular basis. AND one small little act may lead to bigger and better communication. Well, now this year, that appears to be happening!! That makes me really happy.
Now if we all can just honor and respect each other on a daily basis, and just because we may not agree 100% on how this herd should be managed, it doesn’t mean that we should stop communicating with each other. Pick up the phone, text, email, let’s work together, For the horses. I look forward to that day.
I am in love with the Pryor Horses, and I won’t be going anywhere.