Unknown Pryor Foal Born In 2014?

I was hiking on the top of the mountain with my guests, when I received a text from my friend and assistant Liz. It read: 

“Found a dead foal :(. It is in the gully below Lakota’s Ridge and to the right ” 

My heart stopped.  I felt like I had seen all of this years foals (mountain top) just the evening before. What had happened? 

I hurried over to where Liz was. One look told me this was not a new born foal. It was too large. Closer investigation lead me to believe it was older. Not quite a yearling, but several months old. 

It was a dun color, but with lighter legs and greying under them. I believe she was starting to roan out. She had a small narrow strip down her nose. 

As luck would have it, I had been contacted by a Veterinarian would told me she would be on the mountain top this same day.   I had never met Sal before,  but when I did, just a short time later, I felt an instant connection and knew we would become long time friends. Sal is a wonderful person who has been coming to the mountain since the early 1970’s but had not been here for 15 years. 

Within a few seconds of meeting her , I asked if she would come look at the little one that we had found. 

She agreed and followed me to the spot. 

This is what I learned from her. Sal also sent some photos to another vet to confirm: 

1.  She was a little filly

2.  She was 6-9 months in age 

3.  She had been dead for about 7-10 days. 

4.  She had a deformed back right hoof.  She may have been born with it, or it may have been caused by a injury shortly after she was born. 

Thank you so much Sal for your help. 

Many questions have gone through our mind.  I had a hard time thinking that this little one had gone unnoticed for so long. How had that happened?  She was found in an area that is very visible.  Who’s foal was she?  My mind went back to who I thought might have been pregnant late last summer. My guess is that she was another late born foal that no one saw last fall. She then must have lived on Sykes during the winter, as that area is so inaccessible to humans during the winter months. 

Perhaps she had gotten separated from her mom. I am not sure, and I guess we’ll never know. 

But both Liz and I decided this little one needed a name. So Liz chose the name Ozette. Ozette is  a forgotten lake in Pacific NW on Makah  Indian tribe. 

I’m sorry little one that you lived your short life unnoticed by humans. But know this little Ozette,  you’re not forgotten.  You are resting by Lakota, and I know he’s watching over you. 


17 thoughts on “Unknown Pryor Foal Born In 2014?

  • Poor little soul, Sandy. I’m so grateful to the Divine Spirit of that place that Liz found the body and that you were able to follow up with Sal putting that tiny spirit to rest. Ozette will never be forgotten about.


  • This is testimony to how large, rugged and truly wild the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range really is. Even those who spend a relatively large amount of time there, like you, Sandy, do not cover anywhere near the entire area enough to have spotted this little filly. It is purely by chance that her remains have been found, and that she has been given that beautiful name for us to remember her by. She, in spirit, has joined so many other of her kind who have gone to their peaceful resting places on the Range, most of whom will probably never be seen by humans again. No doubt, her mother, and band mates if there were any, mourned over her when her journey on earth ended in that spot. Now her spirit can run freely with fellow mustang spirits and no encumbrances to slow her down. Thank you for letting us know of her existence. RIP, Ozette.

  • Have you reviewed all the possibilities that it was a Dryhead or Lower Sykes baby? Those horses do get up there sometimes, and maybe there was some confusion between bands when they did, resulting in her being left behind in a stallion exchange. I suppose it could have been one of the more elusive mares that was given PZP but it didn’t work on. Truly a “mystery on the mountain”.

    • Yes it is a mystery. I’ll take any suggestions. But the likely hood of a Dryhead or lower Sykes , while not impossible , would be highly unlikely with that deformed hoof. That’s a long way to travel with that deformity. That is my option anyway.

      • I would agree with Linda about a Dryhead foal. If she was around 6-9 months old at her time of death, and she has been deceased for up to 10 months, that would mean she would have been born last summer and passed in Sept to Dec -ish; means she could have been in one of the elusive bands. πŸ™‚ Just a thought πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      • LOL I am so smart. My bad πŸ™‚ I somehow read months instead of days. πŸ™‚ So sorry πŸ™ πŸ™

  • How sad πŸ™ it’s quite incredible to think of her going unnoticed for all those months, yet as Linda points out, the odds aren’t really that long when you think of the true wildness of the range. What a sad story, but a blessing that by some divine intervention she was discovered and can be recognized as part of the history of the Pryors. Ozette is a beautiful name, and I’m sure her band mates remember her and Lakota will watch over her. RIP little Ozette, I hope your short time on this earth was well-lived and that you are at peace now.

  • I’m still so surprised and amazed that little Ozette was never seen. But it speaks to the vastness of the range and the wildness of the horses. I’m glad we know of her presence and place among the horses. I love the name and I’m so glad you gave it to her. I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a reasonable scenario as to who her mother may be. I don’t know if I will be able to rest until I have a reasonable idea as to who she may have been and how she ended up there.

  • This is so sad, and really confusing! There’s not any mares unaccounted for since september-december is there? I mean.. The foal must have been with her mother to survive this long?! Poor litttle thing.. At least now she will be remembered, and she won’t be in any more pain. Would it be really expencive to do a dna testing?

  • Sandy, once again you found the right words to wet our eyes. Ozette is now running for ever with the “little people” of the Pryor Mountains. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Who were the Mares that were extremely skinny this spring? I remember reading about 1 but can’t think of her name. I think it was a daughter of Cloud and Aztec. It also seems as if i heard mention of her being possibably pregnant last year.

    • You may be thinking of Hailstorm / Shadow? She was actually the First thought in my mind πŸ™ She’s been several years in Morningstar band, and several times she has appeared to be pregnant – but no foal. Do they stay around Sykes in summer? And then, my 2nd thought had been Jasmine (another Aztec x Cloud daughter! ). So 1ong with Jackson, then Doc and the crazy turmoil afterwards….. Is she maybe the mare who was noted to appear skinny? Hasn’t she also been part of the frequent changes and mixups? (That could be a possibility for a poorly healed hoof injury? And out-of-season birth a feasible occurrence to a 1st time mother, taken off PZP?? ). just some thoughts… RIP, sweet Ozette ~ the HERD and the mountain will miss you and remember ~ now, WE will as well!

      • Thanks Sandy, for this accounting, all the effort you spent gathering information, so this brave little soul might be identified (and her mother!). Even if NOT, she’s been named in β€œour herd’, and we can feel almost as if we Knew her…. She must have been pretty TOUGH and well taken care of – to be born so late, survive the winter, and most of summer – despite an impediment with walking distances! Wonder how 1ong she had it, or from birth? yet neither of those should have caused such a recent Death?? Did she appear well nourished (for a winter baby)?

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