Winnemucca, July 2014

Winnemucca was born in 1987, which means this year she will be turning 29.  She is the oldest horse on the range.

I was asked by my friend Abbie, to look at the records I had and determine how many foals Winnemucca has had.   Was Doc the only foal that she had, and if not, how many others did she have and what happened to them?

I have records (thank you Ross), dating back to 1995, so I thought I would take a look and see what I could find out.  As I began to look back at Winnemucca’s life, I found myself extremely touched by this beautiful grulla mare.  I’m hoping she makes it through this winter, but if for some reason she does not, I wanted to make sure this post was complete before I found out.  She deserves to be recognized, and so this story begins of what I know and have learned of Winnemucca.

Winnemucca with Custer’s band (bottom right), in 2010.

From the first day I met Winnemucca,  it was very apparent to me how caring this mare was.  By the time we met, she was with the stallion Custer, and has remained with him since.   But by looking back at the records, I learned that Custer was Winnemucca’s forth stallion.  Like I mentioned above, I only have records dating back to 1995, so she may have been with others, but these are the ones that have been recorded.

There is some discrepancy on the year of her birth.  I have seen her listed as being born in 1988, but her identification number is 8707, which means to me that she was born in 1987 and was the 7th foal born that year, and will go by that date.

My studies began to show me that this Winnemucca’s bloodline is a very under-represented on the range.  She has only one living offspring on the range, a son, known to all of us as Doc.

Doc,  June 2013

Winnemucca is the daughter of two unknown Pryor Horses.  We can imagine what they may have looked like, but will never know for sure.  I do know this, her parents most certainly passed down a very caring and nurturing personality, as I have personally seen her caring for many foals over the years that were not hers.

Winnemucca keeping watch as her band drinks. From left to right: Custer, Winnemucca, Fiasco, Leo and Kiabab. Late summer 2011.
Winnemucca with Kaibab in 2011. Kaibab is the son of Fiasco. He was removed in August of 2012.
Winnemucca (third from left) with her band, summer, 2012. Leo and Kiabab would be removed in August of that year. Both are offspring of Fiasco.
Winnemucca keeping watch over the newborn colt Nodin. Spring 2013.
Winnemuca, 3rd from left, helping to keep the band warm on a very cold wet August day, 2014.

The records I have, started in 1995, and it was there that I found Winnemucca listed as Mare #8707 (no name was listed).

At that time she was with the stallion Tucson.  Tucson was solid black , born in 1988.  She remained with him until 1999.  During that time with Tuscon, Winnemucca gave birth to four foals.   These foals were born in the springs of  1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Winnemucca’s 1996 colt was black and was removed for adoption in 1997 or 98. (I believe, there was no removal list in my records).  Her 1997 filly was Grulla and named Fallen Leaf,(0ne of the only named foals on the list).  In 1998, she had another black foal, a colt with a heart star.  He was removed for adoption along with his full sister Fallen Leaf, in 2001.

Winnemucca in the summer of 2011.

In 1999 Winnemucca was stolen by the stallion Littlefoot and had a filly foal shortly after, (the forth foal of Tuscon and Winnemucca) she was a grulla.   That foal did not survive.  Then in spring 2000, she had a grullo colt, he too died, in August of that year.

In 2001,  there is no foal listed beside her name.  But that year, the records were not clear, and it shows that several foals died that year, including a couple grulla fillys, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps one of those was hers.

In the spring 2002, Winnemucca gave birth to a grulla filly, who was last seen in the fall of 2002.  Another death of an offspring.

Then, in 2003, she gave birth to her Seal-Bay son Doc.  Doc remains on the range, he would be the last foal that she would carry, and so he is her only living-offspring.  You can read my post that I wrote about Doc in 2012, by clicking on DOC.

Doc in August 2011 with his son London. London is the son of Doc and the deceased mare Goldrush.
London, grandson of Winnemucca, summer 2015

In 2006, she was stolen or went with the stallion Prince, where she remained, without conceiving , until 2009 when she was stolen by Custer.  She has remained with Custer since that time.

Winnemucca has Doc and her grandson London to carry on the bloodline.  Petra born last year, (2015) is possibly his offspring.  There was so much unsettled behavior, in 2014, that I am a little uncertain to say she is 100% his. Hopefully we will see some more Doc foals this spring.

Prince, July 2012.
Winnemucca and Fiasco with Leo, August 2012. Leo and Kaibab would be removed just a few days later.
Fiasco and Winnemucca, the day after Leo and Kaibab were removed. August 2012

Winnemucca has endured much loss in her life-time.  I am not sure we as humans could endure such pain year after year.  But she seems to keep going with a strong determination to embrace life.  I think we can all learn from her.  No matter what, life goes on, and we must all embrace each day.  Thank you Winnemucca for being a constant reminder of that  and showing those of us who have been blessed by your presence to see it within you.

Long may you live on a very green and beautiful range, either here on earth or in heaven.

Winnemucca watching over her band, summer 2015
Fiasco, Prospera, Winnemucca and Custer. Summer 2015
Prospera and Winnemucca, July 2015
Nodin and Winnemucca, summer 2015
Winnemucca, summer, 2015
Winnemucca. Photo by Laura Curtis. Laura was with me on a day trip that day. Thank you for sharing!

While the next removal date has not been set, we all must become aware of the bloodlines that may be lost.  We need to take notes and make our studies known, so that all bloodlines on the range receive equal consideration.




37 thoughts on “Winnemucca

  • Thank you for documenting and sharing this beautiful mare’s life. How sad that she’s lost so many of her foals! But her strong will to live is evident. I hope she makes it through the winter and can spend another summer on the range. Lucy

  • Thank you for posting this, Sandy (and Abbie, for asking!) It’s lovely to learn more about some of the less well known horses (to me at least) 🙂

  • Thank you Sandy for the photos and the knowledge that you share with us. The love that you have for the Pryor horse Is evident in the words you write.

  • Winnemuca is indeed a grand dame of the Range, and I cherish the times I’ve seen her and pictures I have of her. Her story serves to remind those making decisions about the horses how very important it is to be aware of bloodlines, as you say, and also to keep in mind that the margin for error must lean in favor of having an extra horse or two on the Range, not on getting below the “line in the sand”. One really bad winter or occurrence of a death dealing disease could spell catastrophe to several of the bloodlines already on the verge. There can be NO decisions on favoritism alone if the herd is to remain viable long term, the goal which has been worked so hard for by so many people for so many years. I really appreciate that you are one of those people Sandy, and love your pictures and write-ups. Kudos to Winnemuca, and to you. I worry about her and Hightail this year, as well as some of the stallions, but know they’ve led wonderful lives on the PMWHR if their time has come.

  • Thank you so much Sandy for writing Winnamucca’s story. As soon as I saw your post I grabbed my book and checked out her offspring on the range. When I saw only Doc, I was confident that my list was incomplete and I would get to add a new offspring or two. Alas, my list was correct – what a sad story, and what a loss for the herd genetics. I echo your words and Linda D’s about the need for careful study, thought and no favoritism regarding future removals. Thank you again for all the information, pictures, and the story of a grand old lady.

  • I love this post-thanks so much again for sharing all of this research on Winnemucca!! Just reading the information you uncovered has made me ever fonder of this obviously sweet and caring mare. I so wish she had a bigger legacy, and she is a classic example for why I so strongly believe in managing the herd through pedigrees. It’s not enough to just have “x” number of horses-we need to work towards preserving all the bloodlines we can! How sad that a mare with such a rich history, long life and maternal dedication has only one son on the range. I hope we do see a couple more Doc offspring out there -and that the sire’s pedigree will be considered in future management plans!

    I so hope I will have the privilege of meeting Winnemucca again. But if not, you are right in saying she has taught so many so much and will live on in the Pryor history.

  • Just ran through this again. Picture #1 is absolutely beautiful! Perfect! I believe Doc carried a long tangle of mane for quite awhile, too! Maybe he still does. (hope I have remembered that right!)

  • Thank you for this fascinating post, and thanks to Abbie for suggesting it! I’d love to see more of these historical/genetic posts, as I think they make for very interesting reading. There was the comment on FB pointing out that foal mortality over WInnemucca’s lifetime was quite high, and suggesting that population growth as a result may not be as accelerated as the BLM claims. I’d love to have data on more mares, to see if that holds true.

    Also, I’m very sad that WInnemucca’s bloodline comes down through just one horse and that one a stallion. I would really have liked to see a daughter to carry her line forward. We know in breeding many domestic horses, e.g. Thoroughbreds, warmbloods, Lipizzaners and Arabs, that mare families are important genetic conduits and they need to be perpetuated via female descent. Look up Bruce Lowe families for Thoroughbreds, or the various strains like Saqlawi, Koheilan, Ma’naqi for Arabs – female families often possess characteristics which continue to crop up in their tail female descendants. For instance, the female line descendants of Thoroughbred Family 1, Tregonwell’s Natural Barb mare, are known to be superior racehorses to some of the other families, whilst the female line descendants of Thoroughbred Family 11, the Sedbury Royal Mare, frequently produce great sires of racehorses – Regulus, Birdcatcher, Orme, War Admiral and the tremendous St Simon are all from Family 11.

    Also, Winnemucca may continue to have genetic representation on the range through Doc and London, but it’s a lot harder to be certain of paternity with mustangs than it is maternity. Unless earlier records show that she has descendants through female offspring on the range, in one sense her line will go extinct when she dies. This is why the family representation of these horses needs to be taken into account during removals.

    Looking through my female family charts for the Pryor horses, and being well aware that they’ve been put together from whatever patchy data I can glean online, Tonopah’s female family for example is rather slender – she’s represented through two daughters, War Bonnet and Brumby. War Bonnet carries the line forward through Heritage – except, unless I am very much mistaken, Heritage has only had one foal, Kootenai, who was removed. If Heritage does not produce another foal, War Bonnet’s branch of Tonopah’s family will die out. Right now, the removal of Kayenta looks like a mistake. Brumby has only one daughter on the range as well, Gabrielle, who has produced two fillies, Lily (removed) and Naara. Right now, Tonopah’s female representation on the range hinges on Naara making it to maturity and producing a daughter of her own.

    On the other hand, the Twiggy family is currently looking robust – her daughter Madonna’s line is represented by Lariat alone in my charts, but her daughter Waif has produced three wonderful mares, Halo of the Sun, Icara and Jewel, who have all produced daughters to carry the line forward. However, Halo’s daughter Kaelia and her filly Malayna were removed, and I have no records of further Halo offspring. Jewel’s only offspring Mercuria was removed last summer with her daughter Paquita; Jewel is now off PZP, though, and may be able to produce another daughter. Icara, though, has two daughters, Morgana and Phantom, on the range. So the Twiggy family is doing fairly well.

    And for a family that is doing very well, you need look no further than the Isabella family. Isabella has two prolific daughters on the range, Phoenix and Ireland. Phoenix has founded a veritable dynasty through her sons and daughers, and her female line is looking very secure – her daughters on the range are Beulah, Dove and Blanca. Beulah has not bred on, but Dove has Manuelita, and Blanca has Galena, who has produced three fillies, Moenkopi, Nye (removed), and Petra. Isabella’s other daughter, Ireland, is the mother of Celt, Gaelic Princess, Kerry, Limerick and Pegasus. Kerry was removed; Celt only has Killian on the range. Gaelic Princess has one foal in my records, a filly named Kelly, who is not on the range, but between Gaelic Princess and her two younger sisters Ireland’s branch of the Isabella family has a good chance of producing more daughters at some point in the future. Also, I believe Isabella was the sister of Princess, mother of Blue Sioux, who has in her turn given us Halcyon and La Brava. Halcyon currently has one daughter, Nirvana, on the range, and La Brava has Pilar. The Isabella/Princess bloodline is well-represented on the range, though some branches of this family are more slender than others.

    Which makes it all the sadder that WInnemucca’s bloodline has been allowed to dwindle down to a stallion and his son. It would have been lovely to see her establish a dynasty of grulla mares with witchknots in their manes.

    • Your welcome Kate, and thank you for the very long and detailed comment. Yes, a female left on the range for Winnemucca would have been the ideal thing, but at least there is Doc. Another advantage of the Pryor herd, is that it is so closely watched, so most of the time we all have a good idea who the sire is, especially if the mare is with a strong stallion. Doc isn’t going to let another stallion breed one of his mares, without a big fight. Another line that is small is Washakie’s. I hope to do a post on her sometime in the near future. Thanks again!

      • Yes, it’s definitely good that WInnemucca does at least have Doc, and that he’s big and strong enough to pretty much guarantee that he’s the sire of the foals in his harem. It also went through my mind that there’s now Petra as well, so that makes three Winnemucca descendants on the range. Even if you can’t have matrilineal descendants for mares, some representation is a whole lot better than no representation. And for horses like Isabella, she has a healthy enough clan of female line progeny, but when you take all her descendants into account, you realise just how saturated the Pryor horses are with her blood. She must have been an astonishing mare.

        Washakie’s line is ridiculously small, given how many foals she’s had. You’d think that Ojai or Nahwa would have been allowed to stay, particularly given how classically Pryor they are in appearance. I would definitely like to hear more about her family!

  • I received this email from Jack Sterling yesterday! Thank you for letting me know.

    On January 24, 2016 I was hiking with Nancy Cerroni and Amanda Brouwer up the Big Coulee
    and we climbed a ridge gong up Sykes and Amanda saw Custer, Winnemucca and

    • Every spring news of each sighting is exciting to know the horses made it through the winter. Thank you, Jack and Sandy for sharing this good news!

  • I received this email from Laura Curtis:

    Sandy, I loved your post with Winnemucca. It is great to have the in-depth history of the older horses. I was so happy to see several of them on our trips with you. Even if I am blessed to see Winnemucca again on our trip with you this summer, this photo is always my vision of her, as we saw her on our July, 2014 trip with you. Running with beauty and power through the wildflowers with mane and tail flying, drinking in that high mountain wind, moving to a place only she knew where!! It was a moment of knowing true wildness!! Thank you for making possible these soul-soaring, precious moments!! Love, Laura

    Thank you Laura for allowing me to post this!

  • Beautiful and well-written post! Thank you Sandy and all for recognizing Winnemucca for the amazing mare she is. I continue to learn from her strong spirit. Love the gorgeous photos too! I am excited to hear you will be doing a post on Washakie, another beautiful soul who has endured much heartbreak. Thank you!

  • I was very happy to read this post as I’ve wondered about Winnemucca’s history too and how she ended up with only one offspring on the range. She is such a caring and nurturing mare that I imagine it must have been hard losing so many of her offspring several years in a row. The early 2000’s were heavy with mountain lion predation, I’m sure that contributed to her losses. I’m glad Doc at least survived. And 2003 was a heavy predation year too. Her and Doc’s bloodline certainly needs to be protected in upcoming removals. I am so glad that London escaped the 2012 removal! Petra certainly needs to remain on the range. I really think she’s Doc’s. She’s even got his wavy tail. I hope we will see more Doc foals this year. I would be overwhelmingly happy for a foal from Heritage. That would be a special foal for both parents. And maybe we’ll see a foal from Jasmine too.

    I was so glad to see a recent pic of Winnemucca posted last week! And I hope I will get to see her again this June 🙂

  • Thank you so much for all this information! I’m relatively new to learning about the horses, history, logistics and legal matters and truly appreciate this site!!

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