Another year is about to come to an end. It seems that the days passed very quickly this year, as I feel as if I just posted my tribute to the horses that passed in 2016. But another year has gone by, and this year was an equally hard year in terms of horses lost.
Sometimes the pain of the loss, is more than I can bear, and some days I feel as if I no longer want to go to the mountain. I just want to lessen the pain of the loss of so many familiar faces. But I will continue to go, the strong pull of the mountain is too great to walk away from, it calls me from within.
This year we have lost 12 horses, and there are some missing. I am going to be including the recently missing ones in this post as well. One foal was removed, and I will be including him too. That will bring the total to 14 horses and 3 foals for a total of 17 horses possibly gone off the range. This year there were 8 foals born, three died and one was removed leaving a total of four 2017 foals still on the range. The year of 2017 (so far) has left a negative growth of -13.
I felt in order to properly honor each horse that is no longer with us, I would go back over the years and find photos of the horses that I personally took. There are a few from others here, but for the most part, each photo was taken by me. It took me several days to go through the 1000’s of photos I have of the horses to find just the right ones. In many ways, it became a healing exercise for me. Seeing these horses in the land they loved. Each one did live a good life, wild and free. Some just left this earth way too early.
Below are the horses we lost and those that are missing. Listed in alphabetical order.
1. Audobon, born in 2000, she is the daughter of Feather. This quiet mare was with Morning Star for many years, and then in 2014, she and her daughter Niyaha joined up with the handsome stallion Hamlet.
Hamlet and Audbon produced two foals, Penn (Paris) and Quicksilver. Unfortunately, Quicksilver did not survive within a month after birth. Something happened last winter/spring and Audobon was separated from Hamlet. Paris ended up in the Dryhead with the stallion Jesse James. Audobon has not been seen since early spring 2017.
2. Belle Starr, born in 1993, daughter of The Old Mare and Hercules. Belle Starr was last seen early 2017. I usually saw her up Sykes in the early spring.
3. Baja, Missing. Born in 1996, son of Tonapah and Looking Glass. Baja was last seen earlier this fall. London was seen with Bacardi and Quahneah in September. With Washakie’s health declining, the fate of their foal Renegade was in jeopardy. It is assumed that Washakie died and Baja and Renegade remained with her. Somehow Renegade found his way to his sister’s who were with London. Renegade was removed (see his post listed below).
Baja and Washakie were together for 14 years, I have a very strong feeling that Baja just simply gave up after Washakie died. He may reappear, and I hope he does.
To me, Baja was one of the most beautiful stallions, not only in looks, but by the way he cared for his band. He leaves behind just one offspring with Washakie, Quahneah. My hope is she will remain on the range to carry on his beautiful legacy.
4. Blanca, born in 1998, daughter of Phoenix and Raven, full sister to Cloud. She was found dead on September of this year, lying peacefully in one of the upper meadows.
This one is a hard one for me. Blanca was not only the matriarch of her band, but also the type of mare that I think we all thought of as a perfect example of how a lead mare should be. Blanca was always there to help the young ones in her band, and also her band stallion Cappuccino. She stood by Moenkopi during Obsidian’s death in 2014, (OBSIDIAN). This past summer, Cappuccino was wounded and lame and while he healed, Blanca held the band together and watch diligently over her stallion. I could tell story after story of the touching things this mare as done.
She had been with Cappuccino since early 2011. She produced her last foal, Kalispell, with Lakota, unfortunately, Kalispell died in the winter of 2010-11.
The thing I will remember about her the most is, Blanca could absorb the evening light with her golden coat, like I have rarely seen another horse do. She was a glowing star, and I will deeply miss her presence on the mountain.
5. Cascade, born in 1997, daughter of Aspen and Lone Wolf. She spent her life in the Dryhead. She had a special place in Laura Curtis’s heart and below are some of the photos that Laura took of her. Cascade has been missing since early 2017.
6. Corona, Missing, born in 1997, son of Sorita and Sam. Last seen sometime earlier 2017. I have had only a few memories of this beautiful stallion. The two most memorable ones were when I discovered Norte had been born. Traveling down Sykes, they were directly off the road in a very steep section of the road. The other was when they traveled up to the top of the mountain in July 2013.
7. Custer, born in 1996, son of Sitka and Shaman. With his long-time mare Winemucca’s death in the fall of 2016, Custer, Fiasco and Prospera stayed together. In January, 2017, Galaxy was seen with Fiasco and Prospera. Custer has not been seen.
I have thousands of photos of Custer. He seemed to always be around and his beautiful patterned coat was a treat to photograph. His kind and caring personality made it easy for me to spend hours with him. His presence will be greatly missed.
8. Fiesta, born in 2005, son of Phoenix and Teton. Last seen, September 2016. Fiesta, a horse that is larger than life. I don’t think I can find the words to describe this horse. He gave me so many gifts each and every time I saw him. The gift of unconditional love, the gift of laughter, the gift of tears, the gift of accepting myself for what I am and being happy with it. He was a true teacher to those of us that paid attention to what he had to say.
The one of the most memorable times I had with Fiesta was when I was camping with my daughter Amber. We were sleeping in the truck and woke the next morning with the sound of horses right outside the truck. I slowly sat up only to see Fiesta looking directly at me through the window! I wish I could have captured the look on his face! Here is that post if you want to relive that moment with me: FIESTA
Fiesta, you are so missed. I just could not get used to not seeing you with your family, and I don’t think I ever will. You were the one who would rush out and protect them from any danger. You loved your family, starting with your good friend Horizon. Looking back over your photos, I saw how much you cared for him when you both were just young carefree bachelors. You would risk your life to protect them at any cost, and ultimately I do believe you died protecting them.
Rest in Peace big, beautiful, silly boy, you will always be a part of my heart.
9. Inali, born in 2008, son of Iverness and Eclipse. Inali was orginally from the Forest Service part of the range. When both of his parents died, he was taken in by Cabaret. In the summer of 2010, Cabaret kicked him out of the band, forcing him to become a bachelor. That ultimately saved his life, as Cabaret and the rest of his band died up at the top of the mountain the winter of 2010-11. (That was the year that the fence was re-built). CABARET
Although he survived that, he ended up not being able to beat the next odds, he was last seen in the fall of 2016. He was still a bachelor at the time of his death, but he always found time to mentor the younger bachelors. He would often be seen with Orlando and Naolin.
You are missed Inali.
10. Isadora, born in 2008, daughter of Starman and Rosarita. Isadora died giving birth to her foal this fall. FOAL#7 The foal did not survive.
The first time I saw Isadora was when she was still in her family band. It was the 3 of them (Starman, Rosarita and Isadora) walking down the dirt road in the Forest Service part of the range. I remember being so impressed with her amazing marking she had on her face.
Isadora gave birth to a little filly named Lemhi the following spring. Starman had lost his band to Mescalero. Sadly, little Lemhi did not survive the winter of 2011-12.
Isadora was with Morning Stars band at the time of her death.
11. Medicine Bow, born in 1999, son of Twiggy and Cortez, he has not been seen since fall of 2016.
I had the privilege of seeing Medicine Bow several times. He spent his time on the Dryhead and Middle/Lower Sykes. His unique color was what caught my eye. He was a red dun sabino.
I think Matt Dillion told his story best. You can read his post here: MEDICINE BOW.
12. Raeleah J, born in 2017 to Icara and Johnston. Died about a month after birth. You can read her post here. RAELEAH. These photos were taken by Dennis McCollough.
13. Renegade, born in 2017 to Washakie and Baja. Renegade was removed after discovering him without Washakie. Washakie is presumed to be deceased.
Renegade was removed by the BLM and Nancy and Steve Cerroni adopted him. You can read more about those details in Nancy’s post: RENEGADE
The photos of Renegade after he was removed are taken by Nancy Cerroni.
14. Ryden (Rainbow), born June 28, 2017, daughter of unknown parents. You can read about her here: RYDEN Ryden (Rainbow) died a day after her birth.
15. Santa Fe, born in 1995, son of Twilla and Two Boots. Santa Fe’s remains were found in March 2017.
Santa Fe, where to I begin. He only wanted someone to love, always trying to gain a mare. His one remaining offspring on the range is Mandan (Santa Fe x Demure), but he was not able to raise his son. Doc stole the band before Mandan was born. After that Santa Fe worked hard to gain another mare, and he did. Judith a beautiful filly, but he would not be able to hold on to her either. Judith was removed in 2012. I was there when they removed her. I can still hear Santa Fe’s heartbreaking cries as they loaded her unto the trailer and took her down the mountain. My heart broke for him that day.
He was unable to acquire another mare, but spent the last several years trying. He dogged Coronado’s band for what seemed like forever. It was late June of 2014 where I saw a small crack in Coronado’s vigilance to keep Santa Fe away. He seemed to be warming to the idea of Santa Fe acquiring Manulita, and she was very interested. But, it would not happen. About a week later a helicopter fly over the range, causing a chaotic stampede of horses. It was during that time that Coronado lost his band to Irial, and Santa Fe’s chances were once again ruined.
He would still continue to try, but his age was catching up to him. He spent most of his time with old and new bachelors, Coronado being one of them. They had fought violently, but had somehow put that all behind them.
Santa Fe and his determination will always remain with me.
16. Seattle, born in 1997, son of Tacoma and Three Bars. Missing. I can’t remember when the last time I heard of someone seeing Seattle. My best encounter with him was on the mountain top in July 2013. I had seen him several times in the Dryhead, but most were from a distance. Yes, Seattle is a Dryhead horse, but the summer 2013 he ventured up on the mountain for a day. I was happy I was able to capture it with photos.
17. Washakie, born in 1994, daughter of Sitka and Shaman. She was an amazing mare. Nancy tells it best with this post WASHAKIE.
Washakie was a mommy machine. She had a foal every year since she was 2. Despite being vacinated with PZP, she continued to produce and was labeled a “non-responder”. But despite her many foals, she and her stallion of 14 years (Baja) now have only one offspring on the range. Quahneah. She must stay and carry on this perfect couples legacy.
My encounters with Washakie were many. The line I always heard from my guests and friends were: “she is HUGE”, she must be ready to foal any day. But this dear soul would keep us all waiting until SHE wanted the new little arrival to be born. Abbie and I blessed to see two of her foals shortly after their birth. Quahneah and Renegade.
Washakie and Baja had a love that few animals or humans have had. A constant love and devotion to each other and their family.
Rest in Peace dear Washakie, you will be so very missed.
Rest in Peace dear ones, run with the wind, I still feel your spirits on the mountain, and I am sure I always will.