I woke up this morning with a message from Sarah and Abbie. Jackson had died. While this was not unexpected, it was still very shocking. I can’t imagine the mountain without Jackson.
Jackson was born to the mare Broken Bow and stallion Two Boots in 1998. This beautiful coyote dun stallion was a giant force on the mountain. He claimed the largest bands up until he lost his status of a band stallion in May of 2014. While he claimed a mare from time to time for a short while, his days of being a prominent band stallion were over.
For some stallions, they give up the will to live after the loss of their band. But Jackson choose to embrace his next role: caretaker of those in need. He was often spotted with young bachelors teaching them the “ropes”. But perhaps his most important role was that of a caring bachelor stallion. It seemed if any horse on the mountain was alone or need a friend, Jackson was there. Either briefly or for a longer period of time, he stood by those in need. The most significant one was when he spent an entire summer watching over a wounded Mandan. I believe Mandan is a live today because of Jackson.
Caring was not new to Jackson, when he was still a band stallion, I witnessed many touching moments of closeness with his family. This behavior never ended, as he continued to carry out that role as an older bachelor.
Perhaps one of the funnest moments I shared on the mountain with Jackson, was in July 2014. A few cattle from a nearby ranch, happened to wander on the range. While I am sure this wasn’t the first time he saw cattle, it was amusing to watch his reaction to them. The rancher removed them later that day.
In the winter of 2016-17, he somehow injured his left eye. It appeared that he had lost sight in that eye. Many of us worried he would not make it without vision in both eyes. But once again, he showed us how amazing and strong he was.
I could continue to tell many stories of this amazing stallion. But somehow the words are not coming very easily to me this morning.
To me, Jackson was the most caring and nurturing stallion on the mountain. There will be a giant empty space where this amazing stallion was. He left this earth on his own terms, wild and free. Rest easy Jackson. You changed my life, and I know you changed the life of may others. Thank you.