The year of 2018 is very quickly coming to a close, and like the past several years, I am doing this post to honor the horses that have died in 2018. The list is shorter then it was last year, but no less painful. Even though several of those that passed in 2018 were very young, their memory will not be forgotten.
We didn’t get the chance to watch them grow and develop a strong presence on the mountain, but the lucky few that saw them and recorded their existence can remind us all of who they were. Thank you to those that allowed me to use their photos.
Below are the horses that have died (or are missing) in 2018.
1. Blue Moon (Flint). 2001 son of Shaman and Sitka. While Blue Moon has not been gone the official length of time to be declared deceased, all of that witnessed his deteriorated condition this past summer, can recognize that he most likely is gone. He not only lost his band last winter/spring, but he somehow got injured. He seemed to have a back/spinal injury that appeared to be very painful. Not only the physical injury, but it was also very clear that his spirit to live had greatly compromised. He was one of those stallions that just couldn’t settle into bachelorhood again. His heart was broken at the loss of his band.
I have many, many fond memories of Blue Moon. He and his band were frequent early morning/late evening visitors to my campsite. They seemed to recognize my truck, Abbie and myself. Blue Moon was the type of horse that if he could, he would have pulled up a chair and asked for a cup of coffee, and talked to us for hours about life. And his life was full of stories, he struggled as a young bachelor to devote full attention to his band. That lead for some painful memories for him, but in the more recent years, he became a devoted caring band stallion that gave his every minute to the care of his band.
He will be deeply missed.
2. Morning Star. 1996 son of Washakie and Plenty Coups. Morning Star lost his band one final time in the fall of 2017. (After losing them and winning them back in the spring of 2017). I don’t believe he was seen after that. He was looking quite thin in the summer of 2017, so without his band and his strength, he was not able to make it. Morning Star was a strong band stallion, who kept his band together. His death lead to the separation of his band, and as current as last week, it has been reported that they are still in constant turmoil. Morning Star was a strong presence on the mountain and will be greatly missed.
3. Sacajawea. 1996 daughter of Three Bars and Calamity. Sacajeawea has not been seen since June 2018. She has always been a strong independent mare, often setting out on her own and changing bands. She was by far one of the oldest and strongest bloodlines that the Pryors had. Her beautiful primative markings and gorgous Grulla color always took my breath away.
4. Sparrow. 2018 son of Pele (Penny) and Irial. Born the week of May 14, missing May 20, 2018. No photo available.
5. Stargazer. 2018 son of Quartz, father unknown. Born week of June 3. Died June 6.
6. Shamrock. 2018 son of Pegasus, father unknown. Born the week of May 20. Discovered missing by Abbie and Sandy, June 21, 2018.
Abbie and I were both so excited to look for Shamrock and so shocked and disappointed when we discovered her missing. Shamrock was a beautiful foal and seemed strong. But Pegasus (whom I discovered and named!) was with an unexperienced new band stallion (Missoula, whom I discovered and named!).
I am uncertain about what happened to the Sparrow and Stargazer, but I am quite certain that Shamrock was taken by a mountain lion. A few days after we discovered her missing, Abbie and I came across a large blood patch and drag marks with blood. While we can’t be certain, we concluded that it was most likely that of Shamrock.
7. Santiago. Son of Labrava and Irial. A beautiful strong colt, Santiago should have survived. Abbie, I and my last guests of the season discovered this little beauty early on the morning of our last day.
We can only speculate what happened to this beautiful foal, born to a large strong and stable band. There was and is a lot of young bachelors pushing for a band of their own. Abbie and I witnessed several very dangerous pursuits involving several bands at a time. There were also several people on the mountain at the time. Did Santiago get separated and injured from a bachelor confrontation? Did he get separated from people approaching too close ( like a foal from 2017?) There were conflicting reports of what happened. Only the mountain knows for sure, either way, this colts life ended way too soon. His death haunts me.
Rest in Peace wild ones. Your spirit still runs free on the mountain.