This is a very hard and heartbreaking post. I was told today that Isadora was found dead on the mountain top. It was determined that she passed giving birth, the foal did not survive. What a horrible and tragic way to go. I pray that she did not suffer long and that she and her foal passed quietly. I am sure that she is standing next to her sire Starman and her little foal, Lemi that passed in 2011-12 winter. Rest in Peace. You will be so missed.
Isadora is the 2008 daughter of Rosarita and Starman. The sire of the foal was Morning Star, he is the 1996 son of Washakie and Plenty Coup.
7 Foals have been born this year, 4 survived.
2017 has been a very difficult year. We have lost a lot of horses. This loss, coming off of Blanca’s death just 10 days ago.
For those of us that are so close to these horses, it is extremely difficult. Since Lakota’s death, I have tried to be a bit more distant, but truly, that is not who I am, or who I want to be, I feel each death and tragedy on the mountain. 2017 has been one of pain, and I pray that 2018 will bring us more joy.
Once again I am going to stress and ask that we not rush into another removal. The mountain is doing it’s own natural part right now to adjust the population. Sixteen horses will be over the age of 20 next year, that alone should be taken into consideration.
Rest in Peace Isadora and foal, we can not understand, but for whatever reason, this was your time to go.
Foal # 4 Born to Washakie and Baja. Washakie is the 1994 daughter of Sitka and Shaman. Baja is the 1996 son of Tonapah and Looking Glass. UPDATE: Renegade was removed from the range in mid-October, due to the death of Washakie.
After witnessing the sad birth and death of the 3rd foal born this year (Hope Ryden), both Abbie and I were hoping to see another one with a happier ending.
For most of last week, we and our student guests were the only ones camping on the mountain. Each night Abbie, Beth (a return guest and friend of ours) and I would drive slowly around giving the herd a last look before we went to bed. On the night of the July 11, we saw Baja and his band. Washakie had not foaled. It is so hard to tell with her, as she has had a foal every year since she was 2 (she is now 23). She always looks so large and about ready to foal, but I have seen several years where she has given birth in the late summer and even the early fall.
The next day we spent hours with the bands, but did not see them, not really that usual, Baja is a wise 21-year-old stallion, and he has learned to stay away at times to in order to continue holding on to his band.
As we return to camp, BLM volunteer Don (what an amazing person, Don retired years ago and comes from Tennessee each summer to spend his time volunteering.) He doesn’t know the horses by name, but knows a lot of the history of the mountain and surrounding areas. He defiantly is a great presence on the mountain and I was happy to see him pull up at our camp. We talked for a few minutes. He had a young MCC worker (students) with him. It was her first time on the mountain. They had a break in the work they were doing down the mountain and Don decided to take her up to see the horses for the first time.
I happened to be at the truck when they returned. Don stopped and asked if I had seen the new foal! No, we had not!! I asked who had foaled, but he did not know. The young woman had a camera with her and showed me the first photo of this new little life. It was Washakie! They had no idea they were the first to see it. I can not discribe the joy that was in this young woman’s face when I told her she was and that she got to name it. Not only was it her first time on the range, but she had discovered a foal.
I was really happy for her. I have had my time to name foals, there are several on the range right now, and several have been removed. It was a special gift to be able to do it, but honestly, I am happy to pass that torch on to a younger generation. I saw that a simple thing of discovering a foal and being able to name it, could involve a younger generation to be involved, inspired and willing to stand up for them. That is what we need for this herd in order for it to carry on. A new set of eyes. As long as the name is not inappropriate, really, what does it matter what it is called? It is their joy and should be honored. Most people will look at the parents and go off that theme. But really, that hasn’t always happened, (the B’s had a theme of liquor of all things!! (Baily’s, Bacardi) ) and it has still been okay. We as humans need to learn to let go of power for the good of life and try see what can happen if we do.
I learned that she wanted to name the foal Ma’heo’o Reiki. She had put a lot of study and thought into it. The Mustang Center decided that the name would be Renegade.
Washakie is the 1994 daughter of Sitka and Shaman. Baja is the 1996 son of Tonapah and Looking Glass.
Washakie still had some after birth attached to her more than 24 hours after the birth. She did finally expel it and after almost a week, both mom and baby seem to be doing fine.
Foal # 5. A colt, born to Jacinta and Garay. Jacinta is the 2009 daughter born to Rosebud and most likely Tecumseh. Garay is the 2006 son of Mariposa and Conquistador.
I have said for several years, that I believe the new foal will appear to the person that is meant to see it first. And so it was that Abbie and I would be the first to see Jacinta’s foal in the early morning of July 17, 2017.
Abbie and I have spent many days studying the horses. We would sit for hours and make notes on their behavior. Every evening, we would drive just before dark and check to see how everyone was doing. We knew Jacinta was close, and noted that we did not see Garay and his band on Sunday the 16th. We had a feeling that Jacinta had either foaled or was close.
The mountain was unusually quiet. For the last week, we had spent many nights being the only ones camping. During the day there were the usual flurry of day-trippers, but they were gone by 5 pm, leaving us alone with the horses. I love that time and cherish the quiet of the mountain.
Our small group was the only one on the mountain the morning of the 17. I woke early as I always do and stepped out of my tent. There were several bands of horses around our campsite, making this one of the best cups of coffee I’d had this summer. Just sitting and enjoying the presence of these special beings.
Either Abbie or myself would step out and look down the road to see who else would be joining us in this constant parade. We were both out there when I thought I saw Jacinta in the distance. Was that a foal at her side! It was, and both Abbie and I were ecstatic.
Abbie has been hoping to discover a new foal, and I wanted desperately for her to experience it. I can’t describe the pure joy of seeing a new life for the first time and my joy became even bigger knowing that I was able to share this with Abbie and watch her discover her first foal.
They were taking their time, but it was clear that they were going to walk close by our camp. What an honor for these horses to feel that comfortable with us, that they would decide to parade by us.
Abbie had a well researched name picked out for this little one. Rue. Rue is a flower as is Jacinta. The name Rue also pays homage to Rosebud who is Jacinta’s mom and little Rue’s grandmother. I had texted the Center to let them know of the birth, and Abbie asked me to let them know of her name choice.
The Mustang Center has decided to name the foal Rio instead.
UPDATE: I just got a note from Abbie that the Center has recognized her as the official discover and have added the name Rue to the official record. Proud of you Abbie for keeping on this in a very positive manner. One small step towards a good change…
I have been wondering how to write this post. It has been especially difficult for me to write the words that I don’t want to read. How could something so perfect and strong have a turn in their short life that makes them lose everything in just a few short minutes. A new life born to a 2-year-old inexperienced filly. She was able to nurse and receive the life-giving colostrum, cleaned up of the from the birth that surrounded her. Then somehow disrupted and displaced, torn from her mother and lost with a band she wasn’t meant to be with.
It was just 4 years ago that I had this exact story play out in front of me, and it seemed this was a re-run of a very bad movie that I did not want to see the ending of . What are the odds that this could be happening again? Read my post from 4 years ago NACER.
It started out like any beautiful morning on the mountain. My guests from this trip were down watching the horses just below where the camp was set up. I was cleaning up camp and enjoying a few minutes drinking my coffee and photographing Morning Star and his band. I had just returned to my truck when I looked down the road and saw Micheal Francis (a fellow long time Pryor photographer, he has been taking photos of the horses since the early 80’s, here is his website: FRANCIS) waving his arms at me. I quickly got back in my truck and drove towards him. He said “there’s a new foal down there”. “Who is it?”, I said. “I’m waiting for you to tell me that”, he said. I looked down the cliff. I immediately saw Doc’s band. Firestorm had a foal by her. This was surprising as I knew Firestorm was not pregnant this year. I then thought perhaps it could be Jasmine’s as many of us are hoping and think that she is pregnant. But she still looked round and it confused me even more.
Who did this precious new life belong to? It seemed it was no one in this band, and I was worried how this had happened. It seemed Firestorm wanted this little one (she had lost her last foal last fall). Her mothering instincts were in full gear. Whenever this little one tried to approach Doc, the band stallion, Firestorm would insert herself between them. But when the filly tried to nurse her, she would kick it away. We all watched from far above them, hoping that this scene would have a different ending to the one just four short years ago.
I immediately called and reported the birth to Jerrie at the BLM, Jerrie is the new Wild Horse Specialist at the Billing, Mt office. She replaced Jared Bybee. I had just met and talked to her the day before. I told her I would monitor the situation and report to her what was going on. I respected her decision to “let nature take its course”.
We watched the scene unfold below us. Irial’s band was near-by and their two-year old filly Pele (Penny) seemed overly interested in the new foal. Could it be hers? I remembered seeing a similar young filly 4 years ago show the same interest in Nacer. I was convinced she could be the mother of this little filly.
After a couple of hours, it was clear that Firestorm had her fill of this new foal. It was not hers, and she made it clear she wanted nothing more to do with it. It was painful to watch her kick, bite and shake this innocent life. It was then that I realized this story was not going to have a fairytale ending.
The Pryors are a wild, real life story. Whether we want to admit it or not, life here is not a fairy tale; it is hard, real and not always happy. We were witness to this just a few days ago.
The foal was clearly getting tired and weak. She needed nourishment, and none of the mares in this band could give it to her. I was sure that we might witness the end of her life before our eyes. It was then that the wind began blow and the rain and sleet began to fall. The horses all ran for cover in the trees quite a distance up hill. Little Ryden kept up with them, following into the trees. My heart sank as I was sure I wouldn’t be able to keep track of her now.
I left and came back a few hours later. I could still make out her tiny body in the trees next to who she thought was her mom. I checked one more time before the dark came, it would be the last time I saw her.
Abbie and I decided to name her after a woman who had just passed away this week. Hope Ryden. Hope was very instrumental in the passage of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. Our wish is that this little one could have lived a full life on the range, in honor of this wonderful woman, but it was not to be. You can read more about Hope Ryden by clicking on HOPE
We may never know for sure who the mother was. But Abbie and I noticed a young coming 3-year-old filly looking especially thin last night.
Oceana, June 20, 2017. Photo by Abbie Branchflower
Please, if you notice a new foal, set aside your wish to capture the perfect photo and stay away. The mare and foal need time to bond, this is a very critical time. We never know what the impact of our actions could be on a new life.
Rest in Peace little Hope Ryden. I know you will be entertained by the silly and loving Fiesta, given wise advise by Lakota and held close by Winemucca.
The first known foal of 2017 was discovered on April 4, 2017. This little filly is the daughter of Nova and Hickok. Nova is the 2013 daughter of Kitalpha and Bristol. Hickok is the 2007 son of Belle Starr and Starbuck. Her name was picked by the Mustang Center to honor her grandmother Belle Starr, who has been missing, and also to stay with the theme of her other grandmother, Kitalpha. Kitalpha is the brightest star in Equuleus and Rigel is a star in Orion.
Welcome beautiful, sturdy little one! May you live your days wild and free!
Many thanks to Nancy Cerroni of the Pryor Mountain Mustang Center for allowing me to use her photos!
Mares within the Pryor Wild Horse Herd, are given PZP (birth control) every year. Each year there is a group of mares that are in the “window” of possibly being able to foal, meaning that they have not been given PZP. And every year, there will be some surprises from some, despite being vaccinated, and even though the below horses have not been vaccinated, it is not a guarantee that they will foal. Some have never conceived.
We must be careful with this special herd, in 2016, there were 10 deaths, and 11 births, leaving only a population increase of 1 horses. You can click on the post I did in October 2016, ( The Horses that have Passed) if you would like to learn more about that. Since I wrote that post, the death of Quivira (Moenkopi foal) increased the deaths to 10. Keeping a close watch on the population gain and adjusting the PZP accordingly, will make this herd healthy and viable to carry on into the future. We must carefully watch which mares are vaccinated and what horses are removed and make sure that we keep an equal balance of representation for all of the horses on the range, regardless of color, or favorites.
I anticipate that 2017 will be a low birth year. Below are the mares who may foal.
Dry Head Horses
Halo, 2007 daughter of Waif and Corona, currently in Fools Crow band.
2. Jewel, 2009 daughter of Waif and Corona, currently in Fools Crow band.
2. Kitalpha, 2010 daughter of Buffalo Girl and Durango, currently on her own, with her two daughters, but was with Hickok.
Mountain Top Horses
Hataali, 2007 daughter of Sapo and Shaman, currently in Morning Star’s Band.
2. Hailstorm, 2007 daughter of Aztec and Cloud, currently in Morning Star’s band. She has never foaled.
3. Hera, 2007 daughter of Audubon and Morning Star, currently in Galaxy’s band.
4. Heritage, 2007 daughter of Warbonnet and Lakota. Her only living offspring was removed in 2012, she has not foaled since. She is currently in Doc’s band.
5. Isadora, 2008 daughter of Rosarita and Starman, she has not foaled since 2011. (the foal is deceased). She is currently in Morning Star’s band.
6. Jacinta, 2009 daughter of Rosebud and most likely Tecumseh, she is currently in Garay’s band.
7. Jasmine, 2009 daughter of Aztec and Cloud, has never foaled, currently in Doc’s band, but moves around frequently.
8. Juniper, 2009 daughter of Sapo and Bolder, currently in Horizon’s band. She has never foaled.
9. Ketchikan, 2010 daughter of Gold Rush and Two Boots, currently in Jasper’s band.
10. Kohl, 2010 daughter of Quelle Colour and Lakota, she is currently in Garay’s band.
As with every year, I will keep you posted on the new births as soon as I learn about them.