Cheyenne and Nakota Update
Cheyenne is resting her head on her filly Nakota during their afternoon nap. These two are very close and clearly feel safe in their new environment with their Salt River cousins and aunties right next to them for company. (Next to them are Felicity, Iggy, Old Lady, Gem and Mori.)
We rescued this unlucky pair on July 7th because mom had a severe fetlock/pastern injury and was hopping around on 3 legs while trying to protect her 2 week old filly. Both were being pushed around and attacked by stallions. (Keep reading for explanation at *)
Her fetlock injury has progressed, as well as can be expected, after antibiotics and much intensive treatment, but we do not know if it will ever be fully functional again. Her filly Nakota is a month old now and she is doing extremely well.
Our good friends Shelley and James of the Trust Technique, have been our partners and lifesavers; we were very sad to say goodbye to them this week. Thank you Jim and Shells!
*Sometimes when wild horses become injured, it causes them to no longer be able to keep up with their band. This makes the lead stallion(s) extremely nervous and agitated, especially when a mare lags behind, because this is when other stallions see an opportunity to steal her.
So the stallion starts to snake and spur her on like he normally would, to demand that she keep up with the band, except she doesn’t listen because she can’t, to him this means she is being disobedient. We do not believe that they understand the fact that the band-member is in pain.
Then when another stallion sees the opportunity and tries to steal the mare, the fight is on over the injured mare, and it can get very dangerous and become a life threatening situation for her and her foal.
That is the situation that Cheyenne and Nakota were in. Stallions were mounting her, to try and assert dominance and she was simply defenseless and becoming more injured by the minute. Mom and baby were getting separated in the commotion. It turned into a frenzy. Had we let it go on for much longer, we would not have been be able to save them. Nature can indeed be cruel sometimes.
We have also seen behavior completely the other way around. For example, Snow’s lead stallions did not let him out of their sight after Snow White died, and kept him in the middle of the band, protected at all times.
We have seen yearlings with sprained ankles where the band waited around for for months. We have seen downed horses where all of the band stands in a circle as if to form protection around them, and we have seen real horse funerals where every horse says their goodbye. Wild horses social structures are complex and sentient.
So the difference, we are not sure, it could be that she was in heat, or the fact that the stallions fighting over her were rivals.
We will continue to note and study the Salt River wild horses every step of the way and share our findings with you, if you keep sharing and keep supporting us!
Picture by SRWHMG Tracey Jewett