The two family bands that turned into one:
We have over 50 different bands of wild horses on the lower Salt River. They vary in size, from just 2 horses to 16 horses. But this huge band that’s crossing the river here, is actually two bands of two powerful stallions, who had no choice but to combine into one. We keep very close track of all band changes and there is an interesting story to tell here:
It is only the most powerful stallions that can keep large bands together, however the mares also have something to say about the family structure.
Cisco is a powerful and experienced stallion who has run his huge band for ten years plus. He manages it all by himself too, meaning without a lieutenant stallion. The second largest band was Hardy’s, he also does it all on his own and he is always looking to increase his band size.
With the 2019 filly’s coming of age, these two stallions started stealing each others daughters. This is perfectly normal stallion behavior, because stallions don’t mate with their own offspring, and therefore they let them leave the nest after they come of age. Then they will steal someone else’s daughter to add to their band. These amazing wild herd dynamics are what prevents inbreeding.
But what we were seeing is that some of these moms and daughters did not like to be separated. One day a filly would be stolen by Hardy and the next day mom had gone to retrieve her filly back. The stallions were having a heck of a time keeping the moms and daughters to stay with them. We saw many wild chases where the stallions were simply worn down by the mares, who were not having it.
So even while these stallions were rivals, eventually the mares decided that they were all going to stay together. Powerful Cisco and Hardy then had no choice but to stick with their mares and combine their bands.
That’s how we now have one huge band of 25 horses, the Cisco/Hardy band! We think it’s very good proof of mare power!
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