Special update: this is Soldier and his papa Sarge today, and it is awesome to see them! (and mom and brother too)
Why are they special you say?
We have been looking for this little family for almost 2 months. When they disappeared, we were monitoring both Soldier and Sarge for very severe injuries.
They have most likely been on the Verde River, on the reservation, where we cannot check on them.
Still, we don’t panic when that happens, because we know that they are on their normal migrating routines and that they always come back.
Nevertheless, there was a chance that Sarge or Soldier, or both, might not recover, so we’ve been worried.
We remember back to the several long July days of protecting newborn Soldier and his mother Serena, when bachelors stallions were attacking both of them.
At that time, Sarge, the lead stallion and rightful father could not protect his band, because he could barely walk. He was suffering a severe case of VSV; his hooves were sloughing (separating) and he had lost his entire band because of it.
It was the saddest thing to see so many bachelors take advantage of Sarge’s weakness. However, it is the way of the wild, and the way of survival, so we can’t blame the bachelors.
Amazingly, Sarge, even while he could barely walk, never gave up on Serena. He continued to limp after her, and the young stallion who conquered her; Ducey.
While Ducey was doing his best, he was not established enough, not respected enough yet by the many other bachelors. So he was being challenged, right when poor Soldier was being born, right when he tried to take his first steps.
That’s how little Soldier got so unfortunate. He was knocked and thrown many times in the middle of the stallion brawl.
When it was noticed that his brave mother Serena was losing the fight against the many bachelors, we stepped in, and made a protective circle around them with volunteers and members of the public helping to keep the stallions at bay too.
That’s when Soldier could finally take his first drink of colostrum. His life was saved, but the question was, would the tiny foal heal from that hock injury?
And Sarge, would he manage to stay with them, could his hooves regrow and would he reclaim his family?
We were able to monitor them for a month while they both hobbled along, but then we lost track of them, and they were not seen by anyone, until now.
Well, here they are. Soldier is walking great, and his papa? Well, he is right there, teaching his son about the ways of the wild, affectionately sharing his eelgrass with him.
And young Ducey? Don’t worry about him, he’s been seen and is doing fine. He will have his own family soon, just not this one.
This family has healed and is happily reunited. And so, we conclude another episode of our very own reality soap opera
“As the river flows”. Do you love happy endings as much as we do?
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