These are a (lot) of my favourite (horses)

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Baja leads his mares Bacardi and Washakie. 

You might wonder what place a subjective word like “favourite” has in an objective field like wildlife management. And truthfully, it shouldn’t really have a place. However, we would be remiss to forget that these horses are managed, followed and advocated for by people, and people are not wholly (or even mostly) objective.

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Inquisitive, distinctive and a rare colour, Pride is a natural candidate for favouritism. He is also likely the last offspring of his famous sire, Cloud. Representation-wise, however, he is a prime candidate for removal this coming year.

There is nothing wrong with having favourite horses, so long as this is not allowed to impact the overall health of the herd. The danger comes when people make management decisions that favour certain horses and their offspring, or a particular colour or other characterstic, leading to an over-representation of certain bloodlines and traits. This dilutes the genetic diversity in the population. In such a small, isolated population this is extremely risky, not only to the long term viability of the herd, but also to the health of the future offspring of a more concentrated gene pool.

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Oro (Odyssey). Because who doesn’t love Oro? 🙂

That’s not to say that it isn’t 100% natural (no pun intended) for the topic of favourites to come up in human conversation. People have their own preferences and emotional responses and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I love chatting to people about their favourite Pryor horses. And people ask me the same question all the time! To be honest, anyone who has ever asked me which horse in the Pryors is my favourite has received a very long-winded answer because, every time I find out something new about one of the horses, it further develops their character. I think they are all my favourites, though inevitably some do stand out  a little bit more to me.

At any rate, here is kind of highlight reel (part 1, at least) of, not so much my “favourite” horses, but the ones that particularly touched me on my first trip to the Pryors.

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Nimbus gets first spot, because she was the first Pryor Mustang I ever saw in person. It’s not hard to understand why a lot of people love Nimbus, she’s simply stunning! Not only does she look like a unicorn, but she has a very Romantic story. Separated as a yearling from her natal band, she was claimed by a group of bachelor stallions. It is not hard to imagine why this wouldn’t be the ideal situation for a young filly, but against all odds she managed, and wound up with a devoted young stallion (Knight, pictured in my blog header).

I saw Nimbus every day I was on the mountain, and she never ceased to amaze me with her beauty  and personality! Click here for more about Nimbus on my sister blog.

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Gaelic Princess is another beautiful mare. Naturally shy, she often gets overlooked in reports on her large band. One morning in camp we found her watching a couple of us rather closely. We were amazed to see her actually move towards us. Gaelic Princess was getting so inquisitive we actually had to retreat, but I’ll never forget meeting her eyes and seeing the battle between wariness and curiosity flickering there. It was an honour to me that she felt comfortable enough to let the curious side of her personality win out, even just for a few seconds.

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Jasper is tall(ish), dark and handsome so what more could you want? Not only is he positively stunning, but he has a very striking air about him. I really fell head over heels for this guy as I watched him interact gently with his band of young mares and two “step sons,” Okiotak and Oklahoma. Jasper clearly loves his family, and made this quite clear when he felt the stallion Fiesta had crossed a line by telling off his two youngest charges.

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Okiotak and Oklahoma were not born in the same band but they obviously wasted no time in becoming best friends!! These two were positively precious to watch. Because of the population control in the Pryors, it isn’t very common to see a band with more than one yearling or foal at the same time.

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Hamlet, Audubon and Niyaha were majorly elusive throughout my trip. Audubon was heavily pregnant at the time, and we spent a lot of time scanning the horizon for any sign of this small band and a new member! I saw them the first day I was on the mountain, and then not again until an hour or so before I left the mountain. It was very exciting to see them coming over the crest of a hill and completely unexpected. I haven’t met Audubon’s little filly, though!

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Limerick and Nirvana are sweet young mares in Galaxy’s band. We spent a lovely early evening watching them interact and pose for us until Galaxy decided that they’d had enough publicity for the evening.

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Tecumseh, Galadriel and Oceana are a tight little family band. Tecumseh fought long and hard to win back Galadriel, and absolutely dotes on his daughter, Oceana, who is certainly a daddy’s girl!

 

 

8 thoughts on “These are a (lot) of my favourite (horses)

  1. Lovely to hear more about the personalities of some of your favourite horses ☺️
    The pictures are gorgeous!

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  2. Love your pictures—and your thoughts on favorites. 🙂 I’ve come to the conclusion that my “favorite” is whichever one I’m looking at or talking about at any given time—except for Jackson, of course. Time spent in the presence of one or the other does strengthen the bonds, tho. But, then there’s Merlin, and Hightail from the Dryhead, too…

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  3. Haha, I was skulking over on this page earlier hoping for an update and lo, there is one! Great post, Abbie 🙂
    There is a real struggle between the emotional attachment towards certain horses and the need–or want, as a scientist–to remain objective and consider the long term health of the herd. I’m finding it especially difficult for the ones I saw last summer as foals. Little Pride breaks my heart because he’s so gorgeous and sweet but both Cloud and Feldspar’s lines are so well-represented already…it becomes even more important when you realise that the true size of the herd is limited to the breeding population which, at a quick flick through of my field guide, instantly removes more than 40 mares from the population…it’s one of the reasons I’m going to be posting pedigrees in the hope that individual lines can be tracked a little more easily!

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  4. Hi Emma! I’m so glad you liked this post and found it valuable! 🙂 It was a tough subject to broach but I do believe it’s worthy of recognizing. It really is so difficult to remain objective about the horses, much harder than with other species, I believe,as they are so distinctive in personality and appearance. Deer and elk are gorgeous, but they aren’t as easy to individualise.
    Pride breaks my heart, too. I tried my best not to get attached to him but I knew that was an impossible goal before I even got there! He’s darling, but it just doesn’t make sense for him to remain at the expense of other horses. I do think Nimbus should stay as a female representative of Feldspar’s line. I have been working on pedigrees too-I would love to compare notes! This year is going to be very tough as so many of the foals are from rare bloodlines (Patriot, Petra, Petite, Penn….the list goes on!)

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  5. I love your favorites page. You have made me want to share my favorites too! My favorite has always been Two Boots. Since Two Boots has passed on, all of his relatives are my favorite. Which includes Jackson, Demure, and Sante Fe. Demure is my favorite out of his offspring. It makes me sad though that Sante Fe is the only horse out of Twilla and there are no offspring out of him on the mountain. With Sante Fe not being young anymore, I fear that lineage will be lost.

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    1. Thanks Liz! I love your favourites 🙂 Two Boots is certainly one I wish I’d had the pleasure of meeting. All three of his offspring you mentioned rank pretty highly with me, too! Demure seems to really like to pose for me 😉

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