Doc’s an interesting fella. For most of his tenure as a band stallion he’s been something of an underdog, a quiet stallion content to be one of the less dominant studs on the mountain. This all changed a couple years ago when Doc came roaring out of the background—scattering Cloud’s band and then claiming Jackson’s a little while later. While many people, myself included, were saddened to hear of Jackson losing his family, it was good to see Doc with mares again.
Unbelievably, Doc is the only offspring of Winnemucca left on the range, and his sire, Littlefoot, has only one other offspring. You may have heard of Winnemucca-she’s only the oldest horse on the range at 29 years old, and likely the oldest horse that the Pryors have ever seen. The sad thing is it’s not as though Winnemucca didn’t have several foals. Unfortunately, all bar Doc were removed. So the idea of some more little Docs running around on the range was very exciting indeed. Until last year, London was Doc’s only living offspring.
But with the change in Doc’s situation came a change in the stallion’s personality. I have often wondered if the pressure of having such a large group of mares was partially responsible for Doc’s change in attitude, but it should be noted that Littlefoot had a reputation as a somewhat aggressive stallion, so perhaps Doc’s inner Littlefoot has just come out.
Now, Doc is a gorgeous stallion. He is also important genetically. But he’s kind of tough to love at the moment. He really has a good thing going, a band of highly bonded mares, a few of them not currently vaccinated with PZP, and a very smart lead mare (Brumby). Unfortunately though, none of his mares seem to like him. This group of girls was certainly loyal to Jackson, and it would make sense that they would be slow to warm up to a new stallion, especially when the change was fairly sudden. Doc is a very different stallion to Jackson, rough and tense where Jackson was always reported as collected and affectionate with his family. But it’s a couple years later and the band still isn’t comfortable with him.
Galena was the only one of Jackson’s mares to show affection to Doc initially. However, it seems that she is now less comfortable around him and very nervous of his attempts to breed her. His aggressive approach is very intimidating to his mares. On several accounts I witnessed other members of the band, including 2 year old Okomi, stepping in to prevent Doc breeding with one of the mares when he got too aggressive. Heritage developed her own unique approach to the problem, refusing to stand and spinning in circles whenever Doc approached her.
I really wish Doc would lighten up a little with his band. They are such a tight knit group that none of them really want to leave their family. Aztec and her daughter Jasmine do seem to like Cappuccino’s band (more on that later), but somehow find themselves back with Doc’s most of the time. While I was on the mountain, which was over a 3 week period, they were with Doc the whole time. I can only think that they come back to be with their friends.
Obviously I am still thrilled that Doc has the opportunity for more offspring on the mountain, and it is important that these offspring remain. Petra is a spitfire, independent filly, and his new filly Quietstorm (who I have yet to meet) is just gorgeous. But more importantly, they represent strong genetics that are on the brink of extinction. Here’s hoping these two new Doc daughters have the opportunity for a long, successful life on the range.