Foals

One of the best parts of watching the Pryor horses is seeing the new foals. This year, we believe there to have been 31 foals born, with 30 still surviving. (We believe that Duke’s family lost their foal.) The horses usually start foaling in late March and continue through to about mid-Summer. We have great anticipation for the foals as we watch their pregnant mothers. We have to wonder what their foal will look like. Will it be like mother? Father? Grandmother? Grandfather? The anticipation only grows as we visit the horses and see pregnant mares who still have not had their foal.

I had been visiting the range quite frequently during a time when one particular mare looked like she would give birth any day. This beautiful roan mare was a part of the stallion Lakota’s family, which is the largest of the herd. On the morning of July 1, 2007, we were on the mountain; and I spotted Lakota’s family. I immediately went to check if that mare had foaled yet. She did look like she had foaled, but I could not see a baby. I moved to a different vantage point and saw that there was indeed a new foal. This new filly looked to be very new – Either from that morning or the previous day.

Lakota baby

Lakota is able to keep his large family in tact by being both strong and smart. He most often keeps the family a distance from other horses; and if other horses get too close, he moves his family. This new filly experienced this not too long after I first saw her; the proximity of two smaller families caused Lakota to start to move the family. With wobbly little legs, the foal closely followed her mother as she grazed. It is amazing how fast the new foals adapt to the life of the Pryors.

Lakota baby 2

Another fun part of the foals is watching them play together. The night of June 24, 2007, was relatively cool; and a number of families were in a large meadow. As their parents grazed, the foals began to enjoy the cool night air. Some of them simply ran circles, at full speed, around their parents.

Foal running

Some of the foals’ families were near other families with foals, and so these unrelated foals were able to play together. Some foals also had siblings. These groups of foals interacted by chasing each other, sparring, and just kicking up their heels together. These two foals, belonging to Looking Glass, played constantly.

Foals playing

Foals play

Foals playing

There is no doubt about the admiration foals have for their parents and siblings. The foals are often trying to be near their parents or siblings, imitating their actions. My favorite recent example of this has been when Coronado (also called Red Raven) was playing in the water. His foal bravely went out with him and was able to make some small waves of her own.

Coronado and foal

However, the foals can sometimes be pests while they interact with their family. On July 15, 2007, I watched Durango’s filly trying to join another stallion, Sitting Bull. Though Durango did set his daughter straight and chase away Sitting Bull, her attention continued to be directed in Sitting Bull’s direction. It was about this time when her new little brother came and tried to play with her. Her initial frustration with his disruption was apparent, but she soon found her patience again and let him be bothersome.

Durango’s offspring

Each of this year’s foals is beautiful and has a story to tell. If you are interested in hearing if a particular stallion or mare has a new colt or filly, let me know; and I will provide some of my observations on them.

Fog

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Published in: on August 4, 2007 at 5:09 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Red Raven!! I knew that! So why did I say Red Cloud instead!? Thanks so much for the update on the horses. I just enjoy hearing about them. Bolder is a beautiful young stallion! I’m glad he wasn’t rounded up and sold. And that Flint is still there, too, is a relief. It’s very relieving to know that the both of them overcame their individual health issues to become such strong and handsome young stallions. It is also very, very nice to hear that there are 30 foals this year. Let’s hope they all survive long enough to add their own distinctive mark to the herds. I am unable to bring up an image of Sitting Bull, Lakota, and Durango in my mind- what do they look like? And good thing that white horse had been gelded! I wonder if he got away from some hunters who had packed into the mountains? Or perhaps he is an elder horse that someone turned out to die in the wild? Or even just an escape. I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, I suppose I should let you get back to your camera! Great pics, too, by the way! Really enjoy them. Thank loads Matt! RCG

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful updates about the Pryor wild horses! I’m sure your efforts will help keep the public interested and involved in their welfare. You’re doing a great service to wild horses everywhere! Just one question: Did Teton survive his injuries from summer, 2006, and, if so, how is he doing now? The last time I saw him (July, 2006), he had lost his mares, but seemed to be recovering. Thanks again!


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