Some stories have to write themselves in my head before words can go on paper. Such is the story of Jackson. Recent events have taken Jackson from the band stallion of the largest group of horses on the mountain to a bachelor stallion. This is the way of the Pryors, a story line that is time eternal. However, some are more poignant because of the characters involved. Such is the case of Jackson and his band. This is not an easy story to tell. Jackson has been a long-time favorite of mine ever since I started watching the wild horses. In addition, the story has been tumultuous and complex, unfolding through time (and still unfolding). For this reason, this post has taken time to think through in order to capture it as one of the historic moments on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
We pick up the story on May 4, 2014. This was the same day as the epic battle between Cloud, Doc, and Cappuccino. Jackson, now a 16-year old was coming off a tough winter as the lead stallion of a very large band. Jackson was thin and for today, he wisely stayed out of the skirmish below.
Jackson’s band looked good that day. They grazed in a juniper area to the west of Chino’s Corner. Brumby’s longtime mare, Brumby, grazed with her 2012 son, Moorcroft and mare, Aztec. Aztec’s daughter, Jasmine, is a stunning blue roan mare.
Brumby, Aztec, and Moorcroft
Mare, Firestorm, was quite large with her pregnancy. She, along with her colt , Maelstrom and daughter Niobrara, share a strong roan color pattern.
Maelstrom: 2012 Son of Jackson and Firestorm
Niobrara: 2013 Daughter of Jackson and Firestorm
Also present is Galena, a beautiful black mare, and her 2013 filly, Nye.
Galena: 2006 Daughter of Blanca and the legendary Lakota
Nye: 2013 daughter of Jackson and Galena
Beautiful Heritage watched the action below the band.
May 10, 2014: Matthew and Kimberly took me on my annual birthday trip to the Pryors. This year the trip had an added burden as we tried to locate Cloud after his battle with Doc. Towards the end of the day, we saw Jackson’s band grazing on the hillside just below the mines. It was a quiet time of grazing for the band.
May 18: A Change
This is the day when I had the first hand knowledge that something had happened to Jackson’s band. I spotted a dark bay horse with a pair of grullas. Walking nearer I could clearly see the tangled wind snarls of Doc’s mane. The grulla mare picked up her head and immediately it became clear that it was Brumby. Brumby’s two-year old son, Moorcroft, grazed near his mom. Brumby without Jackson, just didn’t seem possible. At that point, there was no sign of the rest of the band…including Jackson.
Brumby and Moorcroft. Doc is to the left of them.
How had Doc gone from the band stallion of Cloud’s band to the leader of this new band?
May 24: The Band Divided
The next trip to the area was to say the least confusing and chaotic. Upon arriving, we saw that Doc was at the water guzzler with Brumby, Moorcroft.
Doc and his band
But there was one more horse. The familiar star on a black mare revealed the identity of Galena, one more of Jackson’s large band.
Chino, the aging buckskin stallion, was standing alert on the hillside above Doc’s band.
Steve signaled us that there was another band up above Chino. A quick hike showed that Santa Fe was with the rest of Jackson’s band. There was no sign of Jackson anywhere. Santa Fe led his group down the hill towards water.
Santa Fe with Band
As Santa Fe’s band walked down into the area near the water guzzler, chaos broke out! It’s hard telling what the catalyst was. It almost seemed like the mares wanted to join back together. After all, they had been together for a long time. Jasmine took off running towards Doc’s band.
Nye followed Jasmine.
Santa Fe went into action and began snaking the mares and the young horses.
Santa Fe snakes Niobrara
Santa Fe with Nye and Heritage
Chino joined in by herding Firestorm, Maelstrom, and Niobrara.
Chino joins in the chase.
Doc’s band had settled in on a nearby slope.
Doc’s band watches,
Santa Fe’s group nears Doc’s band and busts right through.
And the whole group of horses is off and running again. Santa Fe moves Firestorm and her offspring towards the south. Doc’s group cuts across the meadow.
The bands are clearly dividing by this point.
At the end of this day, Doc’s band consisted of Brumby, Moorcroft, Galena, Jasmine, and Heritage.
Santa Fe was seen moving his band up the old road at the mines.
Since that day: Ginger Kathrens has reported that she has recently seen Jackson. He is still not as robust as he has been in the past. Today he was down near Santa Fe and Chino. Santa Fe has lost his band. Firestorm is now with Doc. She has had her foal that Ginger describes as a beautiful dun colt that may be a coyote dun like Jackson. For that reason, she has asked to call him Okomi which means coyote in the Arapahoe language. This is fitting for a Jackson offspring as the Northern Arapahoe are native to Wyoming.
At this point, all members of Jackson’s band are not accounted for. We will be heading up this weekend and try to find each one. In addition, we will keep watch on Jackson and the rest of his band.
Life on the Pryors is harsh. My husband, Steve, helps me through the tough times with this saying, “Love them enough to let them be free.” And how true is that?