Jackson’s Band: A Band Divided

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

Jackson

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

Brumby, Aztec, and Moorcroft

Jasmine

Jasmine

Mare, Firestorm, was quite large with her pregnancy. She, along with her colt , Maelstrom and daughter Niobrara, share a strong roan color pattern.

Firestorm

Firestorm

Maelstrom

Maelstrom: 2012 Son  of Jackson and Firestorm

Niobrara: 2013 Daughter 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

Galena: 2006 Daughter of Blanca and the legendary Lakota

Nye: 2013 son of Jackson and Galena

Nye: 2013 daughter of Jackson and Galena

Beautiful Heritage watched the action below the band.

Heritage

Heritage

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.

Jackson's Band

Jackson’s 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.

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.

IMG_8936

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.

Galena

Galena

Chino, the aging buckskin stallion, was standing alert on the hillside above Doc’s band.

Chino

Chino

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

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.

Jasmine

Jasmine

Nye followed Jasmine.

Nye

Nye

Santa Fe went into action and began snaking the mares and the young horses.

Santa Fe snakes Niobrara

Santa Fe snakes Niobrara

Santa Fe with Nye and Heritage

Santa Fe with Nye and Heritage

Chino joined in by herding Firestorm, Maelstrom, and Niobrara.

Chino with Firestorm Maelstrom and Niobrara

Chino joins in the chase.

Doc’s band had settled in on a nearby slope.

Doc's band watches,

Doc’s band watches,

Santa Fe’s group nears Doc’s band and busts right through.

Doc and his band

A split

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.

Running...

Running…

The bands are clearly dividing by this point.

Running again...

Running again…

At the end of this day, Doc’s band consisted of Brumby, Moorcroft, Galena, Jasmine, and Heritage.

Doc's Band

Doc’s Band

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?

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Published in: on May 29, 2014 at 2:03 am  Comments (25)  

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  1. Your husband sums up the month’s events very well, but I hope Jackson recovers his strength and wins a few of his mares back. Thank you for sharing these events that are so heartbreaking for you. These mustangs are amazing.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I share your hope for Jackson.

  2. Thank you — another major change and new stories to be told. Your ending is indeed appropriate.

    • Thank you, Joy, for keeping me accurate. I appreciate your support and your keen eye!

  3. Thank you for the update. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to compose. It’s not easy to hear about either, but the answer IS in what Steve said. The rules are the rules, and they all live by them. And what glorious lives they live in spite of upheavals such as these. I worry about the heavily pregnant mares during things like this, but Firestorm and Okami (love the name) are proof that these mustang mares and foals are as tough and resilient as the magnificent stallions. I’m not surprised that the band members were somewhat reluctant to be separated with the many very close relationships

    I’m betting that Doc and Sante Fe are not having an easy time of it keeping their groups intact. 🙂 They are both strong and beautiful stallions, too, and deserve their time as leaders and sires. Diversity IS good for the herd genetics, after all. I’ll leave it to the data experts to analyze exactly how that works out. 🙂

    It is going to be interesting, and a bit worrisome, to see how things unfold for all the youngsters being “displaced” this year, but it’s not like it’s never happened before on the Range. And they’re mustangs—they’ll be alright, if that is their fate. There are so many things for us all to learn about these horses with much more access to their lives thru the observations by folks like you.

    To my knowledge, no one has said if Jackson has any serious injuries, so I’m going to assume that he doesn’t. I’m sad for him losing his band, but so very thankful that he didn’t suffer any life-threatening wounds. I hope that his attitude will be that of a stallion who has maybe learned that bigger is not necessarily better, and that he will take some time to build up his strength and then return to reclaim at least some of his old band. There are so many different scenarios that may be a reality by the next time I get out there. But, however the future unfolds for him, he’ll be in my heart as a classic example of what makes this herd, and these horses so special.

    Thanks again, Nancy, for sharing your great pics and your thoughtful and respectful summary of this part of an epic spring on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.

    • Wow Linda! Wonderful response. You spoke with lots of pragmatic wisdom! It doesn’t sound like Jackson has any serious injuries. His body condition is down so lots of good spring grass should cure that!! Also…Santa Fe no longer has a band. I originally had a couple errors: 1) Firestorm is with Doc, 2) I spelled the foal’s name wrong…should be Okomi. I have fixed these!! I love your statement…what a glorious lives they lead!

  4. Thank you Nancy. Yes, your husband put it wisely. We can love all of them, but only enough to let each of them do what the wild ways dictate. I, too, have always had great admiration for Jackson. Someone called him “Action Jackson,” and I loved that name for the very busy band stallion keeping his large family together. Your update on the mountain just validates to us how tenuous the day-to-day life of a wild horse really is. And that is what keeps us all riveted to following the lives of these beautiful creatures and keeps us coming back to the mountain. Now, it will be intriguing watching
    all these youngsters who will step in and make their place on the mountain too. Great update!

  5. […] I was hoping the Center would make a post about Jackson either by blog or Facebook, but they have not and Nancy said it was okay if I did. Update:  The Center made a post about Jackson.  You can read it by clicking on Nancy. […]

  6. So glad to hear that Jackson isn’t seriously injured!! And to know that Firestorm and Okomi seem to be alright in spite of all the chaos! Like others have said, I’m not surprised this band tried to rejoin each other-Jamsine and Nye in particular as they were split from their dams. Hope you find the missing members soon-keep us updated! 🙂

  7. Just wanted to start off by saying that Jackson has (or previously had) a group of seriously gorgeous mares! I have a feeling we will see Jackson put some more weight on and then move to reclaim his band. He probably won’t be able to get all of them back, but I know he will get some of them. Brumby for sure. It might make it easier for him to get a couple of the others from Doc too because I’m sure they will be following Brumby’s lead like they always had. I bet you’re right about that being the catalyst. They all saw each other and they’re used to being together so I’m sure they were all trying to join up again and running when they saw each other because I’m sure they are not too pleased to be having a new band stallion. They’re a very close and bonded band. I’m sure Aztec was not to pleased about her temporary separation from Jasmine. I’m glad Firestorm was able to have her foal and everything seems to be ok with her and Okomi. I do have to admit though that I was really hoping Santa Fe would be able to keep her. He’s been so determined! But things are still playing out so he may still be able to end up with a mare. I think the fact that Jackson is also hanging around watching the band with Santa Fe and Chino is a good sign that he is ok and planning to recover and reclaim his band or at least some of it. I have a feeling Maelstrom and Moorcroft will end up as bachelors by the time this all plays out. So at the end of that day Santa Fe had Firestorm, Niobrara, Maelstrom, Nye, and Aztec? So that would mean that Niobrara, Maelstrom, Nye, and Aztec are the ones unaccounted for? Maybe one of the bachelors came across Santa Fe and was able to steal his band. I bet he lost Firestorm when she went off to foal. When returning she probably came across Doc’s band first and recognizing her friends, joined them. Hopefully you’ll find the rest of that group when you go up. I hope you see Firestorm and Demure too because I am dying to see pics of those babies! 🙂 It took 5/6 years but Jackson finally sired a dun foal out of Firestorm. That’s cool if he turns out to be coyote dun. I wonder what a coyote dun roan will look like if the baby ends up roaning out like all of his siblings. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • I also really hope that Niobrara and Nye don’t end up in the same situation as Encore/ Nimbus. She doesn’t seem to be doing all that well anymore. Hopefully they are with a band stallion or a former bachelor that now has them as his band. I hope Encore/Nimbus will end up back with her band or band stallion will take her. I had hoped one of the bachelors would legit claim her and take her away from the rest of the bachelor group, but it doesn’t seem that she’ll be that lucky. I’ve hoped that Grijala or Irial might come across the situation. They would for sure take her and remove her from the rest of the bachelor group. Hopefully we’ll see her situation resolve in a good way soon.

      • Yes, I really hope that they don’t end up in that situation either! And Jackson’s band really is stunning! 🙂

    • I like your comment/hope that Jackson at least gets back with Brumby. When they first got together they were inseparable. They were referred to as the “Hollywood Couple” because they were so young and beautiful! Pretty soon their names flowed into a long, 5-syllable name…Jacksonandbrumby! That would be nice to see again!

      • Haha JacksonandBrumby are like one horse! I’ve heard them called the “Brangelina” of the mountain too! Brumby’s mantra seems to be “I do what I want!” so I think once Jackson is back in good weight Doc won’t be able to keep her from him.

      • I’ve certainly come to expect Brumby to always be with Jackson- no matter how many times she seems to wander off/end up in different places. She certainly is independent-quite the character 🙂 Hopefully he can get her back/she returns to him!

  8. Please let us know when you come across the unaccounted for members! So glad to hear that Jackson seems okay,and that Firestorm was able to foal safely in spite of everything! I’m sure the mares are not terribly impressed by the situation, particularly the ones split from their daughters. Thanks for the update!

    Is there any news on how Nimbus is doing since the last posting on Facebook of the pictures with her and Knight?

    • Nimbus/Encore continues to be with Knight. She was content enough to lay down beside him and rest last Sunday. She appears to be getting better physically also. And I will be sure to update about the band members.

      • Awesome-thanks! 🙂 Sorry for posting two very similar comments, I hadn’t realized my comment was awaiting moderation and thought my first one hadn’t posted.

        And that’s great to hear that Nimbus seems to be doing better, I half wish she and Knight would just go off together and be their own band but at the same time I have a feeling they are both just too young. Doubt she’ll wind up with her natal band again but hopefully this all works out for her! And if she likes Knight maybe it will all turn out positive for both of them 🙂

  9. Great post! The pictures say so much – what a beautiful band! Loved the story of them all running together, then dividing. Guess some of those mares really wanted to get back together! Interesting the methods they use. And your husband’s summation is correct – not necessarily easy to follow, but correct! Thanks for the post!

  10. Excellent post Nancy! Jackson is one of my favorite stallions. I appreciate the accuracy of your blog entries so much. I will see you in Pryors very soon my friend 😀

    • Thanks Kim! I can’t wait to walk the hills and share the stories with you again!!

  11. That quote has really resonated with me. I keep thinking about it. “Love them enough to let them be free.” That perfectly describes the relationship we have with them. So true.

    Also wanted to say that it was posted on the TCF facebook today that yesterday Ginger spotted Niobrara and Maelstrom. They along with their mother Firestorm and her new colt Okomi, are now with Hernando’s band. Pheonix and Warbonnet are also a part of this band. (Hernando stole Teton/Diamond’s over the winter.)

    • Thanks Sarah for sharing the report about Firestorm and family…nothing like seasoned veterans like Phoenix and Warbonnet!!

      • Yes, seasoned veterans. And very sweet ones! It’s comforting to know that after all the displacement and chaos Firestorm and her kids just went through after Jackson losing the band that they don’t have to worry about being bullied by a new group of unthrilled mares. And Pheonix gets to take care of her grandkids! It’s also nice to see that Hernando didnt immedietly chase Maelstrom off.

  12. thank you for these significant updates. I have not been there in years now, but to read of still familiar names is wonderful. Jackson was one of the first horses I met on the mountain. Life is about change, for them and for us.


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