Pryor Foal…Ryden

There is such excitement in the Pryors when a new foal is born. In 2017, this has been especially true as there have been only eight foals born and only five surviving thus far. All summer the question would come up, “Is Jasmine pregnant?” And we waited…and waited…until October 5 when Anh Nguyen sent this text, “Good morning Nancy, Jasmine has a foal. I am not sure if is a boy or girl. Looks just like her. But more black. This foal has a star exactly like hers.” This isn’t the first time Anh has been the first to see and report a Pryor foal. She generously devotes much of her time from her life in California observing and photographing the horses. A day later I got the next text from her, “This baby is a boy.”

Steve was able to see the foal the first day of his life, but it was two days later when I was able to go up to see him. It was a simple, quiet moment in his life, but very special for me. As I watched the newest of the Pryor foals, my thoughts turned to the importance each one of them brings to the bigger picture of their place in the Pryor world.

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Jasmine watches around her to make sure all is well with her foal.

This colt has been named, Ryden. At the beginning of the summer Ginger Kathrens had expressed a desire to name a 2017 foal after Hope Ryden. In 1968 Hope had come to the Pryors for ABC to investigate the BLM’s proposed plan to remove the wild horses from the Pryors. Billings Gazette reporter, Allison Battdorf reported, “A group of Lovell townsfolk (led by Reverend Floyd Schwieger) bucked, saying the horses belonged there.”

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Little Ryden show affection for his mother.

Hope came to Lovell  at that time to investigate, and thus began her lifelong interest in the Pryor horses. Battdorf spoke of Hope’s influence on the preservation of the Pryor horses, “The broadcast on the plight of the Pryor horses attracted the county’s attention.” Yes, Ryden is the perfect name for this foal who was born nearly 50 years from the time when a woman named, Hope Ryden, greatly contributed to the preservation of a wild horse herd in the Pryors.

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Ryden and Jasmine share meal time together.

The excitement of Ryden’s birth was heightened because of the heritage of both his mother and father. This is Jasmine’s first foal. She is a beautiful blue roan mare and the daughter of Cloud and Aztec. You would never know it was her first foal because of her protective and tender care of the little one. She knows how to be a great mother…partly from instinct and partly from lessons learned in the last eight years of her life.

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After his meal, Ryden did a little exploring…never far from his mother.

Jasmine’s father is legendary and well-known. Although Cloud is gone now, the mountain is full of family including his mother, Phoenix, who happened to be grazing right near Doc’s band.

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Hernando and his two mares: Phoenix and War Bonnet grazed near Doc’s band.  Did Phoenix have any idea that the newest foal on the mountain is her great-grandson?

Jasmine’s mother, Aztec, was originally a Dryhead horse born to Beauty and Black Beauty. Aztec is the only living offspring of Beauty. Aztec has two daughters on the mountain, Jasmine and her older sister, Hailstorm.

Ryder’s sire is the stallion Doc. Doc’s lineage is a small one that goes back to the foundation mare numbered 72-204. That was from the identification system set up by Lynn Tayler of the BLM back in the early days of the horse range. Friend, Alex, calls her Black Star which is a pretty sweet connection with Ryder who right now is a little black horse with a big white star!

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Mare 72-204 is the paternal great-grandmother of little Ryden. Photo by Lynn Taylor

She had a daughter, Winnemucca who died in 2016 at the age of 28. Doc is Winnemucca’s only living offspring and the only living descendant of mare 72-204. This is yet another link to this new foal to the herd’s genetics.

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Doc grazed near to Jasmine and the foal. His other mares were just up the hillside. Doc stayed attentive to his surroundings.

Doc is so striking with his good looks. He has a dark bay (or seal brown) color with a thick wavy mane and tail. Doc looks much like his sire, Littlefoot/Matteo. While it appears that the foal will carry on Jasmine’s blue roan color, he may be showing signs of his sire’s “waves.”

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The little tail shows a hint of “waviness.”

Soon it was time for the foal to nap again. He dropped down into the dried October grass. Jasmine stops to take a look to ensure that things were safe for her napping son.

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The other mares grazed nearby. Jasmine has a great support system with mares Brumby, Firestorm, and Heritage.

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Jasmine resumes her grazing while Ryden rests. Jasmine’s half-sister, Firestorm, grazes nearby.

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This is such a sweet moment between Jasmine and the foal.

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As I prepared to leave, the foal was resting peacefully under the protective watch of his mother and the band.

Life in the wild certainly isn’t easy for the Pryor foals. In fact, this very night brought a change in weather. Morning dawned with it a fresh coat of snow for the mountain-top. Time will tell about the next days, weeks, months, years of this little one’s life. We will see whatever awaits….

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Published in: on October 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm  Comments (6)