The Mighty Renegade

The story begins back in 2003 when Baja gained Washakie and her two-year old daughter, Bacardi, during a skirmish with Prince. Since that time, Baja and Washakie, have been inseparable. Fourteen years is a long time for a band to stay together in the Pryors, yet these two forged a strong and enduring bond. They were a striking matched dun pair. Baja was unmistakable with his  two-toned mane and tail and his strong, muscular build. Washakie shared Baja’s dun coloration and had soft, doe-like eyes. These two with Washakie’s blue roan daughter, Bacardi, became a fixture on the mountain. They were quite elusive and weren’t always seen, but when they were, there was no doubt to their identify.


This was one of the first photos that Nancy took of Baja’s band. This was in May 2005. Bacardi had her first foal, stripe-y little grullo foal named Freedom. He did not live much longer.

We entered into 2017 with a bit of trepidation as both band leaders were aging. Baja, at 21, still looked in great shape with his thick build that was only beginning to show signs of aging. Washakie was showing her age. But why wouldn’t she? She had already borne 17 foals since her first, Morning Star, was born in 1996 and was a 21-year old band stallion. Daughter, Quahneah, was now a yearling. And it wasn’t long before it became evident that Washakie would be having her 18th foal. In June 2017, Washakie somehow acquired an injury on her withers which oozed with infection. Puncture wounds aren’t uncommon as the horses frequently go underneath tree branches for protection from the weather. At first there was no cause for concern and despite her injury, she grew heavy with her foal.

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June 14: Washakie and Quahneah

On July 12, 2017, Washakie’s foal was born. It was a little dun colt with a blazed face. The name Renegade was chosen as a synonym for “rebel”. This young foal had so many obstacles to overcome that he needed a rebellious spirit in order to survive.

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July 13, 2017: Renegade and his mother, Washakie

Renegade’s band was all watchful for him. He had two older sisters, Bacardi and Quahneah that were never far from the young foal.


July 13, 2017: One of my favorite photos of Renegade with his mother and sister, Quahneah.


July 13, 2017: Another sweet photo…Renegade with his mom and big sister, Bacardi.

At the time of Renegade’s birth, Baja was looking strong.

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July 13, 2017: Baja confronts Grijala as the two bands pass each other.

His aging mother was slowing down. In addition, his big sister, Quahneah, had not been weaned. Washakie was having to provide milk for both her yearling daughter and her newborn son.

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July 17, 2017: Renegade nursing..note Quahneah’s legs on the other side as she nurses.


July 26, 2017: Nursing offspring

Both Baja and Bacardi tried to help by moving Quahneah away from Washakie. But Washakie, herself, didn’t have the strength to keep Quahneah from nursing. Despite all of this, Renegade seemed to thrive as he went about living the life of a Pryor foal.

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July 17, 2017: Bacardi positions herself between Quahneah and Washakie so Renegade can nurse alone.

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July 26: Baja snakes Quahneah away from Washakie.

Washakie’s injury kept plaguing the mare. It became apparent that her body weight was declining with the pressures of age, illness, and nursing two offspring. Many of us were concerned, including the BLM who was aware of the situation and monitored her onsite or through reports and photos from visitors.

Towards September Baja’s band became more and more elusive. They were occasionally seen moving quickly to and from watering holes. Washakie’s condition became even more concerning with her low body weight and the chronic oozing wound.

Near the end of September we got the first indication that something had happened. Bacardi and the yearling, Quahneah, were seen with London. By this time, London had matured into a strong, handsome stallion who had been keeping an eye on Baja’s band for over a year. Questions began as to the events that led up to the changing of the guard. Where was Baja? Where were Washakie and Renegade?

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This is how I will best remember Baja and Washakie….close together as a family.

On Tuesday, October 17, we were notified by the BLM that they were bringing Renegade off the mountain. Questions rushed through my head as we ran out to deliver some grass hay to the now three-month old foal. Renegade had been found with his sisters, Bacardi and Quahneah, there was no sign of Baja or Washakie. When the BLM discovered Renegade without his mother it seemed a good opportunity to intervene and possibly save his life.


October 17, 2017: Renegade at Britton Springs. Without his mom around, his chances of survival in the wild were minimal.

Renegade spent two nights in a large pen at Britton Springs. His body condition was poor as he showed signs of malnutrition. Almost immediately he seemed to understand that we were there to help. When Steve first saw him, he quietly walked up to him, laid a hand across his back and said, “So you are the Mighty Renegade.”


October 17, 2017: Renegade & Steve

The BLM quickly recognized that he needed more intensive care. In addition, horses are social animals and a young orphaned foal desperately needs companionship

On Wednesday, the BLM asked if we could bring Renegade to our place. The next day, Steve and Ryan loaded him up and brought him to his own special pen. We tried giving him some foal formula, but it was a battle.  He was much more interested in the grass hay that probably closely resembled the dry fall grasses he had been eating on the mountain.

Nancy and Renegade

October 19, 2017: Renegade with Nancy

The next week, we signed adoption papers. Orphan foal adoptions are made possible in situations such as this. He was old enough to stand a chance for survival with specialized care. But he was not old enough to withstand the winter weather that will soon hit the Pryor Mountains.

Renegade, or the Mighty Renegade, as we have come to call him, still needs that strong spirit to fight the obstacles that have come into his young life. He is doing well with us, but you can still sense his loneliness for his family. You can still see the effects of limited nourishment. But you can also see the dun color from both parents. You can still see the two-tone mane and tail he got from his sire. And you can see those beautiful doe-like eyes of his mother. And in those eyes…you can see strength.

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Renegade…he has his mother’s eyes.

Neither Baja, nor Washakie have been seen since all these events happened. In all likelihood, Washakie is gone. Death would be the only explanation that would cause the separation of a mare so devoted to her foals. Baja’s status is uncertain and only time will reveal that answer.  I know there are so many of you who share the sadness of this news.  There is strength in knowing that Quahneah is there to carry on for Washakie and Baja, as well as the other generations that came from these two remarkable horses.

Please know that we would much rather watch Renegade growing up wild in his mountain home.  Though his life will be different here with us, you can be sure that Renegade will be given all that he needs to help him survive and serve as a reminder of Baja and Washakie’s great legacy. Our names may be on Renegade’s adoption papers, but he really belongs to all who watched and admired Baja and Washakie through their many years together on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.

10.28.17 Mighty Renegade

October 28, 2017: The Mighty Renegade


Published in: on October 28, 2017 at 4:18 pm  Comments (31)  

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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on Wild in the Pryors and commented:
    Renegade, son of Washakie and Baja was removed and is now in the care of Nancy and Steve Cerroni. With Washakie most likely gone, I am glad that they were able to locate Renegade and remove him. He has a better chance now then if he had been left on the range.

    • Thanks, Sandy!

  2. Thank you for this poignant report, and everything you do for the horses. I look forward to seeing Renegade thrive in your care.

    • We will sure provide updates on our FaceBook Page: Pryor Mustangs…Beyond the Range.

  3. This blog earned a Bean Pat as blog pick of the day. Check it out at

    • Wow!!! Thanks so much Pat!

  4. How handsome he is! Nature is unforgiving and one can only imagine what that little tyke observed “out there” regarding the circumstances of his parents’ disappearance. It seems both fitting and destiny that he ended up in your care, Sandy… a sweet, four-legged icon of the Pryors! Bless you and thank you for stepping up for Renegade’s protection and for all you do to share your knowledge, images and the story of these magnificent wild creatures!

    • Thanks….please note though that this is Nancy from the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center. Renegade is with my husband, Steve, and I at our home outside of Lovell, WY.

  5. Reblogged this on NC SunDog and commented:
    The real “circle of life” is harsh and beautiful. The river flows still.

  6. Reblogged this on pryormustangmemories.

  7. Such a blessing that little Renegade was found before the ravages of winter took him. THANK YOU to everyone involved. I hope he’ll soon be able to make friends with your other horses so he won’t be quite so lonely. Wish I could be there to spend time with the little guy. 🙂 There will be tears shed for the loss of Washakie for sure, but she lived a great life on the Range, has left a great legacy, and I’m pretty sure she was at peace with becoming a different kind of part of it. I still hold hope that Baja will reappear as so many stallions do after recovering from severe injuries. But if not, it’s truly a love story for the ages if fate took both he and Washakie so close together. You’ll receive my donation to help with Renegade’s needs soon, and thanks again for “being there” for him.

    • Linda, your comments are so thoughtful and reflect much of my own thinking. You were able to see Washakie at this time in her life, so you understand what she was enduring. Thank you for helping out with Renegade! Can’t wait for you to come and see him. You will definitely see that Washakie and Baja live on.

  8. What a poignant way to say it: “Our names may be on Renegade’s adoption papers, but he really belongs to all who watched and admired Baja and Washakie through their many years together on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.” The Baja-Washakie legacy is strong–thank you!

  9. I just want to cry at the thought that Baja maybe gone. I know it’s a part of the life cycle but Baja allowed me to part of his family for a few minutes in 2014. I was way far away and Baja let me quietly observe family dynamics. When the baby woke up, he laid his ears back and gave me that stallion snakey headshake. I understood that to mean my time was over. I quietly stood up, gave him a big Ginger wave and started back to camp.

    He will be truly missed.

    • Margaret, thank you for sharing your story with Baja!

  10. I think it’s a great thing you did to take renegade in but I think there’s still so much to learn as to rehabilitating the Mustangs to the wild as so many other organizations do with wild animals to the ocean. I think we have a lot to learn and why can’t you just minimize your human contact with him as much as you can and somehow bring him back to a herd maybe Renegade is too young but with another horse that was a bit older perhaps one could be returned to the wild. But of course thanks for all you do.

    • You are right, Renegade is too young for this option. But I have seen this used a couple times in the Pryors. Thanks for thinking outside the box for solutions.

  11. God bless you guys and Renegade. Can’t wait to visit again! Love the photos of you with little mighty Renegade!

    • Thanks, Barbara! I can’t wait to see you again. I will never forget your reactions when you realized you had found the place of your 30 year “wild horse memory.”

  12. Please put pictures of mom and dad. I can’t place them. Thank you. Glad BLM helped him thanks to you too. 🤗

    • I did include several photos of mom and dad…let me know if you need further help in placing them. I have lots and lots of other photos we could share! Thanks for your recognition of the BLM. They really did step in and help with this situation.

  13. Wow – what a story! Well documented with photos too, enjoyed it thoroughly. I have been very concerned about Baja, Washakie, and mostly importantly Renegade since it was reported that Bacardi and Quaneah were with London. It makes me cry when I think of the moment they were all parted. But I am so glad so many eyes were on the lookout and that the BLM stepped in to save Renegade. And thank you for stepping in to care for him. I am much happier now.

    • What a tender comment. I know many others have shared your tears. Thank you, Ruby!

  14. Thank you for this wonderful window into the lives of this family of wild horses, I so enjoy reading stories of their lives on the ranges of the West. Anyone who thinks they’re just herds of horses don’t appreciate them as we do. The terrible round-ups that are happening across the land upset me as it is so cruel and inhumane to break up their bands, separating them forever. There is no good reason for this to happen. With this family, if there was a helicopter round-up, chances are little Renegade wouldn’t have made it. I’m glad the BLM saved him but don’t understand why there is such a push by the Dept of Interior/BLM to get legislation passed that would decimate our wild horse and burro populations across our western lands. From what info I have gathered it seems that between the ranchers who want these animals gone and the idea of government mining for precious metals, and oil and gas exploration, this is the WHY this is happening. It isn’t because of over-population of the wild horses and burros, it is because of our own government wanting these lands….. All we can do is sign petitions, call our legislators, or rescue animals from being killed by slaughter or other means.
    To be able up read about so many different herds living their lives as they should, wild and free, across the West, is so heartening. To think of them being rounded up and separated from each other is horrible. Hopefully the Senate will vote to keep these animals protected by our federal laws, not take their protections away………

    • Hi Carole, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your ideas for action: the collective voices of many concerned people contacting their legislators, signing petitions, and being willing to rescue animals. Thanks!

  15. Thanko you so much, that you take the mighty Renegade!
    And for your Report and Photos.
    Also the 14-year-old love of Baja and Washakie touches my heart.

    • You are so welcome. And I love your comment about the 14-year old love….touches the heart for sure!

  16. Thank you for all you are doing to protect our wild horses and safeguard their ancestral lands. For Renegade, it is best that he be
    Sheltered and cared for by you and your husband. You will become his family and Baja and Washakie’s legacy will live on through Quahneah.

  17. I thank you and the others like you for sharing these remarkable beautiful wild Mustangs lives and stories of their lives in the wilds. I’ve grown to love them and it’s heartbreaking when one has crossed the rainbow bridge to heavenly pastures, this was one of those wonderful love stories that to know their gone is sadness. Thanks to BLM for keeping a watchful eye on Renegade and removing him before he fell to harms way sometimes we have to interfere to create a better out come for one so young, if it wasn’t for people like you and your husband he may not have seen another year God bless you for adopting him. He is a beautiful one. Once again thanks for your time and devotion to the wild mustangs.

  18. This story gives me mixed emotions sadness that two iconic wild horses may have crossed over the rainbow bridge they will certainly be missed. Yet happy that the BLM kept track of the beautiful little offspring and took him off the mountains knowing he really didn’t have a chance without his mother and father to keep him safe kudos to them. And to the ones adopting him and trying to make him feel at home it will come in time. He gets the chance to live a long life with people who love and cherish the wild mustangs and who knew his family. Thank you for the loving up date on our precious wild ones your the best to those of us who love them from afar.

  19. He is gorgeous!! Thank you for being there for him. ♥️🐴♥️🐴♥️🐴♥️ I look forward to hearing from y’all about him soon!

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