When They Disappear…A Story of Three Pryor Horses

Let me first introduce myself to those who may not know the “face” behind this blog or the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center FaceBook page. I am Nancy Cerroni, a longtime resident of Lovell, WY. I started watching the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses back in 2004. Since 2014, my husband, Steve and I have been doing our PryorWild tours where we have had the pleasure of showing hundreds of people the beauty of the Pryor Horses and the amazing land of their home. Horses are a big part of our lives at home too. We live on a ranch just east of Lovell where we have a number of Quarter Horses and a couple mustangs of our own. You can see that horses, both domestic and wild are a huge part of our lives and our hearts. I have become a keeper of the wild horse databases. In addition, I serve as the voice of the Mustang Center as we inform and educate people from all over the world about this very special herd of wild horses.

I feel it important to tell you this now, so you understand the difficult task writing this post is. With horses it is possible to identify them as individuals which brings a unique perspective on life. It is a unique privilege to witness their lives from birth to death. And try as hard as possible, it is impossible to completely detach emotions from what is known intellectually to be all part of the natural world. Bottom line, horses are remarkable creatures that have woven their way into the lives and hearts of so many. Loving these horses is the essence of bittersweet…of pain and pleasure…of happy and sad. And at the times of sadness, the pain is equal and opposite to the amount of happiness. It is the risk of loving…the chance you take.

As much as we know about the horses, there is always mystery which that is known only to themselves. One mystery is with death and possible death. So often, the wild horses just disappear. The hope is that they will soon re-appear. The reality is that they seldom do once they disappear. Disappearance and death are painful and leave question marks in our hearts. Three Pryor Horses have recently disappeared. The odds that they are alive are slim to none. Time will fully reveal this answer…yet quite honestly, we probably already know.

Mescalero and Dove – July 27, 2006

Mescalero – Mescalero was last seen during the Winter 2020-21. He was born in 1999, the son of the lovely roan, Sitka, and the mighty Shaman. My first memories of the handsome dun roan stallion, Mescalero, came when the beautiful mare, Dove, joined him. They were a pair with one of those one word names…MescaleroandDove.

Through time his band changed and offspring were born. As he moved into prime and beyond, he had quite a band with mares such as Polaris, Isadora, Rosarita, Half Moon, Topper Too, and Feldspar. He had a fine set of offspring as well, with Quintana and Sirius still on the mountain today.

Mescalero lost his band in 2019 to the dun roan, Okomi. From that time, Mescalero was visible on the Range, hanging out with others or just living the life of a lone stallion. As happens with aging stallions, they go into winter, but never come out. In 2020, Mescalero was seen in the late fall meadows on top of the mountain. At this point in 2021, he hasn’t been spotted. This indicates that the stallion is most likely gone as he surely would have been seen by now. A loss like this is sad, but Mescalero’s is a story of success. He was born wild, lived wild, and died wild…all in his Pryor Home.

Mescalero – September 5, 2020
Usha and Morning Reverie – June 13, 2020

Usha – Little Usha is on the other end of life’s spectrum from Mescalero. Her life was just beginning on the Pryor Mountains. She was born to the young mare, Morning Reverie. The young mare was with her mother, Hataalii, along with the dynamic situation between Killian/Echo and Orlando. Later in the year, Morning Reverie and her young daughter became a part of Oro’s band. The mother/daughter pair were so sweet…both beautiful young duns.

Sometime during the winter, Usha, sustained a broken left front leg. This was a very serious injury, yet remarkable healing has happened with the wild horses and maybe, just maybe, she would be one of the survivors of such an injury. Oro and his band put a shield of protection around the young mare and her injured yearling. They made it to the top of the mountain in late May.

Oro’s Band – May 30, 2021: L-R: Celt & Baileys, Niyaha, Usha, Morning Reverie, Manualita, Felina.
Morning Reverie – July 15, 2021

Usha was in tough shape, but she showed a true mustang spirit. Reverie stayed by Usha’s side, doing all she could to help the little one keep up with the band. In precious moments, Usha would run and buck playfully in the grass of spring. However, one day Usha was there and the next she wasn’t. This mustang made a valiant effort, yet healing was not to be. Morning Reverie has carried on without her foal. The truth of the matter is the injured foal was taking a toll on her own health. Since then, Morning Reverie has regained her strength. She is strong and healthy and surrounded by a very protective band who has helped her every step of the way. Usha, the little spark of dun touched many hearts and will not be forgotten.

Oceana – And then we come to Oceana…the third that has recently disappeared. Oceana, beautiful copper-colored Oceana, is another wild horse that just disappeared virtually overnight. It was obvious through spring and early summer that Oceana was in foal. She has been with the stallion, Jasper/Jack, for quite some time now, along with her two-year old son, Titan.

Jasper’s Band – June 16, 2021: L-R: Lariat, Petite Colour, Titan, Oceana, Sequoyah, Jasper, Ketchikan.
Oceana – July 10, 2021 Photo by Brittny Budde

She was seen and photographed on Saturday, July 10, 2021.

By Monday, July 12, she was missing from Jasper’s band. At that point, there was optimism that she was just off having that baby. Next day…no sign of her. The hope then was that somehow she had joined up with Grijala, her former stallion and the sire of her son, Titan. A day later, Grijala was with a band of young bachelors kicking up action in the Mystic Pond area. No sorrel colored mare was with him. Almost daily sightings of Jasper’s band showed Titan quite content and surrounded by a band of mares who have been his family since birth. We have accounted for every stallion on the mountain except Johan who keeps to himself on mid-Sykes Ridge. The chances that Oceana is with him are slim. The other possibility is that she is off on her own with her foal. This has been known to happen on occasion in the Pryors.

Oceana – October 2014

I carry a flicker of hope with me. I have her listed as “In Transit” on my list with the hopes that something unusual has happened and that she just re-appears one day with her shiny coat and a brand-new foal. Intellectually I know the chances that she is gone are overwhelming…but for now. I hold onto that hope. The hope is for the bright colored little filly who jetted across the mountain meadow in October of 2014 when she was born to the mare, Galadriel. She and Okiotak came at the same time into the same band…both little sorrels who survived their late fall births.

Hope is for the small genetic line that Oceana represents that traces back through Galadriel – Atlantis – Coppertop – Pocotello. Thankfully Titan is there to carry on for his beautiful mother.

If by chance, one of you happens to see Oceana…please let us know as soon as possible. Let’s keep an eye out for this beauty…and keep on hoping!

Jasper’s Band – July 14, 2021

Loving these horses is not easy. One must expect moments like these that touch the heart so deeply. As a friend just provided the perfect way to close said, “The wild claims the old…young…and unexpected.” Advice comes right from the behavior of the horses themselves. Morning Reverie is carrying on after the loss of Usha and Titan is carrying on with the possible loss of Oceana. My friend added this wisdom. “Try to apply the horses’ way of living…one thing I admire is… you grieve but then you move on, in the wild you can’t look back … only move forward.

Published in: on July 19, 2021 at 9:10 pm  Comments (23)