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)  

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. it must of been very hard for you but you did a great job thank you and yes lets pray she will show up soon to bring some lite to this sad story…ross

    • Wouldn’t that be amazing!!!

  2. Nancy, thank you for the update. Mescalero – a legend and icon to the mountain, going back decades. I can’t imagine he is gone, but if so, may he run with the wind in his mane. A few years back I was on your tour for my birthday. I cherish that day, my soul has been deeply touched being in the Pryor’s. Your closing words are moving and inspirational. I will keep good thoughts for these beautiful horses. Gloria

    • I remember you and appreciate your love and support for the Pryor horses!

  3. They break our hearts, wild and tame. Thank you for this memento of their lives in the mountains.

    • Well said!!!

  4. Thank you so much, Mrs. Cerroni, for your beautiful updates. I have to admit that Mescalero’s death was not much of a surprise – but little Usha and Oceana…
    I have wonderful memories of spending time with Usha and Oceana and photographing them. I’m so sad that they’re gone, but we will never forget them. I will email you some of the pictures and you are more than welcome to share them if you see fit.
    Thank you again for telling us all. It must be equally as hard to tell a whole herd of wild horse lovers.
    -Erin Phillips

    • You are so right…so many love these horses and each loss, or even a missing one, touches so many hearts around the world.

      • I completely agree. Even though it’s so hard to lose wild horses, I would rather it be this way then them being removed from their homes in a terrifying roundup.

  5. Oh Nancy, you are such an eloquent writer; the picture of little Usha was taken on my 63rd birthday, less than 3 months before we met for the first time.

    I remember that seeing Mescalero on our September 4th, 2020 tour was a highlight, as we were heading back, and you stopped, having spotted one last band, though I don’t recall which band Mescalero was trailing, but there was a 2020 foal in the band, and how awesome to see one of the seniors and one of the newest Pryor Mustangs. For some reason it seems the foal was Uno Caballo, I think I remember loving both of those names.

    Then, our trip was made more special when you came on Saturday morning to tell us a new foal had been born, and we chanced upon Hickok, Kitalpha and new-born Ursula. We were blessed to see Hickok’s band again last month, and see how little Ursula has grown!

    I’ll hope that Oceana turns up with a new, little wild one; as you said, in the wild, as in all of life, none of us know how much time we get; we must embrace each moment and each day.

    Thank you for all that you do for these wild Mustangs, for all of the information and education that you pass to all of us that have come to love the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustangs. Denise

    • What a beautiful comment, Denise. It has been such a treat sharing the horses with you!!

  6. So sad, especially Mescallero. I will Pray Oceana is just away giving birth & will soon be back with a new foal by her side. Thank you for the update & all you do!

  7. Reblogged this on wolfpug.

  8. I consider these horses my friends, if not family. It’s always hard to lose a friend. 😦 So sad for little Usha, but happy for her that she at least had her short life as a Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang. And Mescalaro. Could he maybe just be staying way off on his own? I have just a tad bit of hope that is true, if his remains haven’t been found. The Range is such a big place and crossing paths with some of the individuals can be such a chance encounter. But if not, we know he lived a good and full life. I’m just not willing to give up completely on Oceana. Perhaps she went off to foal and the foal has an issue making them unable to rejoin the band right away. I just don’t want to believe the time I spent with her and the band last year will be the last. But if it is to be, I’m very hopeful that her beautiful son, Titan, one of my many favorites, will carry on the family genes. Thank you so much for your insightful and heartfelt post, Nancy. And the Circle of Life remains unbroken.

    • What a nice response…you spoke from your heart. I hold onto hope as well.

  9. Reblogged this on pryormustangmemories.

  10. My heart aches

  11. I just lost my last horse. I am horse-less. Though they have been a joy to me I am not able to have another. Just like the story life goes on.

    • Yes…they all touch our hearts.

  12. Thank you. I’ve been twice to the Pryor mountains to see the wild horses. I’m glad I found this way to keep in touch. I lived in Nova Scotia Canada and now Vancouver Island BC Canada. Last summer I saw alberta wild horses. Hurray for caring people.

  13. Thank you for sharing this news with us in such a loving way. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for you to do. I am praying that Oceana will be back soon. I know i have worried about other missing, very pregnant mares that have been gone longer than expected who have come back, usually, without their foals and some who never come back. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to watch Usha suffer like she did and not be able to step in and help. I am glad she is no longer suffering. I am also glad Mescalero is no longer suffering either. Loving these horses is so wonderful and painful at the same time. It is my hope that, one day, I will finally be able to complete my dream, and spend a week on top of the mountain just watching these amazing creatures live their wild lives. I really appreciate knowing who is missing or any other news about these horses, so thank you again for sharing!

    • You are so welcome, Shelley. I know you understand!

  14. Thank you so much for this beautifully written commentary on these beloved horse families…. There is joy and also sadness in your words in the telling but I am so glad they are wild and free, living their lives as God intended…. Hopefully, the mysteries will be solved with time. I love these beauties of the West, thank you for caring for them and documenting their lives….

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