Lifestyles of the Young & the Restless

Isadora is not a happy camper.  Or a camper at all, really.  Those child bearing hips of hers would have a heck of a time fitting into a tent, and zipping up a sleeping bag around all four legs would be challenging endeavor to say the least.


Our story begins on a windy Sunday morning.  It actually has been going on for weeks now, but I cannot speak to events I have not seen.  Flint’s band appeared through the binoculars, merrily grazing their way across the meadow with a level of intensity that only a hungry horse who has made it through a Pryor winter can appreciate.


But where ever was Isadora?  After some more searching, Isadora was seen quite a ways away from the others. Flint was by her side.  It was almost as if Flint had agreed to have a “date night” and spend a little one-on-one time with Isadora.  I may have cooed over how cute I thought that was and how nice it was the Flint’s band was that secure when he was so far away.


Miguel and Isadora (right).  This was taken the morning after "date night"
Miguel and Isadora (right). This was taken the morning after “date night”

Naturally, I was wrong.  I usually am wrong. It may be a “capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence” but man is it fun!


Don’t get me wrong, sitting back and watching the show is great!  If you don’t like sitting still and watching a lot of things happen from a distance then you probably are not going to last long as a wild horse observer.  But (and this is a very small but) the hours of horses napping and eating is a lot more entertaining if you let your mind wander all over the place with wild speculation.  Given enough time, any mare could be pregnant and just hiding it really well, and any bachelor stallion could be one step away from greatness.


Back to the story, though.  The next day it was exceedingly clear that Isadora was not enjoying solo stallion time with “her man”.  Nope.  Isadora was wandering away and looking for an opportunity to leave him.  I do not know how or why this came about, but she really wants to leave him.

She's jsut not interested, bro
She’s jsut not interested, bro


This may be a time to hold up some lighters and whistle Stand by your Man.  Flint is a handsome fellow,  after all, and Isadora has been with him since 2012 which is more than enough time for them to be considered in a common-law marriage in the human world.  Isadora can’t just up and leave until there is equal division of the assets!  What a little hussy!


The above paragraph is what someone might think if they were a terrible person.  Let’s not be terrible people.  Rejoice!  For the stallion that has caught the eye of fair Isadora is none other than Morning Star!


Morning Star & Gaelic Princess
Morning Star & Gaelic Princess

Isadora had very briefly been spotted in Morning Star’s band, but Flint had already taken her back before my visit.  If only Isadora could successfully get away from Flint and go where she wanted!  Morning Star did not seem too interested in picking a fight over Isadora while I was there, which is not a promising sign.  Flint, meanwhile, has been relentless about snaking her back to the band and away from any dark bay stud muffins on the horizon.

Flint’s band heads to water

Isadora sees an opening and heads up the hill towards Morning Star’s band
She almost makes it too


Darn it, Flint! She was so close too.
Darn it, Flint! She was so close too.

Morning Star is a pretty happening fellow and let’s be real here, his band is way hipper than Flint’s.  Morning Star’s band has the experience of Felina to guide them, three mares who are close to Isadora’s age, and one colt.  It’s the closest Isadora could get to a fiesta without actually hooking up with Fiesta.


Flint’s band is absolutely lovely in their own right. Let’s be clear on that too.  Sequoyah and Texas are beautiful mares with plenty of sass to go around.  Who doesn’t enjoy watching Nomad and Miguel?  Halcyon is lovely and sweet, and this year she looks better than I have ever seen her.  Halcyon is also most definitely pregnant again this year.

Left to right: Sequoyah, Halcyon, Texas
Left to right: Sequoyah, Halcyon, Texas


And I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t a little bit of the problem.  It’s impossible to really know what Isadora’s motives are.  I wonder if the foal situation has something to do with it.  Isadora has never had a foal with Flint.  Isadora’s only foal to date died during the winter of its first year.  She has been on PZP since then, and was just taken off the drug last year.  So she has plenty of time.


While Isadora’s time on PZP has kept her infertile, Halcyon keeps popping out foal after foal.  With foals comes attention.  Texas and Sequoyah dote on their niece and nephew, and thus Halcyon by proximity.  Flint is attentive to all his mares, but you cannot tell me that stallions are not just a little fonder of the mares that are giving them babies.

An annoyed Halcyon telling Nomad to get lost
An annoyed Halcyon telling Nomad to get lost


Mares who have foals also tend to have higher rankings in the band’s hierarchy than mares who of the same age who do not have foals.  That is a generalization and it is not always like that, but it does seem to be true in the case of Flint’s band.  Basically, Isadora is on the bottom of the chain right now.


Morning Star’s band is different.  Three mares are off PZP but there is still little to show for it.  Honey just had her second foal, Oracle.  Shadow was just taken off PZP last year year, and has never had a foal. Neither she nor Gaelic Princess look pregnant this year.  At the very least, Isadora would be on pretty equal footing.  She could spend time with mares who are around her age, who are very affectionate with one another, and who do not have any advantage over her.

Morning Star's band is a happening band.  All the cool kids are there. (Shadow, Oracle, Felina, Morning Star)
Morning Star’s band is a happening band. All the cool kids are there.
(Left to Right: Shadow, Oracle, Felina, Morning Star)


Morning Star & naughty Oracle
Morning Star & naughty Oracle
Oracle & Honey
Oracle & Honey

Or maybe she just thinks Morning Star is hot.


Hey baby
Hey baby

A little ways off, a different kind of drama is playing out with Isadora’s distant cousin, Dove.  Dove is a lovely little buckskin mare that is currently in Red Raven’s band.  That whole situation is a little awkward in my opinion.  Red Raven’s mother is Dove’s grandmother.  Dove’s sire is Red Raven’s full brother, Diamond.  Talk about a relationship that belongs on Maury!  That family tree needs a little more forking and a little less spooning going on!  (I don’t even know what that means)

Dove with daughter Morning Dove
Dove with daughter Morning Dove


Dove & Red Raven
Dove & Red Raven

Having lost Jackson’s old band, now Doc’s new band, Santa Fe has returned to old habits and is dogging Red Raven.  He did this last summer as well without success.  It is Dove who has caught Santa Fe’s eye.  Dove, who seems completely indifferent to both stallions.  I’m not really sure how or why they would fight so hard over her.  What if that is the secret that I’ve been missing out on all these years to successfully attracting a worthy mate… Huh.


Anyway, Red Raven and Santa Fe are being more than a little ridiculous right now.  Red Raven is constantly having to snake his band away, chase Santa Fe away,  rear at Santa Fe in impressive fashion… hour after hour, day after day it just keeps going.

Red Raven snakes the band away from Santa Fe
Red Raven snakes the band away from Santa Fe
Nighthawk may have been a little insubordinate at times
Nighthawk may have been a little insubordinate at times



Santa Fe also warned other stallions away
Santa Fe also warned other stallions away

Mostly.  Red Raven & Santa Fe do have a cease fire arrangement for mutually agreed upon nap times.


Time out!
Time out!


Neither stallion has any real injuries to report from this, but they are looking thin.  It could well be that Santa Fe is inadvertently setting the stage for a completely different stallion to take over while he and Red Raven wear one another down.  Then neither of them would win.


This song and dance has also made Santa Fe grumpy.  The stallion turned perpetual grouch monster apparently thinks that looking like he swallowed a lemon is going to win him the affections of Dove?  Or maybe Santa Fe is just tired of Dove ignoring him after all the effort he is putting towards this mission.



While Santa Fe’s advances have been ignored by Dove, he has caught the eye of Dove’s daughter, Morning Dove.  Morning Dove repeatedly sashayed her way over to Santa Fe’s side.  She would then back up and give him her best “come hither” look.  Morning Dove is still a baby, not quite two years old, so I will forgive her lack of subtlety and grace.

The "little lady" liked to approach Santa Fe rear end first.
The “little lady” liked to approach Santa Fe rear end first.

You would think this would be a good thing that least someone in the band is interested in Santa Fe, right?  Wrong.  Every time this happened, Santa Fe rebuffed little Morning Dove.  Sometimes he was polite about it, but other times he had to paw and pin his ears to get her to go away.  This was always followed by Red Raven chasing his wayward daughter back to the group and blaming Santa Fe for the interaction.

Santa Fe politely tells Mornind Dove to buzz off
Santa Fe politely tells Mornind Dove to buzz off
I saw you lookin' at my daughter, punk
I saw you lookin’ at my daughter!

Morning Dove is still nursing and is extremely attached to her mother.  She is not going to leave the band without Dove if she can help it.  I wonder if Santa Fe recognizes that, and that is why he is staying focused on stealing an adult mare?



Of course, Morning Dove is also teeny tiny.  Part of me hopes that Santa Fe is being a perfect gentleman and thinks that Morning Dove is too young yet.  I also recognize that such conjecture goes against everything I have experienced and know about wild horse society.  Yearlings and two year olds are bred all the time in the wild, oftentimes without leaving their family band.  At the same time, these horses never fail to surprise me.  Their family ties are very strong, and stallions can be just kind and sensitive to the younger members of their society as the mares.  It may be unlikely, but if there was any stallion out there that was classy enough to intentionally decide not to breed a younger filly, it would be Santa Fe.  He is a kind-hearted and thoughtful.  Maybe that is why the younger fillies have always taken to him?


Final thoughts:  Relationships among wild horses are complicated.  A stallion may like a mare, but he may not have the strength to win her.  A stallion may be able to win a mare for himself, but if that mare is not interested then it will not last long before she finds an option she likes better.  Similarly, a mare may really like a particular stallion, but that stallion may not like her well enough to fight over it.


Even if a mare and a stallion are interested in one another, there is still the rest of the band to contend with.  Horses are polyamorous and live in their band structures year-round.  It is not enough to have a mare and a stallion get along with each other.  That mare also has to get along with the other mares in the band.   The other mares do not always accept the new family member.  The division in the ranks can prove disastrous for the stallion, who risks losing the entire band as a result.  Adding a new mare can be a difficult choice for a stallion that has a tight knit band, no matter how much the new mare may want to join him


Love isn’t like a Disney movie. Not even for a wild horse. And isn’t that just a bummer?  Finding where they will be happiest is an uphill battle.  I guess that is why watching their stories play out is like catnip for wild horse lovers.


Published by Rachel Reeves

I am a photographer who currently lives in the great state of Colorado. I love going out and photographing wild horses in their natural habitat, and look forward to being able to share a glimpse their world with you.

11 thoughts on “Lifestyles of the Young & the Restless

  1. Hmm, seems like Isadora is pretty set on leaving! I think her lack of offspring is a very probable cause-yet another concern of PZP usage unfortunately. As is the fact that some mares just don’t seem to be conceiving….I was really hoping Shadow and Gaelic Princess were pregnant! Who knows though, they may yet surprise us! And poor Halycon could use a break-glad to hear she looks good though!

    I love the picture of grumpy face Santa Fe haha. And the one of Honey and Oracle is beautiful! Oracle has quite the markings!

    I really don’t want Red Raven to lose his band, and I hope he and poor Santa Fe don’t end up both losing! Santa Fe’s a good guy-he deserves a mare. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of being “chivalrous” to Morning Dove too 🙂 Did LaBrava seem at all interested in him? Morning Dove just seems too young to leave! Did Fools Gold look pregnant? How did Blue Sioux look?

    1. I’ve pondered the lack of offsping being a major factor too. I didn’t go into much detail in the post because what I keep coming back to is this: If Isadora wants to leave because Flint is not giving her babies, then why choose Morning Star? Oracle is the first foal in his band in years. Wouldn’t you want to try for someone like Doc or Cloud?

      Anyway, this is Isadora’s first year off PZP, so she should have at least one foal in the next couple years. I’m not a huge fan of PZP, but I do see it as a “lesser of two evils” at the moment. Since many Pryor horses don’t stop growing until they’re 5 or 6, I do agree that taking them off the drug as 5 year olds makes sense. I’d rather there be some changes to the society, such as mares and stallions being less faithful to one another than have their future offspring be at risk for spending the rest of their life in a feedlot or even being euthanized due to overcrowding.

      I would be very surprised if Shadow and/or Gaelic Princess do not have foals next year. So many of these mares had foals as two and three year olds that I think it makes them seem older than they really are. Shadow just went off the drug last year, for example. I do hope to see some changes to the management plan, which I think expires later this year. Something that would give Demure & Dove a chance to each have at least one more offspring in the wild would be nice.

      I don’t want Red Raven to lose his band either. 😦 It is weird to think of all the stallions who were so dominant for years that have lost their bands or will be losing them in the next couple years. La Brava was not remotely intersted in Santa Fe. I think she will probably stick with Blue Sioux and wherever they end up after Red Raven does lose them permanently. Fool’s Gold is not pregnant. Nighthawk is still nursing, so it is a safe bet she took a year off.

      1. I just commented on your last post, but I think I got a little muddled up with PZP windows in regards to some of the younger mares which makes me feel a bit better! I agree with you that PZP is a necessary evil at the moment, certainly if the alternative is long-term holding or possibly euthanasia. I just hate the idea of the wild horse society being messed around with since they are such a society based species. I hate to think of what the unintended/unanticipated consequences could be! I also worry about some mares never foaling due to unexpected reactions to the drug. No plan is 100% perfect at this point though. And I agree, I’d love to see a new plan that could be adjusted on an individual basis for mares with little genetic representation in the herd. A major benefit of the PZP in my eyes is that it makes for a healthier first foaling ages in most cases, instead of mares foaling at such young ages (of course this isn’t fool proof by any means and we still have the odd 2 year old foaling who didn’t receive her treatment yet!)

        I can’t imagine Blue Sioux without Red Raven :/ they are one of my favourite pairs. Still, like you said many of the dominant stallions are sadly likely to lose their bands in the near future. But, at least that gives the new boys their chance to shine 🙂

      2. In regards to Isadora, perhaps she is just following her instincts to find another mate and not really thinking about the fact that Morning Star’s band isn’t full of foals either? Or perhaps she just thinks Morning Star is cute haha :)! He certainly threw a cute baby in Oracle, that’s for sure 🙂

  2. About the time that Baileys (The Black) showed up in Flint’s band is I think when Isadora first ended up with Morning Star. Maybe she didn’t like her. It could definitely be not having a foal too. Did you ever see Flint breed her? I was hoping she would be pregnant this year. Haha no matter what her current thoughts are on Flint, I bet they could throw a gorgeous little blue roan baby! 🙂 I’m glad that Halcyon is foaling later this year. With the condition she was in last year I had hoped she would get a year off, but I’m happy to see that she at least is foaling later when there is the better forage. She really does look great right now! I’m very happy about that. I noticed in that one photo that Morning Star seems to be giving Gaelic Princess some extra attention. Did you see him breed her? She’s another one I really hoped would foal this year. Very glad Honey foaled this year. Oracle is such a cutie! Looks like a spitfire too! Haha love the picture of him leaping into the air away from where Morning Star is trying to move him! I bet he will keep that band entertained! I really hope Shadow is pregnant. I want to see a foal from her so bad! Hopefully if the others aren’t pregnant, they will at least be happy doting on Oracle. Those are great pics of Red Raven and Santa Fe sparring. Hopefully it won’t cause them to both lose. I wonder if Santa Fe had anything to do with Red Raven temporarily losing his band to Indigo. Morning Dove seems to really like Santa Fe. She liked to hang out with him last summer too. He definitely attracts the young fillies! I have a feeling Dove and Morning Dove will end up staying together. Like Washakie and Bacardi. That could help Santa Fe land them both. Not sure if they want to leave the other mares though. It seems like a very close band. La Brava and Santa Fe would make such a beautiful couple too. Not sure if she’s interested though. Thanks for the post! I always enjoy them!

    1. I did not see Flint breed Isadora. It is possible Isadora is pregnant, but I’d be pretty surprised. Lauryn & I had the exact same commentary about a blue roan baby with Flint. Great minds think alike. 🙂

      We did not see Morning Star breed Gaelic Princess either, but she was in heat. So no Notorious G.P. foals this year. I don’t think Shadow is pregnant either, but it is very possible that some of these mares who don’t look pregnant right now are going to have late July or August babies.

      Red Raven’s mares are very close with one another, but I did not get the impression that Dove was best buddies with them the way the rest of the lot are. That may help Santa Fe’s case. I predict Red Raven will keep his band through the summer, but all bets are off come winter and early Spring of next year. I’d love if La Brava were interested in Santa Fe, but she completely ignored him. Still… someone had to be the father of the foal she had last year and Santa Fe would be a good bet. So you never know. 🙂

  3. It almost seems like Isadora is giving band stallions trial periods. She had a foal with Mescalero that didn’t live, so she ended up in Flint’s band. She hasn’t had a foal with her, but others have, so maybe that’s part of the reason she’s been trying to leave Flint’s band. Morning Star’s band does seem like an odd choice if she wants to have a foal, but maybe it has to do with their proximity to Flint’s band at the moment.

  4. Thanks for this great blogpost, and for taking the time to do it! I laughed so hard I almost cried reading about little Morning Dove and her subtle moves on Santa Fe! 😀
    Also thank you for writing so much about Flint’s band! They seem to get left out a little bit (as you say, there are more happening bands out there), and I love to hear of the interactions in his herd when I can:)
    It was love at first sight when I first saw him in Ginger’s documentarys, I was worried to death when his hoove was injured and proud like a mother when he came prancing out when he was older, trying to win Cloud’s band:) He seems to have gotten his act together over the last years as well, maybe acting a little more like a serious bandstallion.
    It’s a shame Isadora is so eager to leave him, specially since he only has one other mare who can have foals. Maybe she’ll come around when Morning Star isn’t showing too much interest? And maybe, just maybe, she already is pregnant?:) They really would have gorgeous babies! Miguel and Nomad and sooo cute.. both little mini-Flints! And Jasper is just drop dead handsome!!!
    Will be fascinating to see what happens next! Their lives are so much more entertaining than any soap! 😀

    1. I am always happy to talk about Uncle Flint! I showed my Grampa the Cloud documentaries when I was in college. He really enjoyed them and from that point forward, every time I came to visit (about once a month) he had to ask me “how that cold with the hurt foot was doing”. So I always tried to keep an eye on Flint updates so I could let him know. It’s made me pretty fond of him too.

      Sometimes I have seen mares who get cranky & want to leave when they are in heat, but who settle down afterwards. It is hard to say. I do not think Isadora is pregnant this year, because she did act like she was in heat when I was up. However, it is late enough in the year that even if she does end up with Morning Star, she may already be carrying a Flint baby for next spring. Fingers crossed!

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