REMEMBERING wind caynon II
How does one pick a favorite of the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National park?
Does one pick based on a color, on a particular experience with that horse, a look or behavior?
Is one horse really any better than the next?
No, not really.
Some of them just have a way of working their way into our hearts. Part of our attachment to them might just be the length of time we have known and loved them.
Maybe it is all of the above.
In 2018 we lost way too many horses, many of them newborn foals. It is heartbreaking that those little ones never had the opportunity to grown up and live in the beautiful badlands. Little Maleficent struggled to live but was too injured and broken. Chubby, our chunky mama mare, who produced so many cute foals and was such a favorite of visitors, succumbed to death. Cocoa, Gray Ghost, and Clinker, all popular with followers, saw their last summer in the buttes, breaks, and green valleys of the badlands.
This year we have already lost another precious old stallion, Wind Canyon II. Son of the original Wind Canyon and Big Blue, he was foaled in 1999, the year I started volunteering for the park. That band was pretty easy to locate so, over the following year, I spent a lot of time watching them. Little Wind Canyon II grew to be a striking, solidly built stallion who took over his sire's band in 2003, at the age of four, when Wind Canyon I was rounded up and sold. He held a band for most of the next twelve years, and even picked up sweet little Paisley for a while. He carved out his territory along the north fence, often hiding his bad behind the imposing north ridge. In his last years Trooper stayed with him and was present at his death.
We had seen him get thinner over this winter and due to a recent injury, the park made the hard decision to put him down.
Wind Canyon, you were always a gentle soul. You will be greatly missed by a lot of people who knew you throughout the almost 20 years of your life.
Rest easy old friend. 💔