Four Generations

Our Four Generations: A fitting story and family portrait for this holiday weekend.

I love this photo, albeit one family member in the foreground didn't fit in the frame, and only the ears of another appear behind Izzy. Yet, still, caught in a single photo, our band representing four generations of Challis wilds at Wild Love Preserve, from our eldest wild love, Nootka, on the left to one of our youngest, little Mickey, on the right.

This documentation is treasured beyond compare because Nootka was not in good health when we purchased her, and lovely Annie that stands to her right, for $10 each back in 2012 prior to our mass adoption. Immediately following the 2012 Challis roundup, it was critical to secure the lives of high-risk wild horses deemed unadoptable by the BLM, so our starting point was to purchase the 9, and later a total of 14, high-risk Idaho wilds for $10 each.

After a long and wild life running free, Nootka took her removal from the range very hard. She kept us concerned for close to two years and I would remind her of our big picture time and again, asking her to hold on just a little longer. Sure enough, when the day finally arrived thanks to a generous donation from The Earth and Humanity Foundation, and we witnessed the pure joy our 130 Idaho wilds exuded upon being released to our leased 400-acres on August 31, 2014, Nootka literally blossomed overnight with everyone together.

It was a dream come true to see numerous wild bands take shape, just as in the wild, including our three older gals joining up as a unified front. We affectionately refer to the trio as our "bingo gals," their bonds are tried and true, and I can only imagine the stories they share.

That said, with the arrival of little ones last spring their purposes in life took on new meaning, becoming grandma Nootka and aunties Annie and Izzy. Their once band of three has organically evolved into a family of nine crossing four generations, all members serving to protect and nurture little Mickey. Their family roles and hierarchy mirroring their natural and wild ways on the range. All are happy, healthy and wild, and Nootka is flourishing as our respected elder.

Over the years and by design, this project serves as a sustainable solution in wildness, both on and off the range. Observations and monitoring of family bands and herd dynamics have resulted in field research that benefits and strengthens our work in wild horse preservation as a whole. Eyes wide open, driven by truth and follow through, we remain steadfast in our mission to protect and preserve native wild horses on their home turf, and for future generations to equally nurture and treasure. Wild love, indeed.

 

 - Andrea Maki

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