Rescuers Reunite Wild Horses, Soon Learn She’s Pregnant with Foal


Wild horses have faced many threats in the past few decades. While there seems to be plenty of space for these symbols of the west to roam freely, there are many factors in play that complicate the issue.

In some places, like Arizona, there aren’t enough resources to keep wild horses happy and healthy. They die in large numbers when their watering holes dry up or they can’t get food.

In other places, they’re on valuable public land that ranchers would prefer to keep their livestock on.

Without any effective population control in place, the horses reproduce and compete for resources. The Bureau of Land Management has opted to round them up and sell them off at regular intervals.

While the horses are protected from consumption here in the states, neighboring countries do not have the same rules in place. Many horses are adopted from these roundups and become pets, but many are also carted off to be eaten like cattle or sheep.

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Many horse lovers are uncomfortable with this state of affairs: It’s not pleasant to think of these noble creatures ending up on someone’s plate or being turned into dog food.

So some horse lovers are fighting for change. One of those groups is Skydog Ranch, which is a 9,000-acre ranch in Oregon.

Clare Staples started the ranch in a bid to protect wild horses and raise awareness of the atrocities these creatures face. The first horse she adopted lit a fire under her and led her to her current mission: to reunite and protect mustangs.

“When I first started Skydog, I was so determined to find this mustang’s family,” Staples said. “And I never could in the end.”

So when another opportunity came up with Goliath, a black, 26-year-old stallion, she was determined to do the best she could for him.

It all started last fall when Goliath and other horses were rounded up across Wyoming. They were placed for adoption, and Staples raised money in order to get enough money to snap up the stallion.

Goliath was a bit of a star. He had placed himself between his herd and the helicopter that was corralling them, and when people heard about him they were moved to help.

“We decided to give Goliath the best home he could have. We fundraised to be able to bid on him on the BLM’s internet adoption,” she said. “So many hundreds of people donated. So many people wanted him to come to Skydog.”

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Though he’d had many mares and foals over the years, Staples noticed a special connection he had with one mare in particular.

“They have bonds that are so deep,” she said. The mare, named Red Lady, had already been adopted by another horse lover. But when her new owner heard the full story and about Goliath, she was keen to bring them back together.

They placed the winning bid on Goliath, thanks to the generosity of many donors who’d fallen for this equine love story and wanted to be part of the next chapter.

Of course, everyone present watched with rapt attention once the two horses were set to meet up again.

“Goliath spotted her and ran half a mile to her side in the snow. She trotted to him, tail high, floating through the snow, and he immediately put his nose to her belly as if he knew she was carrying his baby,” Staples said.

That’s right. Though it wasn’t obvious at first, Red Lady had been carrying Goliath’s foal. She gave birth to a colt about a month later, and their fans rejoiced.

The three are doing well and will be released to roam across Skydog Ranch at will once the colt is old enough.

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