It was May 2nd 2023, and the mare known as Little Star had just recently given birth to her first colt. The colt was named Sully by the first observer to spot him. Within a few days of giving birth, mares become 'open' to breeding again. In the wild, this creates a great deal of tension among the local stallions. For the south Onaqui herd, this is even more exacerbated due to the severe imbalance of males to females resulting from the 2021 BLM round-up. But that's another story.
On this day, the stallions were all fighting and jostling trying to get the attention of Little Star. Poor little Sully, at only a few days old, was battered around in the scuffles. The little guy was knocked down, and for a while was unable to get back up. As Little Star and Sully's family band moved on, he was unable to keep up. Even though Little Star was a new mom, she was a good one, and stayed behind protecting little Sully, who was still laying in the dirt. This left them both very vulnerable. She was standing over him, nudging and pushing to try and get him up, while simultaneously trying to fend off the onslaught of the stallions. In comes Apple! Apple is a mature bay roan stallion who is normally found hanging with his son Ranger and a few other bachelors. Apple came to try to make Little Star and Sully his own. For hours on end he bravely fought and chased off all the other stallions who approached, keeping a clear wide circle around Little Star and Sully. Stallion after stallion tried, and stallion after stallion was rebuked by Apple. It was exhausting, but his efforts were rewarded as he was allowed to mate with Little Star during one of the quiet moments.
After all had quieted down, little Sully was able to stand again, but still unable to walk fast enough to catch up with the rest of the herd and Little Star's family band. And unfortunately for Apple, all his efforts had sapped his strength and he was finally defeated and chased off by a young gray stallion. So, Apple's 'family' was short lived, less than a day actually. But there is hope that his breeding with Little Star took and we will see his progeny on the range next spring.
The gray stallion was finally able to get Little Star and Sully to water and then reunited with their family band! Both were doing well after their ordeal and seemingly happy to be back with friends. So the story has a happy ending!