Changing of the Guards

I don’t know about anywhere else, but here it is starting to feel like spring. With spring comes seasonal changes, not just the obvious ones pertaining to weather, but with mustangs too. Soon it will be foaling season in full force, and with that comes breeding season. Breeding season means stallions vying for mares, and when stallions vie for mares, there is a possibility that a band stallion will lose some or all of their band.

Jackson lost his band last year, but won them back recently.

Jackson lost his band last year, but won them back recently.

When a band stallion loses his mares, there are always mixed emotions from people who follow the horses. Depending on which horses is someone’s favorites, there is usually some people excited for the new stallion, especially if it’s his first band, but some are crushed that the other stallion lost his band. If people are new to the mustang world, there’s a lot of misconceptions about the process a stallion goes through when losing a band.

First let me acknowledge that when not everyone can be with each horse 24/7 it is impossible to know exactly what happens when a stallion loses their band, but usually the change is a long time coming. There seems to be a misconception that an epic battle is required before a stallion loses his band, but that is not always the case. When determining how serious it was before a stallion lost his band I try to look at the demographics of the situation rather than focusing on the effect.

Gringo's success with winning Chance's band might have a lot to do with how much the mares like each other. It also helps that Chance stayed to be Gringo's satellite stallion.

Gringo’s success with winning Chance’s band might have a lot to do with how much the mares like each other. It also helps that Chance stayed to be Gringo’s satellite stallion.

My first question when a stallion loses their band is their age. If a stallion is older and they had the same mares for years, the change could be a natural one. Often, for older stallions having fewer mares can make it easier on them. They have less to defend, and sometimes, especially if she is the stallion’s daughter, a mare might pick another stallion to join. If a stallion loses mares slowly, it can make his transition easier.

Jewel picked her stallion He Who at a young age. Two is usually when horses leave their natal band to start a family.

Jewel picked her stallion He Who at a young age. Two is usually when horses leave their natal band to start a family.

Another misconception is that if a stallion is alone it means they have not been accepted into a group, or they are pining. It’s true that stallions often spend time alone after losing a band, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s injured or depressed. Like people, horses have their own personalities, and some horses sometimes need a break from others.

Chino's band was secluded, so it was not a surprise to see him spend time alone as a bachelor.

Chino’s band was secluded, so it was not a surprise to see him spend time alone as a bachelor.

Change is hard, but that does not mean it is always bad. Stallions are not blood thirsty testosterone driven animals, they are often caring, toward mares, foals, and even other stallions. Stallions losing their mares is part of the seasonal changes that are part of nature. Rather than dwell on how “sad” it is, I prefer to consider it a changing of the guards.

Galaxy watches over his mare Hera. Galaxy has matured over the years from a carefree bachelor to a caring band stallion and his mares seem to love him.

Galaxy watches over his mare Hera. Galaxy has matured over the years from a carefree bachelor to a caring band stallion and his mares seem to love him.

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