Stallion Profile: Doc*

Since he has one of the largest bands in the Pryors, Doc gets a lot of attention. For the most part, he’s done a good job of hanging on of Jackson’s opinionated ladies, so I think people forget the rest of his history. I’ve only ever known Doc as an adult, so I can’t write about all of it, but I thought it might be fun to compare how he was with his first band until now.

I first “met” Doc in 2011. It was before I started learning more of the horses’ names, but the colt London made it a little easier for me to ID the band. At the time, he wasn’t with the most dominant bands, but not too far removed either. For a 7 year-old stallion, he seemed pretty secure with the mares he had. I’m including a bunch of photos, even though I didn’t know the joys of autofocus, or bumping up ISO. I apologize for nothing, though, because I think it’s important for people to be reminded of this portion of his life. His band wasn’t as big as it is now, but I think people think he had an identity change when he went from Santa Fe’s band to Jackson’s band. I’ll write more about that at the end of this post, but any stallion is going to adjust their behavior due to the size of their band.

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Doc’s band in June, 2011.

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Members of Doc’s band.

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Doc was trying to take advantage of Duke’s mares being nearby.

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Duke was not impressed with Doc’s attempt.

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Doc with Heritage (High Noon), and London.

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Doc’s band takes a nap together.

That winter, Gold Rush likely passed away during foaling, and I think his other mares went with Lakota, and Garay. By the next time I saw Doc (May, 2013) he had Broken Bow, her daughter Demure, and Demure’s colt Mandan from Santa Fe. I’m not really sure how that happened, but with only two mares, especially a mother and daughter pair some seem to think he was more laid back than he is now. I’d imagine keeping two mares is a lot easier than a bigger band than two mares, especially if they are bonded. Granted, the horses are more spread out in May, but they seemed to keep to themselves a bit more. Doc seemed a little more content to follow along his small band.

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Doc, Demure, Mandan, and Broken Bow.

With only two mares, it seemed like Doc was less dominant, but he was spending time near Cloud, and Jackson’s bands. Briefly, Firestorm, Maelstrom, and Niobrara were with Doc. None of the horses involved were happy with the situation, so it didn’t last long, but Doc never really gave up on the idea of a larger band.

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Doc with additions to his band. That’s Jackson’s band in the background.

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Doc stands between the two bands.

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Doc tries to get the mares away from Jackson’s band.

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Doc seemed to think this was far enough away, but there’s still two distinct groups to his band. Broken Bow looked like she was keeping herself between Firestorm group, and hers.

By the next time I saw Doc (May, 2015) he had Jackson’s band. There are accounts on various blogs about how that happened, so I won’t go into detail here. Reports are that it was intense, so I think that’s part of the reason why Doc has a reputation for being aggressive. Galaxy was nearby, and he’s just as quick to defend his mares. They’re such dark horses with wavy manes, and tails that it can be hard to tell them apart without their bands. When Doc wasn’t posturing, he was snaking some of the younger members of his band (i.e. Nye) back in the right direction.

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Even though Jackson’s band was large, it is easier to hang on to mares when they are bonded.

My last visit to the Pryors was June, 2016, and Doc seemed to be getting the hang of having a large band of opinionated ladies (Brumby,  mostly Brumby). To be honest, both Doc and Brumby seemed the most relaxed I’d ever seen them, even when Brumby was in Jackson’s band. Galena and Petra are now with He Who (Horizon) and co, but I doubt that has to do with how they feel about Doc.  Petra’s an outgoing filly, but still very young, so I’d imagine Galena is just looking out for her daughter.

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I don’t have entire band shots since Doc became band stallion, so here’s Brumby, Heritage (High Noon), Firestorm, and Okomi.

Doc’s the son of Matteo (Littlefoot), and Winnemucca some of the more well-known horses in the Pryors. From what I hear, Matteo was a powerful stallion, and Winnemucca was a powerful lead mare. I bring it up because, if for the purpose of this one sentence I agree with some people’s assessment that Doc is an aggressive stallion, and his mares hate him, part of that has to do with genetics.

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The lead mare, and band stallion can set the tone for a band, and these two seemed very relaxed during my last visit.

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If that’s not a picture of a relaxed horse I don’t know what is.

I’m not saying Doc doesn’t have a powerful personality, but I also think even the most easy-going stallion would feel the need to find some way of managing such a large band of mares. Maybe a different stallion would choose to snake his mares away from competition, or stay out of sight more. Each stallion has a different approach to their band, and each one is the best one for the situation. In my observation, a stallion like Galaxy moves just as quickly to defend his mares, but I have yet to hear anyone call him aggressive.

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Based on photos I’ve seen of Matteo, and some stories I’ve heard, I have a feeling Doc inherited a lot of traits from him. This seems to be a characteristic pose of both their walking gaits, color, and thick build.

It’s true, I’m obsessed with the horses in the Pryors, so it might seem excessive to keep on insisting that people tell the entire story, or list all the facts to let everyone form their own opinions. To borrow another quote from Doctor Who this is why I think it’s important: “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” I don’t know much about Doc’s life as a foal, early bachelor years, or how he was as a first time band stallion, but I’m still trying to be honest about that, and give an accurate depiction as I know it. I’m not saying you can’t describe Doc as aggressive at times, but I’m also not sure why that has a negative connotation compared to describing a horse as high-strung, or full of bravado. I’m not saying everyone has to agree with me, but I also want to make sure I am giving all the information I have available, not just the parts that fit my opinion.

*I also read on the Mustang Center’s blog that Doc had Inocentes/Ingrid, Fiasco/Felicity, Brumby, Flicka, and Jenny in 2010. Flicka passed away in 2010, and the band spent some time with Baja. since that’s before I was visiting the range, I encourage people to do their own research about that.

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