Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sorraia Bachelor Stallions

Capaz and Legado!

"Bachelors are interesting since they present opportunities to examine ontogenetic pathways through which skills are developed and the possible importance of such skills in acquiring their first harems." --Joel Berger from Wild Horses of the Great Basin / Social Competition and Population Size

Capaz shows some of his skills to Legado and Jerry

Since the spring of 2013, our Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve restructured its participation in the preservation of the Sorraia and Sorraia Mustang horses by suspending active breeding and relocating the females to an offsite range.  Circumstances underlying these changes have been discussed in archived journal entries and will not be revisited in today's blog, nevertheless our interest and support for these horses remains strong as we continue to safeguard these important genetic treasures and provide them suitable wilderness habitats to live as autonomously as possible.

Ravenseyrie Mares

Our eight females:  Bella, Belina, Zorita, Fada, Pinoteia, Esperanda, Altavida and Rija continue to thrive on the Twinravens range and I will devote a future blog entry to their dynamics as an "all girl" group.  For today's journalling we will be taking a look at the way the Ravenseyrie bachelor stallions are conducting their affairs as spring invigorates their environment with voluptuous greenery and raises their testosterone levels in ways that provoke shifts in their relationships with one another.

Our cast of equine characters that presently dwell with us at Ravenseyrie are:

Jerry - an aged domestic bred sorrel draft mule gelding

Zeus - an aged domestic bred sorrel Thoroughbred gelding

Altamiro - a purebred Portuguese Sorraia stallion, born in Germany at the Wistenhenge zoological park

Interessado - born at Ravenseyrie sired by Altamiro and born to Ciente (Sorraia Mustang of Kiger lineage), regrettably gelded as a 3yr old

Silvestre - born at Ravenseyrie, full brother to Interessado, regrettably gelded as a 2 year old

Legado - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Altamiro and born to Zorita (Portuguese Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang of Sulphur Springs lineage)

Fidalgo - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Altamiro and born to Belina (Sorraia Mustang of Spanish lineage)

Gosto - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Altamiro and born to Bella (Sorraia Mustang of Spanish lineage)

Destemido - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Interessado and born to Fada (Portuguese Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang)

Capaz - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Interessado and born to Pinoteia (Portuguese Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang)

Sedutor - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Altamiro, full brother to Legado

Ousado - born at Ravenseyrie, sired by Altamiro, full brother to Gosto

Last spring, the stallions severely attacked Zeus, necessitating pulling him off the range and creating a separate pasture for him to live out his life without fear of further malicious bullying.  So far, the draft mule, Jerry, continues to hold his own among the feisty studs out on the range and while some of the young guys harass him, he remains unscathed and is often a chosen grazing mate by several of the bachelors.

Legado, Jerry and Capaz

The former distinct "play fighting" that the younger stallions engaged in has given way to more serious sparring and the number of nicks, scrapes and surface wounds attest to the intensity of these encounters.  No longer childs'-play, these "discussions" appear to be compulsive, highly physical activities that take the measure of oneself as well as feeling the physical capacity and state of mind of the others.  Liaisons are loose, fragile affairs as every handful of days there appears to be a reorganization of who is chumming up with who and who is keeping themselves apart.

Two weeks ago, during one of the frequent shows of aggression, Silvestre sustained a nasty gash over his rear canon bone.  It continues to heal very well and Silvestre has been keeping away from the more rambunctious boys during this healing time.  In the last few days, Silvestre has been joined by Interessado, Altamiro and Fidalgo - all who seem to want a little less frenetic pace and do their best to avoid interacting with the other guys for now.

Silvestre and Fidalgo

Silvestre's wound

Those other guys - Capaz, Legado, Sedutor (the main instigators of fractious interactions) are most of the time grazing in the same sector as Gosto and Ousado.  Destemido continues to feel the need to stake a claim to the area outside of the fenced holding pasture where Zeus has been living.  Destemido will fly into the group of others for lightning quick shows of force - like a mad hornet!  Hard to believe he is the smallest one of the bachelors and is missing an eye!  The most interesting change has been in Capaz.  As a young colt, he was pot-bellied and seemed slow moving and slow witted - how wrong that impression has turned out to be.  Capaz is perhaps the feistiest of all the bachelors!

I've put together a new video documenting the dynamic discussions these stallions have been having. Thanks to the talent and generosity of a young Portuguese composer, BrunuhVille, the video has a wonderfully fitting soundtrack.  I hope you enjoy this window into world of Sorraia bachelor stallions living on a beautiful island in northern Ontario.

"He's not so big as imagined and his coat has never felt a groom's brush, yet the sight of him quickens your blood and lights visions in the mind." --L. Edward Purcell from his book, Wild Horses of America