This beautiful little filly was named Nike’

 This beautiful little filly was named Nike’ and never has there been a filly that taught advocates so much about wild horse behavior in her short life. 

 It was 2015 and our team was learning to work together.  Many board members had more experience with wild horse political issues back then but I felt confident I knew horses, as did other members. 

  Little Nike’ was young when we noticed she acted sore , was seriously depressed, not very lively and had trouble keeping up with her band.    She was a high ranking filly and loved deeply by the entire band.  Born to Blondie’s band and out of the lovely mare Sierra.  

She was a full sister to Lil Girl.   She was only 2 or three months old when the board decided it was too painful for her to suffer with so much pain and depression. 

 I spent hours every day observing her as well as our then board members Deb Walker and Sheila Schwadel.  We watched the band protect her and change all their daily plans based on how she felt.

  She tried hard to keep up. When she couldn’t the band would all stop and circle around her and let her rest.  As the weeks passed she seemed to tire more easily.  

The band needed to eat so Blondie with stay with her to protect her and the band would move away a substantial distance to eat., over the next hill or valley.  

Blondie standing over her alone.   In a couple hours the mares would come back and Blondie would walk away to eat and the mares would protect little Nike.  

It was a difficult time for our board and no one could agree on how to handle the situation.  After looking at videos all vets said she would not make it.  She was most likely septic and her joints were infected and inflamed. They said this condition is difficult to handle when caught early in a domestic situation.  Tensions were high and I was frustrated.  I thought neither her or the band could handle the trauma of us trying to catch her.   We thought it would be a good idea to pull her out of the band.  We wanted to see if that was even possible  Hahah …. that was a dumb idea. 

 Blondie would have no part of that!  He often let me just come and sit by her.  Never close enough to touch her but close enough he knew I would warn him if she was threatened.  He would walk off to graze and leave me to babysit.  But I was respectful and knew my boundaries.  

I would just sit ten feet from her and tell Nike about my day and let her know how loved she was.   I never tried to get any closer.  One day the group decided she was in too much pain and three of us walked close to her while she was napping.  

We wanted to see if it would be possible to get close enough to capture her at a later date when we had BLM permission to remove her, Blondie was 75 feet away.  I felt the energy was too high as we slowly walked down to her.  We were nervous.  I am sure the other people had other opinions but we all felt the tension of what we were doing.  We wanted to see if it was possible to get close enough. 

  Blondie had his opinion of our dumb idea  as he charged at a dead run toward us.  He didn’t threaten us at all…. just ran in and nipped her little rump and demanded she go with him. 

 She jumped up and painfully followed orders.  It was then we realized that removing her from the band would  cause way too much drama and duress.  

 We talked for a few more days as we watched the stress on the band causing the mares and Blondie to lose weight as they could not travel from food to water.  They stayed close to the water.   One day as Nike stopped to nap by the watering hole the band, having their fill,  slowly wandered away. 

  None of the band noticed that Nike was not following.  Blondie realized she was missing when they were several hundred feet away.  Another band moved in and the young colts were sniffing the strange filly sleeping on the ground. 

 I could not believe my eyes as Blondie turned and charged back to the water.  With ears pinned and looking just like a fine tuned cutting horse he chased off the young horses investigating the filly and with his belly only an inch or two from the ground he quickly but gently nipped the filly awake and escorted her back to her nervous Momma who was waiting for her at the edge of the band.   It was then I knew it was time to call BLM and ask for her to be euthanized. 

  At last we all agreed and little Nike was soon out of pain.  It was one of the most difficult times for all of us as advocates.  We wanted to find a heroic solution.  But we had limits and we learned them.  Everyone had an opinion.  But everyone wasn’t there everyday watching her suffer and listening to the vets telling us there was no hope for her.  Our emotions were high.  This is why there is so much value placed on experienced advocates. 

 We still believe in miracles but we are more realistic when we realize that a filly was truly suffering while we hoped and prayed for that miracle that was not coming this time.    Nike’ and Blondie taught us so much during the weeks we watched, waited and Prayed for that miracle that never came.  We watched an entire band of 18 horses work together as a family to protect one tiny filly. 

 They would have stayed with her to her last breath.   NIke is forever etched in our memories as Mary Dibble did a beautiful painting of her and gave it to us as a gift.  We were pleased that someone noticed how stressful a time this was for all of us.   We all remember Nike’ fondly as she taught us so very much in her short life.  I can still hear her nicker when her Mom or Blondie would return to her.

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