Friday, October 3, 2014

The End Of The Beginning

Several years ago it sunk in to me that the long term chances of survival of the Colonial Spanish mustangs of the Outer Banks of North Carolina were quite bleak. Not long after that an old stallion at Corolla was captured because he was in poor condition and was getting out into the highway.

It took quite a while to get him healthy but it took no time to get him gentle. I named him Croatoan, for one of the tribes/villages near the Lost Colony.

Of course, everyone knows that a teenage wild stallion could never be tamed or trained, especially not well enough for children to ride. But on the other hand look at those pictures of Croatoan. (I don't know how to work photo shop.)

He was the first stallion in the Corolla off site breeding program and he produced, Mokete the first foal born to that program. Over the years he remained sound and I retired him to a pasture with Hickory Wind to produce another foal for the program.

He was kind,regal,gentle and incredibly smooth to ride.

He was also old. And Monday night he moved on. I have his daughter and another one of his daughters is just up the road. Though he is dead his lineage will continue to run through the offsite breeding program.

Kay Kerr's children's book about him will be out this spring. She was working on the illustrations when he died Monday night. 

I do not know if our program would have gotten off of the ground without him but I do know that one of you reading this post will be the 150,000 view of this blog.

Maybe one of you will end up owning some of his progeny.

Maybe one of you will become a satellite breeding operation for the effort to prevent the extinction of these horses.


Anonymous said...

Many horses develop a certain image in my mind of their personality..

I can easily see Croatoan sauntering down the street in white linen suit and fedora,
the very picture of a southern gentleman of a certain age.

He was a fine old man, lived a fantastic life for a horse, and brought great joy to everyone who knew him.

A few months ago, he spent a bit of time with young Red Fox..Mentoring him, and pal-ing around..The master and his apprentice. His legacy is not only genetic, but spiritual as well.
Rest well, Cavallo Bueno. -Lloyd

Linda said...

Sad Day. You will be missed Croatoan. Your story lives on.

Anonymous said...

These photos of Croatoan are wonderful. -- Liz Marshall

Anonymous said...

Steve, thank you for taking the first step that led to so much more than you had ever imagined. Preserving the breed and educating the world of this wonderful breed! In addition, that first step has grown to effect/mentor/help so many others!

Croatoan started something great that continues to evolve! Here's to a GREAT horse, may his memory live on forever at Mill Swamp! ~carrie