Happy Birthday, New Moon!
It was a year ago today that we discovered a new life at our wild horse sanctuary. Gemma, an eight-year-old mare who had been recently captured from Muddy Creek, UT surprised us with her birth. Gemma was already pregnant when she endured the several mile helicopter chase, but we didn’t know that. She was pregnant for the chaos of wild horses scrambling for freedom from behind panel gates. She was pregnant for sorting, processing and several months in holding, an environment where contagious disease and injury are frequent events. Thankfully, Gemma and her unborn foal both made it out safely.
Gemma was lucky to foal in a more natural environment (not a manure floor pen) from within the safety of our 40-acre Medical Pasture. It was a brutally cold morning and Gemma chose a small, deep depression to give birth in, despite having full access to a horse shelter. This depression kept her filly safe and protected from the wind, though it took some extra work to get out of! After we spotted her, it still took about an hour for the wee one to get up on her feet. The uneven depression made it difficult to get her legs under her, but she kept rolling until she figured it out. Her patient mom stood by, ready to nurse once the moment was right.
This little filly was our first birth at ECR. Her pregnant mother’s placement here was a fluke, to be honest. It was a case of mistaken identity, mixed up tags or perhaps a clerical error, but either way, Gemma was not the horse we were expecting. We believed we were placing Half Moon’s son, but that tag number was in the mare pen. The team made the choice to stick to the tag and placed her anyway, not knowing which band she was from. For months we poured over thousands of pictures with Muddy Creek advocates trying to ID our mystery mare. Just as we were giving up hope, she was found, with Half Moon by her side! Half Moon was a well known wild stallion who had quite the following before his capture. He was glued to Gemma’s side from the moment they arrived, and now we know why. Gemma was one of his mares 🥰
Their wild bred filly was aptly named New Moon as a new phase of their lives begun. There are no roundups in their future, no adoptions, handling or herd thinking. They’ll be free to live as wild as possible from within the safety of our perimeter fence. The Serengeti Foundation made this project possible, and several generous donors came together to help to bring our 12 Muddy Creekers and two unborn foals to safety. We are grateful for you all every single day, but today especially, our gratitude is overflowing. We all have collectively changed their lives, as we’ve done now for 143 others. We couldn’t do this without you all!
New Moon, Half Moon, and Gemma, as well as all of the Muddy Creekers have since been released to join our big herd on roughly 10K acres. They’re now free to roam, graze and socialize as they please with our herd of 140+ others. A project this size comes with considerable cost and our fences, water lines, and forage are always needing care. If you’d like to see more of our work, please share and consider donating if you’re able. Our new fencing runs at $2 per foot, so every dollar counts! We need fencing, water sources, and shelter before we can open our gates to more. We’re working on completing our second release site now, but we still have a long way to go! If you’d like to help us make this dream a reality, please visit https://serengetifoundation.com/project/engler-canyon-ranch/
To everyone that has helped us along the way, we thank you. New Moon is celebrating her 1st Birthday in freedom, thanks to all of you.