A Moment Of Serendipity

Brave's band of horses in Sandwash Basin
The Foal in this picture is named Noav.

I had a serendipitous moment the other night when a friend on Facebook, Heather Robson, contacted me concerning a photograph I took recently at Sandwash Basin. Heather informed me that she believed I had photographed a newborn Mustang foal that had been previously undocumented and that I should submit the image to the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Advocate Team for verification. If it turned out they had no previous documentation for the young horse, I would be given the opportunity to give it a name for their registry.

And I did just that. I submitted several pictures that included the foal, and indeed, they had not documented the animal yet. Being the first to document the foal, I was told I indeed get naming rights.

I’m a newbie to wild horse photography. I’ve lived in Colorado since 1987 but have never visited Sandwash Basin to photograph the wild horses there. By current estimates, there are between 800-900 horses in the herd as of 2021. There is always talk about managing the wild horse herd, mainly on the premise that the herd is too large and needs to be thinned out for their own well being. I’ve also heard that they (people who talk about these things) would like to see the herd size closer to 200 horses. What ever the official actions that are pursued, there is certain to be some heated discussion and debate on the matter as these feral horses are held in high esteem by many advocacy groups, photographers, tourists and horse lovers. I personally have no specific opinion on their situation. It’s mostly politics. When they start finding starving or unhealthy horses, something will obviously be corrected by public consensus. I don’t want to see suffering animals, but from what I observed, virtually every horse I spotted on my first visit to the basin was in good physical shape. And I saw hundreds of them, in various size bands, scattered across the large tract of BLM land north of Maybell, Colorado up to the Wyoming border.

Back to naming the foal.

My wife and I discussed possible names and decided we would name the horse after one of our grandchildren, and in a compromise solution my wife suggested a combination name. So we selected a gender neutral name that honored our two grandkids, Noah and Ava, as we had initiated them into the horse world by giving both horse riding lessons over the past couple of years. They both love horses.

Using a combination of both kid’s names, we came up with the name for the horse. Noav.

So say hello to Noav. The young brown and white foal in the foreground of the above photo. That’s his/her band standing there too, so we have a partial family shot.

The official nomenclature given is as follows.

Noav – gender unknown
Dam: Ginger (mothers name)
MLS: Brave (presumed fathers name)
Sighted 5/24/21
Photo: Gary Gray

We don’t know the gender of the foal, but I’m certain that it will eventually be determined as these horses are have a astonishing following amongst enthusiasts and photographers. We’re looking forward to keeping track of this young animal as it grows older and experiencing the joy our grandkids will get out of having a wild horse officially named in honor of them.

None of this would have happened without the help of Heather Robson of New Zealand notifying me of her discovery in my photograph.

As for me, I’m honored and humbled by the experience.