By Deborah Sutherland, AWHC Volunteer
(Jan. 4, 2023) The first time I saw Withers Jr. he was a tiny colt walking next to his dam, Withers (formerly known as Starlite) in Blazer’s band. It was a sunny spring day on the Virginia Range and after their walk, he plopped himself down in the grass for a nap. He watched me with his curious eyes while sporting a tiny bright star on his forehead. Withers, one of the oldest mares in the valley at the time, watched over him as he rested.
Withers’ first band family was with Bodie Braveheart, where she was a young and beautiful lead mare. She later joined Handyman’s band and gave birth to Harriet (2013) who is Withers Jr.’s “half-sister”. Harriet is currently on the range living with Ozzy’s band.
By the time Withers Jr. was born in 2017, his dam was showing her age. She was nearly 28 years old and had what was documented as a “high withers bump”, thus her database name, Withers. Withers Jr. was born into Blazer’s band, which I called the “white face band” back then because all of their members had some sort of white face markings. This made their group easily seen from a distance. As Blazer’s band rarely came down from the mountains, I was very surprised to see Withers walking in the field with her newborn colt on that spring day. Since Withers Jr. was a very small foal born to an older dam, I wondered if he would make it through the hot summer and cold winter to grow up to become a strong band stallion.
I did not see Withers Jr. very often and I do not know what happened to most of Blazer’s band. I am not even sure what happened to his dam Withers or his sire Blazer. I did discover that Marble and Zunni, who were part of Blazer’s band, are doing well and still on the range living with Dark Legs’ band. Dark Legs took over what was left of Blazer’s band after Blazer vanished. It was several years later before I noticed Withers Jr. again. He had joined Defiance Jr.’s band where he remained for a few years. In 2020, Withers Jr. was seen roaming the range as a bachelor, where he was undoubtedly learning to become a grown stallion. He is now the proud lead stallion of his own band, with three beautiful mares to protect!