By Deb Sutherland
Shaggy was born in a canyon in the Virginia Range in 2012 and has always had a beautiful copper shimmer to his coat that could be seen from far away. That’s how I could always tell him apart from the other buckskins in the valley. His sire was the black and white Canyon Phantom who roamed the range for over 21 years and had many mares and offspring. To tell the history of one horse always involves sharing about the lives of other horses on the range, as they are all intertwined in some way and Shaggy is connected to so many wild ones here in Stagecoach Valley.
Maxey was Shaggy’s dam and one of the Canyon Phantom’s mares when Shaggy was born. Shaggy’s “half-sister” Saddle Shoe was also born that year to Canyon Phantom’s mare Broken Hinds. On summer days I would go to the canyon and watch Shaggy and Saddle Shoe play together, get drinks from the spring, and nap in the shade of the pinyon pines.
Shaggy and Saddle Shoe remained close for the first few years of their lives until Shaggy finally became a bachelor in 2014 and left his birth family. Shaggy’s best bachelor buddy was Flashy and for over a year they would run together all over the range.
Shaggy has many other “half siblings” still living in Stagecoach Valley. His younger half- brothers, Godfry (born 2018), Dark Shadow (born 2019), Mini (born 2020), and Bryson (born 2021), all share the same dam, Maxey. Maxey and her colt Bryson are now living with Black Hawk’s band. Godfry and Dark Shadow belong to Glaze’s band and Saddle Shoe is now in Tracker’s band after spending most of her life living with Two Socks.
Over the years of knowing Shaggy, I saw that he was very determined when it came to getting what he wanted. When he was still a bachelor, he fought his best buddy Flashy and a few other stallions, Goldie and Two Socks, for custody of Bodie Braveheart’s band when Bodie suddenly died. Bodie’s band wandered the range in confusion without him for several months until these stallions took turns trying to keep them engaging in daily stallion battles.
One evening I saw that Shaggy had finally managed to win the band when Two Socks and Grandpa, (Grandpa is Two Sock’s sire who was also his Lieutenant) started up the hill to where Shaggy had the band. Without hesitation, Shaggy went charging at both of them! Shaggy fought the aggressive duo, chased them away, then returned to guard his new family. Near the end of 2016, Shaggy did lose this family to Flashy for good this time and Shaggy was a bachelor again. For several years after that, I would see him once in a while but he was always alone.
Then two years ago I was in the canyon photographing some wild horses and realized that the large band in front of me on the hill with many mares and new foals was Shaggy and his new family! He wasn’t alone anymore and I was so happy to see him. Shaggy now has ten members in his band, including himself. Granny and her colt Dublin, Fergie and her fillies Krista and Jamille, Frosted and her filly Sutro and her colt Buckley along with Atsa who just joined the family recently. Shaggy still has his determination to guard his family watching them through his very shaggy forelock and his coat still has that copper shimmer making him easy to spot from far away.