Steeldust update

25 10 2011

He’s home! His forever home, with Melissa and his grandson Varoujan, now called Banjo. Can’t tell you all how my heart sings with this news.

From Melissa: “I sprung Steeldust from prison yesterday and got home at around 7:00pm. I pulled the trailer around to the round pen and Banjo came running up whinnying & greeting his granddaddy. I unloaded the Boss, and they nuzzled through the fence and greeted each other. I checked on them all night as they stayed side by side through the fence as the weather moved in & it spit snow & was windy. This morning I let Banjo into the pen with Steeldust and he did a run in a circle around him kicking & farting. I moved my chair into the pen along with a small pile of hay I placed under the chair. Banjo came trotting right up to eat of course. About 5 minutes later Steeldust decided I wasn’t going to eat him alive and cautiously came up and began to eat out of my hand. He had been here less than 12 hours but is eating out of my hand. I keep going in every hour or so to sit & offer more handfuls of hay. He has certainly lost weight in Canon City and he is ribby & hippy and sunken in a bit.”

How’s that for a 20-year-old former wild stallion! Banjo at right.

It’s a process …

Love this. 🙂

Feeding them both.

Banjo and his granddaddy, reunited.

More from Melissa: “You really CAN see his true age up close especially by his head & eyes. When I picked him up, there was a vet there drawing blood from the new group of horses. They put him in the squeeze chute to put his halter on and load him which went very fast & easy. His teeth are VERY worn. The vet said they need to be floated when he gets to the point that he can be handled but said that he is in remarkable shape for a 20 year old wild fellow who had held his position as a band stallion for so long. He concurred with the other vet that Steeldust is indeed around 20 yrs old and they put down 1991′ as his foaling year on the paperwork. He is a good size with nice strong, straight, long legs with good feet & canon bone. His eyes are hollow with weight loss and age but are very kind. He is not quite the fire breathing dragon right now in spite of his full body scars that give you the impression that he is. (we’ll see what he’s like when he gets weight back on him) but he is currently NOT the aggressive fellow that was expected after so many years as a fighting band stallion. It is expected that it will take about 20 months for all the testosterone to be out of his system. (one month per year of age) But I don’t have any mares anyway or any reason for him to feel the NEED to fight. I may not need to put up the extenders on the top of the pen if I don’t pressure him too much during the gentling process. Banjos presence seems to give him comfort & confidence without the need to fight for anything.

“There is weather expected and we should get a few inches of snow tonight. Last night I mixed up some bran with hot water & mixed in sweet mix and chunks of carrots & applesauce and mixed it all together in a hot mash with crunched up hay in a pan and gave that to him around 4:00am. It was all gone this morning so now that he has the taste for it, I will be able to give him a hot bran mash every night to get some core heat going during this cold snap till he can start to put some fat on. Our winters at 9,600ft can be bitter cold sometimes and this old man is going into winter without a lot of fat reserves on him.  I am hoping he settles into a peaceful retirement here in the mountains and am glad he didn’t end up in a can of dog food somewhere. He is truly the poster child of the tough, hardy, intelligent, wild mustang that belongs to America. I feel honored to have such a iconic old warrior in my front yard and be able to give him a safe place to live out the rest of his life if it was not to be as a “wild one”. As an old man he would probably not have had a very pleasant or comfortable end in the wild and his days as a band stallion were coming rapidly to an end. Here he will at least be well fed & cared for for the rest of his life as well as sharing it with a family member in Banjo.”

Happy days for this valiant elder. SUPER update! 🙂



13 responses

25 10 2011
Tami Lewis

For a non emotional girl I sure am crying. Thank you Melissa. You have given those of us who deeply cared for Steeldust a gift. I am so happy to see him in loving hands. Thank you.

25 10 2011
Linda Horn

Tears of joy from me as well. TJ, I was about to shut things down for the night when this wonderful news came though. Melissa, thank you for being one of many wild horse angels who have opened their hearts and homes to save the Basin’s mustangs. This is a truly remarkable saga of both heartbreak and unparalleled success. It deserves a book, and we all know the lady who should write it!

25 10 2011
Alice Billings

Bless you… warms my heart to read about Steeldust coming home to his forever home….and with his grandson… great is that….

Go girl!

26 10 2011
Puller Lanigan

What a beautiful story and so glad he gets to be with his grandson who will help show him the way. Many thanks for offering a safe and warm place for this old warrior.

26 10 2011

Melissa, I think you gave Steeldust the best gift- a safe place and someone to love and take care of him. After his long life in the wild I’m sure he’ll appreciate being able to relax in complete safety. Thank you for saving him.

TJ, thanks for the update.

26 10 2011
Julie Onshus

Poor guy to be that old and taken from what he knew all his life and then to be 20 and gelded on top of it. So glad to hear he will have a super special friend, and pampering the rest of his life.

26 10 2011

Good on ya, Melissa! Such good news!
Thanks for the post TJ.
More good news to counter the bad news that is so often attached to the mustang saga. Really appreciate all you do.

26 10 2011
Karen Schmiede

So happy for Steeldust and Banjo, and the great people that adopted them.

26 10 2011

Lots of happy-happy-happy-grateful wishes going out to these boys and all the others who were adopted AND their adopters! 🙂

28 10 2011
Lynn and Kathy

Amen! You are all “angels” and we hope you’ll treasure these horses as we did while they were in Spring Creek Basin, and still do now that they have forever homes!!

29 10 2011

I must look awful. A grown man driving around in a police car with tears streaming down his face. First off I want to thank Melissa for taking this great old man into her home. Next thank you TJ for everything you do. I really lost it when I saw the photos. I remember all the pics TJ posted of this magnificent proud band stallion but seeing him now almost broke my heart. I know it has to be done but it kills me. Im sure ya’ll feel the same. I know Melissa will bring him back as best she can but it hurts my heart to see him in a pen. Please dont take that wrong because I dont mean it that way. I just love to see the wild spirt in these horses. This is probably best for him at his age. I noticed he was starting to loose some of the domanance he had and He might have been hurt or killed this next year.

30 10 2011

What a heart-warming story. It is sad to see him in a pen, thin and gelded but so happy to see him have such a loving gentle retirement. Thanks to Melissa for keeping some family together and providing such a wonderful home to him and Banjo. He will soon be a loyal and grateful friend.

2 11 2011
Pat Amthor

I agree, a book is in order, maybe a children’s book. Thanks to Melissa for taking Steeldust and TJ and the WBP for allowing this to happen. What wonderful caring!

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