“According to Lakota tradition, every Lakota baby that is born is given a wanagi. A wanagi is like a spirit from a star.” ~ Chynna Lockett
He was first seen as a colt by one of the Heber wild horse advocates prior to the Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002. He was only about two months old at the time and he was the first cremello she had seen in forest. She didn’t see him again until February of 2005. It became customary for him to disappear around Oct only to resurface in March of every year with a least one bachelor but usually three or four. They would hang with him for a few days then he would run them off. She often wondered if he had “babysat” them all winter in the canyons. Although she loved seeing him she didn’t give him a name because back then naming a wild one wasn’t something she did. It wasn’t until 2015 when a family that was local to the area named him Wanagi. She last saw Wanagi in 2020. There have been some more recent photos mislabeled as Wanagi.
Not all wild stallions are destined to be band stallions yet they all have purpose within the herd. As humans we often tend to anthropomorphize animals which on one hand is good because it helps to generate empathy and compassion for them. However we cannot let that cloud our understanding of their biological course in the world of nature. Horses are sentient beings with the capacity to have feelings and emotions but they are still different than humans. We often assign human feelings and characteristics to them, we give them names, we have our favorites and those we may not like so much, particularly if we feel they are in some way doing harm to the ones we favor. An example would be if a bachelor “steals” a mare from our favorite band stallion. Some would see the bachelor as an enemy of sorts while all he is doing is carrying out his role within the herd by adding to the depth of the gene pool which is crucial to the success of the herd.
Henry Beston said it best:
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”