Patti Mosbey: ‘What happened to Ruby’ the wild mare? |

Patti Mosbey: ‘What happened to Ruby’ the wild mare?

Patti Mosbey/For the Craig Daily Press
Ruby stands with her protector Coal.
Coal & Ruby

Survival of the fittest and determination sums up the life of a wild horse or mustang as some choose to call them.

Sand Wash Basin in Northwest Colorado is home to one of the most renowned wild horse herds in America, maybe in the world. For most of the last year, the fans of multiple Facebook pages have asked the question “What happened to Ruby?”

Ruby is a small red filly that was separated last summer from her family at just about a month of age.

Watching this little red orphan trying to fit into another band, which was not allowed, became painful to many of us. For a short time a rescue was considered, as it seemed little Ruby was slowly starving to death. Her fragile, undeveloped digestive system was not equipped to be without her mother’s milk.

When Ruby met up with the amazing gentle giant Coal, a bachelor stallion he became her protector and the hero to all who followed the news of Ruby. Often seen around Lake Draw Pond, it was the first place many of us would check on to see how she was getting along.

It was with great sorrow as we witnessed firsthand one day as her and Coal became separated. It was days before she was discovered again with him. As the summer wore on her thin little body just didn’t seem to be gaining much if any strength.

In September of last year, I saw Ruby for the last time as she was grazing peacefully alongside another bachelor while Coal was sparring for a band of his own. I was ever grateful she was not close by and possibly getting caught in the middle of the scuffle.

Making many trips to Sand Wash, ever looking for a small red filly in the distance and eventually giving up hope of finding this treasure came to an amazing discovery yesterday.

As I focused in on the red young filly my heart skipped a beat and I gasped to think, “could this be our Ruby?” I recognized the stallion as a bachelor, but who was the pinto horse, was that another stallion?

The mares would never seem to want her around. As the larger pinto moved I verified that indeed, that was a mare, but his red filly didn’t fit with any of my descriptions or mares and foals.

Upon arriving home I sent the photo to Heather Robson, in New Zealand. Heather, although never visiting the Sand Wash Basin knows our horses better than anyone else. She knew immediately that it was indeed Ruby! I went through several of my photos, examining any detail to confirm the identity; she has few features to gone on. But after some thought we are sure that this is our Ruby.

She has been friended by an older mare and now is part of this small new family band, Skip, Feather and Ruby. More of her story and photos is available on Sand Wash Advocate Team Facebook page.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.