Under Kola’s Sky - Kola’s legacy lives on
One peaceful summer day in late July of 2013, a Navajo foal paint, with a bright star and cross on her forehead, and four long wobbly legs rearing to run, was born on the open rangelands of the Navajo Nation. The skies were clear and full of promise for this little filly and her mother who grazed in freedom along with their family band. Little did they know that trouble was brewing, and that these precious moments together would soon be in jeopardy.
Just a few weeks later Navajo leader Ben Shelly introduced an act that mandated wild horse roundups across the 27,000 mile reservation. In less than a month’s time Navajo Government Rangers were on the ground storming private properties and sweeping up horses, foals and burros from their Native open rangelands. Many Navajo (Dine’) people were caught by surprise, some were injured as they fought under threat of arrest to save their most dear and sacred horses which were taken away from them.
The turbulent roundups continued daily making their way toward the peaceful area where the little Navajo paint filly, “Kola” and her mother called home. By the end of August sweet Kola, her mother, and countless other mares and foals together with their family bands had been chased down by motorized 4WD vehicles. During the aftermath of the brutal roundups that continued through September, many horses and foals were injured, and some died as they ran for their lives.
Kola was found, weak and in a state of shock at a local stockyard, together with several other orphaned foals, many of which like Kola, were just weeks old. Too young to be weaned; their lives were in grave danger after losing their mothers. The trauma of the ordeal would sadly be too much for several of them, but 17 surviving foals including Kola were rescued and evacuated out of New Mexico under the Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF) Navajo Horses Rescue and Recovery Mission. Deprived of their Mother's milk to nourish and protect them, it would now take many months to restore their delicate systems with special milk-replacer feeds and immune building supplements to help them be able to grow and thrive. Expert equine veterinarians and professional rescue team members worked around the clock day in and day out to help these little horse babies recover.
News of the rescue mission went viral and soon Kola and her family of little orphan foals had fans and supporters from around the world. Kola which means Friend in Lakota was kind and sweet to the other orphan foals she had come to know. She was always looking out for them and keeping a watchful eye for their safety.
Kola and her friends had the hands of angels upon them and were bathed in love from the time they were rescued. However for sweet Kola her struggles were far beyond what anyone could imagine. Kola was a fighter and a survivor, but she could not withstand the injuries she sustained as a result of the brutal roundups, and losing her Mother at just weeks old. Kola was surrounded in sacred beauty through to her final moments by the entire team of kind and compassionate veterinarians and loving volunteers who never once gave up on her.
Kola was laid to rest in our American Indian way at the Prayer Tie Sacred Tree at the WFLF Sacred Hearts Firelight South Ranch. And within moments the sky’s dark clouds from which rain poured down all day broke open, and the rains came to a stop. The clouds parted way and the sun cast its eye of light onto the Prayer Tie Sacred Tree. There she was up in the sky. Kola was seen running to her loving mother who’s thankful and loving eyes welcomed her home.
Kola’s sweet gentle spirit will live on forever as a true Ambassador for the world’s horses. This brave little warrior taught by example of how to forgive and trust in the face of betrayal… and how to be strong against all odds. She lived her short life with honor and courage. And, just as she looked out for her family of orphaned foal friends, Kola now continues to watch over all the little foals. Under Kola’s skies she is seen flying high, looking out for the horse nation.
On that same fateful day when Kola came home, and as Kola’s sky magically opened, there suddenly appeared four previously missing orphan Navajo foals who had been stranded and lost after losing their mothers during the roundups out on the range. And though it had been days since they had been lost, somehow, these four sacred Navajo foals survived.
One week later after Kola came home, her two-legged loved ones gathered in a traditional American Indian ceremony under the Prayer Tie Sacred Tree to honor Kola and her life. It was the first day of sunshine since Kola came home, and for the four formerly stranded orphan Navajo foals it was their first day in their new forever home.
The significant marking of time in the lives of these sacred Navajo foals, sends a powerful message of just how delicate and precious life is, and how important it is to protect and honor these majestic beings. These holy and sacred Navajo foals are healing our hearts and showing the world how horses and burros can in truth heal our lands. Through Kola’s inspirational story of courage and survival, she will continue to strengthen our hearts and bring us hope for generations to come.
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This has been a devastating loss on many levels. WFLF has very big vet expenses. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to help off set these costs or help with vet expenses for other equines as the urgent need arises, please consider making a donation today. Thank you