Darcy Whitecrow: the Lac La Croix Ponies
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Darcy Whitecrow: the Lac La Croix Ponies

October 18, 2019

My name is Darcy Whitecrow. I am from the Seine River First Nations. Part of the Muskrat Clan. They are actually on the endangered species list. There was four remaining mares that were caught south of the park here in Lac La Croix First Nation. They were crossbred with the Ute Mustang which now brings up the herds to about 130 to 150. Fluctuating. Largely because of the fact that nature takes its course. This boy here was just recently gelded largely because of the fact that we already have a stud. And you can’t keep too many studs. His name is Naabesim. Each of the ponies all have their own Ojibwe name. It’s a spirit horse. Working with horses is a very beautiful thing as you will find. A lot of times, they are of a healing nature. Of course, this guy really wants to go where the good grass grows. People like to think that you pick a horse. In actual reality, it’s kind of a backwards thing where the horse actually picks you. We started breeding them. Our organization is run as a non-profit organization by Grey Raven Ranch. Basically, it’s a tool that we use to empower youth. Basically, it was created for youth to take on to protect their past, present and their future by looking after and breeding these horses. Reconnecting them to nature. Because a lot of times in society, we are bombarded by the age of technology. They’re training them and they’re not breaking them in the old way where they used to just jump on a horse and ride. It takes hours to do it this way where you are patiently working with them, petting them, teaching them how to back up. Watch this, I’ll show you exactly what I’m talking about… Back… back… back… Good boy. A horse is always looking for a master. You have to be confident, and you have to be stern with them. You’re the boss of them. And he’s looking for that confidence because he wants to feel protected. They might be a missing link largely because of the fact that there are still a lot of horse records that we need to collect as some of the research that we’re doing. Elders always spoke of these horses “being around.” They were like the deer. Back in the day It wasn’t an odd thing to see a whole herd of them running across the ice. There’s the horses! These ones are kind of special as you can tell. As a wild breed, they’ll eat bark, they’ll dig into the ground and eat the roots and technically they don’t really need a pasture. Some of the elders even said, “We used to feed them dried fish.” Mind you, we don’t feed them fish today. They have lots of hay, and we keep them in a protected environment largely because of the fact that we want the breed to come back up. We want it to survive. When ever we lose something of nature, it’s gone. It’s gone forever. Here, we’re actually protecting it, and we’re utilizing the youth at the same time, keeping them busy.

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