I don't think it is the orphans that show that level of fear as much as the ones that were purposely left behind or chased away or hurt by the other horses. I have also found that most of the orphans want very much to be with whatever "band" there is. Chilly Pepper wanted to be with the horses. I think that when a baby is chased away from the band, or like in Honey Bandit's case, almost killed by the other horses, they are scared because of that. Because when the band "chases them away", if they don't stay away, they will often kill them.
Suri was not allowed to "join" a new band in the wild because she had no mommy with her, but she wasn't "chased away in a manner that was saying - you are sick so we will kill you if you follow us", and she did not have any fear of the others at all. Of course she did the "I am a baby chew, please don't hurt me", but even though she had not been allowed to actually join the new band that was in her area, they didn't scare her, as she had never been chased away in a "deadly" or seriously life threatening manner. So she had no fear whatsoever.
The last 10 years that I have spent doing this stuff I don't think I have ever noticed a "healthy" baby with this kind of nervousness, only ones that were weak or sick and left behind because of that. Seems like the orphans just want their families back. Could be coincidence, but we found a baby on the trail here in Shingletown that had been left behind because it had obvious issues. We took it to camp, the band happened to be in the meadow, and the mommy called it over. She would not let it nurse at all during the night (but she let it stay with her) and the next morning the other mares in the band started killing it. We interceded but had no supplies to care for it in time and he died later that day. That was also kind of a unique experience. Shows how much the mares love their babies, but that the strong survive is not just a saying, and they will not let a sick or crippled foal stay with the band because it attracts predators. God gave them an amazing intuition as to who would survive and be able to keep up. That is why our wild mustangs are so awesome and so healthy.
Rocky will be fine, just like HB, but he simply shows a bigger than normal fear of other horses. In the beginning, HB was the same way. But now he has Pete who is a very big horse and they are best buddies. We will be letting them hang out little by little and let them ease into their "bonding" in their own time frames. Horses are like people I guess, they all need to make friends on their own time, and at their own pace, and our personalities are often formed by our early experiences. I do know that when Rocky bonds with his "horse friends", he will definitely by very protective of his "band".
Anyway, have a great day and if anyone knows anyone with some "left over" insulation, plywood, or lumber from a project, or you are good at fundraising or getting donations, we need to get the "permanent nursery" done quickly. I have heard, (but don't know any personally), that often times there are materials left over from construction projects.
THANK YOU FROM ALL OF US!
Palomino & The Gang
Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang