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8 02 2008

I am still waiting anxiously to get out to the herd area (lots and lots of snow in this region), although I finally remembered the cattle that are in the herd area – or were in December. I realized someone must be trucking hay to them – unless they managed to get in, round them up and haul them out – so the road may be passable at least to the entrance of the herd area. I may give it a try this weekend.

In other news, I plan to attend the first Wild Horse & Burro Program national advisory board meeting of 2008, which will be held Feb. 25 in Tucson, Ariz. I haven’t heard about my status on the board, but given that it’s almost mid-February and my application was in by early December, I think I didn’t make it. However, the meeting is open to the public, and the Spring Creek board has encouraged me to go. I hope to report on the events of that meeting when I get back. (If anyone reading plans to attend, please let me know!)

Also, I was recently asked to speak to the Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen group at their March meeting (which will be held the week after I get back from Tucson) about my documentation project in the basin, as well as the other herds I’ve visited and roundup alternatives. Me, get to talk about my favorite subject?! I have been told there are time limits …! What I am most looking forward to is talking with people who have stories of their own to share about the horses. Relatively speaking, I’m a newcomer to this herd. I strongly believe that collaboration is one key to protection of our wild horse herds, and I’m eager to learn other people’s ideas.

My friend Claude Steelman, a professional wildlife photographer based in Durango, spent time last year visiting and photographing horses in all four of Colorado’s herd management areas (Little Book Cliffs is, of course, a wild horse range). He has a book coming out later this year with a collection of those photos. Visit his Web site at www.wildshots.com for more samples of his work (awesome!). In his new “Wild Horse Gallery,” the black and white photo of the grey horse trotting away from the photographer/viewer is Grey (Traveler)! Isn’t it stunning? What’s more amazing is that it is one of just a couple of photos Claude was able to fire off after the trailer door was opened and Traveler was released (Sept. 19, 2007). That photo is an example of what separates us amateurs from the pros – and it is part of what has me so excited to see the other photos of wild horses he has “captured” with his camera.

 Now, speaking of photos, I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos taken in the basin last fall:

Grey sunset

Grey (Traveler) at sunset in the basin on Oct. 14. This was the first time since his release that I had seen him; he was with six other bachelors. He has been alternately with all of them, some of them and alone since that time.

Molly

This is Molly, the muley bay released mare, with grey stallion Kreacher in the background. Their family also includes sorrel mare Roja. I think Roja is young, and I’m sure she’s pregnant. I’m unsure about Molly’s pregnancy status at this time. Harry Potter fans will recognize the name “Kreacher.” The day of this photo, Oct. 20, 2007, was the first time I saw this band, and I thought, “What an ugly creature.” Pretty easy to name him after that! Molly doesn’t have the best conformation herself, but she has a sweet face.

Cinch, Corazon and Twister

That’s Cinch in the lead (you can see the belt-like marking on his side that gave him his name), followed by Corazon and Twister. I had seen these horses – and figured out it was two bachelor stallions with an orphan – earlier in the day (also Oct. 20). I took this photo from my Jeep out on the county road along the edge of the herd area. I couldn’t believe my luck to see them twice. This pic is pretty heavily cropped. The next time I saw Twister, he was with his current family: Seven, Houdini and Two Boots.

Bachelor boys

This is one of my favorite pix from all the years I’ve been visiting the horses. These are four of the “Bachelor 7,” from left, Aspen (note his upside-down Aspen-leaf star), Hook (see the “hook” of his snip between his nostrils), Duke (the leader) and Chrome (you can see his big blaze here but not his four stockings). Taken near sunset Nov. 4, 2007.

Seven defends

Another of my favorite pix. That’s Seven at left, just a few minutes after the photo right above this was taken, chasing the bachelor boys away from his mare, Houdini, and their foals, Two Boots and Twister. He looks very determined, doesn’t he? This is a very promising young stallion, I think. There are two young mares in Steeldust’s band, Piedra and Rosa, and I’m unsure if they’re his daughters or if he picked them up after they were kicked out of their sires’ bands. They don’t look pregnant, so I’ve guessed their ages at 3. If they ARE his daughters, he’ll likely kick them out this spring. If that happens, where will they end up? Will one of those bachelor boys get lucky, or might Seven add them to his family?


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4 responses

9 02 2008
Lea Williams

Absolutely love the pictures. We have mustangs from Oregon. Mustangs are my passion. Thanks for your blog.
Lea

9 02 2008
TJ

These mustangs have become MY passion! I can only imagine how you feel about the horses you have welcomed into your family. I hope to one day enjoy a closer relationship with one of these horses. I just spent some time looking online at a site for Oregon mustangs; I didn’t realize there were so many herd areas in Oregon. Now I want to put Oregon on my list of places to visit!

9 02 2008
Lea Williams

You need to visit. We have a Kiger, Jackies Butte, one from CA – Ravensdale, and Beauttys Butte. Love them. All gentle and sweet natured. Lea

11 02 2008
TJ

Have you visited any of those herd areas? I bet it would be such a cool thing to visit your horses’ “hometowns,” so to speak. I’d also be willing to bet that at least part of their gentle, sweet natures is because of your handling! 🙂

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