Finally pintos – March 16, 2008

17 03 2008

As the saying goes, I have good news, and I have bad news. The bad news isn’t so bad in the overall scheme of things.

The good news is that I found the pintos today. More good news: Shadow was with them.

That brings us to the bad news: Ceal was NOT with them.

Which brings us back to more good news: The pintos did adopt Ceal’s 2007 black filly, Shadow – as I hoped they would. And, if Ceal did die this winter, it means she lived her entire life in the wild; a beautiful life for any wild horse.

Ceal and Shadow

Ceal and Shadow on Nov. 11, 2007.

Ceal with the pintos

I saw Ceal with the pintos in the very south of the herd area on April 22, 2007. Here she’s with a pinto yearling. The horse second from left is Chipeta.

Ceal and sorrel yearling

This has always been one of my favorite photos, just because of the way Ceal’s yearling is trying to hide behind mama but is just too curious to resist peeking out to look. When I took this photo, May 15, 2004, Ceal was with Roach (sorrel stallion) and Poco (solid bay) up in the northeast section of the herd area. Roach and Poco are still together, and still in the northeast.

The pintos all look healthy and in good condition. The wind was strong today, and it helped with some long-term observation of the group as they grazed on a high meadow south of Round Top. The first time I saw them last fall, they were in a meadow just east of where I found them today. I was able to get behind a little juniper, which not only helped with horse observation but also as a slight (very slight) wind break.

They wandered around in the same area for quite a while. Shadow has some spunk. Once, when she walked past Bruiser, she stopped to nibble on his forelock. He didn’t seem to mind.

Shadow teasing Bruiser

Now that I have completed the original documentation of the horses, I feel like I really have time to pay attention to their behavior! It’s the coolest!

Pintos

That’s Bruiser at left, Shadow walking and Kiowa grazing at right.

While I was watching the pintos from behind the tree, I saw Corazon farther north toward Round Top. It was when I was paying attention to him, trying to determine if he was with Cinch and the others that Chipeta, watchful girl, saw me. Bruiser saw her alert to me, and the jig was up.

Once they see me, I always figure the best thing to do is stand in full view so they can see me and hopefully decide there’s nothing to fear. At that point, I usually take some photos of them milling around and then leave. I don’t want them to lose their wariness, and I do want to give them plenty of space.

Chipeta and Reya

This one is for Rachelle, who has a little sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. 🙂 Chipeta, right, is 3 now, I think, and Reya is Kiowa’s 2007 foal. All three were gathered and released (along with stallion Bruiser) last August. Chipeta and Reya aren’t sisters (that I know of), but because of that, I thought this picture showed the strong bond wild horses share with their band mates. Chipeta was closer to Reya when the “alarm” went up, so Reya chose to go to her “big sister” for protection.

Kiowa and Chipeta

That’s Kiowa at left with Chipeta.

Bruiser and Reya

Bruiser in the foreground with Reya visible at left and Shadow barely visible between his legs. Tough guy!

After they saw me, I didn’t hang around too long. I hope it was just the right amount of time because although they milled around some, they didn’t go anywhere; they just watched me as I left.

I had seen another horse with Corazon, so I headed north to figure out who else was with him. The last time I saw Corazon was last Sunday. He was with Cinch, Ty and Mesa, and they picked up David and his muley bay sidekick (who still needs a name!) near the water hole south of Round Top when the other bands came together. Mesa ditched his pals that day to see what excitement he could find with Steeldust’s band and Aspen, Hook and Comanche. After I saw Corazon today, I eventually picked out Cinch and David … then, through the binoculars, the muley boy picking on Ty.

 Bachelors play

At upper left is David (with the blaze) and Cinch, and in the bottom right corner are Ty (black, rearing) and the muley bay. I saw Corazon … and then, off by himself, Mesa. The muley bay and Ty played and played, both of them getting the other to go to their knees by biting, and ended up chasing each other around and around David and Cinch and finally getting those two to join in the fun. The above photo is very cropped. They disappeared over that ridge in the near background, and I kept heading southwest. The wind would have been blowing my scent right to them at that point – if they were paying attention.

They ended up running back toward me, between me and the water hole. Mister Ty thought he would show off his courage by trotting up a little hill toward me. But he just shook his head and took off toward his pals.

Courageous Ty

It looks like there could be something wrong with his right eye, but it’s mud. Close up, he doesn’t look very true black, does he? He has more of a “sunburned” look than either Bounce or Shadow, the only other black horses in the basin.

I love these boys – the bachelors. They’re so much fun to watch! They don’t give you much time to shoot, and even when they’re trying out their “muscle,” they quickly revert to being little boys.

While I was watching them, I was also scanning the area around the water hole with my binoculars. On this trip, I wanted to find the pintos and, if possible, Ceal and Shadow. I also wanted to look for Kreacher and Slate. Because of the shake-up I found last weekend, I thought Slate might be with Kreacher. It would be weird because she’s a north horse, and he’s a south horse, but Seven did steal Kreacher’s mares. I have seen Seven (with Houdini and the foals) mainly north of Round Top but also over in the northeast and to the west, north of Flat Top. That doesn’t mean the horses don’t go places where I haven’t seen them, but I do think about where I’ve seen them before when I’m out looking for them.

So while I was scanning the area, I saw a grey horse with a blaze west of the water hole. He was down in a shallow arroyo, and he was some distance away, but I knew it was him. I couldn’t see another horse. I walked around the north side so I wouldn’t spook him.

Kreacher

He was alone. That’s a bank of snow clouds behind him, oddly enough. It was WINDY in the basin today, but I had pretty good weather – mostly cloudy skies. It did snow as I hiked out, but I could almost have counted each flake as they fell. 

So, another mystery solved – Kreacher is alone – but it leaves a mystery: Where in the heck is Slate?

I didn’t drive into the basin today. I parked off the county road and hiked in, so I didn’t see any other horses. I should have more time next weekend. None of the mares I’ve seen look terribly close to foaling, but of course, I’m anticipating!


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