Finally … still waiting … huh?

21 06 2008

Where to start?

Duke

Look who finally decided to make an appearance!

Duke

Duke saw me; I saw Duke. I think we surprised each other. Just to the left (his right) is the little entrance to Wildcat Spring off the main loop road. He shied at something I couldn’t see, and although I didn’t think too much about it at the time, it may prove significant …

Grey\'s band

This photo of Grey/Traveler’s band is similar to one I had on the previous post. Who’s missing? The significant part is that Jif is NOT just off to the side like she was outside the frame of the previous pic. She wasn’t anywhere. This is the “huh?” part of this post’s title.

Almost all the northern bands were clustered right in the same area, just north of the little water hole off the doubletrack (I’m afraid it’s going to be dry in another week or two). The only band missing was Seven’s, and I thought Jif might have been with them (however unlikely). They were farther to the south – no Jif. So then I started wondering if she’s with Duke – what he shied at. I saw him before I saw any of the other horses (except the pinto family, from the county road, on my drive to the basin), and I wasn’t looking for any other horse(s) with him. I really, really, really hope she’s with him because I don’t really like the alternative. It’s like a flashback to Slate’s disappearance.

And the “still waiting” comes to rest, of course, right squarely on Alpha’s (still-) round belly. She looks completely serene and calm (how many babies has she had??) … but no baby yet.

Grey\'s band with bachelors nearby

Grey/Traveler’s band in the background with some of the Bachelor 6 nearby. Left to right, the bachelors are (in order of heads): Hook, Chrome, Aspen, Kreacher. They’re not *quite* as close as they look because of the compression caused by the telephoto lens, but they’re pretty close. It was like being in the Pryors with all the bands so close.

Mouse and Steeldust\'s band

This is just to the right of the previous photo: Mouse and Steeldust’s band. Mouse and Comanche – and sometimes bold Kreacher – are hanging out fairly close to the band. These pix were taken right from the road, and they were all just napping. It was hot (mid-90s) and windy, and the gnats are ferocious.

Bounce, Alegre and Gaia

Bounce, Alegre and Gaia. Look how big she’s getting! I didn’t realize I’d caught Gaia and Bounce in the same stride until I saw the photos on the computer. I don’t know whether Bounce is Gaia’s sire or not. He was gathered with Slate, but Alegre was not gathered.

Hollywood watches over Ember

Hollywood is a fierce protector of his adopted family, even though he’s not the band stallion. But that evening, when the band went to water, he drank right beside Mouse and Comanche – although he *was* between them and the band!

Hollywood and Baylee

Later in the day, here he’s watching over Baylee while she took a little snooze.

Molly, filly, Roja

Finally got a good look at Molly’s foal – I think she’s another filly. She’s sorrel like Roja, and not a white marking on her – like Roja. If I’m right about the resemblance between Molly and Roja, Roja is baby’s big sister.

Seven

Seven, later in the day, as they were headed to water.

Pinon and Ember

Pinon and Ember were playing together late in the day and stopped to scratch each other’s backs. The sun was just barely gone from a far ridge. That’s daddy Steeldust at left.

These are my favorite two photos of the whole day:

Pinon and Ember at sunset

Pinon, left, and Ember, wild, wild babies. I love how the light just cradles them in its glow.

Hollywood watches over Pinon and Ember

That’s Hollywood at left, guarding the babies. The only thing I did to these last photos was “unsharp mask” and a little cropping. That’s just how they came out of the camera.

At the risk of being totally mushy, I have to say again that each time I’m able to enter the basin and share the horses’ world is a blessing unmatched. Their world goes on with or without me, and as wild and beautiful as they are, for them to allow me to sit back and observe them and take photos of them is just crazy cool. I’m grateful to them. This day was really the first time in a long time I saw them just hang out in the same place without being constantly on the move with the bachelors following.

Looking for Jif, I went up on the tall mesa just north (northeast?) of Knife Ridge so I could look down on the whole area the horses have been frequenting recently. I didn’t see her, but they were still there, snoozing in the sunshine, seemingly not nearly as bothered by the gnats as I was.

I wonder sometimes how they see their world, about all the trails and good grazing and drinking spots they hold in their memories. The foals are starting to nibble on things, following their mothers’ examples. (Luna, by the way, is fat. I’m sorry, girl, but there’s just no other word! Ember was 2 months old Thursday, and Luna is just as broad as Alpha.) That evening, I saw them go to the water hole, and I circled around the bachelors to see what they did. Mahogany led the way, but Luna drank first, followed by Alpha, then Mahogany, then the rest of the band. Mouse and Comanche weren’t shy; they stepped right up to the water and drank, so Hollywood joined them – like they were pals. Was he careful to drink between them and the band, or was that pure coincidence? Ha. Doubt it.

Two last photos:

Alpha

One of my favorite-ever photos of Alpha, taken just near sunset.

Bachelors running

And this one: Chrome, Aspen and Hook, running through the June sunshine just before sunset. Happy boys.


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3 responses

21 06 2008
Billie

Geez TJ, hand me a kleenex would ya. You stated it so well. Until I found the mustangs, I just sat at home and felt sorry for myself. They have been the best therapy in the world. How can you not be upbeat and happy watching them.
I love love love the picture of Alpha taken near sunset. I think it is my favorite of this bunch with the one of Hollywood and Baylee coming in a close second. I love all of your pictures, you really know how to take pictures.
Billie

22 06 2008
Amanda

I love that picture of Alpha too, and the one of the babies limned in light. Your pictures are poetry. Thank you, thank you for sharing your Spring Creek family with everyone!
Amanda

22 06 2008
TJ

May I paraphrase you, Amanda? The *horses* are poetry, and I’m just lucky to be in a position to help spread the word! And, Billie, yes, they are therapy for the soul! Sometimes I go out there raging at the world at the end of the week. By the time I leave the horses, I’ve got this can’t-kill-it grin on my face. They’re magic.
TJ

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