Well …

20 07 2008
Somebody's pregnant ...

Somebody's pregnant ...

… I think? Our girl’s still holding on. Here’s something weird for ya: Today is 11 months to the day from the first day of the roundup last year. Alpha was gathered Aug. 21. Even if she’s not pregnant, the basin is never a bad place to spend the weekend (unless it rains and the road turns to slime).

Luna, the buckskin butterball in the photo above, has a filly that’s 3 months old now. She should be pregnant for next year.

Most of the ponies look really good. Jif still seems thin; I wouldn’t say she’s 100 percent sound. Molly’s also thin as an older mama nursing a baby, but she’s doing OK. I didn’t see Seven and the girls this weekend except from a distance. I had the good fortune to come across Poco, Bones and Roach both days, and despite her weird hip, she has filled out and looks pretty good.

Bones

Bones

She’s really a cutie, but it’s hard to get a flattering photo of her.

Poco and Bones

Poco and Bones

Here she’s looking better. Both times I saw the band, Bones was closer to Roach than to Poco, but Poco is definitely the leader of the pack.

Poco

Poco

That prominent outcropping in the background can be seen from almost everywhere in the basin. I’ve never been sure if that’s McKenna Peak or if another, sort of flat-topped “peak” nearby is McKenna. I probably ought to look at a map sometime – who needs a map when you know where you’re going or how to get where you want to go on the wild pony super-highways? McKenna Peak also lends its name to the wilderness study area that fills the southernmost end of the herd area. Poco got rid of most of his spines, it looks like – most importantly, the one right below his eye.

Roach

Roach

I love this guy. He just never gets ruffled. I’m always happy to spot his copper coat against the sage green of some distant hill.

Sundance

Sundance

Mr. Sundance, just off the road between the two intersections. The ponies were easier to find this weekend and were in the same general area both days. Sundance and Butch look very similar with just subtle differences. The dapples are a dead give-away that identify this rose-grey boy as Sundance.

Steeldust and Ember

Steeldust and Ember

Daddy’s little girl – Steeldust and Ember. Steeldust is a pretty good band sire. Even though he’s had to be constantly vigilant since April or so, when the bachelors started hanging around, he seems to take it all in stride. He doesn’t hound his mares, but he’s quick to discourage a bachelor that may get too close to his girls.

Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo

Pinon, down for a nap, seen through Mouse’s legs. Mouse was waiting his turn at a water seep (being hogged by Butch, Sundance and Luna), and I sneaked this photo from just off the road.

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

Family is the most important thing to wild horses. Sure, they have their disagreements – when Luna thought Butch and Sundance had had enough from the seep, she pawed at them to move them along – but what I love the most is that the youngsters – yearlings Baylee and Kestrel and babies Ember and Pinon – are as comfortable with any horse in the band as with their own mothers.

Grey/Traveler and his band are roaming around his old home territory, and they seem to keep the water catchment at the center of their wanderings. Bounce and Alegre were elusive Saturday, but they were out in the open today back in the east. The pintos were down in the meadow by the county road near dark, and at least a couple of the bachelors – Ty and Mesa? – were nearby.

No rain yesterday, but it was crazy-windy last night. Lightning flashed sporadically to the west and south, but nary a drop of rain did we receive in the basin. Today, I stood in the sunshine while random drops of rain fell from a huge dark cloud directly above us! By around 2, the clouds were building, and I judged it might be time to head out. I was going to go the back way – to the Dolores-Norwood Road to Dolores – but it looked pretty wicked that way, so I went the highway instead. I mention this because as I was driving up the switchbacks from Slickrock and the Dolores River canyon, I looked back toward the basin. In the middle of a vast purple curtain of rain, a giant spotlight beamed through the clouds – right onto my beloved Spring Creek Basin. God must love the wild ones as much as I do. As if I needed such a blatant sign.


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