Hide ‘n’ seek

13 10 2008

Brr! Who turned down the thermostat? We have been enjoying a beautiful Indian summer, and the aspen this autumn have been fabulous. But an arctic wind blew in this weekend, and I think it brought a little bit of winter. We didn’t get as much rain as we were hoping for yesterday, but today was gorgeous – if chilly. In the basin, we hit a high temperature of just 48 degrees today.

The ponies are playing hide ‘n’ seek lately, in the search for grazing, I think. I looked pretty hard for Poco, Bones and Roach, but I didn’t see them. Neither did I see Seven’s band or David and Shadow. Did see everybody else! But it took some looking.

My first outing was lucky. I parked at my favorite hike-in spot along the county road and just walked in hoping to see something. Voila! The pintos were on the “bench” of their favorite hill. Mr. Mesa is limping a bit on his left front leg, but he was keeping up with the band just fine. Corazon was right in among the mares, but Copper still seems to be kinda sorta in charge …? One big happy family!

Kiowa

Kiowa

There may or may not be a clear leader among the boys, but Kiowa – of course! – is first lady.

I went up the hill, found a tree and waited for them to graze their way up on top.

Corazon and girls

Corazon and girls

There’s Corazon at left with Chipeta and Kiowa in back. This was right after they realized I was sitting by the tree.

Chipeta

Chipeta

Brave Chipeta checks me out while Spook and Kiowa graze in the background.

Reya and Chipeta

Reya and Chipeta

Yearling Reya seems so big now. She looks just like mama Kiowa.

Spook

Spook

Baby Spook is growing fast!

Boys and girls

Boys and girls

This is the closest I’ve seen Mesa, left, to the other horses; the other boys usually keep him at a distance. Copper is closest to the girls, then Kiowa and Reya and Spook.

All together now

All together now

This is how I left the ponies; Ty finally decided to be in the picture. From left: Ty, Chipeta in front of Corazon, Reya in front of Mesa, and Spook, Copper and Kiowa at right.

Later, from the summit of Round Top, I saw these guys right in the same exact spot. I felt pretty good about that, that I left them undisturbed.

I have only a couple more pictures because I didn’t see any other horses from other than a distance. Grey/Traveler and his band were south of Filly Peak on the east side of the hill east of the corrals. The recent rain was obvious in some standing water here and there, but the road was easily drivable like last week. It was VERY windy, and that wind had an edge to it. It was a gorgeous day but chilly.

On the way to Round Top, I saw Duke reunited with Aspen and Comanche, and by their body language, I thought Steeldust’s band was near, but they must have been tucked up against the hill where I couldn’t see them.

I decided to hike up on Round Top with the hope of spotting Poco, Bones and Roach, who have been MIA for several weeks now. But they remain so. I did find Bruiser and Cinch, slightly northeast of Round Top. When I drove around the loop, I got out a couple of times and did short hikes to see over hills … nada. Dunno where those ponies are. I’d really like to find Bones to see if she has good weight going into the winter or if she has gotten real thin again like last fall.

Bounce, Alegre and Gaia were back in the east pocket beyond the water hole (oh, the pond south of Round Top is still dry, just like the pond by Flat Top). They’ve traveled a bit since we saw them up in the north Tuesday.

Chrome, Kreacher and Hook were on a hill above the north road. I saw them from about halfway between the two intersections heading toward the dugout, but I decided to go back toward where I had seen Duke, Aspen and Comanche earlier to see if Steeldust’s band was actually down there. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, they all started walking around the base of the finger hills.

Steeldust and Co.

Steeldust and Co.

Hollywood is still defending Piedra and Baylee. Mouse tried to sniff noses with Baylee, but Hollywood stepped in and put an end to that!

On the way out, Grey/Traveler and his band were in the “valley” south of the water catchment.

Late light

Late light

A beautiful, nearly full moon was rising above the eastern hills as I left.

I wanted to add a thank you to Sara Coulter of Ridgway. She’s with the San Juan Corridors Coalition, and after a suggestion from artist Karen Keene Day, who spends summers in Ouray with husband Floyd (one of their daughters and grandsons live in Ridgway), Pati and David Temple with the National Mustang Association and I were invited to speak at one of their “Living with Wildlife” lectures last week. (See Karen’s link under the blog roll for examples of her beautiful artwork.)

The place was packed with people coming to hear about the Spring Creek Basin herd – their herd! As Karen notes, sometimes people have no idea there are wild horses so close to home. Pati talked about the National Mustang Association, particularly about our Colorado chapter, and what they’ve done for mustangs in the West and, particularly, our Spring Creek Basin horses. I’m amazed every time I hear Pati talk about all the group has done! The water catchment I’ve talked about recently on the blog, where at least Traveler’s band is drinking, is one of their projects. This group has been a valuable friend to the horses for more than a decade now.

After Pati got people excited about the horses (all the NMA membership forms and other informational/BLM brochures she and David took were gone afterward!), I got to step up and talk people’s ears off about my favorite subject! If I got long-winded, I’m sorry, and if I “talked to the horses” on the screen more than the people in the audience, I apologize for that, too. I get so excited telling people about each horse (I get to tell funny stories on them; I hope the ponies forgive me!), and I want them to love the horses as much as I do!

After the program, it was so cool to have so many people come up and share stories about THEIR mustangs (!), ask where Spring Creek Basin is located, how to get there and if they can just drive right in and see horses! I think the horses made 60+ new friends (and admirers) that night.

The Living with Wildlife lecture series has had speakers on such other topics as mountain lions, bears and beavers, and I think the next one is about bighorn sheep. We were very thrilled to be asked to talk about our wild horses!

For more information about the San Juan Corridors Coalition, visit the Web site at http://www.sanjuancorridors.org/.


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5 responses

13 10 2008
Billie

Wow, Spook is getting big and so pretty too!!

14 10 2008
TJ

All the babies are getting big. I’ve been looking back at their “baby” pictures … it’s amazing how fast they grow! Did you notice how fuzzy she already is for winter? So cute! That pinto band won’t have any foals next year because both mares were given the PZP.
TJ

16 10 2008
Hutch

I’m glad to hear that you were able to share your vast knowledge with others and get them interested in the Spring Creek Basin herd.

Thanks from your ponies

TH

17 10 2008
Lynn Bauer

Great stuff, TJ – as usual! Congratulations on finding new friends/admirers for your “kids!” Lynn and Kathy

18 10 2008
TJ

Uncle Tom, that so many people came to hear us talk spoke volumes about how interested they already were in the horses! We just stoked the fire, so to speak! It was awesome to hear about other mustangs people have adopted. It makes me hopeful that when we have our next gather, some more local folks will come adopt some of our horses and keep them close to home.

Lynn, hopefully new friends translates into potential new adopters when the time inevitably comes. And, of course, I want them to get out and enjoy them in the wild – where their magic really shines!

TJ

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