Walkabout

1 12 2008
What a fanfabnomenal day! Look who I found:
Shadow and David

Shadow and David

It was a little crowded at the yucky water puddle between Flat Top and Round Top (ugh; couldn’t the ponies have chosen a better watering hole?). But the craziest thing was that until I got there, I was thinking that I wasn’t going to see many horses today.

We got snow/rain late last week, and the county road past the herd area was still wet and muddy in places. I decided not to tempt fate (call me paranoid) by driving the road to the basin’s main entrance, so I went down to the corrals instead. I hardly ever hike in from there because it’s a long walk to get to where you might start seeing horses. I headed toward the water catchment and the “front country” first because that’s where Grey/Traveler and Steeldust had their bands last weekend. The new girls were low on their north hills, but the area was otherwise devoid of horses. I did see someone driving out, though, so I guess the road wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

It was one of those crazy beautiful days where the clouds are playing games with the sunlight. When I first got there, most of the basin was under full sunshine, but clouds looked ominous to the south and west. There was evidence of the recent snowstorm along the tops of the near ridges and the far hills. Just astoundingly beautiful. But then the clouds covered the sun, and the rest of the day was cloudy over the basin. It was mostly sunny to the north, but by the time I left, clouds had almost completely veiled the La Sal Mountains, and the basin was purple against the sunshine turning the west hills gold.

Through the binoculars, from the road past the catchment, I spotted horses way down to the southeast. I thought they were Grey’s band, but I couldn’t tell for sure, and I couldn’t tell exactly where they were. As it turned out, they WERE Grey’s, and they were a bit east of Round Top. While I was heading toward them – before I realized quite how far they were yet – I spotted a black horse against the sky between Flat Top and Round Top. … Shadow? I hadn’t seen her or David for quite a while (almost as long as I had gone without seeing Seven and his girls), but I walked on up to the base of Round Top to see how far away Grey/Traveler was – and I was planning to take the Round Top trail back toward the corrals anyway. It turned out the silver boy and his family were still quite a distance from where the road ends at the base of Round Top (and where the trail takes off), so I made sure everyone was there (Iya still nursing), then hit the trail.

I was feeling a little disappointed that I hadn’t seen Steeldust’s big band … Who do you suppose I found hunkered down between the Tops?

A boy and his band

A boy and his band

Steely Dan, with some very muddy furballs masquerading as his sons and daughters!

Mud, Muddy and Muddier

Mud, Muddy and Muddier

Or is that Muddiest, Muddier and Muddy?! Butch, Sundance and Kestrel (possibly siblings). You can see they’re still wet, and that’s not a shadow on Kestrel’s side; it’s her very own swath of mud.

I don’t know if it was the nip in the air or something in the mud, err, water, but the ponies were feisty today! Ember was bucking around, and Kestrel, Butch and Sundance would be calm for a few moments – like in the photo above – then one would back into the other, and THEY would start playing around with each other! It was awesome to watch them feeling so good and being so silly!

Storm and Alpha

Storm and Alpha

Luna girl in the background. I think it was the mud. The mudballs were the silliest. 🙂

Invitation to play

Invitation to play

Innocent Storm … He’s still gullible.

Sweetening the invitation

Sweetening the invitation

Aww … such a sweet girl, giving kisses …

Gotcha!

Gotcha!

Is that just like a girl?

Look out!

Look out!

She looks fierce, doesn’t she?

Calm after the storm

Calm after the storm

No pun intended!

No rest

No rest

Then she was off with Pinon (poor boy – can’t resist).

One more

One more

And muddy Kestrel couldn’t resist, so she jumped right in … and Butch and Sundance came to play, too, but they all went and hid behind mamas …

Steeldust

Steeldust

And big daddy!

Lost boys

Lost boys

Breakaway boys Kreacher, Hook and Chrome were back with the band – hanging out here with Duke. That nasty-looking dark splotch on Chrome’s face is just mud.

Making friends

Making friends

But before Duke and the grey boys rejoined the band, Duke was thirsty enough to march up to the puddle for a drink – while David and Shadow were there. They were very respectful of each other.

Kreacher and Hook

Kreacher and Hook

Sweet boys.

Look who else was watching the goings-on:

Waiting patiently

Waiting patiently

They’re up by Round Top there. Funny that the yucky little water hole has become such a gathering place. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks it’s so yucky?!

David and Shadow

David and Shadow

These guys hung out at the water hole the whole time all the silliness was going on in Steeldust’s band. Maybe I wasn’t the only one entertained! 🙂

Fun day and a great walk – four and a half hours from corrals to corrals. One great big loop walkabout. Saw 34 of the 50 horses – all but the pinto family, the pinto boys, Poco, Bones and Roach, and Bounce’s band. The ground was soft, so the basin definitely got some of that rain and/or snow, though, like here, no snow remained.

A fanfabnomenal day!

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2 responses

8 12 2008
Wayne Werkmeister

It looks like you’re having a great time out in Spring Creek. The summer must have treated the HMA well. The horses look fat and happy. Looks as though ya’ll are taking great care of things. I didn’t see any photos from around Wildcat Spring. Is the dam still OK? How about the tanks? Did anyone have to haul water this year?

Take care.

9 12 2008
TJ

Hi, Wayne,
I’ve heard so much about you! The horses do, indeed, look great, and I’ve been having such a wonderful time getting to know all of them so intimately this past year. The dam at Wildcat Spring I think you’re talking about washed out a few (?) years ago – I’m not sure how long ago. The horses were up in that area in late spring and throughout the summer when the grass was good. The hunters who camped there for a couple of weeks left a lot of trash, and I carried out a lot of it. A group of University of Missouri students has been coming for several years now, and they’ve been treating the tamarisk in that area. Almost all the ponds went dry this year, but three of them filled back up after late-summer rains, and there were still places in the arroyos. Didn’t have to haul water to augment those. I don’t know how they do it, but if there’s a drop of water, those horses will find it! They’re currently hanging out at a nasty little puddle between Round Top and Flat Top. The water catchment is doing well. In fact, the horses started using it again pretty heavily toward late summer and until fairly recently, when I turned it off for the winter.
Happy holidays!
TJ

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