Before the count, part 2

21 05 2009

The pintos had gone unvisited (seen from a distance a couple of times from Round Top) for quite a while – since the start of foaling season – so I decided to check in with them Friday morning. I hiked in at dysfunction junction, but they weren’t on “their” hill. They were quite a bit farther southwest, on a hill kind of above the road, as it turned out.

They’re all still together, and Copper still seems to be the dominant stallion. Mesa is still low man on the totem pole, so he gets the duty of being first contact, while Ty and Corazon freely (mostly) wander with the band and bug Copper.

Hmm. WordPress doesn’t seem to like my first picture. Moving on …

Mesa

Mesa

Look at his face. Does he remind you of anyone? Same color and same lack of markings, but the similar faces have had me thinking for a while that Mesa is Poco’s son.

Spook and Kiowa

Spook and Kiowa

Spook’s birthday was May 1, and Kiowa hasn’t had a foal this year (and shouldn’t). I love how shiny and healthy she looks.

Kiowa and Chipeta

Kiowa and Chipeta

Kiowa again (Spook behind her) and Chipeta. This is Chipeta’s second season without a foal; so far, the PZP is doing its job.

All but one

All but one

This was the first one I tried to post. Only Ty is missing from this picture. From left, Reya, Spook with Kiowa’s back just visible over hers, Chipeta being followed by Copper, Corazon with the heart on his side and Mesa at right.

Ty and Corazon

Ty and Corazon

My black boy Ty has a grey tail and mane, and his face is getting pretty “grizzled” as well. I’ve been calling him black, but he’s always had this not-quite-black look. He’s surely the darkest grey I’ve ever seen at this age – and I don’t know how old he is, just that I’ve never seen a grey horse this mature still this dark! They’re shiny, healthy boys, though, huh?

After I left the pintos, I stopped at the corrals to visit with the Back Country Horsemen early arrivers. As my visit stretched on past noon, the place started filling up with trucks and trailers, people and horses! The small contingent from the Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen, based in Montezuma County, arrived, and it was great to see them. I never know how much human info to reveal on this blog, but T with MVBCH and P with 4CBCH are representatives to our Wild Bunch group. P and her husband, F, started the wild horse count partnership with the BLM about 11 years ago, and they continue to organize the annual outing. T really came up with the idea of all our groups getting together for the horses and has been a source of great information and ideas. She let me ride her fantastic pinto Curly horse last spring during a camping trip to the basin!

K with our group also came for the day. I think she’s a member of each group represented, and she organized work projects Friday. She brought her husband and a friend, and they and I and P and Claude Steelman (he’s already famous!) dug post holes and set posts (husband B and friend D), and we put our backs and McLeods to some illegal routes people have driven in. Claude pounded in three new carsonite signs, and K attached the “No Motor Vehicles” stickers. We also had more fun than should be allowed with such work, rolling rocks and pulling old tree trunks down the hill and making a former trashed “campsite” look as inhospitable to setting up a tent as possible. That was back in the Wildcat Spring area. The reclaimed road – work done by fabulous University of Missouri students back in March – still looks awesome.

Not a bad bit of work for a couple of hours in the sunshine and company of wild horses! On our way to Wildcat Spring, we were treated to an up-close and personal view of Raven and baby Corona when they popped up from below the road between the two intersections! K and P were with me, and we got the best view! Yes, Duke is still with them. I’d say he was “leading” the band, but mostly he just follows wherever Raven goes – ha! Hollywood and his band, with Poco and Roach (!), were up in the meadow by the second intersection. Baby Sage is such a darling, and I’ll have more pix of him later in the program.

There is quite a bit of water at Wildcat Spring (relatively speaking), and while it smells less than stellar as usual, there is water trickling through, although the actual stream bed is dry from just below the spring. 

We split after our work; I continued on east, and the other workers went back to the corrals. Steeldust’s and Bounce’s bands were still in the area of the east-pocket pond, but Grey/Traveler’s band was out toward the gap between Knife Edge and Lizard Mesa, so I went toward them. This becomes fairly important later on (that I saw them), but at the time, I just parked the Jeep to watch (no pix). Ahh, the sunshine was so warm and lovely. There was just enough breeze to keep the bugs away – I didn’t think they were bad yet this year? (I did remember, though, the next day at Round Top that we were battling them last year.) I snoozed right there in the Jeep, and by the time the back buckle of my visor was digging into my head too much to ignore, the ponies had crossed over to the greenery of  “sorrel flats,” one of the pond areas to be dug out this spring in the hopes that it will fill with water when the monsoons come. That’s on track to happen; we just don’t know exactly when.

So I went back to visit with the other horses and see how week-old Whisper and Sage were getting along.

Whisper and Alegre

Whisper and Alegre

Just a handsome bugger!

Charmer!

Charmer!

Daddy Bounce

Daddy Bounce

And no wonder! This is Whisper’s handsome daddy!

Gaia

Gaia

Baby girl seems to have gotten over her shock at not being Mama’s one-and-only anymore. Here she’s giving me the weird-eye. In color and markings, she does look like J and V’s Spring Creek Basin mustangs – which they bring back and ride during the count weekends! – but her “look” and conformation are different.

Nourishment

Nourishment

In this pic, you can see his not-quite-black sheen.

In-bound

In-bound

What had their attention? Steeldust’s band was heading toward the pond for their evening drink.

Shades of ... grey

Shades of ... grey

I guess Mahogany wanted to be part of the “in” crowd, so she gave herself a coloring! I didn’t really think about it until I looked at this picture on the computer and realized they were all “grey”! That’s Alpha beside her and Steeldust at right.

Mouse

Mouse

Lt. Mouse was actually first to drink, as the band milled around between the pond and Bounce’s band still just up on the little hill.

Family?

Family?

Those boys – that’s Sundance at right and Butch second from right – do stick close to Luna … The shorty red trying to squeeze in is actually Storm, not Ember. Hannah was pawing at the water – everybaby (!) knows it tastes better when you splash it a few times!

Storm

Storm

Here’s Stormy Jones trying his best to impersonate a shedding bison! But under that curly winter hair and mud, look how grey he has become.

Hannah

Hannah

Super model girl. 🙂

Size comparison

Size comparison

Check out the green grass, and check out the size/angles of Sable and Hannah. Sable was a week and a day old here; Hannah was about a month and a week old.

Brother, sister, Mama

Brother, sister, Mama

See, I don’t *forget* to take pix of Pinon … he’s just always around other horses! He had just celebrated his 1-year birthday.

Awwwww

Awwwww

Sable discovered mud.

Horseplay I

Horseplay I

Storm and Pinon. You can see Storm still has his red shade in the sunlight, but check out how grey his face is.

Horseplay II

Horseplay II

I saw this sign in a science lab this week at a local school … I smiled and wondered, when did “horseplay” become a bad thing? 😉

Mystery belly

Mystery belly

I’ve been ignoring this little bulge on 2-year-old Kestrel for the past few weeks, hoping she takes after her mother – butterball buckskin Luna – and/or that she’s really getting a lot to eat this spring.

Kestrel

Kestrel

Something happened Saturday to make me REALLY start to wonder …

All in good time.

Dust to dust

Dust to dust

After they drank, they followed the doubletrack right back the way they had come, back out to open meadows of green.

I headed out as well and thought I might get to see Hollywood’s family again on my way out. (Sorry, Aspen, but I’m glad he got his girls back!)

Just past Wildcat, I saw movement up on the hill that turned out to be Kreacher and the girls. Kreacher-feature was trying to snake them toward the trail to the spring, and the girls were oh-so-politely and resolutely refusing.

Kreacher

Kreacher

Taking a break under the scrutinizing eye of the photographer.

Mona and Kootenai

Mona and Kootenai

Love that soft light? The girls were fixated on *something* out of sight, and there are a lot of pinon-juniper in that area, so I wondered if maybe Hollywood had already brought his group to that area to drink at the spring. So I walked back and up the hill we rolled the rocks down and looked down at the spring, but there was nary a horse to be seen. I walked over and looked to the southeast, too – nada.

When I got back to the Jeep, the girls and the boy had resumed their dance. Boy insistent; girls refusing!

I found Hollywood and his lot down to the east of that section of road between the intersections. Poco and Roach still with them. The boys had a little tat for about two seconds, then settled. Far different cry than the frantic running, running, running when Roach was temporarily with Steeldust.

Poco

Poco

He’s looking at the band. This isn’t a good angle to compare him to Mesa, but I’m telling you, it’s there.

Roach

Roach

Looking at … something else? Poco and the band were behind him.

Sage, Mama and Daddy

Sage, Mama and Daddy

Invitation to play, but they weren’t buying.

Baylee was back to the left, so he went back to show off for Auntie.

And hes off!

And hes off!

To set the scene, Baylee was to the left, and Piedra and Hollywood were about the same distance to the right. Baylee was the start/finish line.

051509sagebend

And he rounds the bend, looking for the home stretch!

051509sageleap

And it’s a leap over four-wing saltbush on his way to the finish line! Can he keep his momentum?!

051509sagerunbaylee

And the winnah is Sage by a mile!

Too bad I don’t have a video camera – he was fantastic! 🙂

Baylee and Sage

Baylee and Sage

Bayles is a super auntie and babysitter for the young mister. He has just finished his race, and now he’s taking her back to Mama and Daddy so he can be congratulated.

Need-a-snack

Need-a-snack

Of course, racehorses need good nutrition …

Nap time

Nap time

… and plenty of rest. 🙂

Check out his dorsal stripe. He has faint little leg stripes, too, mostly visible on his front legs now. I’m kinda holding my peace on what might be his actual color …

Hollywood

Hollywood

Terribly concerned, the elder mister would raise his head to look at me for about 2.7 seconds – long enough for me to straighten my camera but not enough to do that and focus, too – then go back to grazing. So what you see is (mostly) what he did!

Such a peaceful visit – and entertaining!

Sweet boy

Sweet boy

Just the sweetest little heart!

And with that, I left the ponies and called it another beautiful day in the basin. My oh my. How can you not believe in the absolute magic gift of life seeing a colt so overjoyed just to RUN?! I do love these ponies. 🙂 I smiled all the way back to camp.


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2 responses

21 05 2009
Lynn Bauer

TJ –
These are great shots!! We just LOVE what you captured with young master Sage!! WOW!! We’re still grinin’ at the thought of him just running for the sheer joy of it! Wish we could have been there to see it – your shots are the next best thing – THANKS!
Lynn and Kathy

22 05 2009
TJ

It was so much fun to watch him. I’m sure I was smiling the whole time – I just noticed it when I was on my way out ‘cuz I couldn’t stop. 🙂
TJ

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