Count day and a wee surprise

21 05 2009

Saturday was the big day, and it was a beautiful day. The wind was a little nippy early, but eventually the sunshine conquered the chill. Four groups of riders rode out to different areas, one group drove up to hike up on Round Top, and another group drove in to look for horses from the vehicle.

On the way to Round Top, we spotted Hollywood’s band with Poco and Roach in a meadow northeast of the second intersection. We stopped to watch them, and it got pretty intense over there – especially when Kreacher came up out of the trees. The mares never were visible from our location. We also saw Seven and his band at the crest of the east-west hill (oh, and I forgot to say, they were down toward the arroyo east of the road Friday night).

While hiking up to Round Top’s summit, we spotted one group of riders, off their horses. Then we saw the pintos way, way out down yonder, very close to where I’d seen them the previous morning. Each of the rider groups had a radio, as did one person on Round Top and someone in the vehicle so they could communicate about where they were and which horses they saw – also so the folks on Round Top could give a location of horses, like the pintos, and tell the riders their approximate location relative to the group.

One of the groups that went south saw all the southern horses – the pintos with all their boys, David and Shadow and Bruiser and Cinch. D&S and B&C ended up being the horses I did NOT see over the weekend. Another group that went south and made a big loop that took them up into the east pocket didn’t see any of the southern horses but then got lucky with a few bands gathered – still – in the east pocket. One group didn’t see any horses, but two of their members were riding Spring Creek Basin mustangs that they adopted after the 2000 roundup! And the fourth group saw a black horse that I think must have been Shadow and Hollywood’s band.

And then the ponies had one more group of visitors – birders on a tour as part of the Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival. Now when you can combine seeing birds with seeing wild horses, I’d call that a pretty cool opportunity! My plan was to take them back to the east pocket to have the best chance of seeing horses. We met at the water catchment, and I realized we could see Seven’s band from there, so I pointed them out. Then we found Hollywood’s band and the boys down on the north side of the east-west hill (and a group of riders heading back on the road). Then a quick scan up in the north hills turned up Raven, Corona and Duke. They were all considerable distances away, but still pretty good sightings for not having to work too hard.

When we got back around to the Wildcat Spring area, Hollywood and pals had moved east so they were fairly close to the road. We stopped before we got to them so folks could get out and have a look. Sage was lying down out of sight the whole time, and while we watched, Baylee laid down, too. They were really calm, so we saddled up (figuratively speaking)Β and slipped slowly by them. Four SUVs full o’ folks. Super slow. I kept watching the horses … they never moved, and neither Sage nor Baylee was bothered enough to even get up! I was so proud! Of the horses AND the people! πŸ™‚

We got back to a little “meadow” before the little triangle doubletrack that leads back to the east-pocket pond, and Grey/Traveler’s band was back against the hill. Close for viewing, and also napping in the sunshine. We could just see the top of Terra’s head and back at Houdini’s feet. We couldn’t see Iya.

We went around … and found Kreacher and the girls off the doubletrack toward the pond, Bounce’s band just past the pond and Aspen and Chrome out sort of south of the pond. We stopped on the road and took to the shade for lunch (K, thanks so much for the sandwich!). Then Steeldust’s band members started to become visible at the pond. Cool!

While we were there, the rider group came up from the south and also hung out to watch the horses. Kreacher and the girls were so worried they ALL laid down! πŸ™‚ (Obviously, they weren’t worried at all.) Steeldust and his band ended up moving into their meadow, but they didn’t immediately get up at that intrusion, either.

Pretty nice sighting for the birders and the riders. They left after lunch, going back out the same way so they’d see horses again on their way out. I stayed to watch the horses and take notes. I told the riders they’d find Traveler just around the bend. I spent another little while watching the horses from the Jeep, then headed back the same way.

The grey boy and his band were still in the meadow, a little closer to the road. Iya was with them (just checking) … and Alegre and Whisper were farther back toward the back side of a hill. There’s a little valley behind that hill, and there’s a little gap that comes out in the little meadow where Kreacher and the girls and Steeldust’s band were, right by the pond. Hmm. But Alegre and her band were behind the other horses. It seemed weird that she’d come up through them and through the gap or over the hill to the back valley … And something looked weird about her …

I looked back at the band and realized Two Boots was missing. Now what. She had been with the band earlier. I looked back at “Alegre” … But the foal? Do you see where this is starting to go?

I had to go for the binoculars. Holy horse. It wasn’t Alegre; it was Two Boots. And it wasn’t Whisper … it was Two Boots’ foal. Dear, sweet, 2-year-old Two Boots. Two-year-young Two Boots. Oh my goodness.

If I hadn’t gone back past them, I wouldn’t have known (yet). Remember when I saw the band the day before? No mystery foals. So there’s the background. Now some pix.

One extra

One extra

So at left is Two Boots. Looking at me is Twister. Baby seen through his legs. Terra and Houdini at right.

Visit

Visit

Aunt Iya comes to visit.

Twister, Two Boots and baby

Twister, Two Boots and baby

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Twister adores Two Boots. If I was a betting gal, I’d put money on Twister as the “teenage daddy.” No practical way to know for sure. They were almost yearlings when Traveler stole them and Houdini from Seven last March (2008).

Boogie-baby

Boogie-baby

Terra’s curiosity overcomes her certainty that she is approaching something scary.

Terra

Terra

No words for the cuteness.

Mama and girls

Mama and girls

How weird is it to have a baby two weeks before your baby has a baby?! Maybe not so weird for a wild mare, but goodness me. Iya, right, is Houdini’s yearling.

Up and at em

Up and at em

Baby finds the milk bar.

Uh oh

Uh oh

Whoa, mister. Wrong warm body.

Right body

Right body

He figured it out.

Baby boy

Baby boy

So he’s a colt and brown – but I’d also bet he’ll go grey – and he has front socks that zip up taller at the back of his front legs (if that makes sense) and hind stockings. His star looks like a backward apostrophe or speech bubble. A looker, for sure.

Birthday boy

Birthday boy

In honor of the colt being born on the day of the count, I asked P, the 4CBCH rep, to ask the club members to come up with a name for the little guy.

So our foal count stands at eight, with Jif expecting … and remember Kestrel? Now you know why I’m suspicious of that belly!

I’m a little nervous about Two Boots’ mothering skills, but a new life is always something to celebrate! And what a truly wonderful weekend.


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4 responses

22 05 2009
Hutch

TJ-

Wow, Nice work! You’ve had a good year.
I really look forward to reading your blog.
I love your passion, descriptions, and photos.
You do a great job of being the steward for the horses.
Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.
T&K

23 05 2009
TJ

I’m so glad you enjoy reading about the horses!! You’ll have to come visit them in person. πŸ™‚ They enjoyed some pretty good rain yesterday, and the basin is as green as I’ve seen it this year. I’m eager and a little anxious to get back out and see Two Boots and her colt, and check on Jif and Kestrel!
Lots of folks love these horses, and it’s great that you and K are among them!
TJ

23 05 2009
Lynn Bauer

TJ –
New baby is a DOLL!! Great work, as usual! We love the “family photos!” Hope 2B likes the “mama gig!” Now, we wait for Jif and Kestrel?! So, we may have 10 babies this year?! WOW! Didn’t we have just six survive the last two years? Here’s hoping all do well and the rains come!! Great stuff – we really love this blog!!
Lynn and Kathy

24 05 2009
TJ

Jif for sure (I think?!) … Kestrel, maybe. πŸ™‚
We have five from the 2007 foal crop, six from 2008 and eight so far for 2009. With the fillies maturing and the PZP wearing off, we’ll have a significant crop next year.
We’re still getting rain here, so I’m imagining the basin to look like Kentucky the next time I get out …! OK, maybe not quite. But it should be green!
TJ

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