Updates

13 09 2009

No on Jif, but I have an ETA: sometime while I’m on vacation till the end of the month. Har.

Also have ETW – estimated time of work – on the two ponds: Sept. 21. Rain is falling and/or threatening every day, but the basin is still very dry. The two re-filled ponds in the east are holding, but the small pond by the entrance has dried up again.

Le petite Jif is mongo enormous. If she wasn’t so little to start with, I’d be afraid of twins.

Jif and Traveler

Jif and Traveler

This photo doesn’t even do justice to the enormity of her belly. She’s bagging up but neither tight nor even full yet.

Coming into the main part of the basin, the first horses I saw were Kreacher, Mona and Kootenai … and then a grey horse and a dun horse behind them – Grey/Traveler and Jif. Uh … whoa! White spot on the hillside … it’s a mountain goat … it’s Houdini!

Count the ponies

Count the ponies

Test your skills; how many horses do you see? Every horse in Kreacher’s and Traveler’s bands is pictured, including bachelor Chrome … who may not be a bachelor anymore …

Mona, Kreacher, Kootenai

Mona, Kreacher, Kootenai

A boy and his girls.

Queen of the hill

Queen of the hill

Two Boots was the highest of the horses. I thought it was a little strange that Grey was at the base of the hill with Jif, while all the others – including Chrome – were up on the hill, but the ole man is, well, older. Maybe he he’s scared of heights (!?), maybe he just didn’t see the need to act like a mountain goat at that particular time, maybe he was perfectly content hanging out with his expectant-mama-mare. He’s a daddy many times over; he has to know (one wonders what he thinks about her being so late in the season). Chrome was closest to Two Boots and Cuatro, as seen in the pic, but Iya and Houdini and Terra were all up there as well – to the right and slightly below.

(Wannabe) king o' da hill

(Wannabe) king o' da hill

Chrome stayed fairly close – while Traveler was conveniently at the base of the hill – but he was very polite. Two Boots hardly spared him a glance, the vixen.

Napping

Napping

Meanwhile, Traveler and Jif were about as calm as could be. (Belly-osity!)

Iya rocks

Iya rocks

She’s not much in the looks department, but she was a perfect little mountain goat.

Iya, Terra, Houdini

Iya, Terra, Houdini

Mama and her girls (Iya is a yearling, Terra was born May 1).

Terra and Houdini

Terra and Houdini

Rockin'

Rockin'

It was so weird to see them on the hill among all the rocks that I could hardly get enough of documenting it. They must have thought I was crazy (har har).

Diagonal

Diagonal

Top to bottom: Chrome, Cuatro, Two Boots, Terra, Houdini, Iya

It was pretty windy, and the horses were protected by the hill (that’s Filly Peak, by the way; did I already mention that?). Aspen was gone again, and I thought he might have hooked back up with Hook and Twister. I did find Hook and Twister, on my way out to the east-side loop road to view Steeldust’s and Hollywood’s bands on the east-west hill. Hook and little mister Twister were out on the flats northeast of the catchment. They must have seen me (Jeep) long before I saw them, of course. When I spotted them, they were standing well off the road, facing toward me, seemingly watching the shadows roll.

091209hooktwister

Hook and Twister

Duke and Raven and Corona have taken to the mountain-goat philosophy of late as well, and they were up toward Klondike Basin. I often wonder where those horses are getting their water, and especially seeing them so high lately, I wonder where they might have found a stash, or whether they’re really walking as far as where they are and where *I* know water to be.

Do you know the saying “better to stay and watch the wildlife you see than leave to look for wildlife you haven’t seen yet”? I decided to check SD’s and Holls’ bands closer rather than driving around looking for Bounce’s or Seven’s. Piedra and Sage were barely visible – tops of their backs – in a little draw on the hill east of Steeldust’s band, and Poco wasn’t visible at all. So I decided to hang out and watch and catch up on my notes until he made an appearance. Juuuust checking, don’tcha know.

091209sdhollsbands

Steeldust's and Hollywood's bands

At far right is Hollywood and Baylee. See how you can’t see their legs (!)? They’re on the edge of the little draw Piedra, Sage and Poco were in – out of sight. Left of them, you can see Roach, and “below” him, Comanche. The rest of Steeldust’s band is spread out to the left.

Poco finally did appear, but it took quite a while, and it made me aware of the difficulties other people face while viewing the horses. Hmm, maybe “difficulties” is the wrong word. But people have told me, “I saw x horses” in a particular band, which I know to have y horses. Distance, light, geography – all play a part in viewing, and the moral of the story is this: Just sit awhile and watch and enjoy and let the horses reveal themselves to you. You’ll probably see more than you bargained for. 🙂

By the time Poco made his nonchalant appearance and I turned around, the sky to the north was brewing with some dark, rain-swollen clouds. Not to worry, I had earlier (unblogged) confirmed that Liberty, daughter of Molly and Seven, is indeed still with the band. I had previously seen – and reported – all her band mates. She’s very dark now and very much a muley bay. Unlike Molly’s reddish-bay – about the same color Liberty was born – the filly is much darker now over most of her body, with her muzzle and elbow and flank areas lighter tan, just like, well, some mules I’ve seen. Dear old Molly is a bit thin but no thinner than previously. Roja is a tub like always. Ze is tall and full of spunk like his daddy, and I think he may be tending toward adult grey from his baby bay.

Driving back through the flats toward the catchment, I saw Hook and Twister again … and company. Aspen was galloping across a far ridge toward them. The last time I saw them, from Filly Peak with the mountain-goats-turned-horses, all three were running on or near the road toward Flat Top.

091209aspenhooktwist

Run, boys, run

Kreacher was watching them; that’s why I turned around – to see what he was looking at. There’s some territory between me and them, and between them and Knife Edge in the background.

Traveler’s band had come down from the hillside and moved to the other side of their little “cove” about midway down/up Filly Peak along the road. His band was still close to the base of the hill, and Kreacher’s were still closer to the road. But there was a very interesting dynamic now very apparent: Chrome was standing between Traveler and Two Boots and Cuatro.

Chrome on guard

Chrome on guard

Grey/Traveler and Houdini, Iya, Terra and Jif were back to the left. Kreacher’s band was also to the left, closer to the road. I was shooting from the road outside the Jeep.

Passing

Passing

Kreacher and Mona followed Kootenai, out of frame to right. Also out of this frame is Terra. See the edge of the boulder up at the right edge of the frame, right of Traveler? She was by that boulder.

Kreacher

Kreacher

And Houdini and Traveler.

Houdini and Traveler

Houdini and Traveler

And Kreacher. 🙂 Fun little focus exercise.

Kreacher love Mona

Kreacher love Mona

Right after this, he nudged too hard, and she swished her tail and walked away from him. Love ain’t easy, pal.

When Kreacher followed his girls farther west, Chrome moved to stay between them and Two Boots and Cuatro. He then pushed them out from under the tree – a few steps closer to the band – and took the tree shade for himself (so much for Mr. Polite?).

Two Boots and Cuatro

Two Boots and Cuatro

Cuatro and Chrome

Cuatro and Chrome

I didn’t know what to think at this point. Two Boots could have walked right back over to the band, but she didn’t. So has Chrome “claimed” her … or what? I couldn’t tell, and although I earlier urged spending time with the horses, this time, I decided to leave so I didn’t interfere. Not that I could change things to suit my human-centered manifest destiny, but I’d be very happy to see Two Boots with Chrome. Especially now, with Jif so close to foaling. If Chrome gets 2B, and is happy and content, he might be more likely to leave Traveler’s band alone, especially when Jif decides she’s ready to reveal her babe to the world, which would be easier on Traveler, trying to defend his family. Counting Twister, Traveler’s is the first band since the roundup to show some kind of normal family activity with the band stallion kicking out maturing young horses (even though neither is his offspring). I keep wondering when Steely Dan is going to give the boot, err, hoof, to Butch and Sundance.

Extended family

Extended family

From a different angle, you can’t tell how close – or far away – they are from each other because of lens compression.

Grey and his girl

Grey and his girl

Right now, Terra is Traveler’s only confirmed offspring, and I love how they seem to be framed here … by family.

As noted earlier, I’m headed off on a two-week adventure at the end of the coming week. I will visit the ponies on my way out of Dodge but probably won’t post another report until I return – unless the little missus delivers her baby and I can’t wait to spread the news. Among other destinations, I plan visits to the McCullough Peaks and Pryor Mountain herds … one just through a roundup, the other to go through it soon.

Angels, watch over the horses …

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Super-quick trip

6 09 2009

With many apologies to Amanda and Billie and others who have large ranges and big herds, in about an hour and a half Friday after work, I saw all but five of my horses. 🙂 Not seen: David and Shadow and Duke’s band. No to Jif and no to the ponds. And now it’s (finally) raining. Will those couple of ponds ever get dug out to capture some of this rain?

Don’t have many pix again because it was a quick trip – chased out again by coming rain (which eventually dropped a curtain over not only Spring Creek Basin but the entire Disappointment Valley, as seen from the switchbacks on the highway above Slickrock). The most exciting thing was that I saw Seven’s band! Where else but the east pocket. I think that’s where he’s been “hiding” – easy to be invisible back there. They were back beyond the pond, so I didn’t even take any pix. I can’t confirm Liberty among them because of distance and heat waves and vegetation, but based on Molly’s body language and occasional looks to the ground beside her, I think the filly was there. Definitely saw Roja and Ze and Seven – and though they definitely saw me (Jeep), they were apparently far enough away for complete comfort so they didn’t budge at all.

I scanned the upper hills but never saw Duke’s … but guess who I did see, in almost the exact same place above the canyon as Grey/Traveler’s last weekend?! Steeldust with hangers-on. I actually saw Cinch and Bruiser first, lower. Traveler turned out to be – seen on my “where the heck is he” outward-bound drive – up in … the “northwest bowl.” Basically over the hill from the northwest dry pond. Still with Chrome. No foal. It was a pretty far distance from where I was glassing them, but I saw Jif walking around and no foal ever getting up with her. Did confirm all the other members of the band.

Kreacher’s, of course, were right by Filly Peak, and Hollywood’s and his men were right on the hill above that first curve from the boundary. Oh, and Bounce’s were back by the east pocket, too, hanging out under some trees in the sunshine ahead of the storm (which was coming up from the southeast). That little Whisper loves to stand under the trees. I’m not really sure where he learned it – duh – but most of the time I see them, they’re in the open … except him. If there’s a tree around, he’s almost always under it. 🙂

I headed home the highway way because the south end of Disappointment Valley and beyond was beyond purple with rain, but when I drove in that way, I saw the pintos – all the spots and all the solids – very near where they were last weekend.

It was a marvelous sight to look back and see all that lovely rain over the basin and the valley. But I suppose it will delay the digging out of the ponds even longer. Would have been nice to have gotten that done before the (late) monsoons.

Some pix:

Bounce's band

Bounce's band

(Wow – I have apostrophes now.) Alegre, Bounce, Gaia and Whisper. They were just by the hill before the curve and the “triangle” to the east pocket, where Seven’s band was hanging out beyond the pond.

Nap time

Nap time

Mona lying down for her nap; Kootenai standing. Kreacher was a short distance to the left.

Storm sky

Storm sky

That sky doesn’t look so threatening with two lovely ladies in the foreground.

Hollywood's band

Hollywood's band

On the hill above the first curve. Poco and Roach were below them closer to me. Sage is behind Piedra. By this time, as you can tell from Baylee’s sideways-blowing dreadlock and their tails, the wind was blowing pretty hard.

Into the wind

Into the wind

There’s young master Sage.

Windy

Windy

Must have taken it right outta their sails because they gave each other this look … then walked away.

And that was enough excitement for me. I almost made it out of the basin before the first drop fell …





Taking a long view

6 09 2009

Last weekend, the weekend after Dan and Karen’s visit, I was still riding the high from my previous visit. The goals (yes, yes, never go with an agenda in mind) were to find Jif and to check the ponds for dig-out activity. No and no on both counts.

Taking to the heights was Grey/Traveler’s band – still with Chrome but not Aspen – way up … well … can you see where they were?

Mountain goats

Mountain goats

Sorry for the long, far distance – can you pick ponies out? Can you tell where they are? That’s right up above Spring Creek canyon. The white dot is Grey/Traveler – see him? And far to the right is Chrome.

It took some long moments of watching, but I finally determined that Jif did not have a foal at her side.

Follow the leader

Follow the leader

Kootenai and Mona following Kreacher. His legs aren’t really cut off, he’s just demonstrating the ability of this seemingly flat landscape to hide whole or partial ponies.

At the catchment trough

At the catchment trough

They followed the trail that comes up at left rear of this image and walked right on past the smaller of the two troughs. You can just, just barely see the top of it above Kootenai’s back.

Duke, Raven and Corona also were playing at being mountain goats, way up high above the “road” to Klondike Basin. I’m sure horses did once wander up there, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen horses that high – “above treeline” for what we have in the basin, so to speak.

Bounce’s band was in the east pocket toward the road from the pond. They were partially obscured by saltbush clumps, so I didn’t get any pix.

From the section of road between the dugout intersection and the boringly named second intersection, I stopped to watch Steeldust’s band, right on the west-side loop road! In addition to Aspen, Hook and Twister also were with the band. I guess Aspen got a little worn out trying to keep up with the old man …

Had four visitors in two vehicles (well, five in three, if you count me) last weekend. Non-hunters and extremely well-behaved. 🙂 I was able to talk with D&S for quite a while as we watched Steeldust’s band and bachelors in the distance.

Kreacher’s were up by Filly Peak on the way out, and Hollywood’s turned up close to the first curve from the entrance boundary (including, yes, still, Poco and Roach). Only far pix of them, and we were leaving because of the lightning strikes and lazy thunder rolls along the northeastern ridge, so it was darkling by then.

You get back from the edge this instant!

You get back from the edge this instant!

Is your stomach churning? I’m not afraid of heights, but I understand a parent’s fear seeing their child on the edge of a canyon (which I do all the time; sorry, Mom). Hmm. I guess you can’t tell from this pic or the previous one just how high they are, how long a sheer drop it is to the bottom of the canyon. That’s the canyon used by the contractors during the August 2007 roundup to collect the horses. It doesn’t look so bad in this picture because the foreground seems to run right up to the rim of rocks … but it doesn’t. Between the gentle-seeming foreground and those rocks is a steep-sided (especially on the far side, under those rimrocks), deep canyon. The horses aren’t in any danger of sliding off the edge … but good grief. You get back from that edge this instant! 🙂

Down the hill at a run

Down the hill at a run

Hmm – maybe they DO listen to me! (Or not.) In the lead is Chrome, followed by Grey/Traveler, Jif (sans a foal-shadow), Houdini and Terra, Iya and Cuatro and Two Boots. Heading down to water in the Spring Creek arroyo is my guess. (Pic taken from the curve at the road to the old trap site.)

But that’s not all. On my way to the basin earlier, I had seen the backs of what I took to be Chipeta, Ty and Corazon from the Disappointment Road. So, chased out of the interior of the basin by threatening storm clouds, I went home the back way, too, hoping to see them again with a clearer view or hike in depending on the weather in that part of the herd area.

David and Shadow

David and Shadow

Ponies heading to water.

Ponies in the sage

Ponies in the sage

So to speak. I’ll wait while you count. Got ’em? Don’t miss little Milagro, nearly hidden by a saltbush or greasewood almost as big as he is. Starting at left: Kiowa and Spook, Chipeta, Copper, Milagro, Reya (Milagro is almost directly “above” Reya’s hip), Corazon and Ty. One missing … from the picture. Mesa was just to the right, out of this image.

It’s very strange doing posts so far behind. And then you, the reader, will see the most recent posts first … Almost like seeing the future of the recent past? Whew. Stand by for the next, which you already will have read by the time you get to this post.

It turned out that the only horses I didn’t see were Cinch and Bruiser and Seven’s band – and I can’t even spill the beans because you’ll already know I saw them after reading the next post, which you’ll read before this post unless you read this post in the time it takes me to write the next – first – post!

Confused? This is how the ponies seem to perpetually keep me. 🙂





Visiting dignitaries

6 09 2009
That’s certainly what I consider them: Dan Elkins and Karen Herman, who visited Spring Creek Basin in mid-August to tour the herd area and meet some Wild Bunch members and our BLM herd area manager and answer questions we had about gathering horses via bait trapping and about PZP.

In June, I wrote about Dan and Karen administering the first PZP doses to mares from the Carson National Forest: https://springcreekwild.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/pzp-partnership-in-the-carson-national-forest-nm/

Learn more about Karen’s Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary here: http://skymountainwild.org/

Direct link to a story about Dan and Karen using PZP (also linked from Karen’s Web site): http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local%20News/carson-national-forest-Forest-first-to-use-contraceptive-on-wil

We learned that Karen was able to get a grant to fund the PZP program for the Carson NF mares, and that set our wheels in motion. Now we have to write a proposal asking the BLM to allow us to pursue funding to implement a PZP program – which could start as soon as this coming spring! – and agree to have Dan and Karen come back to administer it. This is the good news I alluded to when I broke the bad news about Chipeta’s colt, Joven. Best of all, Dan and Karen get their PZP doses directly from ZooMontana in Billings, so we won’t have to worry about the PZP changing hands and freezing and thawing and re-freezing and re-thawing so many times during BLM transport.

Also, our herd population stands at 49 horses (BLM does not count foals till they’re a year old), we’re still well within our AML (35-65), and so we were told the next gather likely will not be until at least 2011. In the meantime, I hope our BLM is watching the goings-on at Pryor Mountain. One thing I’m happy about there is that bands are being kept together. Also, with Matt Dillon’s documentation of the horses and MOU between the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center and BLM that they provide herd information, I’m hoping we can duplicate that partnership when it comes time to round up and remove some of our horses. I’ll never be happy about that, but I also will never condone horses starving on an overgrazed range when it could be prevented. A PZP program here will hopefully slow the population growth of the herd, allowing more horses to stay wild longer. And knowing about Dan and his method, I hope we’ll never again hear helicopter blades churning over Spring Creek Basin.

Dan and Karen are awesome. Extremely knowledgeable and friendly – it was like meeting old friends from our first handshake. My hope is that someday every herd manager in the country will know Dan and Karen. I hope a contract between them and our BLM is in our immediate future, for the horses’ sake.

Here are some random pix from that day, taken in the morning before everyone arrived:

Hannah and Sable

Hannah and Sable

Butch and Storm

Butch and Storm

Pinon

Pinon

Mouse and Steeldust

Mouse and Steeldust

Sage

Sage

Hollywood

Hollywood

Mona, Kootenai and Kreacher

Mona, Kootenai and Kreacher

Kootenai and Kreacher

Kootenai and Kreacher

Kootenai

Kootenai

Mona and Kreacher

Mona and Kreacher

As soon as I say this, they’ll leave, but if you’re in the area to visit Spring Creek Basin, I would be surprised if, out of all those 49-plus (with foals) horses, you did NOT see this little threesome. They have been hanging out in the area surrounding the water catchment for months now. The grazing is not the best, but the water is. The other bands seem to have been going for forage over quality of water, and the only other horses I’m pretty sure have used the catchment recently are Traveler’s band and the bachelors Cinch and Bruiser. Hollywood’s band has been in that general area the past two weekends; I have not seen them at the catchment. Most recently, I saw Hollywood trying to drink from the pond area off the road to the old trap site. I did not see any water from the road, and I did not go closer … Poco and Roach followed the band past the “pond” without even stopping to try to drink.





Wild about mustangs

4 09 2009

This post, from a visit to the basin two weeks ago, has been a long time coming, but before I get to my horses, I’d like to offer a little prayer for the Pryor Mountain mustangs and all those who love and cherish those horses in particular.

Two weeks ago, our Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners were anticipating a visit with Dan Elkins and Karen Herman from New Mexico. Dan has been doing a technique of gathering wild horses called bait trapping for the past six years. Recently in the Carson National Forest in New Mexico, they implemented that state’s first PZP program. By using his unique mineral and salt mix, Dan is able to bring horses to a trap site by band, calmly. He can then corral an entire group of horses by family band or single out particular horses for removal. Since I visited the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range in September 2007 and learned about this alternative to helicopter-driven roundups, and realized documentation of a band could help, I’ve been working toward this goal for our next gather.

Dan and Karen also are certified to administer PZP, a fertility control drug that can reduce birth rates and thus the need for frequent gathers. With Dan and Karen offering both a humane option for gathering and removing horses (with just 22,000 acres of less-than-ideal habitat, it has to be done) AND the ability to implement a program designed to remove horses less often (which incidentally means the horses now in the basin may have the opportunity to live free and wild longer (forever?) on their home range), it seems to be a win-win project for us! Our fingers are collectively crossed that the BLM sees the logic here as well!

I went out early to scout the horses and spend some extra time with them alone. It was the first time I’d been out for an overnight trip since the almost-end of foaling season. And we come to the reason for such a long wait between horse stories: I saw every band but Seven’s, and I was able to spend some time with each of them – a nice change from the never-long-enough day trips. But it made for a LOT of photos, which just took a long time to go through. I do have a day job, ya know!

It was another one of those weekends that make it to the “amazing visit” category. The horses were pretty calm for the most part. Traveler’s band was the most unsettled, with both Chrome and Aspen swirling around them. And no, Jif still has not foaled, which you saw in the previous post.

Kreacher’s band was out past the Spring Creek canyon area when I first drove into the basin.

Hollywood’s band was first up at a close distance. Poco and Roach are still with the band, and they seem to have a relationship that works for all involved.

Mama, Daddy, baby

Mama, Daddy, baby

Piedra, Hollywood and Sage.

Baylee and Hollywood

Baylee and Hollywood

Oh, that Hollywood; such a lover. 🙂

Perfect scratching post

Perfect scratching post

Sage was very solid while Mama satisfied an itch.

Like begets like

Like begets like

Couldn’t tell these two are related, eh …??

Sage

Sage

 I dare you to look at this pic and not burst into a spontaneous chuckle! 🙂

Poco

Poco

Being the lieutenant has its perks. Poco has clearly been a visitor to the Wildcat Spring and Day Spa!

Roach

Roach

Isn’t he in great shape?

Hollywood

Hollywood

Thanks for a terrific visit, pal!

Steeldust’s band was lounging up the hill in the shade east of Wildcat. The usual cast of characters were in attendance, including these two misters:

Twister and Hook

Twister and Hook

I was glad to see these boys still together. I don’t know that you can say Hook is really taking care of 2-year-old Twister, but at least they’re staying together.

Mahogany and Sable

Mahogany and Sable

While I was watching Twister and Hook, who were on a hill across a little drainage from where Steeldust’s band was, Mahogany came walking behind me, followed by baby Sable and yearling Pinon … followed by Lt. Mouse. Hmm. What’s this? I wondered whether Mouse had sort of selected them out … but they went a little farther down the hill past me, then around some trees and back to the band. Like that’s what they had intended to do all along.

Mouse

Mouse

 

Sable

Sable

A closer look at Mahogany’s little girl.

Alpha and Luna

Alpha and Luna

The queens of Steeldust’s heart, err, band.

Shady boys

Shady boys

Storm and Steeldust and Alpha and others hanging out under the trees. It was warm – up to 92 degrees – but not unbearable.

Had just a short visit with them that time because I got a late start to the basin, and I hadn’t yet seen Grey/Traveler and his band, which meant I hadn’t seen Jif. I got a wonderful surprise when I got around to the formerly (!) dry pond right beside the road …

Water in a dry land

Water in a dry land

Yay! We’re unfortunately still waiting for just two of the five originally identified ponds to be dug out in the hopes that they will hold water when it rains enough. I’ll say here that my idea of quality and quantity of water don’t match the BLM’s idea for what the horses need, but I’ll also say that we’re working on that issue.

Next, I had the most amazing visit with Bounce’s band.

Gaia, Whisper and Alegre

Gaia, Whisper and Alegre

Beautiful mama with her gorgeous babies. That little Whisper is so cute I can hardly stand it! And Gaia, who has been such a mama’s girl (and step-daddy’s, too), is finding her courage to indulge her curiosity.

Bounce and family

Bounce and family

Alegre and Whisper

Alegre and Whisper

Whisper

Whisper

Isn’t he just handsome? Clearly going grey.

Family backyard

Family backyard

Bounce

Bounce

Coming to say hello.

It was an amazing visit I can’t do justice to with pictures.

Then Grey/Traveler’s band was back in the east pocket beyond the pond – Chrome and Aspen both with the band. And another great surprise! That pond was full, too! Among other things, this might tell you where the rain is falling in the basin.

Little Miss Friendly

Little Miss Friendly

I wonder whether Daddy knows his baby girl (Terra) is fraternizing with the enemy (Chrome).

Aspen in the lead

Aspen in the lead

As you can see, Traveler had other concerns. That’s Jif behind him.

Speaking of Jif, let’s show off the belly again:

Jif

Jif

She’s in good condition.

Iya and Two Boots

Iya and Two Boots

So … Iya, front/left, is a yearling, and Two Boots (named with a nod to Pryor stallion Two Boots, by the way) is her 2-year-old “big” sister. They don’t look much alike, besides the size comparison, do they? But as far as I know (???), they have the same sire, a grey stallion I called Junior who was gathered and removed in 2007.

Cuatro

Cuatro

Little man following Mama. You can see his grey-ness, too.

Terra

Terra

Big, beautiful sister! No sign of a limp.

Grandma and grandbaby

Grandma and grandbaby

Houdini and her baby Two Boots’ baby Cuatro!

Traveler

Traveler

Chrome

Chrome

He is persistent …

Git

Git

Traveler going after Aspen.

Leaving it to the lieutenant

Leaving it to the lieutenant

Here, he’s letting Chrome take care of Aspen …

Airs above ground

Airs above ground

Quite a show, but they didn’t come to blows (sorry).

Traveler had to keep Chrome away, too, and at one point, they came around the band to where I was.

One grey

One grey

Chrome

Chrome

Chrome was surprised enough to find himself close to me that he was distracted, and Traveler went confidently back to his band. Sorry, pal. 🙂

As if that wasn’t enough, Bounce came trotting over to get the low-down.

Wind in his mane

Wind in his mane

Defiant

Defiant

Bounce and Aspen. My goodness, check out that kick!

Dominance

Dominance

There was a great deal of sniffing and posturing, but in the end, neither Aspen nor Chrome really challenged elder Bounce.

Belly view

Belly view

Another view of our girl.

Jif and Iya and band

Jif and Iya and band

The band was remarkably calm, given what was going on, but they didn’t stay in one place very long.

So I left them to their evening and decided to try to find Duke’s merry little band. They proved not very hard to find, right by the road near the northwestern entrance.

Duke

Duke

Maybe you know my penchant for dark bay horses, but don’t tell me he doesn’t just glow in that lovely light! The sun was very low, and the shadow from the hill on the boundary was creeping steadily toward the horses.

Corona and Raven

Corona and Raven

Love these lovely girls! Corona seems another “old-soul” girl, a lot like Ember. She doesn’t emote much, but she watches everything.

Overtaken by shade

Overtaken by shade

Duke, Corona and Raven

To end the day, I headed back into the sunshine, looking for horses glowing in the light.

On the move

On the move

Alpha leads boys Storm, Butch and Sundance through a shallow little draw to a meadow right by the road back near Wildcat Spring.

Year mates

Year mates

Yearlings Pinon and Ember, followed by 2-year-old Kestrel.

Comanche

Comanche

Bringing up the rear.

Three girls

Three girls

Ember, right, grazes with “aunt” Mahogany and Sable.

Satellites

Satellites

First Sgt. Comanche, right/foreground, and Lt. Mouse grazing toward the band.

Last light

Last light

It was a simply gorgeous evening. That’s Comanche.

End o the day

End o the day

At some point, you just have to put down the camera and enjoy the scenery … and the company.

A beautiful, beautiful, wonderful day.