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.


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2 responses

4 09 2009
Hutch

Very Nice.
Good for You..

T&K

5 09 2009
TJ

🙂
TJ

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