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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