10 11 2009

Last weekend was about searching for horses, in particular Duke, Molly and Liberty, Poco and Roach and baby Hayden. I found Hayden and Poco and Roach.

The end of the third rifle season was Friday or Saturday, depending on which DOW schedule was right, and I mostly had the basin and the horses to myself – ah, peace. I haven’t seen the pintos since the start of hunting season, I think, probably because of pressure from the road, close to which is the only water source I know of for them.

One of the bands that has NOT been hard to see recently – Kreacher’s – was briefly sighted up by the northwest road, then not again. I did get lucky and saw most of the others both days I was out.

Grey/Traveler was babysitting his youngsters – safely tucked into the saltbush taking their afternoon naps – while mamas and Iya were out grazing. Chrome and his new family were nearby, baby Hayden also taking his nap.

It was pretty windy both days (very still and nice until Saturday mid-morning) but mostly sunny and perfect temperature. Still some shade in the very shadiest of the most-north-facing hills but otherwise totally dry – except “the squish” on the loop road down from the roller-coaster hill, but not a problem to drive through.

The first clutch came when I found Steeldust’s band near the north-south road north of the Flat Top pond (which continues to shrink). Hook was with the band, and Aspen, but Twister was not with Hook. Maintaining my practice of not letting ya’ll share (some of ) my worry, he’s with Cinch and Bruiser! Not too much of a surprise, given they were all out on the Round Top-Flat Top saddle the previous weekend. AND the very first time I ever saw Mister Twister, he was with Cinch and Corazon.

Comanche and Mouse were napping on the far side of the band, and only Aspen and Hook gave me the eyeball while I visited (I don’t think Mouse moved so much as a hoof). Steeldust was hanging out with Alpha on the other far side of the band, and he apparently was completely unconcerned that Aspen and Hook were closer to his ladies and babies (except Alpha and Storm) than he was. Is Alpha in heat? There was no activity to suggest that; they were very quiet, sharing each other’s company in the sunshine. I just like to speculate. Storm-chaser is holding onto baby-hood as long as he can.


Hook and Ember napping. They weren’t as close as they look in this photo. That’s Hollywood’s band way out in the distance on the east-west hill.


Sundance roused from his nap long enough to greet Aspen and Hook, and after a couple of squeals and sniffs, went right back to the band.


Is it just me, or is Mouse getting stocky as he grows up?


Handsome curious boys


Front: Mahogany and Sable. Back: Ember and Pinon.


Sleepy, sleepy babies: Ember, Pinon, Hannah and Luna


A little after the previous photo, Hannah laid down. In the “near” background is the east-west hill – that’s where Hollywood’s band was hanging out both days.


“Baby” Storm is still nursing. Mama Alpha still lets him. Steeldust was just to the right.



Whaddy’a think? They look sleepy … and they look fantastic, eh? 🙂


You all, of course, know the Twister “mystery,” but I didn’t yet at that point. This pic was taken from the west-side loop road looking back at the band. Those crazy ponies didn’t even move in the time it took me to drive around there – well, Storm walked over to the main group. Lower left: Steeldust and Alpha. Looming weirdly hugely in the background is Filly Peak.

Seven’s band was between the Round Top road and roller-coaster ridge pond, Bounce’s was between the pond and the ridge, and Cinch, Bruiser and Twister were out between Round Top and the weird guzzler. No Molly and/or Liberty to be seen. Bounce’s were right at the base of the ridge, so when I drove over, I decided to walk down and around them to get better light. But before I got “better” light, I got light that loved Alegre.


Love that rim lighting on her forelock and tail as she stands over her baby Whisper, who is growing up into a fine young boy.


Handsome handsome!


Just like daddy Bounce!


Sweetest bravest curious-est girl Gaia 🙂


She’s still baby-clacking.


While I was visiting with and photographing Bounce’s band, Seven was curiously and calmly watching. Then he walked down to get a drink from the pond, just a little bit in front of him, out of this frame.

I checked the hunter camp on the hilltop overlooking Wildcat Spring. Except for four ribcages, four mule deer heads (antlers cut out) and hides, two gut piles and three entrance routes to the hill from the main road, the only speck of trash I found was a bottle cap. I guess I get leaving the leftovers for the ravens (they didn’t seem to find the stuff till the next day, making me wonder how recently the hunters left) and coyotes, but did they have to dump it down the hill on the side of the spring/canyon?? And the three routes they drove in – I hope – illustrates the need to prohibit off-road travel in an area of limited forage. How long will it take for grass – or anything else – to grow back in that poor (poor as in not very fertile) soil the horses depend on?

The sun was close to the horizon (I always forget how early it comes when we turn back the clocks) by then, so I headed out, hoping to find Grey’s and Chrome’s still in the flats. Oh, lucky me … but the long shadows were growing longer by the second.


You can see that the shade has overtaken them by this point … See that white-ish blur at upper left? That’s Grey/Traveler. His band was out to the right.


Hayden looks back at me and Chrome takes the opportunity to investigate the little mister. That’s Grey’s butt between his ears; an unfortunate angle, but I didn’t want to move and lose the moment! Remember how I originally described Hayden’s star as diamond-shaped? What does it most resemble now?? Be still my so-lost heart.


This is how close they were … and how calm. Still in the sunshine, barely. Jif and Hayden were to the right; Grey/Traveler was over to the left as far back as his band. In the background, from left: Iya, Houdini, Terra and Cuatro. I think Two Boots was closer to Grey.

Lovely day and evening. 🙂



5 responses

11 11 2009


Very nice professional photos and commentary.
The horses look ready for winter.

The BLM needs to get correct facts…
If they make decisions from bad info, the decisions will be wrong too.


11 11 2009
Lynn Bauer

TJ –
Have to comment (for oh sooooo many reasons!!!) That photo of Hayden with Chrome is the most poignantly, touching and gorgeous, example of how these horses live in families of whatever origin, that we’ve EVER seen!! That colt is a gift – they all are, but this one, this one, is a true “gift!” He’s BEAUTIFUL and the heart on his forehead just about says it all, doesn’t it?
Good job!!
L and K

11 11 2009

Tom – Yup. Been going on too long. And the ponies definitely are fuzzy and furry!

L&K – Well, he has my heart, for sure. 🙂

14 11 2009
Lynn Bauer

Who do you mean by the name, “Sundance”? We might have missed something..
L & K

14 11 2009

Sundance is the rose grey stallion between bay Aspen and grey Hook … looks nearly identical to Butch. Just in the past year, they’ve started to look different enough from each other that I can tell them apart from a distance and not just close. You ID’d him and Butch that day when we were waiting for the horses to cross the road, remember? 🙂
He and Butch could be twins … and they could be Luna’s … and they could be Kestrel’s older brothers, so … 4 next year? I’m kinda thinking they’re Piedra’s year mates (thinking she’s Mahogany’s daughter, Baylee’s older sister).

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