Mustangs on the international stage

25 02 2010

I don’t know how to read this, and I’m not even sure what language it is (I have a couple of guesses), but I followed a link off my stats page this morning back to this Web page or forum that links to my blog and Pam Nickoles’ blog!

There are a couple of videos also – not mustangs – that are worth watching for anyone who enjoys seeing well-trained and gorgeous horses.

If the person who linked to our blogs happens to read this and would respond, I’m sure Pam and I would love to know how you found our blogs, what country you’re from and what you think about our American mustangs!

Little orphan Liberty

23 02 2010

(I don’t mean that as a political statement … at least not in this case!)

Welcome to installment 3 of last week’s visit (we’re getting close to the day’s conclusion).

Bounce with his “babies” …

… and mama Alegre, who is working to feed the belly and barely looked up during our visit.

Don’t they look fabulous? From left, Gaia and sticking-like-glue Liberty, Whisper and Bounce. Only Whisper is Bounce’s offspring, but he is a good and just daddy, and they all clearly adore him.

This next series of pictures cracks me up:

To get to them, I caught a ride on a wild pony superhighway, then stopped as I got to a little rise by some pinon trees. Bounce is on the superway now, walking toward me …

Then he stopped … and the babies had to peek around him, so curious are they three …

He decides that’s close enough and starts to browse again, while the babies are right behind him, deciding on their next move. πŸ™‚

Here he’s checking his most recent “territory marker.”

Whisper and Liberty decide to walk a little closer … Daddy is right behind them, after all.

Hello, my lovelies! πŸ™‚ Whisper, right, is Alegre and Bounce’s son; he was born last May 7. Liberty is Molly and Seven’s daughter; she was born last May 25. Baby girl is healthy, but she’s half Whisper’s size.

All three babies eventually walked past me. I’m not sure what Liberty and Gaia were looking at here … Hollywood’s and Steeldust’s bands were way off yonder to their right.

When the babies moved past me to graze and play – and look back at me every once in a while – I thought Bounce and Alegre would follow them. But they didn’t, so I sat down on a dead tree and watched them for a bit. If ‘Legs was a bruin, I’d say she was in hyperphagia … but nope, she’s just feeding that baby in the belly, helping him or her grow strong and healthy before her or his big debut!

It was an incredibly peaceful visit with these ponies, and I was so happy to see that not only did they accept Liberty after her mama (Molly) passed the great beyond, they have embraced her.


I had a visit with one more band … pictures to come.

Big band on the prowl

22 02 2010

During last week’s visit to the horses, I was able to drive deep into the heart of the basin – and I was able to walk in even farther. I parked near where I found Hollywood’s band, but because they were all lying down when I arrived, I set out on a roundabout walkabout in search of some other ponies I hadn’t seen for a while: Roach and Poco, Bounce’s band … whoever else might appear.

As it turned out, all I saw on my loop were bovines (at least six calves) until I came around full-circle to the dun boy’s band (oh, and I also saw a LOT of elk up on the north hills). Really never expected to not only find Iya with them but to find that he had regained Piedra and Sage from Hook! But it’s not the first time Holls has lost his favorite, and I suppose it won’t be the last.

Early on, I caught sight of Chrome’s band out on the saddle between Round Top and Flat – little red mister is surprisingly easy to identify! Then, when I was walking down to Hollywood’s, I spotted Grey/Traveler nearer on the saddle between Flat Top and Round … but didn’t see Houdini or Terra.

My visit with Hollywood’s band ended when Piedra caught sight of Steeldust’s band coming around the end of the roller-coaster ridge basically toward us. Maybe she knew Hook was with them and didn’t want to take any chances because she came completely alert from her relaxed grazing and trotted resolutely away, everyone following in her wake.

Luna had been leading when SD’s band first came into view, but as they paused to watch Hollywood’s band vacate the vicinity, Alpha took the lead and led her charges through the big arroyo and straight up a not-so-straight spiney ridgeΒ  toward the base of Knife Edge – and that’s where I had a lovely visit with the many lovelies of the big band.

Kestrel, almost 3, and her little sister Ember, almost 2, walking the ridge.

Storm. He’s 20 months old. Wait’ll you see what he’s still doing.

Young Pinon also is almost 2 years old, and that’s Hook with him.

Handsome Pinon. He looks a lot like his big sister Baylee, eh?

Mouse, left, dropped back to have a chat with Comanche.

Comanche, right, responded with a half-hearted little rear …

And Mouse decided he was OK with that response. Here, he’s looking at Aspen, who is watching the goings-on from the background.

These two seem to have developed quite a little friendship. Since the day I witnessed Storm pestering Hannah while she was trying to take a nap, when I see them, they’re never far apart.

There’s Storm and Hannah, Sable, Comanche and Ember at back right.

My experiences with the wild stallions and babies of Spring Creek Basin have always been illustrated by this very scene: Curious and tolerant of the youngsters, whether theirs or otherwise. I have, of course, been very lucky to have witnessed very healthy babies. Comanche is a bachelor, second to bachelor Mouse in the hierarchy of Steeldust’s hangers-on.

Now back to baby drama: What prompted this little action? Storm is just to the left … and baby sister Hannah got snippy with big sister Ember!

And then poor Sable, right, who was just walking along …

… became a victim of the trickle-down effect!

All’s well that ends well.

My goodness … it’s getting close to baby season again, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ Mahogany – Sable’s, Pinon’s and Baylee’s mom (at least). Luna in the background.

I just love these lovely ladies! From foreground right: Mahogany, her daughter Sable, Luna and Alpha. I love how Luna and Alph are grazing with their eyes practically closed.

Who’s the ginormous baby boy still nursing at 20 months old!? πŸ™‚ I’m starting to think I’m going to see him at some point down on his knees to reach under mama’s flank. Steeldust in the background.

Aspen and Hook bringing up the rear. These boys share another similarity now: They’ve both stolen Piedra from Hollywood … and they’ve both lost Piedra back to Hollywood!

One more:

Whaddya make of this? This little stealth plane zoomed over us during my visit – on a basic north-to-south trajectory – pretty low. But where the horses totally freaked out when the helicopter chattered over them last year, they didn’t seem to mind these fellows (two people in the cockpit?) at all. Can you read the USAF on the left wing and the U.S. Air Force on the nose? Another bit of a puzzle.

Before I headed back to the Jeep, I spied the back of a dark horse way out yonder on the north side of Flat Top. Couldn’t see Grey anymore on the saddle, but I couldn’t see enough to ID Terra positively. But I know it was her because I did finally see all three – Grey/Traveler, Houdini and Terra – later on my way out.

This is the end of the day’s “chapter 2” and represents the farthest I’ve gotten on tweaking the day’s photos! Visits with two more bands are to come! All’s well that starts slowly … and all’s still well with one particular little band that took in an orphan late last year … πŸ™‚

Puzzling ponies

19 02 2010

So who in the basin is Iya with??

Clue No. 1.

Clue No. 2.

Clue No. 3. Betcha didn’t see that coming. πŸ™‚

Sage, Baylee – Iya – and Hollywood!

And Piedra. Reunited. πŸ™‚

You’d never know Iya was a newcomer; they acted like they’d known each other all their lives. Their dynamics are truly fascinating!

Did Grey/Traveler kick Iya out? She was born into his band as opposed to Two Boots, who was with mama Houdini when he stole them from Seven (remember that??). Did she go looking for her big sister and was intercepted by Hollywood? Did Hollywood steal her? When did she join his band? Before or after he stole Piedra and Sage back from Hook?

Oh, the puzzles these ponies present. πŸ™‚

Piedra has weaned master Sage. For a first-time mother, she had no trouble getting her message across. Moments before this shot, he nosed her flank, and she pinned her ears but didn’t otherwise – that I could discern – give anyΒ  message. He definitely understood, though, and this photo just shows baby (almost a yearling!) seeking comfort. Boy, won’t he be surprised when his new baby brother or sister appears!

He is so loved. πŸ™‚ Hollywood had had his head down browsing, and Sage basically walked right into him, causing Hollywood to throw up his head to get out of Sage’s way! In the next frame, he’s resting his chin on Sage’s hip momentarily – initially annoyed … instantly forgiven.

Oh, but who could resist the little love-bug!?

Mister Hook is fine as rain; he’s back with Aspen, trailing Steeldust’s big band.

More pix and info to come as I have time. I haven’t even been able to get through all my pictures yet; my folks are coming to Colorado for a mini ski trip, and some house-cleaning is in order!

Just say no to secrecy

18 02 2010

“BLM responds to critics of wild horse roundups with a shroud of secrecy”

I haven’t posted much about the recent wild horse news because loads of other sites are doing a great job. But this – BLM hoping it will all go away – demands as many eyes as possible.

Also recently found out BLM set up a link for people to comment about its handling of wild horses. I had read it didn’t work (go figure) … but it seems to have been fixed.

Let ’em know what you think. Here’s to exposure …


17 02 2010

Look who I found today. πŸ™‚

Not with Grey/Traveler.

Not with Chrome.

And there’s been a change-back. And another welcome sighting. πŸ™‚ It was a really good visit with the ponies.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 02 2010

I nearly forgot about the holiday of love and chocolate until I saw Pam Nickoles’ blog this morning with her wonderful photo! I did put up a photo (late) last year, though, so I thought I’d go ahead and continue the theme (and put up a new photo because I wasn’t able to get out to visit the horses this past week).

Obviously not taken recently (shiny, slick coats, and these horses are no longer in the same band!), but that’s Piedra and Sundance with Steeldust’s band. I don’t think I’ve used this photo on the blog before.

Let your love for each other spill over to the wild creatures of the American West. They deserve no less.

Links for young readers

9 02 2010

Young people are our promise and hope for the future, across many spectrums, and their role in preserving our nation’s wild horses is no different. It was the wild support of school children, led by Wild Horse Annie’s charge, that led to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act.

Several online sites have kid-specific resources, and photographer Pam Nickoles has compiled a list of links for children and teenagers to learn more about wild horses:

And one young reader of this blog – Rochlia – is involved in an online Girls Horse Club. It’s a great resource for horse-crazy girls (like, I dare say, many of still are!) to read and write and share information about horses. They’re gearing up for “March for Wild Horses,” to learn even more about our American mustangs.

From their blog: “Beginning March 1st 2010, Girls Horse Club will host March for Wild Horses here at our virtual barn. The intent is to use our collective, creative voice to speak out for the rights of wild and feral horses on public lands, and show our support for the individuals and organizations who are their loving protectors. Throughout the month we’ll publish stories, essays, poems, and artwork created by horse girls, inspired by wild horses.”

If you’re a young reader – or young at heart – check out the link to learn more! Young folks saved this country’s wild horses once … they’ll continue to do so!

Threat of snow

7 02 2010

In reality, it was less than the weather man predicted, and I was able to drive into the basin. For all the snow where I live and all the snow out to the rim of Disappointment, the valley and basin have less than I expected. But the soil is wet – OK, it’s downright muddy – so I hope it still bodes well for our moisture there this year. And more is coming … it’s only February, after all!

I found little man Hayden and his family for the first time in two visits … and Iya, who was not with Grey/Traveler when I last visited two weeks ago, was not with them. Gone back to her mama? I don’t know; I didn’t see them this visit. In fact, with the cattle spread throughout the interior of the basin, it was difficult to spot horses at all. I do wonder how much the cattle disperse the horses. Report is that at least four cows have calved, and they’re being checked at least every other day, so there are good eyes watching. I still hope they’re all out on time this year.

Also found Kreacher’s band. Wait till you see Corona! Oddly enough, I didn’t see Steeldust’s, so I also don’t know whether Duke is still following them, but it made me realize it has been a long, long time since I’ve NOT seen Steely Dan’s band during a visit! But I did see a threesome I haven’t seen since better weather: Cinch, Bruiser – and Twister, still with them! They were close to David and his Shadow. And not close to them but close to me, on the road, the pintos. And a handful of deer and elk for good measure. Anyone know when deer and elk drop their antlers? I thought it was around now. Both the (young) bucks I saw still had their antlers (all the elk I saw were cows and last year’s calves).

Kreacher and his girls.

A little closer …

And a wee bit closer. Gotta love a zoom lens. πŸ™‚

Can you believe how she’s changed?? No doubt who her daddy is! Check out that wavy mane! Daddy must be Corona of Sand Wash Basin, otherwise known as “Fabio”! Oh, she is destined to break some hearts, isn’t she? πŸ™‚

Her “aunties” clearly adore her. Here, Kootenai is upset she’s not the one right next to the baby, and Mona is giving no ground.

But a few steps later, they were happy again.

Krazy Kreacher and Mona

Mama and her girl

Spent a little time with Chrome’s band next.

Welcome from the boys!

As mentioned, Iya was not with the band, and I wondered if she’d gone back to mama … Couldn’t confirm because I didn’t see Grey/Traveler’s band this visit.

Note the new scars on Chrome’s face. From scrapping …?

Snug as a baby bug in a fuzzy fur coat!

These two little boys are, well, typical little boys. Hayden has no idea he’s the baby of the family and is completely confident as first son of first mare. And he has the ‘tude I would expect of Grey’s son!

The innocent approach …

He just can’t resist …

Cuatro is a very tolerant “big brother.”

Hey … what are you doing there?!


Check out Cuatro’s lip.

But before long, the little couldn’t resist brother’s fuzzy cheek.

See how tolerant?

I can hardly stand the cuteness. πŸ™‚ Do you see the darker hair on the front of Hayden’s face? It’s like a long horseshoe-shaped whorl. I think Jif has it, but otherwise, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it before – and it didn’t show up until he was full into his winter coat.

And again, he can’t help himself!

Sheesh. πŸ™‚

Cuatro finally crossed the little arroyo to the left, and Hayden followed – actually right beside him – and THAT finally irritated Cuatro, who laid his ears back and snapped at him.

Meanwhile, mama Two Boots kept an eye on the proceedings but didn’t interfere. And Jif, who already had crossed, trusted her cheeky boy to follow her … eventually.

The boys finally settled to the business of filling growing-boy tummies. All the horses seem to have gotten into the habit now of eating snow. A little farther up this drainage, they paused in a particular place to take advantage of a particular drift.

Not far as the raven flies, Cinch, Bruiser and Twister were grazing close to David and Shadow … and a few elk and deer.

One big pretty girl. Doesn’t she look to be in great shape?

Two more beautiful girls.

And then the pinto band was very near the road!

From left: Spook, Kiowa, Mesa, Reya, Corazon and Chipeta, Ty and Copper.

Independent Milagro was just a bit to the left out of the frame of the first pic, facing away from the band, standing slightly uphill, taking a little nap!

I sat in the Jeep on the road long enough that three muley does started walking toward me on the road. The horses took quite an interest in them. At one point, they jumped the fence into the herd area … but within just a couple of minutes, they jumped out again.

Chipeta set herself as guardian, while the other horses mostly ignored the deer in the beginning. Ty, in the background, watched them, but he had stopped grazing and was just kind of dozing.

There’s everyone but Mesa, most now clearly watching the deer. I’m not sure where they came from exactly, and they didn’t seem to know where they were going.

So it was quite a nice little visit! Utah was visible all day, but by the time I headed home, my Colorado views (Sleeping Ute, Mesa Verde ridges, La Platas) had completely disappeared. My grandma’s favorite views were always farmground views – flat, low horizons – but I like my views “cluttered” with hills and crags and mountains. No views here means low clouds, which, now, means snow. Sure enough, about 10 miles from home, the flakes started hitting the windshield. I definitely offered some thanks to Mother Nature for the little weather window that allowed me to visit my ponies. πŸ™‚