Wind, bad – babies, good!

29 04 2010

Well, folks, the ides of March have followed us to April – almost to May, to be sure. Southwest Colorado had its second major wind-dust storm of the spring yesterday. It was fairly miserable. We had four or five last year … they were miserable, too.

Toward the end of the day yesterday, visibility finally got really bad (as opposed to fairly, just plain kinda bad).

Today it snowed.

Truth in advertising?! Summer, it ain’t – yet! And I think we need to have a little chat with Ma about the fact that it is – in point of calendar fact – spring. The sign (usually) reads: Summer maintenance only. πŸ™‚

I’m never upset about moisture. πŸ™‚

First, the spoiler:

So follow along, kids: That’s Luna (and ever-present Butch) … and that’s the belly. Ya can’t miss it, right? She’s past last year’s due date. She’s past last-last year’s due date. She’s past 10 days past last-last year’s due date! My goodness, the lady is keeping us waiting this year.

Before my visit, I told young visitor Rochlia that I thought it wouldn’t be long before I had a better opportunity to photograph Duke.

Duke at home right above Spring Creek (which is basically a dry arroyo with tiny places where water sometimes collects and sometimes seeps to the surface). You can see by his nearly horizontal tail how strong was the wind.

After Duke, the next horses I saw were Hollywood’s … and, my goodness, what’s that at Piedra’s side? They were at a distance, and I think they could see Duke, and Piedra was nervous … and Sage was VERY jealous, and Baylee and Iya were curious, so I deduced baby was – without being able to see too closely – just a day old, two at most. Piedra took them up into trees on a hill, and she kept them there all day. Smart – they were probably somewhat protected from the wind there. And from curious-as-all-get-out two-leggeds such as yours truly. πŸ™‚

Here’s a pic I took at the end of the day:

Baby is reddish with a muley muzzle, but reddish mane and tail, so not bay. Very big star and at least hind stockings. In the pic, left to right: Hollywood, Sage, Piedra and baby, and Baylee – Iya is out of the frame at right.

These lovelies also wanted to see the newest addition to the world that is Spring Creek Basin.

Another pond is dry … I know of two – maybe three – that still have water. Gonna be a long time till August-September when we’re supposed toΒ  have five or six more dug out. We’re getting moisture, but that ground just sucks it all up … and the wind … that wind is not kind.

Saw Bounce’s and Seven’s … and Steeldust’s … but not before I found the basin’s newest band. It’s headed by Hook. (I know what you’re thinking … everything changes. It can; it will. Enjoy it.) I know I haven’t been very good this spring about getting information posted to the blog in a timely manner (or at all), but Ember and Pinon have been hanging out with Hook lately (the past several weeks … since March?). So they’re all together – separate from Steeldust’s (more on them later) – plus one: Hannah! I alluded to a surprise a couple of posts ago, then never got around toΒ  spilling the photographic beans. A couple of weeks ago, I found her with Hollywood’s band! She clearly wanted to go “home,” and Holls just as clearly wanted to make her the newest member of his band. Did I mention Hannah is bold? Fearless? I can see it: The bands are close together … Hannah goes out to say hi … Holls is his usual charming self … then the bands aren’t close together anymore, and Holls is pinning his ears, and Hannah can’t get back to mama. She did end up back with the band, though. Now, she’s with sister, and all is calm.

But before I found them: a couple of white “dots” and a red dot … and an extra!

The “whites,” of course, were Grey/Traveler and Houdini, the red, Terra, and the extra:

Look how tall the baby girl is! And yes, it’s another daughter for Grey and Houdini! And, by the way, this is (at least) the fourth-in-a-row daughter for Houdini. She’s darker red than either Terra or Iya, but she has already-grey legs like Iya had, and the rings around her eyes are dead giveaways that the girl will go – surprise! – grey. πŸ™‚ (I meant “no” surprise!)

Two girls and their mama

Daddy and one of his girls. The birth of the newest little girl means we have at least three of his offspring in the basin. Given the number of offspring he must have sired in his years, it’s a little crazy that most of them are at least unknown.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say he likes being a daddy. A little bit anthro … a little bit observation.

I love her face. This lovely will have a birthday in just another day (definite, not guessed). Sister Iya was born April 27 (also known). Houdini was right on time! And master Sage was born today (again, known), so if Piedra’s newest was born two days ago, she’s also right on time! One young, one not so young. Now … about that Luna … πŸ™‚

Two more … my favorites:

Mama and her big girl …

I love spring. πŸ™‚

Welcome, babies, to your world.

More to come of Steeldust’s.

Happy birthday, Sage!

29 04 2010

Great advocates of our Spring Creek Basin mustangs and frequent commenters Lynn and Kathy found Piedra last year with her very first foal – on his very first day on our planet – and they gave him his very appropriate name.

If it is true that God gives us no more than we can handle, he started Piedra off right with her first-born!

The first time I saw him, his little tail was twitch-twitch-twitching constantly, and I knew the little would be a “hoof-full” for his mama. But she took to motherhood like a dream.

God also generously gave her a sister, if not actually in blood, in bond. Baylee was a wonderful auntie to the youngster!

Sage with his Auntie Baylee on a very windy day last summer

Oh yes, the boy has been a trial for his mama … πŸ™‚

And he’s always had a great sense of humor!

It goes without saying that he’s daddy’s little man!

But he’ll always be mama’s little boy.

Happy birthday, mischief-maker boy! πŸ™‚

Happy birthday, Iya!

27 04 2010

Iya was born about a week later than I estimated Two Boots was born the previous year (both are daughters of Houdini and, I think, removed stallion Junior). She apparently needed that extra gestation: Iya was huge, right from the beginning.

Look at those curled little ears (they straightened out) and grey legs – those long, long grey legs!


This is the great big girl last summer (yearling).

Last fall among the rocks on – appropriately! – Filly Peak.

By October, Chrome had stolen Jif and Hayden, and Iya was wavering between going with her friend Jif and staying with mama Houdini and Grey’s band. By November-December, Chrome also had Two Boots and Cuatro, but Iya stayed with mama. By January, she wasn’t with either Grey or Chrome …

In February, I found her with Hollywood’s band, which includes young mom Piedra and her colt, Sage, and Baylee, also acquired by Holls as a 2-year-old.

Baylee, Iya and Shadow are the only fillies I’ve seen so far leave their bands. (Shadow was taken by David as a long yearling when the southside boys bachelor band kicked Bruiser out of the pinto band.) That is toΒ  say they’re the only immature fillies – young mother Two Boots, then 2 – and her colt – were taken by Chrome in the fall after Cuatro was born.

Dear Iya will never win the contest for beauty, but she has her mother’s level-headedness (as well as that noble Roman profile), and although Piedra warns her who’s boss mare in Hollywood’s band, she has made friends with both 3-year-old Baylee …

… and almost-yearling Sage. πŸ™‚

She may be in her duckling phase …

But soon she’ll be a swan. πŸ™‚

Happy second birthday, becoming girl!

Happy birthday, Corona!

25 04 2010

Our pale pearl Corona was an unexpected bonus that came with our “gift” of three mares in October 2008 from Sand Wash Basin. Her mother, Raven, was pregnant when she arrived, and the fortuitous connection with Amanda Conner, HSUS intern the past two summers at Sand Wash Basin, gave us the information that Raven had been with stallion Corona’s band before the roundup there. (See Nancy Roberts’ blog, Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses, for information and loads of photos – including of Corona’s band and our Corona’s pale half-brothers Whisper and Bobby.)

As spring sprang last year, I became suspicious – then confident – Raven’s growing belly was hiding a little more than “good eatin.'” Then I found Kreacher, Mona and Kootenai – without Raven – and finally found Raven and pale-pale baby girl with Duke! I named Corona after her sire, forever linking our two herds.

She did show a bit of her color then, didn’t she?

This was the last time I saw Raven and Corona with Duke last fall. They’ve been back with Kreacher and the other girls – great aunties to the girl – since October 2009.

From the shiny days of last summer. Corona and Raven and stepdaddy-at-the-time Duke. One of my favorite visits with them.

She really blossomed over the winter, and her winter coat, at least, hints at her true palomino color. When she was born, I wasn’t sure what color to call her … but I knew she wasn’t “white”! That thick, luxurious, wavy mane definitely comes from daddy Corona! His nickname there is “Fabio”!

Happy first birthday, glorious girl!

Black and blue

25 04 2010

This photo is from a visit a couple of weeks ago … one I’m starting to despair of ever getting any information up about. (I just downloaded the pix from my memory card to my hard drive!) But I want to share it, particularly, and I want to share the message I read just yesterday …

Band stallion Bounce, with the La Sal Mountains of Utah behind him.

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart;
“May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people (and horses and other animals), so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace;
“May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, starvation, war and loss, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy;
“May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done;
“May God bless you with God’s comforting presence now and in your journeys through each day.”

~ Franciscan blessing

GodΒ  has apparently blessed me with quite a substantial reserve of foolishness, and I am working under the sincere and optimistic belief that I CAN make a difference … even if just in my own little corner of the world. πŸ™‚

Spring Wind

23 04 2010

And moisture!

So – oddly enough – for the first time in weeks, I have a full trip report! (Because I had to wait out the rain at friends’ fantastic cabin nearby, I had time to go through the day’s limited photos!)

I saw just a few horses – and NOT Steeldust’s band. It’s odd that I don’t see them, and with Luna PAST due to have her baby, the worst thing I can say about the rain was my timing in not getting to the basin soon enough to find her. I did dream about her a few nights ago – and her foal. I’ll let ya’ll know if I’m about to list “medium” on my resume. πŸ™‚

When I got to the basin, I had time to go once ’round the loop. The horses are starting to move toward what I call the “east pocket” – it’s usually the first to green up. It’s a lot of cheat grass, and once it’s grazed and/or spent, the horses generally leave the area for the rest of the year. This is a trend I’ve noticed during the past three seasons. The timing of their migration back to the pocket varies. It was around March in 2008, I think, as early as February last year, and end of April this year!

Although I spent probably less than 30 minutes in the basin – because of the rain – I am THRILLED with the moisture! Maybe the ponds that already have gone dry and the ones close to going dry have a bit more time to serve the ponies.

Hollywood and his band were the first ones I saw, followed closely by Seven’s band. But Holls isn’t looking at Seven here …

Can you see? The boys in the trees are Roach and Poco. Remember when they set to following Holls’ band last year? But now they are “home,” and everybody else is visiting.

Baby Spring following brother Ze and mama Roja.

A flash of white caught my eye, and my first thought was Alpha … but it wasn’t. It was clever Houdini.

Around the trees, Terra and Grey/Traveler came into view. Given how windy it was, they were smart to seek the relative shelter of the trees!

Roja and Spring. I think Spring is a filly, but I’m not guaranteeing that yet! No markings that I can see.

Spring’s tail is very light at the upper edges.

Ze and Seven following along … but who do you see in the background? Do you see all three?

Spring sees them … πŸ™‚

Now do you see who was nearby?

There was a little of this …

… and a little of this …

… and a little more of this … before Bounce – with a great toss of his head, trotted back to his band.

Seven gathered his troops …

… then they were away with Bounce hot on their trail!

I’m not sure why he pursued them. They went the way I was going around the loop, but even though I was starting to get particularly nervous about the western darkening sky, I thought it more prudent to wait. Sure enough, Bounce came trotting back like a victorious king. I inched on up the road … and saw Seven’s grazing not far from the road not too far on. To pass or not to pass? They were quiet, and that sky … so I crept forward … and past … and they weren’t bothered! That was pretty awesome.

But it turned out that they were almost the last horses I saw that day. To be safe, I drove out of the basin to the county road. Sure enough, the rain came – and hail – then it stopped, but curtains of grey still were coming … more rain … more hail … I waited for a couple of hours, then decided to call it quits and headed on south.

Guess who I saw right inside the fence just past the county line?

I couldn’t believe they were back down by the road! Mister David is taking his daddy duties very seriously.

Luckily for me, Shadow must have thought the arroyo, at least, was a comforting barrier. Wind is his name, so blessed by the person who first saw him, who said it was very windy that day. Appropriate! I don’t know whether it’s coincidence that every time I’ve seen him nurse it has been from this angle … Whatever works, eh?!

He’s not very big, but he’s a cutie! You can see his left hind sock (I thought it was a stocking on my first sighting and from the other side …?), and he also has a small star.

To make a short story shorter, I awakened the next morning to about 2 inches of snow! And sunshine! It rained and rained the rest of the day and night … The sunshine was a welcome sight, but conditions were still too wet to drive in, so I walked in. But given where the horses are now, I just didn’t get that far. I did spot Chrome’s band – way too far for pictures – but I always enjoy a sighting of little red Hayden. And the others, of course!

The clouds were coming up over the eastern ridges as I hiked out, and if the skies from home were any indication, the basin got even more moisture later in the day. All welcome and much needed!

Happy birthday, Gaia!

23 04 2010

She has a delicate appearance, like her mama, but with a heart of gold and tough as a mustang!

I didn’t know in the beginning that not only was her red-gold here to stay, it would just get prettier as she grew up.

What a doll!

This is one of my favorite photos of the girl and her mama.

Gaia is Alegre’s first foal. I think Alegre may be a daughter of Alpha and Grey/Traveler. Alpha has always been an extra-protective mother in my experience, and I wasn’t surprised when Alegre showed the same level of care (as they all do, really). And I was pleased to see Gaia take after her mother when little brother Whisper came along last year.

And …

Gaia and Liberty, who is a couple of weeks younger than Whisper, the day I realized she was an orphan.

Gaia was born on or around Earth Day – hence her goddess name.

Happy second birthday, nurturing girl!

Happy birthday, Ember!

18 04 2010

Curious girl checking me out last fall.

These two are from last week’s visit right at sunset. Check out that bit of curly mane at her withers; she gets that from her mama, Luna. She and Pinon are hanging out with Hook currently, interestingly enough, still close/with Steeldust’s band.

She’s very laid back and calm – not too much seems to ruffle her.

I still remember her as a spindly youngster …

Baby girl the first time I saw her. πŸ™‚ They grow up so big and beautiful, don’t they?

Ember, right, with her little sister, Hannah, from last fall.

Happy second birthday, easy-going girl!

Roja and Spring

16 04 2010

Roja’s baby has a name: Spring, suggested by very long-time advocates of Spring Creek Basin mustangs. There’s karma in that, I think. πŸ™‚

Taken from the Jeep up on the roller-coaster ridge. Look at those little black fetlocks! Maybe baby will stay bay?

Walking up is Ze, Roja and Seven’s yearling son. I think he’ll turn grey.

Seven was hanging back, not worried; this is the mama and her babes.

From a distance on a different occasion, I got to see all three of them act like spring foals, galloping and kicking up their heels – even Roja (who never needs much of an excuse) – just for the joy of it!

Struttin’ their stuff

15 04 2010

Wednesday, I found Bruiser, and he was alone. He did lead me – in a roundabout way – to the pinto band later in the day. But I sure wondered where the heck were Cinch and Twister …

Today, all was back to normal when he showed up again with Cinch and Twister not too long after a visit with Shadow and David and their baby. Friend TB also got to see the youngster, and we chatted long enough that the boys finally came down from a ridge – to the pond behind Round Top, or so we thought.

We waited out away from the pond so they could drink, but they really came strutting over to check out TB’s handsome palomino mustang!

Bruiser in the lead, Twister at right and Cinch at back left.

Bruiser and Twister. Twister is 3 this spring.

Bruiser at the “long trot”!

And flying!

He has grown over the past few months. He’s part of the “class of 2007” – roundup-year babies. Looks a lot like Cuatro … or vice versa …



And no display of strutting stallions would be complete without this, which looks dramatic but resulted in no injury to either party. πŸ™‚

Cinch at left, Bruiser right

And the center of their attention?

This big handsome fellow is from White Mountain in Wyoming (which means, if I remember correctly, that he shares his home range with a certain also-handsome buckskin-pinto fellow). TB also has a mustang from the Twin Peaks area of CA/NV – a mustang advocate for sure!

It was certainly nice to see these elusive boys, and – even better – it was great to see them all together!

Also out on horseback today were herd area manager Bob Ball and a contingent of Forest Service/BLM folks, out to collect water samples from various sources within the basin – and enjoy the gorgeous day! I suppose they could call it “work,” but I hope they had a wonderful day and saw plenty of horses!