Hollywood’s … and more

27 09 2010

Back in the “meadow” of the east pocket, I was concentrating on Mona and her new baby – with Seven’s! – but after a very short while, we all became aware of other visitors when Hollywood’s band burst out of the trees and over a ridge, heading straight for us. They stopped momentarily – surprised, I think – when they saw Seven’s (and they must know the makeup of families as well (better!) as I do, so I wonder what they made of the new additions) – then me – then they started off again – straight toward me!

You know that strange phenomenon … you’ve found the perfect campsite in a not-too-crowded campground, away from the other people – and a late arrival sets up right next to you. Or you’re alone on a bus, and the next fare chooses a seat – out of all the empty seats! – right next to yours. Hollywood and his family could have gone in any direction – away from Seven’s – and away from me, too, and yet here they came. That’s not the first time it’s happened, and I imagine (hope?!) it won’t be the last. Fear – the prey species drive – fuels these beautiful animals, has kept them alive – and thriving! – for centuries, and yet, they have this amazing curiosity that also directs them, allows them to know how close they can get to satisfy that curiosity … how far they must stay to appease that fear.

Here they come – Hollywood in the lead followed by alpha mare Piedra and baby Tenaz.

So graceful … I just love Piedra.

Coming to that edge … Piedra and Tenaz, Hollywood now waiting for everyone to catch up, Baylee at left.

Now some watch Seven’s – Sage, right, and Baylee – and some watch me! Iya at left. Holls has gone out a little to man the line between his family and Seven’s, who didn’t move a step away from his new girl.

Wider view to include Holls – and that amazing backdrop of what I call the east pocket! Those hills and ridges make up part of the natural eastern boundary of Spring Creek Basin.

Baylee, 3, and Iya, 2, are best of friends. They tend to stick fairly close to each other.

Mama Piedra, daddy Hollywood and their sons, Tenaz and Sage.

Piedra and her boys

Now she’s made her decision – nothing to fear, and she’s satisfied her curiosity – and is getting down to the important business of grazing.

Handsome Tenaz

Hollywood. So far, none of our duns have thrown their color. Only Luna – in the time I’ve been documenting the mustangs – has thrown her color, in 3-year-old Kestrel – and she reproduced it in her very first foal, Winona. Both foals this year with dun parents are bay.

Hollywood with his boys, Tenaz and Sage

Full-brothers Tenaz, 5 months, and Sage, yearling

Now for the *more* …

Look who decided to join the party. πŸ™‚ Roja, masking her curiosity by nibbling on a saltbush.

And who is this darling girl we rarely get to see? That’s Spring, looking like a mini version of (I’m pretty sure) grandma Molly.

Spring has left mama to come see the baby … here she is with daddy Seven, lost in the bliss of saltbush nibbling.

Daddy with two of his babies (he also had a bay filly that was rounded up in 2007. She was named Hershey for her darker splotch; I believe she was adopted).

Handsome Seven – with son Ze – looking for Roja. Isn’t he incredible? Great genes!

Mama Mona and baby Shane showing off their similar face markings.

She is a doting mama …

… and fierce as a grizzly when provoked! And that curious-Ze just didn’t seem to get the message! This was a “bluff charge”; she never left Shane’s side. But I was happy to see this side of lovely, gentle, sweet, laidback Mona!

I do love the mamas and babies – are they beautiful or what?!

Happy birthday, Hayden!

22 09 2010

My, oh my, how he has grown!

Though I think it’s extremely like that Seven is Grey/Traveler’s son, Hayden is the only colt in the basin I know for sure is his son. And, of course, he’s the son of lovely Jif.

From the very beginning, he’s had that *something* – a worthy son of the king of the basin.

Mama Jif and Hayden

Such a handsome boy!

Not too long after he was born, he and Jif ended up with Chrome, who had dogged Grey’s band since August.

This morning was one of my favorites ever in the basin – and you are correct in saying to yourself that nearly every day in the basin makes it to the “favorite days” column.

Hayden’s hoofprint

Learning from mama what to eat.

He grew a very fuzzy coat and survived the winter very well.

He and Cuatro, born in May, were like brothers … and maybe they are brothers (we’ll just never know if Twister or Grey/Traveler is Cuatro’s sire).

He and his family took the winter in stride.

So photogenic!

Hayden and Cuatro spent endless hours playing together …

And still took time to pose for portraits!

This is in March – fuzzy bear.

April – with Cuatro

May – look how much bigger he looks just from April to May!

June – nearly slick!

July – love how he glows!

August – looking rather like a little grownup baby boy napping in the early sunshine.

Earlier this month, watching a truck. Definitely in his not-quite-graceful yearling phase. πŸ™‚

I just love the red-gold of his coat shining in the morning sunlight. Here, he was after a little bird that had been perching on Jif. It perched briefly on Hayden’s crest before it took off, and he was curious enough to follow!

Happy birthday, most beloved boy. I hope your future holds many long years in your basin home, carrying on the superior genes and wisdom of your ancestors.

Seven’s band is +2

21 09 2010

Did you guess?? I sure didn’t. In fact, when I first saw this band, through trees and around a ridge – a side, a back – I saw colors: light grey, sorrel, dun. The dun with the sorrel and the light grey said “Chrome’s” to me. But when I came around the curve in the trail, face to faraway face with Roja, I instantly knew my mistake! They’re watching Hollywood’s band here, who had just surprised us by trotting into the “meadow,” probably toΒ  give some room to Steeldust’s and Bounce’s and Grey/Traveler’s bands nearby (taking advantage of water in this part of the basin).

The familiar family: Seven, Ze, Spring and Roja. They’re eyeing Mona and baby, and Seven is walking her way. With another stallion/band in the immediate vicinity, Seven decided to focus on the new girl, and Roja decided to let him. She and Spring disappeared over a little rise, and Ze stayed with daddy and the newcomers.

Seven circling his newest additions – Ze at right.

By this point, Roja and Spring had come back into view and were napping under a tree (it was rather warm, and I was following their example!). Seven is whinnying rather insistently for her to join him, and she’s rather steadfastly ignoring him. She did eventually mosey out, and Spring couldn’t resist the magnetic pull of a baby, eventually choosing daddy over mama and proximity to the fascinating new little creature. Spring was baby No. 1 this year, and she’s 5 months old.

Seven watched me watching them. I had a great seat under a wonderful large old juniper that provided lovely shade and seemed to draw a little breeze. The horses were out across a little arroyo, and Hollywood’s were farther left.

And there you go! Seven has (hopefully still) Mona and her cherished baby girl. I’d love to have been a fly in the mane for the journey that took Mona clear across the basin – before, after she had the baby? Seven’s band is one of the most difficult to view, but they were so very terrific to allow me to view the almost-newborn that day!

We are apparently about to get hammered by “heavy rain” and “likely flash floods.” Foremost in my mind at that kind of news is how fast will it fill those newly dug ponds?! Snow in the high country also is likely. There are a few cottonwoods in the basin, in particular in the little arroyo that drains Wildcat canyon and up in the northwest; the NW tree was just fantastically gorgeous last year. So think pond filling … and wish Hayden a happy birthday tomorrow – oops, it’s already today: Sept. 22!

Extended family

20 09 2010

No one’s curious about Mona and Shane and their new band? No one at all?

Good – because this post is not about them. πŸ™‚ It’s about the wonderful little family of spots and solids and very black-dark turning grizzled grey: The pintos.

Minutes before sunrise, looking toward the unnamed promontory (left) and Brumley Point (right); the pintos are grazing on the hill behind me.

Mama Chipeta and Puzzle

Band stallion Copper and 2-year-old Spook

Mama Kiowa and baby Maiku

Isn’t she adorable?

I’m not often confident enough to pan with a slower-than-normal shutter speed, even though I love the effect. In the shade of pre-sunrise, the ponies gave me a good opportunity: Maiku and Spook and Chipeta ran a short way down this little finger of a hill when Mesa popped up behind them.

I watched the rising sun light the hills to the west in a slow creep … then the valley below … but when it hit our hill, it seemed like it was all at once – wow!

Milagro – and yes, I think that’s a prickly pear spine in his little face. He looks so much like daddy Copper.

Milagro is Maiku’s yearling big brother (probably full). Spook, pictured here with Maiku, is his 2-year-old big half-sister.

Big girl loves the little brother.

Maiku had been napping in the sunshine while mama and his sisters grazed around him. Here he’s stretching as Puzzle walks past, following mama.

She’s a little too little yet to interact much with him, but I’m sure they’ll become great pals, these (likely) half-siblings.

Once upon a time, in the wilds of Spring Creek Basin, Colorado, there lived a beautiful spotted princess and her mother and daddy and extended family.

She was strong and beautiful and well-adapted to her hilly home.

Her mama knew the importance of feeding the princess well to build strong bones and muscles so she could run with the wind in her curly little mane on strong little legs and flinty little hooves.

Mama also made sure there was plenty of time for baby to nap in the lovely warm sunshine.

The little princess knew the value of appearing graceful and poised at all times.

She knew she was so well cared for she could sleep safely in the presence of her mama, a princess in her own right, and the queen and her brother, and that all would be well when she awakened.

So the little princess slept soundly on her bed of grass and earth on the hill near the top of her beautiful world.

And when she had awakened and stretched and turned for mama, there she was, watchful and protective and waiting for her daughter, the littlest princess of Spring Creek Basin!

Not the end. πŸ™‚ Some more:

Baby girl nursing surrounded by family: Kiowa and Maiku at left, Spook and Copper right of Chipeta and Puzzle, and Milagro at bottom right.

Ty and Copper – do you see the little sunflowers in front of Ty?



Kiowa and Maiku grazing while Puzzle naps.

Puzzle and Chipeta, Maiku and Spook

Family: Left to right: 2-year-old daughter of Kiowa, Spook; band stallion Copper, sire (likely) of Milagro and Maiku and Puzzle; Maiku, baby son of Kiowa; Kiowa, dam of Reya, Spook, Milagro and Maiku; Reya, 3-year-old daughter of Kiowa; and Milagro, yearling son of Kiowa and Copper, in the background. Milo’s ears are up, but he’s half-asleep, but how’s that for getting six pairs of ears up at the same time!

The gang’s all there. Mesa at lower left. Chipeta and Puzzle, then Corazon, then Spook, Copper (you can just see his face), Maiku now lying down, Kiowa, Reya and Ty, and Milo in the back. This was their after-sunrise nap, and they enjoyed that wonderful sunshine as I bid them another “thank you” and farewell – only until next time!

From a day

18 09 2010

The horses were at significant distances from the roads lately, possibly because of the activity going on – ponds getting dug out! Because two of the three ponds on the priority list filled up with water from the rain this summer, BLM looked outside the box and had the two dry ponds dug out – as well as the one dry pond on the list. The two “extra” ponds were still a little wet – in fact, the first one the BLM dozer guy dug out now actually has a little water in it from last week’s rain! And the other dry pond had gotten wet and muddy from a previous rain, and that one, the dozer guy eventually had to abandon – possibly for later – because it was still pretty wet and he had concerns about getting stuck. But it’s deeper than it was, and we’re dry again, so more rain could come at any timely moment for us!

This pond is right off the road in the eastern part of the basin. In the distance you can see the boundary ridge with the unnamed promontory and McKenna Peak (the “pyramid” sticking up behind the treed ridge, which is part of what I call Lizard Mesa).

Wider view …

Pushing sticky wet dirt/mud up the bank …

Farther east and a bit south of the previous pond, this area is called “sorrel flats.” It was on the original list of ponds to be dug out.

This is the pond up in the northwest part of the herd area. It rarely holds water and usually briefly, but of course, now that it’s on the list (anchoring the fifth and last spot), it has water – and for weeks. It’s very shallow – you can see the vegetation sticking up – but water in that area encourages the horses to use that area. Very pretty backΒ  there – and great views of most of the basin!

While the dozer was out, the operator smoothed some of our “rough edges,” aka arroyos that were in need of “smoothing”! This one is near sorrel flats and had become a “drainage hole” with just a Jeep-size squeezable slot to drive through (ask me how I know – there’s an arroyo crossing I call “the squish” because it’s almost always a little wet and muddy; this arroyo was in danger of becoming “the squeeze” … and then impassable!). We appreciate the extra work. πŸ™‚

And of course, we did see some horses …

Grey/Traveler napping with his girls … (Gemma is being shy)

There’s mama Houdini and lovely girl Gemma.

Very near the first pond that was dug out (a couple of weeks ago). It was dug out deep enough, and the water is still shallow enough, that we couldn’t see it, but Hollywood’s band knew it was there – and took advantage!

We also saw Liberty and Cinch just off the road.

He trotted with her a short distance away …

… then stopped and watched again. I’m not sure what he’s looking at here, but Liberty is clearly very much at ease with him.

We also spotted these boys – Twister and Cuatro – WAY on the other side of the basin from where they were last week – and minus Duke.

Two Boots and baby Rio in the shade of Filly Peak. Driving up, I almost didn’t see them because of the glare. Chrome didn’t move too much – he’s a fair distance to the left.

Hayden and his mama, Jif.

Wonderful day – full of sunshine and good spirits … and a few tears. Glad to see the ponds dug out. Now we just need them full!

‘Nother baby girl

17 09 2010

Mona had her baby – a darling bay filly I’ve named Shane, in honor of friends L&K who are visiting with little sister M, and in memory of little brother K, who was lost too soon.

Mona is a VERY good mama, very protective. She’s with a new band, all the way across the basin …

She is NOT ready to be rebred, thank you very much, and no, you canNOT get close to baby – the pinned ears are directed behind her, not at baby Shane.

And yes, I believe she’s another bay! What’s with bay babies this year? πŸ™‚

And with that, I’m going to leave you guessing about her new band. I’ll have more pix as soon as I can get to them!

Mamas and babes

13 09 2010

While we were watching the boys, it was fun to also watch the mamas and their babies – the little baby as well as the big baby!

Luna and her baby boy, Gideon

Alpha was giving Storm a motherly scratch on the withers while they – and Gideon – watched the goings-on among some of the boys.

Alpha and her (big) baby, Storm

Luna and Gideon and Alpha

Lovely and handsome!

Lovely Alpha

More handsome and lovely!

Growing up handsome!

Luna and her little man, Gideon.

A few cute boys

11 09 2010

Look who we found, speaking of good-looking boys! I visited the basin with friend and artist Karen Keene Day, and what a wonderful visit it was. When we walked up to visit Steeldust’s band (Comanche’s have split away again), we had the great luck of finding youngsters Twister and Cuatro with them, as well as Duke!

Cuatro is the son of Grey/Traveler or Twister. Which one? I don’t know, though earlier, I thought I saw a resemblance to Twister, adored yearmate of mama Two Boots. While watching Twister and Cuatro, I saw a striking resemblance, all right, but it wasn’t between Cuatro and Twister …

Do you see it? I wasn’t trying to see it, wasn’t even thinking about it.

In those big eyes, the broad, intelligent forehead, the tapering muzzle? The color doesn’t hurt.

Twister, Cuatro and Duke … the younger with the elder …

Sundance, Twister and Aspen

Handsome Duke

I’d rather see more of Twister – or less – but this was too nice of Duke to pass up. Such a lovely boy.

Mouse and Sundance …

A few seconds later. πŸ™‚

Sundance in the foreground, Mouse at right, Aspen at back left. Three handsome boys against the blue wild sky.

Cuatro and Twister – son and sire … or brothers?

So have you wracked your brains as to resemblance?

Is it there? Do you see it? Or is it just me, something I hope to see?

I’ll leave you with one more of handsome boys, forever cast on a hillside of late-summer green light and golden grasses.

Whisper, and they will come

11 09 2010

Just call me the snake whisperer …

This guy/gal was in a shallow little runoff ditch below the road – shot through the driver’s side window just so I didn’t scare him/her away. S/he held this pose as long as we were stopped (at least). Bull snake? Not very thick but pretty long – 2.5-3 feet? Very cool. Love its snakely little smile.

A couple more (not of the snake):

Kreacher’s band: Mona, Raven, Corona, Kootenai and Kreacher

Almost all in a row – Corona was lagging between mama Raven and Kootenai.

Baby girl

9 09 2010

Who is this gorgeous little filly??

She’s curious and has a very new baby’s joy in absolutely everything!

She’s Chipeta’s girl, of course!

How cute is she!?

Proud mama

Look at those gorgeous long legs!

Chipeta and baby with Kiowa and baby Maiku

Welcome to your beautiful world, baby girl!