A little lovin’

30 10 2010

Steeldust, gentleman that he is, gives Alpha some lovin’.

Look at her flirt, the coy vixen.

Gideon shared shade with Storm until Storm wandered out to …

… “What? You think this is wrong?” (name that commercial) The only side effect I’ve seen from the PZP-22 has been that the foals – Storm and Corona, daughter of Raven – continue to nurse because their mothers are not pregnant and their bodies don’t seem to kick in and tell them it’s time to wean the current foal. This seems to only strengthen their bonds, provide continued and additional nutrition to the growing youngsters and not affect the mares adversely. (Does Alpha look like she’s been adversely affected? 🙂 ) I’m not sure how much he’s getting. Alpha let him nurse for a couple of minutes, then walked off, and they both continued grazing. Gideon, deprived of one shade buddy, walked up the hill a bit to share shade with stepdaddy Butch. (Notice Luna, Gideon’s dam, in the upper left corner of this photo.)

From the top of this hill at the northern part of the basin, there was quite a cool view northwest to the snow-covered La Sal Mountains of Utah:

I often wonder if or how often the horses go below this “ridge” to the part of the herd area “behind” it.

Also from up there, the view of the entire basin is amazing. One of these days, I should take my wide(r)-angle lens up and take a series of shots that I can stitch together in Photoshop to give folks an overall, nearly eagle-eye view of Spring Creek Basin. It’s a glorious place!

Must be …

30 10 2010

… hunting season once again. Same tree as the last two years, so I make the not-hard-to-arrive-at assumption that it’s the same responsible person – who is obviously not a responsible human being.

I wonder, does this person wonder who cleans up after him/her (I suppose it could be a her, but really?).

I’d like to highlight this unknown person because by doing so, I really highlight the countless, nameless, *responsible* hunters who do NOT leave behind evidence of their visit to the basin to be photographed. Those folks should get some props for their careful visits.

Three of Seven

28 10 2010

Only one place on the planet could these horses call home with a background like that!

Mona and Shane, of course, are these lovely ladies glowing in the glorious light of the end-of-day.

Seven, of course, was never far away.

A very good protector is handsome Seven. You can just see Mona, just below Shane.

I was glad to see Shane looking so big and stout! What a gorgeous day. Indian summer may be over with the advent of “crisper” temperatures, but we had a really fantastic autumn – which I guess isn’t officially over. There’s snow on our La Platas and the San Miguel and the La Sals, which we can see from the basin. Snow from our Monday storm was still lingering on the north side of hills in places on the way to the basin. A wondrous hillside of aspen that was peak gorgeous orangey-gold last week was completely devoid of color today. But blue skies, perfect temperature, perfect breeze – up on a hill, just a whisper of breeze, sun warm as a hug, ponies getting fuzzy? I love this time of year!

Light and clouds

27 10 2010

Tenaz, at home on his range

Look at those stripes on handsome Hollywood!

Midafternoon, but that cloud light was cool, as was the visit with these ponies. 🙂

‘Nona and fam

24 10 2010

Had to share these pix of lovely Winona. She’s such a doll – clearly pampered.

In case anyone else wondered about a comment left recently about Comanche being alone – not to fear. It was a case of mistaken identity and both horses are quite well. Comanche, Kestrel and Winona are still their tight-knit little family, and the last time I saw them, they were close to Steeldust’s band, which really is Luna’s band (!) and her hangers-on. Luna, of course, is Kestrel’s mama and baby ‘Nona’s grandmama!

Doesn’t she have the most beautiful eyes? And that early morning light is just heaven on buckskins … and duns … and greys and bays and blacks and sorrels and pintos …!

Possibly one of my all-time favorite portraits – total “glamour” shot!

Stepdaddy Comanch had quite a lead on getting to the pond for the morning drink, and baby-girl was lagging behind mama … I think they do that on purpose because I’ve seen several foals lag behind … then BURST into a gallop! They always tease mama on the way past – and mama always continues on her deliberate way – then thunder on toward daddy or the others.

Backing up …

Family portrait. There’s some grass in there, but the rain this summer had the effect of boosting the Russian thistle – tumbleweed – population this year, too. I talked to a couple of Forest Service folks a few weeks ago who were doing a plant survey in the basin, which they said is done about every five years. The notes from five years ago indicated “Russian thistle has disappeared.” Argh. Is it an indication of overgrazing, a lot of rain making EVERYTHING grow … both? I don’t know enough range ecology to know. This area has seen a fair bit of grazing because it’s fairly close to the one consistent water source – the catchment.

A little bit of “background” on the way to the pond – the La Sal Mountains of Utah at upper left, closer hills crowding into the upper Disappointment at upper right – the continuation of our north boundary hills/ridges (outside the herd area there in the photo).

The easily identifiable rimrock above Spring Creek Canyon. And bringing back the “tumbleweed” theme … Last year, I met some folks bringing their cattle down from the high country for winter pasture. The patriarch of the family rides a mustang – a Spring Creek Basin mustang – whose name is Tumbleweed. This man and Tumbleweed were at the adoption in 2007 after the roundup, riding around the fairgrounds as an ambassador for mustangs. Tumbleweed is a big boy – probably16 hands or pushing it – and has the stocky build and tremendous bone that pins him right away as an American mustang. His adopter is quite obviously proud of him. He’s about 7 now, I think, and his adopter said he really started to put on muscle – and grey out – earlier last year. When I saw him at the adoption, I remember him being very dark – like Ty. But what struck me when I saw him last fall was his incredible resemblance to Comanche – in color, certainly, but also in build/conformation and that long-long mustang stride. Just another feel-good story about someone who loves his mustang. 🙂

Kestrel was following along – slower – and Winona was behind her at this point.

The invitation to play. 🙂

And then at the pond. Mama Kestrel went right for a drink while Comanche performed the all-important survey of the perimeter, checking to see who had made a recent visit. I found it very interesting that Winona didn’t drink at the pond at all.

She played with toys found at water’s edge … she walked back and forth between Kes and Comanch …

Then it was her breakfast time after mama had drank her fill.

Comanche, meanwhile, drank and drank and drank and drank and drank. Even accounting for the fact that Kestrel started drinking immediately when she reached the water and Comanche first patrolled for stud piles, I bet he drank at least twice as long as she did. I have seen bachelors that hang on at the outskirts of a band – the Bachelor 7, when there were so many of them following Steeldust’s band – NOT drink when the band went to water because by the time the main horses had finished drinking and it was the boys’ turn, the band was leaving … and the boys didn’t want to be left behind? Even in tiny bands like Comanche’s, the stallion is more likely to drink last, and I have noticed that, all things being equal and them feeling like they have the time, they will drink like the proverbial camel while they have the opportunity. A holdover from bachelor-day habits? Mama is producing the milk … why doesn’t she drink so very long? Just something else to wonder about. 🙂

After breakfast and yes, she is grazing with the adults (but how much at this point is nibbling and how much is actual nutrition?) :

Happy baby-girl on a full stomach, skipping her way back to (step)daddy (she doesn’t know any difference).

Leaving only memories on the water as they followed Comanche off to graze.

Visit with Chrome’s

23 10 2010

Catching up from a week ago … Two Boots, Rio and Chrome

Mama and baby

Chrome – McKenna Peak and unnamed promontory in the background

His “magnificent wild stallion against the turquoise sky” pose. He really is quite a handsome fellow!

Two Boots and Chrome

Jif and Hayden had already come down the ridge … Two Boots took the fast way down, but although it looks like Chrome is thinking about following her, he didn’t. He continued walking along the edge for a little bit until he found an easier way down. 😉

Two Boots had been nickering for Rio to follow her up out of the arroyo (you can see his legs) … I think the big guy thought she was nickering for him.

Ending with one of Rio – such a handsome little guy!

Duke with

20 10 2010

Bruiser and Tenaz, who is with …

Hollywood, of course.


18 10 2010

Jif pauses in her grazing to look … I think she was looking at or for Cinch and Liberty. I couldn’t see them, but we all knew they were there. I love the way she seems to be surveying her home.

Just about every landscape looks better with a horse in the foreground! The pyramid-shaped feature is McKenna Peak, and that’s the unnamed promontory behind and to the right.

While those two pix featured the same horse, the next three feature the same feature …




Do you know the land feature behind them in each pic? These were all taken immediately before sunset, and that’s Brumley Point, out on the southeastern border of the herd area. I know a Brumley (her married name is different), and she’s one heck of a wonderful lady – her husband’s pretty nice, too! I wish I knew a McKenna (McKenna Peak, McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area) … it’s just another connection, another piece of the history of this land and its inhabitants.

The near hill is Flat Top, and the one behind it (that you may or may not know is a separate hill) is Round Top. The very far ridge at the horizon is not part of the herd area. End of the day … the sun has set … Look closely – see them? The white “dots” are nooooooottt mountain goats! That’s Grey/Traveler and Houdini, and behind them are Terra and Gemma. Every landscape …

And just before I took that picture, I took this one:

Do you see the pillar of light?

Every landscape is magic that harbors mustangs!

In all that matters

17 10 2010

Big “daddy” Chrome and little mister Rio (who is either Grey/Traveler’s son or Twister’s son). I love how Chrome walked with his head at Rio’s level (he’s pretty tall). Simple body language that speaks volumes about how this relatively new band stallion relates to his littlest family member.

Into the sun

16 10 2010

Hook and his merry band of youngsters made a welcome appearance; I had been thinking about them on the way to the basin. Haven’t seen much of them this summer.

This was taken almost directly into the rising sun. Loved how he was backlit by that gorgeous light.