Two of many, now of three

30 04 2011

A couple of posts ago, I put up a pic of two horses … one of the newest bands in Spring Creek Basin. I know at least two of you know who they are! No cheating. 🙂

Hint: Comanche had them (all but the stallion in the background of that previous photo (reminder: the previous week. This week, he and his girl and his stepdaughter are together again by themselves, and the band he stole has further split – into two, of three each. So the very original band is now three bands. How’s that for confusing the hint? 🙂 I’ll try to get pix up – of the new bands – lickety split.

The eye of the colt above is such a dead giveaway … no doubting who his sire is! And the filly looks just like her brother … and like their mother! (Which has nothing to do with this post.)


30 04 2011

Luna isn’t a real big girl – she’s rather petite – but as she gets closer and closer to her foaling date, her poor belly just gets enormous. It’s no wonder that in the last couple of months, especially, she’s either eating, eating, eating or napping as deeply as she can, not happy with interruptions. She is focused inside herself.

Now, her treasure is out in the world for all to see, and she has come alive! That’s the best I can explain the change in her. She checks baby Aghavni constantly, doesn’t let her get more than a step away, even as she grazes. The exhausted look is gone – though I know she must be – and the light is back. She’s just beautiful!

Giving the baby one of her frequent sniff-checks.

Sleepy girl. Everybody was quiet. Bounce’s band had grazed away around a hill … bachelor Mouse had taken up station between them and the band even so … Gideon and Alpha were grazing close to Luna and Aghavni, providing support (and no doubt curious!) … Steeldust and Butch were pretty calm, giving the others space – Butch enough to take advantage of a nearby tree to satisfy an itch through the mud he’d just covered himself with at the pond!

What a beautiful day to come alive in Spring Creek Basin!

Waiting …

29 04 2011

I swear Alegre gets more beautiful every time I see her.

Love this look from cheeky Whisper!

He and Gideon were both in a mood to play when their families were together – they bucked and whirled and galloped – celebrating the new baby? Maybe! Who’s to say?!

Meet Coal

29 04 2011

Baby Coal has likely been around for two weeks now, but this is my first glimpse of him! Black like mama! Handsome like daddy!

Welcome to your world, baby boy!

Allow me …

28 04 2011

… to introduce you to Spring Creek Basin’s newest precious life:

Luna and her daughter Aghavni, named by our lovely visiting journalist from Armenia, Aghavni. 🙂 In Armenian, “aghavni” (pronounced “ah-havni” with a little hint of the “gh”) means dove. How perfect is that?

She must have been born this morning – she’s THAT brand new! Pale, pale silver buckskin.

We had a FABULOUS day! The highlight of which was finding Luna with her new treasure (she wasn’t due for almost two weeks). We saw all but the pintos and Bruiser and Milagro – I saw all the horses between yesterday and today – and we got a major surprise on our way home. Southeast of the basin, I hit the brakes when I saw an unmistakable form drop off the road. I don’t even remember *seeing* it … just seeing it disappear, if that makes sense. A few seconds later, we all saw it running with unmistakable grace up the shadowed drainage away from the road. A total of about 8.5 seconds (possibly less), and it was gone.

A mountain lion. The first I’ve seen in all my years of visiting the basin.


I told Aghavni and Servet they can’t go home – they must always be my good luck charms. We also had with us our photo intern at the Herald, Sarah, from North Carolina, for whom seeing a mountain lion has long been on her bucket list.

Speaking of Servet, Houdini’s and Grey/Traveler’s daughter has a new name – Deniz – which means “sea” in his native Turkish. Our part of Colorado was once under a great sea, so it’s appropriate and beautiful.


In Armenia, they have a saying: “Happy people don’t check their watches.” That was today for Servet and Aghavni -for all of us.

Thank you also to Dolores Elementary School for inviting me to participate in their annual Career Day this morning. The kids were awesome!

Today rocked – and that’s pure happiness. 🙂

Always, never the same

27 04 2011

Comanche and Kestrel and Winona are back to their close little family … these two have Tenaz … my assumption is that Sage and Iya and baby are together (I saw horses that I think were them – Murphy’s law of wild horses: the horses you most want to find will tantalize you from behind hills and the edges of arroyos and from great distances – and then they’ll be gone when you hike in) – and Hollywood is doing fine with Piedra and baby Bri.

How quickly it all changes, eh?

Now, do you know who these two are? 🙂

No new babies, but I’ll finally have pix of Shadow’s little boy … coming soon.

Tomorrow is a big day – I’ll be talking to local third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about what I do during their Career Day in the morning, then I’ll be guide to some very special guests who are visiting Southwest Colorado from Armenia and Turkey! I’m so excited to introduce them to some of our gorgeous American mustangs!

Worth it all

25 04 2011

What we do, we do for them. That’s worth more than words … they’re worth everything.

Wha-huh? Oh! … Uh …

24 04 2011

Changes happen all the time – that’s nature. Because foaling season and re-breeding season in horses happens one right after the other (no separate “rut” like with deer and elk) – and usually (but not always) in the spring – ’tis the season of changes. I like to focus on the behavior and all the “other” going on. So you’ll rarely see “fight shots” on this blog unless I can use them to illustrate the behavior behind it (such as the play fighting with the youngsters awhile back). Also, because images of stallions fighting are so prevalent, some folks then have the idea that the stallions just fight constantly, and that’s simply not the case. Stallions do fight to protect their mares and families – but they don’t fight all the time – and what else is going on?

When I first saw Hollywood’s band last week, I was confused. Kestrel and Winona were nearby – that has been fairly typical lately – but not Comanche … and not Hollywood. This was all from a distance through binoculars, by the way – and then realization hit me: Comanche WAS there – WITH Hollywood’s band – WITHOUT Hollywood …

Comanche stole Hollywood’s band – minus Piedra and, as I found later that day, their new daughter. (So much for the belief of the visitor who was adamant Hollywood could “kick that grey stallion’s ass.”)

When I finally figured out what I was seeing, it looked like the band must have been new because there was a lot of chaos swirling – and Kestrel and ‘Nona were staying apart from it.

As it turned out, I found Grey/Traveler’s band with their new filly and, late in the day, Hollywood and Piedra and Bri, and I never walked out to Comanche’s new band until the next morning.

By then, Comanche was sort of bridging the continuing gap between “Hollywood’s band” – seen above – and his original girls, Kes and ‘Nona. And except for one brief bit of interest in Baylee, Comanche seemed to be leaving them alone – and I didn’t quite understand that, either …

I’ll skip the graphic details, but Iya was clearly in her foaling heat … and it was SAGE trying to breed her! The little guy is just 2 (end of this week), and he was pretty awkward. Add to that his “auntie” Baylee, who has now fully switched her allegiance from Sage and his brother Tenaz to Iya’s little boy, and it left this human feeling confused. Why wasn’t Comanche filling that duty?

They went round and round, and Sage still found gaps in her defenses and tried to breed Iya several times while I was with them. I don’t know whether he was successful … and we won’t know till next year!

Baby was NOT hurt, I want to make very clear, and he was never in direct danger from either Sage, his half-brother trying to breed his mother, OR from Comanche, who just stole his mother and the others. Anything can happen, of course, and have foals never been trampled by a stallion trying to get to a mare to breed her? I’m sure they have been. But I know the “cult rumor” has reached epic proportions that “a stallion will kill any foal that’s not his” (I have BLM as well as non asking me this all the time), and I want to make it clear: Even in his zeal to get to Iya, Sage avoided the baby, and, as I’ve said, Comanche almost completely ignored them altogether.

What really confused me was Comanche’s behavior.

He was completely calm. Other than following them and making sure Kestrel and Winona followed him, he seemed to mostly ignore Sage AND Iya. That was the most confusing part. With her so obviously in heat (she stood for Sage patiently every time he tried), why was Comanche ignoring her? Wasn’t that probably the catalyst for Comanche stealing them in the first place? (Hollywood did not emerge unscathed from their apparent encounter, but he’ll be OK.)

Comanche at right, Sage in the middle, Tenaz, Iya and the baby in front of him and beside Baylee. Sage is in a rather tentative “stallion” position here, between Comanche and his band/family … but in the next moment:

Baby clacking!

Sage then went to the mares, and Comanche went back to grazing. Comanche showed no outward sign of injury, though he certainly could have been bruised. His attitude – in very human terms – seemed to be one of just biding his time.

Kestrel seemed to ignore the new additions even more completely than Comanche did. Here, the horses are behind her and up to the right. She’s looking long down the hill, possibly at Seven’s in the far distance (very visible this week).

Tenaz tried to take advantage of the situation by sticking as close to Winona as she would allow, but she wasn’t too interested in playing with him.

I was so hoping ‘Nona would turn her head and present me with a lovely shot of Tenaz, her and Kestrel all in a row … but she wasn’t so accommodating. 🙂 Comanche is just behind them, and the others are in the arroyo beyond.

Iya – the eye of the storm – seemed exactly as calm, taking everything in stride, focused almost completely on grazing and her baby.

No mistaking these two!

Comanche watched Iya, baby, Baylee and Sage in a wide arroyo before he led Kestrel, Winona and Tenaz down to join them.

Sunrise was almost completely cloudy (and storm-cloudy) except for this bit of softness.

Always changes … always more to learn … ALWAYS more wonder!

Copper rush

24 04 2011

After heading back to the Jeep from a first-thing-in-the-morning visit with a newly formed/added-to band, I spotted Roach and looked for Poco. I didn’t see him right away, but that’s not unusual. But then Roach spotted me and came trotting up … no Poco in tow. So, after just talking about these boys and how they’ve been together for so long, they’re separated – at least for now. But they went in separate directions – was that last year? – and rejoined later. ‘Tis spring, and while Roach seems to have the urge to explore, I bet Poco has stayed very close to Bones Valley.

After Roach apparently realized I wasn’t his four-legged dream mare (and all alone to boot!), he changed course and went long-trotting to the west, across the hill. I watched him go, somewhat sadly at his obvious urgency, then continued on. When I looked for him again, he had gone up the hill and, while I watched, galloped back across the top to the east! The other band had dropped down into the arroyo-carved valley just below where he ended up, but I didn’t know whether he could see them or smell them … Even after I had returned to the Jeep and was driving on, he was standing at the top of the hill.

Did I mention the sun finally cleared the clouds just as I was leaving the band …?

Isn’t he spectacular? I love to see him calm, but boy can he fly!

Happy birthday, Gemma!

23 04 2011

Little Gemma of the basin, daughter of royalty, our beloved stallion Grey/Traveler.

The girl and her daddy.

Such a big star she had for her baby face …

… and a big baby heart to match!

Happy birthday, shining girl!