Memorial Day

30 05 2011

This young woman had recently sought and received permission to play “Taps” at the funeral of her uncle, an Air Force veteran. She played “Taps” at the Memorial Day service this morning in Dolores, Colo. Several of her family members are veterans.

In honor of both my grandpas, U.S. Army and Army Air Corps veterans of World War II, in honor of my father, U.S. Army veteran, in honor of my uncle, U.S. Navy veteran, in honor of two cousins, U.S. Navy SEALs currently serving, in honor of friends past and present, serving and retired, may God bless our men and women in uniform – and their families – and the sacrifices made by all.

Who? Oh, you!

29 05 2011

This little beauty is nearly as light as her mother is dark. She’s a year older than the baby girl on the right. I was a little shocked at their similarity in size. Two-year-old T is the same age as C there … but noticeably bigger.

I can’t get over how not only comfortable they are with each other but HOW close they seem. Because of weather, it had been two weeks between my visits instead of my usual one … a lot changes in a short period of time!

Have I wracked your brains long enough? 🙂

Ignoring me as usual, my beloved silver boy, Grey/Traveler, and his band, which now includes …

Corona! (I didn’t realize until I cropped in on this how cocked her hip was, making her hips look so uneven!)

Interestingly, he’s watching Kreacher (his band is Corona’s former band – black and white pinto Raven is Corona’s mama), who was ahead on the road. All these photos were taken from my Jeep.

I could watch him forever …

Terra-girl. I don’t really have a photo that shows it – every time I noticed how much bigger she is than Corona, I was watching, camera slack in my hands. She’s an amazing girl with incredible genes!

And of course you want to see this darling girl – Deniz! Look how she’s changed! Lighter, “browner” – and look how big and stout! Notice the faint striping on her legs, too. I think I mentioned it with Juniper. I’ve seen it on most of Grey’s babies, I think, and some others, too. They eventually fade or become less noticeable as the babies grey out.

Grey and Houdini do have a knack for making beautiful babies together, don’t they? 🙂

I’m happy to see Corona with Grey’s family. A lovely match!

Whooo are you?

29 05 2011

No guesses on these three glamour girls?

A hint:

Mama H has been known to take in a stray or two in her time … And that girl on the left is posing JUST like daddy (and my goodness, hasn’t she shed out grey this spring).

Little red misses

27 05 2011

I’m liking this change:



What do they have in common?

! 🙂

What else might they have in common?

Mahogany might be Piedra’s mother, which might make Eliana Piedra’s sister … Briosa’s aunt.

Mahogany and Eliana

Piedra and Briosa. The funniest thing about this photo is the backstory. Briosa had been nursing and must have slurped a bit too hard because mama delivered a swift reprimand in the form of a snap to her little heiney – which provoked a little kicking fit from both of them! “Don’t bite the udder that feeds you”?! Learned early! 🙂

Hollywood was working to keep his girls close … because Aspen showed up on a hill a short distance away.

To recap, Sundance had Mahogany for a bit more than a year, then two weeks ago, he finally lost Mahogany and Eliana to Aspen the day after I first met Eli. Sometime in the last two weeks, Hollywood managed to steal them from Aspen. To go a little farther back, the winter before this last, Hook briefly stole Piedra and Sage from Hollywood. He had them a shorter than the winter before, when Aspen stole them!

Shall we go even further back in time?

Mahogany and Piedra were originally part of Steeldust’s band. When I first started documenting the horses, Hollywood had Jif … and then they started hanging out with Steeldust’s … that was in the days when the Bachelor 7 were running around with them, too. Then Grey/Traveler stole Jif to add to Houdini and Two Boots and Twister, and Holls turned his attention to lovely Piedra. Bri is their third baby!

Bri is a month old, and Eli is about 2 weeks old – enough age difference that Bri is more independent than her aunt Eli (!), who still sticks pretty close to mama.

So here’s a question: Who is alpha? Piedra, who has been with Hollywood for a few years now, or Mahogany, who is older – and possibly Piedra’s dam – but newly come to the family?

Oh, the wild ways of the wild ones!

Can you stand the cuteness?

How amazing it will be to watch these red babies grow together!

Little beauties. How amazing they are! And together!? Look out! 🙂

Triple threat

27 05 2011

Surprise! They look like they’ve been together forever … but they haven’t, of course. Who are they? 🙂

Another virus update, per BLM

27 05 2011

I got this release from Tom Rice, our local BLM chief. Please pass it on as appropriate.

If you haven’t yet heard about this outbreak, click here for a Durango Herald article about it that ran about a week ago and here for a follow-up article.

From the first article: “The disease is highly contagious and can cause respiratory problems, neurologic disease and death. There is no cure, though symptoms may be treatable, officials said.”

Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range officials already had limited access to the range by domestic horses with a deadline of today. Not sure whether that’s being extended.

BLM Statement on Outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1)

The BLM is aware of the recent outbreak of neurologic disease caused by the equine herpes virus (EHV-1) in the western United States. The Bureau has been working with state and federal animal health officials to help protect the health and well-being of wild horses and burros on the range, along with those in BLM holding facilities.

No BLM-managed wild horses or burros on the range or at BLM facilities are known to have been exposed or affected by the neurologic EHV-1 outbreak at this time. However, the Bureau is consulting and coordinating with animal health officials regarding the movement of wild horses and burros, as well as the scheduling of events such as adoptions that may place horses and burros in contact with horses, burros, or their owners in the domestic horse community. Some lower-risk movements between BLM facilities or BLM facilities and adoption events will continue. Other movements may be canceled because of concerns regarding potential exposure to EHV-1.

At this time, decisions will be made on a local, case-by-case basis in consultation with the BLM’s attending veterinarians and the state veterinarians in the area. All BLM horses and burros that travel interstate do so with valid Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (health certificates) and in accordance with state and federal animal health regulations. The BLM asks the public to be aware of disease transmission risks and to contact local BLM offices to see if there are any restrictions in place before bringing domestic horses onto BLM-managed public lands.

Population growth

26 05 2011

Spring Creek Basin has grown by two. 🙂

Friends of the horses and mine, Lynn and Kathy, spotted this new pair this week, and I got to see them for the first time yesterday!

Although we got days and days of rain and snow, the basin is still disconcertingly dry, ponds still shallow. The dry roads made it easy to get around, but I can hardly fathom that the thirsty place just slurped up all that moisture. It shows in the green blush of hills and possibly more globe mallow and prince’s plume than I’ve ever seen.

Roja’s and Seven’s little boy already knows how to dance!

As ready as Roja was to foal two weeks ago, I think he’s probably close to that in age.

I had a wonderful visit with this band this morning and even took a nap to the music of the wind through the junipers. A hummingbird visited a couple of times! Later, when I was back in the Jeep making notes, a gorgeous little hummer with a shimmering royal purple throat came to the door three times!

Dawn found me with this lovely little miss:

Check out her little silver beard! I think she may eventually turn grey like big brother Whisper. She has a right hind fetlock exactly like daddy Bounce’s!

With gorgeous mama Alegre

Oh, what sweetness!

Belated welcome to your world, babies!

There are a few updates this week … to come!

News alert about virus

24 05 2011

I’d suggest this maybe apply to all of Colorado’s herd areas and herd management areas (!) …

Feds urge horse owners to avoid wild horse range

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – Federal officials are asking people to avoid riding their horses in the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range in western Colorado because of an outbreak of a fatal horse virus.

The Bureau of Land Management is asking horseback riders to stay out of the area until Friday. Colorado has nine confirmed cases of equine herpes and 22 suspected cases

The deadly and highly contagious has infected at least 34 horses in nine states and Canada. More than 1,000 animals are known to have been exposed through direct or indirect contact with infected horses, which are among 400 that attended the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah earlier this month.

The disease can be transmitted through touch or through the air. It isn’t a risk to people.


24 05 2011

A couple of “miscellaneous” and several from an evening.

Piedra and Briosa looking south … I think that vibrant green cottonwood makes the whole scene. 🙂

Ties of family are strong, blood or no. Liberty and her mother, Molly, spent time with Bounce’s band shortly before Molly died in the fall of 2009. Afterward, Liberty went back to the band … then ended up with Cinch in the fall of 2010. Gaia ended up with them over the winter (January 2011?). Gaia is 3 (Alegre’s daughter, Bounce’s stepdaughter), Liberty is 2 (Seven x Molly). It’s not a huge surprise these girls ended up back together. 🙂

Sundance and Hollywood in sync.

I ended up right on the road in a great position to watch some awesome dynamics playing out. From a distance, I had seen Sundance (recently separated from Mahogany, Eliana and Aspen) with Sage and Ze, two young (2 years old) bachelors. Hollywood’s were close – as were Hook’s band.



Double trouble on the bubble – Sage and Ze wisely kept their distance, but all the boys – and girls – were well aware of them.

Sisters Hannah (bay) and Ember

Part of the magnificent background of Spring Creek Basin – Knife Edge, McKenna Peak and the unnamed promontory …

Hook’s band – Brumley Point in the background …

Fierro, Hannah and Sable. Hollywood actually stole Hannah briefly when she was a yearling (by briefly, I mean around an hour or so). That was shortly before she followed sister Ember and half-brother Pinon to Hook’s band … followed shortly thereafter by Sable.

Hollywood about to greet Pinon …

Hollywood left Piedra and Briosa for quite a long while during this melee … He later chased Sundance far to the east, and Hook’s and Sage and Ze eventually followed, and Holls eventually went back to his girls.

What a day!

Dawn and on

24 05 2011

Still have lots to share from almost two weeks ago … looking forward to getting back to the basin this week, weather-permitting. Loved getting all that moisture (including snow!), but I can hardly stand not having been in the basin for two weeks. I want to see it GREEN, like we’ve hardly had yet this year (the green-up was as subtle as I’ve ever seen it, and the cheat grass has already gone to purple), and I want to see ponds brimming with water. I want to see all the babies and families! Don’t know what I’ll find … and that’s why I’m so eager to get back out!

Juniper, mama Kestrel and daddy Comanche. For whatever reason, I just love knowing Comanche is a full-fledged daddy … He has taken such good care of Winona.

Baby girl in the spotlight

Isn’t she divine?

And the whole world is new and interesting and beautiful, to be explored and marveled at.

Then they left the shadows of the trees for the morning sunlight.

All things bright and beautiful …

All things wise and wonderful …

It was a gorgeous morning. If snow fell in the basin last week with the rain, I wonder what she made of that? What all the babies – tough little mustang babies, made of stern gossamer stuff – made of it? I hope they delighted in it and kicked up their tiny heels and ran for joy of life!

We wandered over the pinon-juniper island and found Luna’s band already hard at work at nap time. There’s just about nothing better than napping in that delicious morning sunshine after the day’s first trip to the water hole. At least, that’s my take on it. 🙂

Alpha was just to the left. I think Mouse was a little back, also to the left.

Zeroing in … Steeldust is likely Varoujan’s granddaddy (likely sire of Butch).

The littlest mister laid down …

And big brother Gideon came thiiiiiiis close to joining him … His nodding head dropped so low, I was sure he was going to lie down, but he never did.

Meanwhile, just a little distance away …

Big sister Winona, fascinated by the baby …

Ha! Mama Kestrel was just steps away to the left. Pretty soon, these two will be playing together and running circles around mama and daddy!

Handsome daddy Comanche

He stays close …


Baby girl couldn’t resist the call of nap time, either …

Like mama Luna, like daughter Kestrel … I really don’t know how to articulate how I feel when I sit with these horses, in the sunlight of a beautiful spring morning, a million miles away from anywhere and everywhere. It’s the most incredible gift to be able to do that, feeling their quiet magic all around. I am grateful beyond words … I am amazed beyond reason … It keeps me going back, it makes me do everything I can to ensure their survival in the best conditions possible. Above all things but my own family, they are my light in this world.


Luna the beautiful and wise, mother of (at least) Kestrel, Ember, Hannah, Gideon and Varoujan; grandmother of (at least) Winona, Fierro and Juniper. We are so blessed to have her (she came from Sand Wash Basin in 2001).

Varo and Luna, Gideon and Alpha in back.

Do you see all their eyes? Luna and Varo, of course, Alpha … and Gideon? I love trying to capture images like this – puzzle pieces of family life.

Baby gives mama a schnuzzle …

Mama gives baby a schnuzzle! I love how her mobile lips are stretched out to him.

Mama, always a comforting presence …

Loved the light on him against the shadowed arroyo wall behind him.

Just love … just always simply love.