Pati & Sherwood

30 10 2011

I have all these great photos of Pati and Sherwood (Rio) from a few weeks ago … and I just don’t know where to start to share them all! That they need to be shared – Pati’s great rapport with this colt, son or grandson of Traveler – there is no doubt.

I posted a few awhile back with every intention to get to more … best intentions!

Another preview …

One of my favorite moments of watching them:

Pati brought in a tarp, which would send most domestic horses running for the hills. She placed a little bit of hay on it – that’s what you see that Sherwood’s so interested in.

Here he is, standing right on the tarp eating his hay.

And picking it up off the ground – notice he’s still standing on it. Scared? Not this wild boy!

More to come of this fabulous pair. I promise.

On the hill

30 10 2011

The world is an amazing place, the creatures upon this Earth a wide and incredible variety, the magic they emit some sort of secret we humans don’t seem to be quite in on. It’s hard to think of us humans as part of this magical place … such is the harm we do to it and each other and our fellow creatures.

Sometimes my thoughts lead me to dark places, but how can a body possibly be melancholy faced with …

From high on the north hills of Spring Creek Basin, looking westish-southwestish. That’s Filly Peak in the far distance. Just beyond, the basin drops off over the rimrock edge of the world into the wider Disappointment.

An evening spent with Grey/Traveler’s band. I found a place in the open, in the sunshine, and watched and waited and felt the darkness leave my soul … as always happens …

And from that place – on the hill, in the light – the horses moved around me, in and out of my field of vision, never far away, always aware …

And I saw the color of the light change …

And heard the sound of the air quiver into its end-of-day hum …

As I watched up the hill …

And across the hill …

Caught the filtered softness of light …

And the tiny things out standing in the light …

And the very last hurrah of light …

And never wanted to leave.

Such is the magic, eh?


27 10 2011

Sorry about the quiet. Busy-ness. And I couldn’t even get out to the horses this week because of rain and snow. But we never complain about moisture around here!

Another pic of Mysterium and Kootenai from a couple-of-weeks-ago visit … could have bottled that light and the horses with it … and here it almost looks like I did just that …

How lovely are they, gorgeous girls that they are?!

Our Wild Bunch had a meeting last night. We had a long list of discussion points, but what I enjoyed most was the talk of two of our members about the horses they’ve adopted. Their faces light up, and they could talk forever – and I could listen. 🙂 It’s an amazing thing, the connections these horses forge with us, with each other, connecting us to people we might never have known. Fortunate are we who learn their language without demanding they know ours.

Steeldust update

25 10 2011

He’s home! His forever home, with Melissa and his grandson Varoujan, now called Banjo. Can’t tell you all how my heart sings with this news.

From Melissa: “I sprung Steeldust from prison yesterday and got home at around 7:00pm. I pulled the trailer around to the round pen and Banjo came running up whinnying & greeting his granddaddy. I unloaded the Boss, and they nuzzled through the fence and greeted each other. I checked on them all night as they stayed side by side through the fence as the weather moved in & it spit snow & was windy. This morning I let Banjo into the pen with Steeldust and he did a run in a circle around him kicking & farting. I moved my chair into the pen along with a small pile of hay I placed under the chair. Banjo came trotting right up to eat of course. About 5 minutes later Steeldust decided I wasn’t going to eat him alive and cautiously came up and began to eat out of my hand. He had been here less than 12 hours but is eating out of my hand. I keep going in every hour or so to sit & offer more handfuls of hay. He has certainly lost weight in Canon City and he is ribby & hippy and sunken in a bit.”

How’s that for a 20-year-old former wild stallion! Banjo at right.

It’s a process …

Love this. 🙂

Feeding them both.

Banjo and his granddaddy, reunited.

More from Melissa: “You really CAN see his true age up close especially by his head & eyes. When I picked him up, there was a vet there drawing blood from the new group of horses. They put him in the squeeze chute to put his halter on and load him which went very fast & easy. His teeth are VERY worn. The vet said they need to be floated when he gets to the point that he can be handled but said that he is in remarkable shape for a 20 year old wild fellow who had held his position as a band stallion for so long. He concurred with the other vet that Steeldust is indeed around 20 yrs old and they put down 1991′ as his foaling year on the paperwork. He is a good size with nice strong, straight, long legs with good feet & canon bone. His eyes are hollow with weight loss and age but are very kind. He is not quite the fire breathing dragon right now in spite of his full body scars that give you the impression that he is. (we’ll see what he’s like when he gets weight back on him) but he is currently NOT the aggressive fellow that was expected after so many years as a fighting band stallion. It is expected that it will take about 20 months for all the testosterone to be out of his system. (one month per year of age) But I don’t have any mares anyway or any reason for him to feel the NEED to fight. I may not need to put up the extenders on the top of the pen if I don’t pressure him too much during the gentling process. Banjos presence seems to give him comfort & confidence without the need to fight for anything.

“There is weather expected and we should get a few inches of snow tonight. Last night I mixed up some bran with hot water & mixed in sweet mix and chunks of carrots & applesauce and mixed it all together in a hot mash with crunched up hay in a pan and gave that to him around 4:00am. It was all gone this morning so now that he has the taste for it, I will be able to give him a hot bran mash every night to get some core heat going during this cold snap till he can start to put some fat on. Our winters at 9,600ft can be bitter cold sometimes and this old man is going into winter without a lot of fat reserves on him.  I am hoping he settles into a peaceful retirement here in the mountains and am glad he didn’t end up in a can of dog food somewhere. He is truly the poster child of the tough, hardy, intelligent, wild mustang that belongs to America. I feel honored to have such a iconic old warrior in my front yard and be able to give him a safe place to live out the rest of his life if it was not to be as a “wild one”. As an old man he would probably not have had a very pleasant or comfortable end in the wild and his days as a band stallion were coming rapidly to an end. Here he will at least be well fed & cared for for the rest of his life as well as sharing it with a family member in Banjo.”

Happy days for this valiant elder. SUPER update! 🙂

Milagro – now called Skipper

24 10 2011

Milagro, now Skipper, is doing well with his adopters, Amy and Keith. Tif, who adopted Ze and Asher, went to visit recently and sent this write-up and photos of the little guy (Kiowa and Copper’s son).

Here’s her report: “Talk about a lucky mustang! Skipper (formerly known as Milagro) has what I would call a chateau at his new home in the forest.  Keith and Amy absolutely adore him, work with him often and have come a long way. Skipper is calm, confident and aloof, is how I would describe him. I was honored when they invited me up to their place to visit with them and see how well Skipper is doing. He eats right from their hands, works for them, lets them touch him and pet his face and all in all is really calm in their presence. It warms my heart to see how well this little guy is doing. They are in the process of getting his place ready for winter. Yes, I did say “his place,” complete with access to a beautiful round pen, a run that leads right into an indoor stall inside their barn. Wow. I’m impressed. I better not let my boys over to play, they may get a little jealous! Thank you, Keith and Amy, for letting me see how well Skipper is doing and how patient you two are. Thanks, too, for letting me join in the fun!”

Skipper at his new home in the pines.

Keith and Skipper

Amy and Skipper. He definitely takes after daddy.

Such a sweet photo!

Whatcha lookin’ at?

And coming up to Tif!

Amy, Keith and Tif, thank you so much for letting us know how he’s doing! It’s wonderful to see!


23 10 2011

We have a lot of greys in Spring Creek Basin. You might have noticed. 🙂

That likely goes back to a couple of stallions introduced in the 1990s (as the pintos come from the pinto stallion introduced with them): Mr. Ed and Miguel.

In any case, it makes them easy to spot in the grand expanse of the basin (except during winter!), but depending on distance and who I can see of their band, identification sometimes has to wait for a closer look. This was the case when I saw Seven last week. I was pretty sure it was him … but where was his band? Nearby, another light grey … that quickly became identifiable by the horses with him: Hayden, Winona, Terra.

But it wasn’t until I walked out to where I could see better that I realized Seven’s band was not with him … and that Aspen had to have them.

He seems to be taking it all in stride, though he was fairly close to Chrome’s band.

Terra and Chrome. Seven was out of sight over the rise of land to the far right.

Winona (1) and Hayden (2). Winona is a feisty little thing, and she is jealous of her proximity to Terra – woe to Hayden should he try to get between them.

Traveler’s son Hayden.

Kestrel’s beautiful daughter, Luna’s granddaughter Winona.

She found the perfect little stump to satisfy an itch.

Traveler’s 2-year-old daughter, Terra – half-sister to Hayden.

She does have her mother’s ears – all the better to hear you with! 🙂 Chrome in back.

They came to nap under a juniper … until Seven came into view and everything went into motion.


Hayden looking at the stranger. He’s already getting pretty fuzzy.

They’ve left their tree, and the youngsters are bunching up while Chrome walks ahead …

Chrome observing Seven with his band – Hayden, Terra and Winona – safely behind him (or so he thinks).

He went trotting out to greet Seven, but when his precocious young fillies and Hayden all came right with him, he had to break off and let Seven go to keep them from getting into the mix! I didn’t have a clear view of everything that happened from down the hill, and to stay out of whatever dynamic ensued, I decided visiting hours were up for the time being.

Hayden under the tree. He has daddy’s sharp little ears.

As I was walking away, one last look at Winona, looking at the stranger.

And Chrome looking, earlier, when he was in front of his band.

The next day, Chrome’s band was still in the general area, but Seven had gone way east.

Aspen’s band

23 10 2011

Yes, you read that right; Aspen has deposed Seven and now has Roja and Killian, Mona and Shane. Seven has a shallow cut on his right gaskin but is otherwise fine, though alone and wandering. He had gone back to what was once familiar territory for him near Round Top.

Aspen seems to be keeping his new band on the move. I saw them Wednesday with local Alice (who is adopting Liberty!), but they weren’t interested in us.

This was the best view we had of them before they went down into Spring Creek for a drink, then moved on.

I saw them again Thursday, but not till the very end of the day as I was heading out in the shadows of evening.

Seemingly no change in Mona …

Never thought I’d see it, but I wouldn’t count Seven out. And Aspen has a history of stealing mares – though never so many – but not being able to hold onto them. We’ll see!


22 10 2011

These are from the week before last, but I never posted them because I couldn’t come up with a cohesive “story.”

Maybe they don’t need a story but just stand on their own.

Apollo napping with Mysterium.


Mysterium … that’s Sundance’s leg. He was standing near her (Kootenai is to the left), then …

… he laid down, too, for a little pony-nap! See Mysterium behind him? He was dreaming hard, that boy. His ears twitching back and forth – pricked to pinned and back – his cheek rippling as his jaw clenched and unclenched. Several times, I thought he was going to roll right on down on his side, but he never quite did.

Love this …

Later in the day, I found them right by the road, and I couldn’t resist (how can I ever?).

Kootenai and Mysterium with Sundance.

Shedding her baby coat …

Mysterium and mama

On her way …

When I first saw Kootenai do this, I thought I was “catching a moment” … but she does it every time Mysterium nurses. She “hugs” her like this for long moments. Beautiful mama.

Mysterium and stepdaddy Sundance. (Daddy Kreacher and Duke are still together this week.)


Into the sunset.


22 10 2011

If she burned any brighter, she’d burst into flame, methinks!

Gorgeous Gaia-girl

Other than to crop and sharpen, I didn’t touch these images. That blazing color is nature’s own enhancement.

Traveler’s band was high up in the trees of the north hills most of the day. I thought another horse might have been with them, and I thought it might have been Storm from the far distance of Round Top’s crown, but when I actually got up on the north hills, I didn’t see anybody else (lots of trees), and the horses didn’t seem to be worried about anybody else nearby.

I sat with them while the sun sank lower … and knew the very moment the light winked out beyond the western hills, leaving us in shade and just the eastern ridges of the basin bathed in glorious light. The previous pic of Alegre is from that same visit.


Fairy girl

21 10 2011

Sometimes, the magic is visible … beauty come to life.