31 12 2011

Ethereal in the light …

If I don’t write much about the horses and use more photos, chalk it up to “running out of words.” Whether the photos are hum-drum daily life or more light-and-shadow captures of the horses doing their thing caught in a moment of “ahh!” … it’s sometimes hard for me to put into words the fascination I feel for these amazing animals.

I think it’s true that pictures can convey the weight of a thousand thoughts – and then some – and the feelings one can’t begin to express. Some pix are “pretty,” and some are meant to tell a story – I hope they all do, even the pretty ones – of the horses and their lives in Spring Creek Basin.

As another year winds toward a close, it’s natural to reflect, to set resolutions and goals. We have met many of our goals and are working on others, always for the benefit of the horses, so this is more a quiet reflection of the year.

What a year it has been. I can’t even tell the whole story because not all of it is mine to tell. It hasn’t been easy, but it has brought some grand changes. I am honored to be able to give glimpses into the lives of these extraordinary horses, and I’ve been privileged to relay some information about mustangs now in new homes outside the wild boundaries of their previous lives, but I wonder what *they* would say, could they tell their own stories, their actions and motives, simple daily existence, season to season …

Simply, I am amazed and awed and in love – still – with these mustangs, wild as desert breezes, not quite free as air. Confined to a finite bit of geography that they know intimately.

What I wish for them is continuation of life – hum-drum and extraordinary. A collection of moments of beauty and simplicity about which we humans could certainly learn a thing or three hundred.

Selfishly, I wish for many years of sharing all of that with all of them.

Happy New Year, everyone.


31 12 2011

A long view, three photos merged in Photoshop …

From the east end of what I call the corral hill looking northwest-ish. The La Sal Mountains are hidden from this perspective behind Filly Peak (far left). You can see the graceful curve of the rimrocks above Spring Creek Canyon slightly right of center in the distance. Closer – about middle distance – is the big open area north of Filly Peak where Chrome’s have liked to hang out most of the year. The flats below that. To the right slopes up to what I call bachelor ridge. If you could see far enough, you might see Duke and Kreacher out there above the western end of Spring Creek. Flat Top is to the right – Hollywood’s and Comanche’s band just northwest of the hill; Round Top behind my right shoulder. The ragged hills stretching off across the top of the photo in the distance edge Disappointment Valley.

Just something a little different showing the horses’ home. ๐Ÿ™‚

Found faces

31 12 2011

Look who I found:

Look at that little boy, nearly as big as his mama.

Where are they?

Can you tell by those faces? They’re all there.

Pony babies have been hanging out behind Flat Top. Lots of territory back there – lots of tracks criss-crossing the snow. Spotted Roja from a distance, alone, dark in the glare, but with that belly – couldn’t have been anyone else. You think Kestrel’s a wide load already?

Roja used to be my first foaler, but this year, she went into May. She’s not a very big girl – like Kestrel – so that belly shows!

I was glad to find them. Now the pintos are my elusive ponies. I think they’re deep in the southern end of the basin where they can take advantage of grazing areas because of the snow (for eating). It was WARM here this week. Into the 50s. Gorgeous. Melting. Muddy. What happened to our cold La Nina winter? Well, it has just begun after all.

Speculation about the weather is like wondering where horses are – no telling, and there’s nothing you can do about it but be happy when you find what you’re looking for. ๐Ÿ™‚

Play time

28 12 2011

Apollo and Mysterium are half-siblings, sired by Kreacher.

Apollo is 7 months old now.

Mysterium is 4 months old.

Little feisty wily girl has figured out that she can play with big brother … and that mama is nearby if he gets too rough!

It starts with a bit of nibbling on the shoulder …

About halfway through the game, he decided he could rear up, too.

She did a lot of this …

… and a little of this, but she never actually kicked out at him.

A little more teasing …

… some more near-synchronized rearing …

… and the warning from mama Kootenai (you can just see her pinned ears) …

that led to this:


But it was all good in the end …

And they lived happily ever after. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comanche and his girls

27 12 2011

Comanche is devoted to Kestrel. He won her quietly, after she had Winona last spring. She was with Mahogany at the time, with Sundance with Aspen and Comanche trailing. While Sundance focused on Mahogany and Aspen focused on them, Comanche smoothly established himself as protector of Kestrel and her new filly. And protect them he did, even after the family grew this spring to include Juniper. Winona ended up with Grey/Traveler right before the roundup … I’d love to know how that happened.

For quite a while – even before the roundup – they’ve been hanging close to Hollywood and Piedra. One of the most interesting dynamics going.

Comanche and his baby girl, Juniper.

Mama Kestrel and her baby girl.

Juni is close to her first birthday.

Mama carrying the next generation – will it be a brother or a sister for Juniper?

Handsome daddy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Days, running

27 12 2011

Even at the end of the year, where does the time go? It’s that short light … except I have that problem, too, when the days are long!

Some more pix from my visit with Grey/Traveler’s band last week … Alegre and Aurora. Starting to see a bit ofย  a belly there. ๐Ÿ™‚

‘Rora on the ridge.

Beloved boy, quiet and watchful – Alegre and Aurora were just to the left.

Corona with the big view. She ought to be pregnant with Grey’s foal for spring.

Beautiful mustangy mustang Houdini-girl. She’ll be pregnant with Grey’s foal.

Alegre should be pregnant with Bounce’s foal, and Gaia should be in foal to Cinch.

Houdini leading, Aurora and Alegre following. Can’t beat that dramatic background, eh? We’re about in the heart of the basin, and those are the eastern ridges that form that side’s boundary (the unnamed promontory, McKenna Peak and Brumley Point are southish … to the right).

On top of the ridge, they could see Storm and Shadow grazing not too far away (but separated by some broken ground including one decent arroyo). Grey’s looking at them while little Miss Curiosity checks on my whereabouts.

My new favorite pic of Storm. ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s galloping after Shadow, who broke into a run as the paths of the horses started to converge up near the pond. As far as I could tell, they (the bands) never did get particularly close to each other, and I saw them later, from another part of the basin, separately grazing.

They do use the roads in the basin – particularly in the winter – for easier walking where it suits them. Grey’s band took the Flat Top road, and Storm and Shadow took the north-south road. The snow last week ranged from a pretty light dusting (from overnight) to at least 6 inches back near the Round Top area. It hasn’t snowed again since then and, in fact, has been fairly warm – into the 40s! La Nina is supposed to give us less snow but cold temps – we have less snow and not very cold temps (the overnight lows get pretty chilly with the clear skies). We always worry about snow – more is better for the coming year. But it’s early yet … the days are just on their way to getting longer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Blues and Grey

27 12 2011

Muddy silver boy. Can’t even tell you how much I love this horse.

Corona and Gaia

Alegre, Houdini and Grey/Traveler. Don’t they look fantastic?!

* Sort-of update about Roja and Killian. I didn’t see them, but the only other horses I didn’t see were the pintos, David (alone last week when I found out that Roja and Killian were missing from Aspen’s band) and Chrome’s band. I think it’s most likely that Chrome has them … but I don’t know where the pintos are these days – or Chrome’s, for that matter! Did see Duke and Kreacher, and also saw Poco and Roach! They know where they are … I just have to find them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some near, some far

26 12 2011

A long view of Sundance’s band (“near”) and Kreacher and Duke. Apollo and Raven are the two dark horses at near left, then Sundance, Kootenai and Mysterium at right. Straight back “above” Sundance is Duke, and just down the slope – left – from Duke is Kreacher; he’s hard to see, grey against snow. The Spring Creek arroyo is between them.

Much nearer – Juniper. Fuzzy, furry, wooly little bear cub! How cute is she?!

Mama Kestrel … and not too far away, snow spilling over the eastern ridges – unnamed promontory and McKenna Peak.

Last view of the day, looking in the opposite direction from above – west – snow falling in clouds beyond Spring Creek Canyon.

Merry Christmas!

25 12 2011

Mysterium wishes everyone a very enthusiastic merry Christmas, with some help from big brother Apollo!

From our herd to yours, we wish you all all the joys and blessings of the season and the hope of peace and protection for all our wild ones in the new year.

Piedra and Hollywood

24 12 2011

Sleepy, sleepy.

Piedra and Hollywood napping comfortably together. Comanche was just to the right, and Kestrel and Juniper just right of him.

Snow coming over the eastern ridges.

They have such a bond. She’d look at me, and he’d stretch slightly to nose her tenderly on the neck. She’d turn her head back and close her eyes, their faces together.

When Comanche stole most of Hollywood’s band last spring, Piedra stayed with Hollywood … Comanche very quickly lost them (Iya, Cougar and Sage ended up with Poco and Roach, who pretty quickly kicked Sage out; Baylee and Tenaz ended up with Storm, who were together all summer), but he never seemed to0 interested in them – and not nearly as interested in keeping them as he seemed interested in sticking close to Kestrel and Winona.

Very interesting little combined-family dynamic here. What will happen when the girls have their foals? Piedra is due the end of April, Kestrel around early to mid-May.

But now is now, and now is a beautiful season. ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!