Happy Memorial Day

28 05 2012

For all those who serve and have served, we honor you today. Every day, you’re never forgotten.

Remember those who served that we may live in peace and freedom.

Kreacher feature

27 05 2012

Another blog I visit (and maybe more out there) does “Sunday stills” posts. I thought of that when I looked back through my recent pix and saw this one of Kreacher, still and at rest briefly while hanging out with Aspen’s and Hollywood’s and Chrome’s bands and other bachelors.

I loved the early sunlight on his silver coat and shining through his tail against the still-shadowed background hills.

Then, a short time later, not so still:

Kicking at Duke who, wisely, was not within reach.

Happy Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚


26 05 2012

Had a surprise viewing of David and Shadow and the pintos! I’m still torn on Shadow’s pregnancy (or not) status, and my view of her was obscured by greasewood or distance.


Shadow. If she’s not pregnant, she’s sure healthy – and she is. Look how shiny and great she looks!

Baby S’aka taking a nap under the watchful eye of Corazon. The dynamic may have changed slightly with the pinto band. Corazon seems very possessive of Reya, with Ty giving them some space. Copper is still low man, and I couldn’t see him well enough because of the greasewood, so it was hard to see the status of his injured knee. He was moving pretty well, though.

Ty, also looking very healthy.

Puzzle and mama Chipeta. Several of the horses were coated in mud, but Puzzle was bright-white and clean! There are a surprising number of places in the arroyo nearby that have water. Muddy, salt-crusted water, but more than none.

Maiku with big sister Reya and little brother S’aka.

Puzzle and Chipeta and Maiku and Copper. Copper is Maiku’s and Puzzle’s daddy.

Puzzle, Chipeta and Copper

Reya and her baby boy – he’s been playing in the mud!


25 05 2012

Early morning.

Just a hint of his identity in his star in this lovely light. And that chin. You always know Duke by his distinctive chin.

I didn’t know who he was watching at this point, but he was looking at Bounce, on top of a nearby hill. Other bands were out in the open to the right. This is near Wildcat Spring, a perennial spring that nonetheless gets pretty mucky (and salty). We still have a few ponds with water – a difference from last year, when all the ponds were dry by this time. I’m not at all sure what the difference is, given our super-mild winter and lack of rain for days and weeks – a full month, at least, since we’ve had any measurable rain. BLM is brainstorming plans to haul water if necessary – quite a change from years past (I’ve never heard such an offer in my time with the horses). All rain dances appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

Serious bundle of cuteness

24 05 2012

Don’t adjust your monitor – she really is just that cute!

Those legs!

With mama and big sister.

And all is right with this little girl’s world.

Feel free to carry this cuteness with you all day!


23 05 2012

Maybe it’s the angle, but I didn’t realize how much bigger Mona is than little Roja. But I do very often have the impression of Roja as a Thelwell pony. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s something: We watched Aspen breed Mona – twice – on Sunday. Mona, who should have been due to foal in four months. Mona, you may remember, who was due to foal the day the roundup started last fall. Mona lost that foal at some point, but it took me until October to realize it. Her only baby to date is Shane, a year and a half old, who is now with Hollywood’s band.

Contrast Mona with Kootenai, due in August, about a month before Mona was due:

Looking very round.

Mona, giving a reluctant Roja some lovin’. ๐Ÿ™‚ Roja moved her head about as far as she could without actually moving her feet. That’s Killian at left, looking at bachelor Duke. The two girls have been together since right after Shane was born, and they seem to be fairly well bonded.

Interesting contrast, eh.


23 05 2012

Hanging out with a few bands and a couple other bachelors during a recent visit.

No time to change settings or zoom as Kreacher went zooming past, Hollywood hot on his heels!

Spring, to me, is a time for babies. In the course of making those babies for next year, a certain amount of “stallion action” happens.

Regular readers know I don’t post much in the way of typical “fighting stallions” shots. They are the shots that are ooh’d and ahh’d over. But. With all due respect, and *in my opinion,* they’re overdone. That type of behavior doesn’t happen often (relative to the year-round cycle ofย  wild horse living). There’s SO much more to their lives. They can end up hurt – like Bounce and Copper currently. That said, it does, in fact, happen, and it’s part of life in the horses’ wild. I see it. I photograph it. Rarely, I post images showing it – if it’s unique and shows also the stallions’ grace and beauty as well as their power and strength.

And I do love the expression of their power and grace, so I look for ways to share that.

What fascinates me more than image(s) of stallions pawing the air – or each other – or even the above (knowing the cause and effect), is knowing the streams of language flowing unabated between them all – between members of bands, between bands in general, between bands and bachelors, bachelors and bands.

Kreacher was back after being conspicuously absent the day after the count, and Bounce was still there, at a distance (still limping but much better than a week or so ago). Kreacher is torn between Aspen, protecting his band (Mona and Roja and Killian), and Duke, waiting for opportunity, and Bounce, biding his time and his injury. Mona was Kreacher’s not so long ago (before she had Shane), and Roja was Kreacher’s years ago (with her mother, Molly). If I remember it so starkly, how much more richly do they remember?

I see their language as a dance of flowing streams shimmering in the air, weaving back and forth all around them – oh, to be fluent! You can see the obvious in their reactions, of course, but so much more is missed by human eyes. It can’t be captured in words or in pictures. You can SEE it … but to UNDERSTAND it?!


Counting horses

21 05 2012

One of our sights from the “count”:

Kestrel, baby and big sister Juniper.

I forgot to say that in addition to our weed inventory, we saw all but two of the horses! The pintos – like last year – even made a surprise appearance into the northern part of the basin, so were seen by both groups.

Mapping weeds and counting horses

21 05 2012

For 13 years now, members of the Durango-based Four Corners Back Country Horsemen have been visiting Spring Creek Basin every spring to help BLM monitor the mustangs. Members often set up work projects during the count weekends, and this year was no different, with help from Mike Jensen, the Tres Rios Field Office’s weed guru (I don’t know his actual title? he also was a former manager of SCB), and Kathe Hayes with San Juan Mountains Association. Mike gave a great talk Friday evening about the particulars of knapweed, in particular. Kathe readied maps and record sheets for the groups and led the horseback riders Saturday.

Special thanks to Pat and Frank Amthor, long-time 4CBCH members and organizers for most of the last 13 years of the count. Their knowledge and experience is invaluable! (And I have to give a special nod not only to the food in general but specifically to Frank’s awesome homemade strawberry ice cream!)

We had one group of horseback riders and one of vehicle drivers (horseless but not clueless – ha!). Between our groups, we mapped 14 sites for weeds – knapweed, musk thistle and tamarisk – so BLM can cut, dig, spray and/or “de-weed.”

One highlight of the weekend – besides the food (oh, the food!) – was the Irick family of Denver (area), who came with their Spring Creek Basin mustangs, Breeze (adopted in 2005) and Sage (adopted in 2007). Brother Luke stayed home, but Teresa and Steve rode with the group, and daughter Sara rode with our vehicle group and helped with recording the weeds.

Teresa and Steve riding out on Breeze, pinto, and Sage.

It was an emotional ride, Teresa said afterward, seeing the boys remember their home. They’re not the first who have brought their adopted mustangs home to the basin, and I hope they won’t be the last! These boys are so loved and cared for – part of their family.

I didn’t take any pix of the horseless few, but here are the rest of horse folks who rode their horses to inventory weeds:

Kathe giving the safety talk at the beginning of the ride. Crow has obviously heard it all before!

Todd and Judy and their horses, Red and Dandy.

Nancy and Aspen, who came all the way from Corrales, N.M., where Aspen holds the distinction of “pet mayor”!

4CBCH president Bob and his lovely horse – whose name I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t ask, though I was very taken with this handsome fellow (regular readers may know my fascination with dark bay horses!). Just a young guy – 5 – but he did very well.

Riders heading out in the morning.

Riding into the sunrise.

Thank you to the Four Corners Back Country Horsemen, BLM and SJMA – and to Mother Nature for the truly excellent weather. After Friday night’s wind and chill, Saturday and Sunday were simply spectacular! Weed inventorying and eradication is part of our partnership objective with BLM under the Director’s Challenge grant we recently received. What a great start!

More baby

18 05 2012

Can you get enough of this little man?

I thought not. ๐Ÿ™‚