Sunny D

23 09 2012

While looking for Chipeta, I found some familiar faces in an unfamiliar place!

OK, not THAT unfamiliar! But within the basin, I didn’t expect to see these ponies in this place … though it might explain why I haven’t seen them in more familiar places within the basin lately.

Sundance and his family were behind Round Top. In fact, they were right where I’ve seen the pintos recently.

Before I saw them, I saw David and Shadow. But my route to check Chipeta didn’t go close enough to get pix of that pair. They look good, though. Shiny and healthy, even from a distance.

And Sundance’s crew look great, too! Will have more pix.

So close

22 09 2012

My guess is that the spotted girl is going to be a mama again realllllllll soon.

Daddy Ty and mama Chipeta share a sweet moment.

They had separated from the others but now are reunited with the band. The udder, she speaks “volumes.” 🙂

My guess is that the next time I post a pic of Chipeta, she’ll have a “shadow” by her side!

Those eyes

21 09 2012

They have me.

Who could possibly resist this face – those eyes?

Not me, not in a million evenings with golden light and baby blue eyes!


20 09 2012

Lovely Piedra.

No particular reason. Just a portrait of the pretty girl, witchy wind-knots and all!

Family, complete

19 09 2012

With mama and daddy and “auntie,” life is good for the littlest.

Chrome, Kwana, Terra and Winona at home on the range.

Art for mustangs

18 09 2012

Saturday was the opening reception for an art show at the Ridgway (Colorado) library featuring paintings by Alice Billings and Karen Keene Day.

The door counter registered 180 people coming to view and appreciate the art these talented women have created of mustangs – current and removed – of Spring Creek Basin.

From left: Alice, yours truly, Karen and Martha (librarian) in front of Alice’s (behind me and Alice) and Karen’s paintings in the entryway.

Behind Alice, a little piece of Maia, then Jif’s foal (Jif was found to be branded and ended up being sold through – and rescued from – the sale barn and lives now south of Ridgway) and the noses of Kwana and Terra. Alice adopted Liberty, who lives with her and her herd in Ridgway.

Karen and her husband, Floyd, in front of my favorite of her paintings: “Return To  Disappointment Valley @2008,” a tribute to all who were rounded up in 2007 in Spring Creek Basin. (I want to mention that Floyd, who started life as an engineer, is an accomplished artist in his own right. He likes to paint cows found in the mountain meadows of the San Juans, but we won’t hold that against him! One of his paintings of a cow and calf was used as the centerpiece for a quilt for the Ouray Historical Society this year.) And I’d like to point out Karen’s necklace – pieced together by her farflung grandchildren!

Three of Karen’s paintings. In the middle is her stunning tribute to Steeldust. On the right is one of Karen’s “oil-pan paintings.” It literally starts life as the metal pan under her canvas to catch the oil paint drops. The horses she finds in this “discarded” paint is simply fascinating! I have one of these, a gift after the roundup and adoption last year. Treasured.

Alice also has painted tributes to our Spring Creek Basin horses here now in spirit. These are Cinch (left) and Hook, from my photos.

Alice painted portraits of all the foals (current as well as some not still in the basin). I thought it was awesome that they were arranged on the wall by the children’s section in the library.

She nailed cheeky Skywalker, didn’t she!

A close-up view of Temple. Each of the paintings had cards by them to identify the mustang with a short description.

In addition to her large canvases, Karen paints these 8-inch by 8-inch pieces. I have one she did of Bounce. She’s talking with Mary, a friend of Alice’s who provided beautiful guitar music throughout the reception.

A second group of Karen’s smaller paintings with one by Alice in the background by the window.

“Mainstream” artists, these ladies are not! I love the spirit and movement they each manage to coax from their chosen mediums, each reflecting the joy and beauty of our mustangs. What I really love is the aspect of education both feel compelled to impart through their paintings.

Karen’s and Alice’s art will hang at the Ridgway library until Nov. 9. Stop in and see it for yourself if you’re in the area!

Kids and mustangs

17 09 2012

Today, 15 seventh-graders from Naturita came with their science teacher to Spring Creek Basin for a wild horse educational unit set up by Alessandra and Laura of the Telluride Institute.

Kiley Whited, our herd manager based at the Tres Rios Field Office in Dolores, and Kathe Hayes, volunteer program coordinator with San Juan Mountains Association, offered the students a fantastic hands-on activity checking plant inventory along a transect Kiley set up near the water catchment. Students learned about grasses such as blue grama, galleta and Indian ricegrass and shrubs such as shadscale and greasewood, and how those form part of the horses’ diet – and how BLM managers inventory the range to know the appropriate population range – appropriate management level – a given area can support.

The range is looking fantastic now with a lower population level after the roundup and less pressure on the range, despite a significant lack of rain this year. But the little rain we have had has really brought up the vegetation!

Kiley talks about vegetation within the frame along the transect with a Naturita student.

Four groups of students worked along four transects to identify and weigh plant material.

Painted fingernails and a mustang hoof. Kathe Hayes brought this hoof and leg found in the basin several years ago to demonstrate how veterinarians and others are learning about good hoof construction from the hooves of mustangs. The kids thought it was “grody” but kinda cool!

Some “juicy” words the kids used to describe the mustangs: Majestic (love this one!), pretty, field trip!

We had lunch near Seven, Kreacher and Duke, Hayden, Tenaz and Apollo, and also got to see Chrome’s band with little Kwana during our trip.

Thanks all around to everyone who made this trip possible – including the parents who transported the kids! Hopefully we can make this an annual event. The Naturita Colts certainly deserve to learn about the mustangs in their backyard!


17 09 2012

Mr. Fierce.

Ty keeps Chipeta and Puzzle, and Corazon has claimed Reya and S’aka. Maiku is generally neutral … but not always. And they’re one big, mostly happy family. Closer, even, than Hollywood’s and Comanche’s families.

Another shot that seemed to beg for extra contrast in black and white. Ty and his “fierce face.”

About 60 seconds later, they were all grazing in peace.

One year

16 09 2012

A year ago today, our roundup started, a day late because of rain. Clear, clear skies this year. Many changes. Many things the same. Some things better. Some things, not so much.

We lost some. We gained more.

I like to think positively and look ahead.

But it’s impossible not to remember.

Management of our Spring Creek Basin mustangs is moving in a positive direction, and I think the great condition of our horses and range proves that.


16 09 2012

Stallions Ty and Copper.

Ty was keeping Copper away from the band.

I think I’ve finally sort of figured out now that this actually is two bands – Ty’s and Corazon’s – and they are just even closer than Hollywood’s and Comanche’s, with Copper as the satellite stallion. Coincidentally, Ty and Copper are the non-pintos in the “pinto band.”

As an aside, does that profile on Copper remind anyone of Cinch?? Very distinctive; Cinch’s was even more pronounced.