From Sand Wash Basin, with love

16 09 2021

In Spring Creek Basin, with much love and gratitude, we received a most precious gift this past Saturday: Three young mares named Rowan, Aiyanna and Dundee.

Yesterday on the blog: a quick teaser with an equally short explanation of why we periodically introduce mares to Spring Creek Basin for the genetic benefit of our necessarily small herd. Today: a much longer, illustrated tale of our very quick (and not-so-short) journey from the southwestern corner of Colorado to just south of the Wyoming border and back again (heavy on the back-again and release).

Last Thursday, Mike Jensen, our excellent Spring Creek Basin herd manager, called with a request. He was about to go on annual leave with his family, and asked, “Can you drive to Sand Wash Basin to collect three young mares to introduce to Spring Creek Basin?”

CAN I!!!!????????????????!!!!!!

I think I would have left that minute had practicalities and a *little* preparation not been necessary. πŸ™‚

By 9:30 the next morning, long-time advocate and friend Tif Rodriguez and I were speeding (as fast as you can safely go with an empty trailer) north.

At 5:30 Saturday morning, we met BLM Colorado’s on-range wild horse and burro specialist Ben Smith and another BLM employee in the dark parking lot of a Craig hotel, then followed west and north and into Sand Wash Basin as the sun rose.

By 11ish, we were back on the road heading south, now going MUCH slower with three precious bodies in the trailer. Tif and I joked that we needed “Precious Cargo: MUSTANGS” signs on the trailer to alert the drivers who stacked up behind us on the curvy roads. … But not a joke! We had three lovely Sand Wash Basin mustang mares in that trailer, and it was our responsibility and great honor to deliver them safely to Spring Creek Basin!

Shortly before 7 p.m., I backed the trailer down a faint doubletrack above a full pond, and with Tif primed to video the mares’ first steps to the rest of their lives, Kat quietly opened the trailer door.

… And then we waited. …

Dundee, at the back, was the first to see the open trailer door as the gateway to freedom.

And she was the first to make the leap to freedom!

Isn’t she lovely? She reminds me strongly of Kootenai, one of our 2008 introductees.

She looked back at her friends on the trailer and seemed to say, “C’mon out! The grass is EXCELLENT!”

But while there was immediate interest in what Dundee was doing out there, there’s also no denying that these girls were exhausted. They weren’t in a hurry to leave the safety of the trailer.

With the sun continuing its relentless march toward the western horizon, however, we wanted the girls to find food (in abundance) and water (right down the hill within sight of the trailer) with as much light left in the day as possible. So Tif stepped gently onto the runner at the front of the trailer, which gave the younger girls the encouragement they needed to take a closer look at their new home.

Two more flying leaps, and all three girls were on Spring Creek Basin soil!

Aren’t they divine?

Tif and I had discussed various scenarios that might happen upon their release from the trailer. The one thing I was sure of? That they would NOT go immediately to the water that was the humans’ No. 1 priority for them upon exit from the trailer after a seven-plus-hour road trip. Because you can show mustangs the water, but mustangs are mustangs, after all. And mustangs have their own priorities:

And that was to immediately start eating the green, green grasses of their new home! We made a very conscious decision to deliver them just uphill of a lovely, nice pond … with an abundance of galleta, grama, sand dropseed (native grasses) and greasewood, four-wing saltbush and tender Russian thistle (although it becomes tumbleweed later, at this stage of its green growth, the horses eat it with relish) also right there. (All the images of the girls off the trailer, except the very last one, were taken of them within 50 yards of it.)

Our iconic McKenna Peak (the pyramid-shaped hill) and Temple Butte in the background. We hope they come to love their new horizon (it’s all a little closer than the wide-open and far-away horizons of their Sand Wash Basin homeland) as much as we do.

By great good fortune, monsoon rains fell this summer throughout our region for the first time in many long years, and Spring Creek Basin grew her very best to welcome these lovely ladies to the rest of their wild lives.

Some additional random images from the basin that evening:

Rain and virga falling across our northwestern horizon, the rimrocks of Spring Creek canyon in the foreground and La Sal Mountains of Utah in the background.

Glorious sunset beyond our western horizon (in that direction lies the (main) entrance to Spring Creek Basin).

The pond below the mares’ release site.

This was yesterday’s blog-post pic, and it’s appropriate to end today’s blog post here (almost), with an image of Spring Creek Basin’s newest beauties. Light was fading, and our day was at an end, very happily and peacefully.

Rowan, Aiyanna and Dundee were face- and knee-deep in grass and vegetation, water was nearby (our main water catchment was a short distance to the east, in addition to the pond they initially ignored), a couple of our bands were within sight, and all was well within our small and magical world.

Dear Sand Wash Basin, thank you for the gift of three radiant and unique and utterly amazing mustang mares who now join our grateful family.

With love from Spring Creek Basin.


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29 responses

16 09 2021
axelsmom20

So very very happy that these 3 sweeties are in their new SAFE home! You should be so proud of what you do for these still Wild horses.

16 09 2021
TJ

We’re very happy and yes, very proud of what we’ve accomplished here. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

16 09 2021
Pat

What a fabulous adventure for you and the 3 new beauties to Spring Creek!

16 09 2021
TJ

A wonderful adventure, indeed. I love to see it unfolding day by day!

16 09 2021
lovewildmustangs

So happy for the new girls to have this wonderful home in SCB, and so happy for SCB to have these three beautiful galsπŸ’—

16 09 2021
TJ

A whole lotta happiness! πŸ™‚

16 09 2021
Trish

Between smiles and tears I read and read again your amazing blog ! The photos alone speak volumes of their journey but your tribute to the basin: “Spring Creek Basin grew her very best to welcome these lovely ladies to the rest of their wild lives.” and of course mother nature says it all. Thank you for this uplifting story….

16 09 2021
TJ

πŸ™‚ We did luck out this summer in time to give our mustangs a boost and to welcome these girls! It couldn’t have worked out better. πŸ™‚

16 09 2021
Barbara Stsgg

Thrilling beyond words to open your post this morning, always my first act each day. Thank you, ladies, for bringing these three wonderful gifts to our basin.

16 09 2021
TJ

Thrilling, yes! A great word to describe how we’re feeling!

16 09 2021
Carol

❀ ❀ ❀

16 09 2021
TJ

πŸ™‚

16 09 2021
Karen Ann Schmiede

Thanks for the post on the new girls! The one really has unique markings. Love them all!

16 09 2021
TJ

That’s Aiyanna. πŸ™‚ They’re all beautiful!

16 09 2021
Hutch

Well Done. Thanks.

16 09 2021
TJ

Thanks, Uncle Tom!

16 09 2021
Martha Kennedy

I love this. I love the photos and the story.

16 09 2021
TJ

Thanks, Martha. πŸ™‚

16 09 2021
Ginger Fedak

Congrats to SCB, TJ, and of course, Rowan, Aiyanna and Dundee! ❀

16 09 2021
TJ

Thanks so much, Ginger!

17 09 2021
kathehayes

I’m very excited for the new girls and their new home. Hopefully they will hook up with some of the handsome batchelors.

17 09 2021
TJ

They’re with a very handsome young stallion. πŸ™‚ Post coming soon.

17 09 2021
Sue E. Story

What a heart-warming series of photos along with your wonderful narrative introducing us to these three gorgeous mustangs arriving in our very own Spring Creek Basin! Thank you, TJ; you made my day.

18 09 2021
TJ

Thanks, Sue. πŸ™‚ We’ve had a lot of gratitude this year … and this is right up there!

19 09 2021
TamrahJo

(bookmarked 2 websites of sign makers and note to self) Christmas list for TJ in SW Mustang corner – 3 magnetic signs, reading “β€œPrecious Cargo: MUSTANGS” – – LOL

Seriously – I put it on my ‘list’ – that said, are all trailers going to have metal rear/sides such re-usable bumper sticker style signs will work on? LOL

Oh, and when you can, post the mailing address for the advocacy group/non-profit OR remind me of the link for such things – – OOOHHH!!! HOW do I love giving “useful’ gifts! LOL

20 09 2021
TJ

Thank you so much for your generous thought for us! πŸ™‚ I will email you!

20 09 2021
TamrahJo

Thanks! Dependent upon sales options and shipping times and all – maybe you’ll get before Christmas or after – LOL probably better to just label “non-monetary donation’ – LOL

20 09 2021
Doug and Lorraine Hatfield

We were fortunate to travel to the basin yesterday and were met by the three new arrivals along with Flash and an older stallion and got some fantastic pictures.. We were at Dolores for the book signing . Thank you for all you are doing to keep this part of our American Heritage alive.

20 09 2021
TJ

Wonderful! I’m so glad you made it out to the basin for a visit and that Flash and the New Girls and Buckeye were there to greet you. πŸ™‚ A little bit of a shakeup happened last night, and I’ll have a post about it soon … unless it changes again! I hope you had a fantastic visit – doesn’t it look amazing out there?!

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