Introductions are in order

17 04 2023

Long-time readers know that I shy away from posting pix of our foals. There’s a personal reason behind that … and for better or otherwise, it’s a greatly-ingrained habit and born out of an abundance of caution and feelings of protection.

Most readers also know that, in cooperative agreement with our BLM herd manager and managing office (Mike Jensen and Tres Rios Field Office, respectively), we dart our mares with immunocontraceptive vaccine PZP in order to keep the growth rate of the herd slow, in bigger/better/more important order to prevent roundups and removals. The number of foals born in Spring Creek Basin each year is small, and we do have mortality of adults (it’s a fact of life in the wild) – and sometimes, in some years, those numbers are equal.

We haven’t had a roundup since 2011, and we have no need for removals in at least the near to middling future as our current appropriate management level (population range, which is 50 to 80 adult horses) is above the current population.

But the two foals* we’ve had so far this year in the basin have some qualities that have me thinking about my “no foals on the blog” policy. The first has passed the 2-month mark (he’s about 2.5 months old), and the second, a month old, shows every sign of continuing good health. Both are protected by mamas and “aunties,” as well as their daddies, and seem to be the darlings of their families.

So I’d like to introduce you all to Odin and Ranger. Odin was born to 20-plus-year-old Hollywood and his long-time mare Shane, and Ranger was born to Buckeye and Dundee.

Odin is a flashy dun colt with ties on both sides of his pedigree to Sand Wash Basin. Hollywood’s presumed dam (I didn’t know her very long) was a grulla mare I named Slate. I know that mare was introduced from Sand Wash Basin in 2001; I am not *certain* that she was Hollywood’s dam, though I once saw a photo of her with a foal and yearling-looking Hollywood. (My visitation to Spring Creek Basin started in 2002, and my documentation of the herd started in 2007.) Shane’s dam, Mona, was introduced from Sand Wash Basin in 2008. The pic above shows Odin the day I found him, when he was already at least a week old.

Ranger is a big dun boy, sired by our Buckeye and out of Dundee, the oldest of the three Sand Wash Basin mares introduced in the fall of 2021 to Spring Creek Basin. As fate would have it, this colt also has top- and bottom-side ties to Sand Wash Basin: Buckeye, through his maternal line, has a genetic tie to Sand Wash Basin (his great-grandmother). Interestingly, Dundee’s sire in Sand Wash Basin is a dun stallion with a blaze and four stockings named Chrome. … OUR Chrome is the colt’s paternal grandsire; he was grey with a blaze and four stockings. That Ranger should be devoid of white is a mystery of equine color genetics (and if he turns grey, I’m gonna cry). Ranger is almost a week old in the pic above.

Because Spring Creek Basin is so small (almost 22,000 acres) and our herd necessarily small (the resources of this high-desert range – forage and water – MUST be able to support the mustangs as well as wildlife such as elk, mule deer and pronghorns), we periodically introduce mares to keep our genetics strong.

We’ve had four introductions to date, presided over by three different BLM herd managers: three stallions in the late 1990s; three mares in 2001; three mares in 2008; three mares in 2021. Sand Wash Basin has been generous with its introductions of genetics, and our small herd is stronger for it. BLM didn’t set out to introduce mustangs only from Sand Wash Basin, though it has happened – at least in 2008 and 2021 – that roundups/removals there coincided with times when our herd was ready to receive new infusions. (It should be noted that these four introductions have been with BLM coordination, during BLM management. Introductions of horses – intended or otherwise – by ranchers in the decades after the settlement of this valley in the mid- to late 1800s are harder to trace.)

So that’s a little bit new info and a little bit history, and I hope it provides a fair understanding of an aspect of partnership that happens here for the benefit of our mustangs: how it’s always evolving … and why it’s best to take the long view in mustang management. πŸ™‚

I hope you also join me in welcoming Odin and Ranger and wishing them long lives, lived wild and free!

Baby Odin and daddy Hollywood.

Dundee, Ranger and daddy Buckeye.

******

As it turned out, I’ve been drafting and crafting and revising and hemming and hawing over this post for a little while, and in that interim, a third foal was born in Spring Creek Basin. πŸ™‚

The newest resident of Spring Creek Basin is a spectacular little filly born to Buckeye and Aiyanna. Aiyanna, who will be 3 this spring, is a much more relaxed first-time mama than Dundee, and her filly already is outgoing and inquisitive. Friend Tif Rodriguez, who went with me to Sand Wash Basin to get Dundee, Aiyanna and Rowan, named the filly Bia, representing Greek goddess Bia, who was known for her strength, force and raw energy. For a variety of reasons, that fits this tough little girl to a T!

Big brother Ranger with “auntie” Aiyanna and his new baby sister, Bia.

This shouldn’t have to be mentioned (and I’m also sure it’s not the readers of this blog who need this warning!), but lots of people are shrugging off the cabin fever of a long winter and visiting Disappointment Valley and Spring Creek Basin this spring: We don’t have any distance rules in Spring Creek Basin such as some other herds/herd management areas have, but please use common sense and exercise great care when visiting, especially these new mama mares and their babies. Long lenses and binoculars are your friends (for reference, I’m using a 150-600 mm lens).


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32 responses

17 04 2023
Nancy King-French

Such beautiful babies! I know you are excited TJ. It is great work that you do.

17 04 2023
TJ

Thanks so much, Nancy! πŸ™‚ My heart belongs with these mustangs.

17 04 2023
Sue E. Story

Thank you so much for sharing the new babies on your blog, TJ! I know and understand your reticence to do this, but we all just love your photos of these little ones. What a wonderful surprise this morning!

17 04 2023
TJ

They are a colorful group this year. πŸ™‚ I’m so proud of these mamas!

17 04 2023
Karen Schmiede

A big welcome to the world to the two boys and girl! I hope they all have a long and happy life! They are so cute! Thank you so much TJ, for the pictures!

17 04 2023
TJ

The best we can do for them is to ensure a long and happy life, lived wildly! πŸ™‚

17 04 2023
axelsmom20

Congratulations to you, the mares & those BLM guys that do such a spectacular job at Spring Creek Basin.
I also understand the hesitation about putting these pictures “out there”, having read too many scary stories of people who ignore boundaries around wild animals.
Beautiful fuzzy little guys & gal.
Thanks so much, TJ

17 04 2023
TJ

We tend to have very good visitors, too. … But a little urged caution is never a bad thing. πŸ™‚

17 04 2023
Lynn

TJ! I’m so glad I popped in today to see the fluffy babies. The education, the back stories and history of who’s who on the range is so interesting.
The lovely colts look healthy as can be. And if Ranger turns grey, I’ll come down there with hankies. ☺️

17 04 2023
TJ

Ha – thanks, Lynn. πŸ™‚ You know our propensity for grey!

17 04 2023
Carol

πŸ’–

17 04 2023
TJ

πŸ™‚

17 04 2023
Kerry Dorius

This may be a repeat. Thanks TJ for sharing the adorable babies. Your excellent photography and the mares cautious comfort w you make it necessary for me to attempt any photos of them at this sensitive time. Your photos have warmed my heart.

17 04 2023
TJ

They are adorable for sure. πŸ™‚ I’m in love with each one of them (as always!)!

17 04 2023
lovewildmustangs

I am so overwhelmed with joy for all of these beautiful new babies born to such wonderful Mustang mamasMustang mamas, and also continuing the bloodline of Chrome and Hollywood. This is amazing! TJ, we have you to thank for your documentation that started so long ago to help preserve these mustangs and before you our dear Patti, and David Temple. I thank you all with all my heart. What a sweet small area in the world Spring Creek Basin is. I do believe that if everyone were to go there and return home with the same love and joy and peace that we all feel when we’re there , this indeed would be a more peaceful world.

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17 04 2023
TJ

I think so, too, Karen. Many times, I wish I could bottle this peace and rain it on the world like a concentrated potion, a la “Fantastic Beasts” (for more beneficial outcome). πŸ™‚ Thank you for your continued support!

17 04 2023
Martha Kennedy

❀️❀️❀️

17 04 2023
TJ

How’s your artistic streak feeling … ? πŸ™‚

17 04 2023
Martha Kennedy

I hadn’t thought of painting the foals. I’m painting a horse in the snow — I wish I’d started on a bigger surface because I have to limit what I’m painting. I love this horse and the landscape, but I had to leave out the other horses. I’m looking at it as practice and if it works? I’ll just be surprised. πŸ™‚

https://springcreekbasinmustangs.com/2023/03/25/did-somebody-say-spring/

17 04 2023
Martha Kennedy

Those painted horses are so beautiful and very tempting…

17 04 2023
Martha Kennedy

Snow is fun to paint β€” I’m not quite there yet. I’ll share it when I’m done.

17 04 2023
TJ

You picked a hard one with all that blowing snow! πŸ™‚

17 04 2023
Craig Sherman

Thanks for your great story about your Spring Creek herd!

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17 04 2023
TJ

We do love our Spring Creek *Basin* mustangs. πŸ™‚

17 04 2023
baileytan

Babies!!❀️❀️

17 04 2023
TJ

They’re the best. πŸ™‚

18 04 2023
Pat

Such a blessing to have you documenting years of information to help those of use who love the horses we see in photos!
Thanks also to the BLM who support common sense hord work to keep these horses safe and free!

18 04 2023
TJ

Well said, Pat! Thank you and Frank for your long years of support and commitment to our Spring Creek Basin mustangs! πŸ™‚

19 04 2023
Puller9

Such gorgeous babies!! I was going to mention earlier that Buckeye wasted no time in leaving his imprint on the basin with his new girls. Handsome family group! Love that Hollywood and Shane can still be parents. Odin is striking.

19 04 2023
TJ

Isn’t that the truth (about Buckeye)! πŸ™‚ He was the lucky guy who got – and has kept – the mares. They seem pretty devoted to him. πŸ™‚ And Hollywood and Shane … yes, very happy about that!

19 04 2023
Lynn and Kathy

Wow!! Thank-you so very much for this post! We know how much it must have cost you in the “should I or shouldn’t I” department. The babies are gorgeous and we are thrilled that Holls, Chrome, Mona and of course, Traveler (Grey) will be a part of SCB for a long, long time to come! Such a special, special place…

19 04 2023
TJ

Pretty amazing, right? πŸ™‚ Hard to think of the ones we’ve lost … but these little critters keep them alive. All so special. πŸ™‚

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