23 09 2011

The day was just about perfect. Turquoise sky. Mountains shining.Β Things thawing and growing so fast you could practically hear it. Light so clear you could *see* it – see the air, see the beauty of the world and everything and everyone in it.

It’s that day I keep going back to when I think about Cinch. And those lead me on to other days spent with him and all the others … and give me hope for all the days yet to spend.

They didn’t have Spook yet – wouldn’t for another few months. Just Cinch and Liberty, his first filly, and Gaia, stolen away in the winter. And them, surrogate sisters when wise mama Molly left her baby girl in the care of Bounce’s band when she laid her old bones down and returned to the basin.

I’ll have more later … photos through the years like I did for Twister.

For all of you who loved him so much … thank you. He’s carried always by your prayers.

Cinch’s band – and distractions

11 09 2011

Cinch’s band, from left: Spook (3), Gaia (3), Cinch and Liberty (2).

In keeping with my random thought process, seeing Spook makes me think of Bruiser, which makes me think of Duke, which makes me think of the other bachelor boys. Which has nothing to do with Cinch’s band.

Duke was very near the bands up in the northwest … I think he has been enjoying the company. The horses have been rarely in this area in the last few years – the forage is usually good, but the water is not. The northwest pond is still on the list to be dug out, but it filled (as much as it was able, as shallow as it is) and held water quite awhile this summer (it’s down now to mud), and so horses have been taking advantage of it – and wandering between it and water that comes up in seeps in Spring Creek, particularly in and near the canyon, which isn’t far away. When Duke was hurt a couple of years ago (and lost Raven and Corona back to Kreacher), he favored this area … now he’s sharing it with lots of company.

Isn’t he handsome??

Bruiser, after losing Spook to Cinch, wandered between alone and with the young bachelor boys. He was with them, and they were with Chrome’s – playing with young Mr. Hayden – who will soon celebrate his second birthday, which makes him five months younger than the oldest and 2.5 months younger than the next youngest. (These boys being, in order of age from eldest to youngest (they’re all 2): Ze, Sage, Cuatro and Milagro.) Aspen was with them, then alone, the week before … but I haven’t seen lone Sundance for a couple of weeks.

Other things distracted me from a visit with Chrome’s and the boys, so no pix of them.

Speaking of distractions …

Hi, Varo! See how dark he’s gotten? His family was also on the hill, very close to Cinch’s. I napped with them later and studied the clouds and tried not to think about the trapsite, behind and below them.

So much of the day was trying to distract myself with the horses … knowing what’s coming, knowing they do not … Pretty freakin’ hard.

And back to Cinch’s. I think they were watching Mouse and Steeldust … Steeldust is dominant again – still? Cinch and the girls held their ground for a while, then the hill became too crowded (Hook’s came up, too), and they retreated to graze.

It all makes perfect sense … and I am in need of distractions. As positive as I’m trying to be, because it’s necessary, I cry often …

Gettin’ the girl(s)

14 08 2011

Cinch is adding to his little family.

Cinch at right, Gaia, Liberty and Spook.

Gaia and Spook are 3 years old (less than two weeks apart), and Liberty is 2. Alegre is Gaia’s dam; Molly-girl was Liberty’s dam; Kiowa is Spook’s dam. Seven is Liberty’s sire; Gaia’s and Spook’s are unknown (likely gone with the last roundup).

Spook almost looked like she could have been coming into or going out of heat.

Pretty good size difference between the girls, eh?

Liberty seems to have taken Spook under her wing, much like Gaia did with her when mama Molly died (when Liberty was a weanling).

Liberty is just as sweet and generous as her mama was. She’s a year younger than Spook, but she acts like the leader of the two.

I didn’t see Bruiser, who had had Spook for a couple of months or so (I’d have to look back for certain), but he was seen last week – alone but near a couple of bands.

Interesting little change.

From the vault

6 06 2011

Not too long ago, though … I’m avoiding vacuuming … looking for some pix I took a couple of weeks ago of Apollo … and came upon these that I couldn’t resist pulling into Photoshop for cropping and saving.

So for no other reason than “wow, aren’t they beautiful,” enjoy!


Daddy Bounce – loved the early morning light on their dark, handsome faces!

Cinch – he’s always watchful, and I relish being able to capture him when he relaxes.

Varoujan – really … do I ever need a reason to post such divine cuteness?! πŸ™‚

The claret cups are blooming. A few years ago – a couple of years ago? – we had a wonderful variety of colors from pale pink to yellow to this deep rosy red. This year, I haven’t seen anything but red, but they’re very vivid. In my notes about the horses, I also keep track of other details about the range – the timing of greenup, what ponds are holding/shallow/dry, what’s blooming when. For such a dry place, we have a fairly wide variety of blooming wildflowers right now: wild blue flax, white daisies, still some phlox, Indian paintbrush, 4 o’clock, larkspur, prince’s plume, globe mallow, some little purple flowers, evening primrose. Last week, I saw the first sego lilies of the year. As great as the contrast between prickly cactus and gorgeous claret cup blooms, the oddness of seemingly fragile sego lilies in our rocky, dry, tan environment always blows me away. It was WAY too windy to even try to photograph the lilies, but they have won a place as one of my favorite wildflowers – for all they represent, for their ability to grow and thrive in such an unforgiving place, to bring beauty to a place some might call harsh, to bring life to a place some might call empty … and you know I’m not really talking about flowers anymore, don’t you? πŸ™‚


24 05 2011

A couple of “miscellaneous” and several from an evening.

Piedra and Briosa looking south … I think that vibrant green cottonwood makes the whole scene. πŸ™‚

Ties of family are strong, blood or no. Liberty and her mother, Molly, spent time with Bounce’s band shortly before Molly died in the fall of 2009. Afterward, Liberty went back to the band … then ended up with Cinch in the fall of 2010. Gaia ended up with them over the winter (January 2011?). Gaia is 3 (Alegre’s daughter, Bounce’s stepdaughter), Liberty is 2 (Seven x Molly). It’s not a huge surprise these girls ended up back together. πŸ™‚

Sundance and Hollywood in sync.

I ended up right on the road in a great position to watch some awesome dynamics playing out. From a distance, I had seen Sundance (recently separated from Mahogany, Eliana and Aspen) with Sage and Ze, two young (2 years old) bachelors. Hollywood’s were close – as were Hook’s band.



Double trouble on the bubble – Sage and Ze wisely kept their distance, but all the boys – and girls – were well aware of them.

Sisters Hannah (bay) and Ember

Part of the magnificent background of Spring Creek Basin – Knife Edge, McKenna Peak and the unnamed promontory …

Hook’s band – Brumley Point in the background …

Fierro, Hannah and Sable. Hollywood actually stole Hannah briefly when she was a yearling (by briefly, I mean around an hour or so). That was shortly before she followed sister Ember and half-brother Pinon to Hook’s band … followed shortly thereafter by Sable.

Hollywood about to greet Pinon …

Hollywood left Piedra and Briosa for quite a long while during this melee … He later chased Sundance far to the east, and Hook’s and Sage and Ze eventually followed, and Holls eventually went back to his girls.

What a day!

Till dawn

19 05 2011

Pre-dawn is a truly lovely time of day. These photos were taken from about half an hour before dawn to just after, when the light was just kissing the trees in our corner of heaven.


Liberty gives Cinch an early morning nuzzle.

Pretty Gaia with Liberty

Luna’s band at one of the ponds. From left: Steeldust, Gideon, Alpha, Varoujan, Luna, Butch and Mouse.

Mama Luna and her boys. She’s actually drinking out of a puddle there. I’m not sure why she drank there rather than from the main part of the pond.

Love all their faces. Butch is looking at Comanche’s band, who are at the other side of the pond.

Mama Kestrel (Luna’s daughter), Juniper and Winona (Luna’s granddaughters!) get a drink at the pond.

Winona and Comanche

Comanche, watching Luna’s band.

Sweet Varoujan gives mama a nuzzle.

Off to graze.

Juniper and Kestrel

Good morning, beautiful girls!

Daddy, Juni and mama -dawn. You can’t miss that piece sticking out from his nostril … I’m not sure what he did there, but it does seem to be a piece of skin that he ripped somehow. Doesn’t seem to bother him for grazing or drinking. He’s looking at Grey/Traveler’s band.

Peaceful, beautiful, all right with the world. Out here … it’s easy to believe in everything that should be right with the world …

What more to say? πŸ™‚

Spring warm, tinder dry

5 04 2011

With his acquisition of Gaia this winter, Cinch is moving on up in the basin.

It was hard to catch them with all their heads up, mountains in the background. The girls, especially, having both most recently been with Bounce and Alegre (Gaia is her firstborn), concentrated on grazing, as in the pic a few posts ago.

Liberty is just a tiny little thing, though she’s only a year younger than Gaia. Molly shouldn’t have had to have a foal the year she died … but I wonder how often that happens in the wild? It happened also with Ceal and Shadow.

We used to have lots of sorrels … now she’s one of four. (Which reminds me … oddly … I had a dream last night … about a big band of greys and bays – our dominant colors …)

Three on Earth Day (hence her name). Cinch ought to breed her for her first foal as a 4-year-old. That’s pretty good. We’ll have a couple of 2-year-olds foal this year (Hannah and, probably, Sable) – not so good – and one 4-year-old (Baylee) still doesn’t look pregnant. Another 4-year-old (and orphan), Shadow, will have her second foal this year – she’s due within a week, which should make her the first this year. I saw them (her and David and Wind) last week but not close – other horses and the hunt for Spring kept drawing my attention.

Cinch kept a wary eye on me through that fantastic forelock …

He was more animated than my first visit to them this year … He has a lot of presence that makes him seem fairly big, but he’s a fairly small-bodied boy.

Love the graceful swish of his tail.

Saw lots of this …

… and caught this just before he went back to grazing.

He’s looking back at Gaia and/or Luna’s, who were coming down from their nap near Round Top for their midday drink at the roller-coaster pond (which is off to the right).

Definitely watching Luna’s … Gaia was just behind him to the left, Liberty to the right.

Pretty portraits in front of the La Sals.

The sun was high, but the shine was warm for about the first time this spring, so I sat with them for quite a while. I thought Cinch might lead them off, but they just moseyed around grazing and stayed fairly near. I leaned back like I was on the beach and soaked in the rays, the warmth, the horses, the magic. By the time I walked quietly away, they never even looked up. πŸ™‚

We were supposed to get “significant moisture” over the region Sunday … but locally, at least, it seemed to be confined to the tips of the La Platas. On the west side of the La Platas, we got our first big Apocolypse-seeming dust storm of the year. Another storm system is forecast Wednesday through Sunday, which – if it happens – puts a crimp in my weekend plans, but do your dances, folks, for the horses to get some good rain. It’s so, so dry. Some campers started a 150-acre wildfire near Bradfield Bridge (basically south of the basin) on the Dolores River. The Forest Service and several other agencies got it under control pretty quickly, so you know they’re on alert. Other fires are burning already in other parts of Colorado.

Natural beauty

31 03 2011

March is typically our wettest month. We had rain and/or snow just four times this month for a total of probably less than a couple of inches. I think it’s going to be a tough year.

But it’s spring. The phlox has started blooming.

Sure was a gorgeous day!

Gaia and her new family

5 03 2011

Gaia and Liberty …

Liberty is with:


Two weeks ago – when the basin was still covered in snow – I saw three horses way far away. I was sure one was Cinch … and another one Liberty, but the third was unidentified – “reddish” was all I could tell … though I didn’t think it was quite Gaia-red … though it was cloudy and grim, and the distance was far.

The last time I saw Bounce’s band was the end of January – from a distance. So sometime between then and two weeks ago, she ended up with Cinch and Liberty. Based on the way they were acting when I saw them two weeks ago, I’d say it was close to that time.

Gaia will be 3 this spring … about time she left her family band for a band where she takes on a new role. They grow up so fast!

From a day

18 09 2010

The horses were at significant distances from the roads lately, possibly because of the activity going on – ponds getting dug out! Because two of the three ponds on the priority list filled up with water from the rain this summer, BLM looked outside the box and had the two dry ponds dug out – as well as the one dry pond on the list. The two “extra” ponds were still a little wet – in fact, the first one the BLM dozer guy dug out now actually has a little water in it from last week’s rain! And the other dry pond had gotten wet and muddy from a previous rain, and that one, the dozer guy eventually had to abandon – possibly for later – because it was still pretty wet and he had concerns about getting stuck. But it’s deeper than it was, and we’re dry again, so more rain could come at any timely moment for us!

This pond is right off the road in the eastern part of the basin. In the distance you can see the boundary ridge with the unnamed promontory and McKenna Peak (the “pyramid” sticking up behind the treed ridge, which is part of what I call Lizard Mesa).

Wider view …

Pushing sticky wet dirt/mud up the bank …

Farther east and a bit south of the previous pond, this area is called “sorrel flats.” It was on the original list of ponds to be dug out.

This is the pond up in the northwest part of the herd area. It rarely holds water and usually briefly, but of course, now that it’s on the list (anchoring the fifth and last spot), it has water – and for weeks. It’s very shallow – you can see the vegetation sticking up – but water in that area encourages the horses to use that area. Very pretty backΒ  there – and great views of most of the basin!

While the dozer was out, the operator smoothed some of our “rough edges,” aka arroyos that were in need of “smoothing”! This one is near sorrel flats and had become a “drainage hole” with just a Jeep-size squeezable slot to drive through (ask me how I know – there’s an arroyo crossing I call “the squish” because it’s almost always a little wet and muddy; this arroyo was in danger of becoming “the squeeze” … and then impassable!). We appreciate the extra work. πŸ™‚

And of course, we did see some horses …

Grey/Traveler napping with his girls … (Gemma is being shy)

There’s mama Houdini and lovely girl Gemma.

Very near the first pond that was dug out (a couple of weeks ago). It was dug out deep enough, and the water is still shallow enough, that we couldn’t see it, but Hollywood’s band knew it was there – and took advantage!

We also saw Liberty and Cinch just off the road.

He trotted with her a short distance away …

… then stopped and watched again. I’m not sure what he’s looking at here, but Liberty is clearly very much at ease with him.

We also spotted these boys – Twister and Cuatro – WAY on the other side of the basin from where they were last week – and minus Duke.

Two Boots and baby Rio in the shade of Filly Peak. Driving up, I almost didn’t see them because of the glare. Chrome didn’t move too much – he’s a fair distance to the left.

Hayden and his mama, Jif.

Wonderful day – full of sunshine and good spirits … and a few tears. Glad to see the ponds dug out. Now we just need them full!