11 09 2011

How do they grow up so quickly? What factors contribute to faster “growing up” in some than others? Why do some fillies have their first foals at 2 when I have at least one 3-year-old and one 4-year-old that haven’t foaled yet (neither ever pregnant, as far as I’m aware)?

Last year, soon after Cinch stole Liberty (I doubt she was a difficult conquest), I saw him breed her – in September. I had cause to look back in my notes to see exactly when that was because there was some question about her being pregnant within the last month or so. I think she must certainly be pregnant – for a normal spring baby.

If it’s the lengthening days that trigger mares to come into heat and become receptive to conception, what about these waning days would make long yearlings come into heat? Winona was practically begging to be bred … and he finally obliged her. I hope she follows the pattern Liberty set – in heat but not yet ready to conceive.

Winona and baby Deniz (Grey/Traveler x Houdini).

What makes some yearling fillies leave their families (Winona … orphan Liberty … Hannah … Sable …) and some stay much longer (Gaia was almost 3 before she left; Reya, 4, is still with her mother)? Band dynamics? Individual hormones? Simple random opportunity (or not)?

Deniz was very curious about the newcomer, and ‘Nona mostly tolerated her. She has quite an attitude, though, and considers herself – already – quite high up the pecking order. Though Houdini ignored her, the only one ‘Nona submitted to was Terra, Grey’s eldest (2). Gemma is the same age and readily backed down to Winona, as did 2-year-old Corona.

From left: Terra (2), Winona (1), baby Deniz and Grey/Traveler.

Whatever else, our beloved Traveler is still in his prime – still stealing mares (Corona and Winona this year)!

Grey’s girls

7 09 2011

I thought it was hard … it’s worse.

Last week, I had an amazing visit with Grey/Traveler’s band. His daughters are just as incredible as you might think (more). Corona (left), of course, is not his daughter. Gemma is his yearling daughter, and Deniz is his baby girl, and Houdini – right – is their mama.

Their phenomenal daddy, Traveler.

I’m running out of superlatives. 🙂

Deniz and big sister Gemma

Bigger sister Terra and Gemma. They were watching Corona, who was banging at the weird guzzler. Weirdly, Corona was trying to drink from it when she wasn’t pawing at it. These girls were fascinated – and they never tried to drink.

It’s cool to see how Terra’s little sisters take such comfort from her. All of them share an intent alert curiosity that I love.

Gemma and Deniz

Do you love that little muzzle?

And another …

Grey(‘s) girls

9 07 2011

OK, they’re not *all* grey. 🙂 From left: Terra, Corona, Deniz, Gemma and Houdini in back. Terra, Gemma and Deniz are Grey’s and Houdini’s daughters. The black clearly visible on Corona’s legs is mud from Wildcat Spring. Corona is pale, pale, ever-so-pale palomino (genetics she inherits from her sire, Corona, of Sand Wash Basin).

The beloved boy himself. So I’m biased … aren’t you?!

Some to love

27 06 2011

It occurred to me that I wouldn’t get any of these posted if I tried to do them in some kind of order – the always way of it these days – so here are some pix of some horses … Beautiful, all.

Houdini and Deniz.

I’ve been expecting the usual migration westward as the forage and water grows scarce back in the east. One of the two ponds back there is holding pretty steady, though, so several bands are (still) taking advantage of it. Grey/Traveler’s band, however, had made the trip, and I found them at afternoon water in the Wildcat Spring area. There’s enough water there this year – interestingly – that there are some stagnant pockets of it along the wash. I heard the girls (Terra, Gemma and Corona) playing in one such puddle, though I couldn’t get a clear look at them because of the obscuring greasewood on the banks. Mama and baby and Grey were above the arroyo. Deniz is going grey fast, like sister Gemma. She’s a big tall girl, eh?

Baby girls Briosa, left, and Eliana, with Bri’s mama Piedra in the background. Eli’s mama Mahogany was grazing down to the right (a pic is with the “Oppose sterilization” post of a few days ago). I wanted my wide-angle lens for, well, not the first time, I guess, to try to capture some of the beautiful background of the basin “behind” the fillies as they napped.

There’s some of it behind Hollywood, who was, I think, watching Aspen and Sundance, close-ish again. In the near background is part of the north side of the east-west hill, and in the far-ish background (not all the way back) is part of what I call Lizard Mesa.

Eli gives Bri a little post-nap nuzzle. They’re now at the age to be interested in each other. Bri, not quite a month older than Eli, is considerably bigger and stouter.

Sunny little Eliana is just a beautiful little princess of a filly.

Piedra was closest, and after she got up, Bri walked right over for a snack. Eli lingered, though, taking her sweet time walking down the slope, stopping, looking at mama, at stepdaddy (Sundance is Eliana’s sire), at me, back at Bri … before finally going on down for her own lunch. Bri’s a stout little girl, eh? Takes after daddy.

Speaking of daddies, here’s Varoujan with his daddy – Butch.

And with mama.

Kreacher’s band weren’t too far, and I waited for them, too, to mosey their way up to, across and off the road (it was like rush hour out there! 😉 ). This was a horizontally shot image I took through the passenger-side window and cropped into a vertical. I also took the image a post or so back of Apollo looking through his legs horizontally and cropped it vertically. I crop almost all my photos – some more than others.

Heading out of the basin for the evening: Hook’s band. I couldn’t decide between this one and …

… this one. Ponies gilded with light, those hills in the back! The near-ish hills are part of Spring Creek Basin, our northwest hills; the far-ish hills to the sky are outside the basin but still part of Disappointment Valley, basically, the far northeastern edge (the basin is tucked a little lower into the valley’s east-northeastern side). From left: black Sable and grey Twister, hanging with the band; almost yearling Fierro looking toward the camera and dark bay Pinon behind him; grey Ember, bay Hannah and Hook. Ember is due close to any time now.

Who? Oh, you!

29 05 2011

This little beauty is nearly as light as her mother is dark. She’s a year older than the baby girl on the right. I was a little shocked at their similarity in size. Two-year-old T is the same age as C there … but noticeably bigger.

I can’t get over how not only comfortable they are with each other but HOW close they seem. Because of weather, it had been two weeks between my visits instead of my usual one … a lot changes in a short period of time!

Have I wracked your brains long enough? 🙂

Ignoring me as usual, my beloved silver boy, Grey/Traveler, and his band, which now includes …

Corona! (I didn’t realize until I cropped in on this how cocked her hip was, making her hips look so uneven!)

Interestingly, he’s watching Kreacher (his band is Corona’s former band – black and white pinto Raven is Corona’s mama), who was ahead on the road. All these photos were taken from my Jeep.

I could watch him forever …

Terra-girl. I don’t really have a photo that shows it – every time I noticed how much bigger she is than Corona, I was watching, camera slack in my hands. She’s an amazing girl with incredible genes!

And of course you want to see this darling girl – Deniz! Look how she’s changed! Lighter, “browner” – and look how big and stout! Notice the faint striping on her legs, too. I think I mentioned it with Juniper. I’ve seen it on most of Grey’s babies, I think, and some others, too. They eventually fade or become less noticeable as the babies grey out.

Grey and Houdini do have a knack for making beautiful babies together, don’t they? 🙂

I’m happy to see Corona with Grey’s family. A lovely match!

Deniz and family

9 05 2011

Here are some pix of – mostly! – Deniz … and some of her with mama Houdini. What a sweet, curious baby girl!

Sisters Terra and Gemma

Do Grey and Houdini have beautiful babies or what?! 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day!

8 05 2011

For all of these:

From all of “us”:

and from daddies, too:

Happy Mother’s Day! We love you and appreciate you and thank you for all you do!



Allow me …

28 04 2011

… to introduce you to Spring Creek Basin’s newest precious life:

Luna and her daughter Aghavni, named by our lovely visiting journalist from Armenia, Aghavni. 🙂 In Armenian, “aghavni” (pronounced “ah-havni” with a little hint of the “gh”) means dove. How perfect is that?

She must have been born this morning – she’s THAT brand new! Pale, pale silver buckskin.

We had a FABULOUS day! The highlight of which was finding Luna with her new treasure (she wasn’t due for almost two weeks). We saw all but the pintos and Bruiser and Milagro – I saw all the horses between yesterday and today – and we got a major surprise on our way home. Southeast of the basin, I hit the brakes when I saw an unmistakable form drop off the road. I don’t even remember *seeing* it … just seeing it disappear, if that makes sense. A few seconds later, we all saw it running with unmistakable grace up the shadowed drainage away from the road. A total of about 8.5 seconds (possibly less), and it was gone.

A mountain lion. The first I’ve seen in all my years of visiting the basin.


I told Aghavni and Servet they can’t go home – they must always be my good luck charms. We also had with us our photo intern at the Herald, Sarah, from North Carolina, for whom seeing a mountain lion has long been on her bucket list.

Speaking of Servet, Houdini’s and Grey/Traveler’s daughter has a new name – Deniz – which means “sea” in his native Turkish. Our part of Colorado was once under a great sea, so it’s appropriate and beautiful.


In Armenia, they have a saying: “Happy people don’t check their watches.” That was today for Servet and Aghavni -for all of us.

Thank you also to Dolores Elementary School for inviting me to participate in their annual Career Day this morning. The kids were awesome!

Today rocked – and that’s pure happiness. 🙂