6 11 2013

Hayden and Duke

Young Hayden with elder Duke. From a recent visit … just me, the horses and about a million hunters.


23 06 2013


It has been a while since Duke made an appearance on the blog, and that’s way too long. The elder mister still is with Kreacher (bachelor buddies), and they were watching Hollywood’s and Comanche’s bands. We first saw him in the shade of a juniper, waiting out some of the day’s heat. Then he decided to come closer to see what we were about. I don’t know about him, but we exclaimed several times about how handsome he is!

Home range

6 05 2013


A return to home with Duke and Kreacher, pictured in front of two of our most recognizable landmarks: McKenna Peak (pyramid) and the unnamed promontory.

Home is where the heart is.

Let’s go that way

5 04 2013

Chrome and Terra; Duke and Kreacher in the background.

Chrome snakes Terra to follow Kwana toward Winona, who was grazing a little distance away.

The story behind the story involves the dots behind these two in the distance. See them? Way back left of Chrome?

When I first saw those two dots, they were three dots: two grey, one dark (bay): Chrome and Kreacher and Duke. And yes, they’re really about as far away as they appear, so Chrome had left his girls and his boy to have a little man-to-man-to-man chat. I parked not far away and walked out on a trail, and I was sitting on said trail at the moment I pressed the shutter on this shot. I reached his girls and boy before he did.

Kreacher and Duke went on grazing as peacefully as Terra and Kwana and Winona, even after Chrome returned to reassert his “dominance.”

In the canyon

7 01 2013

A return to an old friend:

Duke (with Kreacher) in Spring Creek Canyon, drinking.

Duke, caught in the act of turning. It makes him look more animated than this usually calm boy acts, and I love the swish of his tail, the wave of his mane, his gorgeous, rich, thick bay coat against the rock wall of the canyon, topped by snow. And I love this bachelor boy – in case you couldn’t tell. 🙂


3 01 2013

Duke and Kreacher share an interesting past – and current friendhip. And if they could tell their story, it would be richer than I even know.

Since I started documenting the horses after the 2007 roundup, Duke has had a family (Raven and her first foal, Corona) just once – and for just about six months. Otherwise, he has been a bachelor, sometimes with a friend or friends, mostly alone. He seems to be particularly suited to “mentoring” young bachelors.

When I met Kreacher, he had Molly and Roja (likely mother and daughter from photos I have seen; elder Molly died in the fall of 2009). When Grey/Traveler stole Houdini, her daughter Two Boots and orphan Twister from (his likely son) Seven in the early spring of 2008, Seven stole Molly and Roja from Kreacher, leaving Kreacher to take Grey’s place in the “Bachelor 7,” as I called that group of single fellows. Kreacher was a low-man bachelor until early December that year, when he picked up the three beauties introduced that October from Sand Wash Basin: Raven, Mona and Kootenai. During an April visit in 2009, I found Kreacher, Mona and Kootenai, but Raven was missing; I found her – and her new filly, named after her Sand Wash Basin sire, Corona – with Duke. Duke had them until that fall. I found Kootenai with them one day, then got a report that Raven, Corona and Kootenai were back with Kreacher (and Mona), and Duke was injured. Duke nursed that injury for most of the next year. Right before or right after Mona had her filly, Shane (sired by Kreacher), in September 2010, Seven acquired her. She has been with Hollywood – and Shane – the last several months. Kreacher lost Raven and Apollo (their 2011 son) and Kootenai and Mysterium (their 2011 daughter) to Sundance the day before the roundup last fall, and Sundance still has the two mares and Mysterium and Raven’s and Kreacher’s 2012 colt, Skywalker (Apollo became a bachelor at the tender age of 1 and has been with Hayden and Tenaz since).

Are you still with me? 🙂

After Kreacher lost his band, he found and started trailing (at a distance originally) Duke, who sometimes was alone and sometimes was with other bachelors. These two apparently have adopted a “forgive and forget,” “together is better than alone” attitude and almost always can be seen together. Duke likely is in the 15-plus-year-old category, and Kreacher probably is around 10-12 or so.

When I saw them the other day on my way out of the basin, it was too perfect an opportunity not to stop and say hello.

Kreacher and Duke above Spring Creek Canyon.

That Kreacher is such a lover.

Kreacher and Duke above Spring Creek Canyon.

Behind them is a wall of Spring Creek Canyon. They drank from a little open hole of water down in the bottom.

Kreacher and Duke above Spring Creek Canyon.

Such handsome wild faces!

Kreacher and Duke above Spring Creek Canyon.

Kreacher definitely is not shy about public displays of affection – and he’s the more demonstrative of the two.

Fuzzy and fit and well-equipped for winter! I love seeing these boys together. Though I can’t help but remember the strife they once caused each other, now what I think about most is their enduring friendship.

Two in the far north(west)

6 10 2012

As hinted at in yesterday’s post, we spotted Duke and Kreacher together in the northwest. Kreacher and Seven have ditched each other – and the young boys have ditched Kreacher – or vice versa – and were with Bounce and Seven.

Kreacher and Duke. The northwest pond is behind them to the left.

Kreacher with some colorful fall rabbit brush in the foreground.

Duke. Such a mustang classic. The reddish hue to the ground around him is purslane. I don’t know much about it, but it’s apparently very widespread this year.

Love that his ears still are dark.

Bay gorgeousity.


9 09 2012

A week or so ago, Duke was hanging out close to Hollywood’s and Comanche’s bands at the northwest pond while Seven, Kreacher, Bounce and the other boys were hanging out together farther up the valley.

Always handsome, mellow and independent, our Duke.


1 07 2012

Stepping into a dream … handsome Mr. Duke.


5 06 2012

Isn’t he just brushed gold?

I spent hours brushing him to a horse-show sheen before our photo shoot … 🙂

He is or was recently back with Kreacher, and that’s who he’s looking at between bites. A little bit of home in the background, looking east.