Duke

25 05 2012

Early morning.

Just a hint of his identity in his star in this lovely light. And that chin. You always know Duke by his distinctive chin.

I didn’t know who he was watching at this point, but he was looking at Bounce, on top of a nearby hill. Other bands were out in the open to the right. This is near Wildcat Spring, a perennial spring that nonetheless gets pretty mucky (and salty). We still have a few ponds with water – a difference from last year, when all the ponds were dry by this time. I’m not at all sure what the difference is, given our super-mild winter and lack of rain for days and weeks – a full month, at least, since we’ve had any measurable rain. BLM is brainstorming plans to haul water if necessary – quite a change from years past (I’ve never heard such an offer in my time with the horses). All rain dances appreciated. 🙂





Stallions, stunning

11 05 2012

Duke is still hanging out with Kreacher, who has taken an interest in Aspen’s band, which includes a former mare of his: Mona. Storm also still is following the band, but Bounce gave up on them and is enjoying his own company.

Whew. It must be spring. 🙂

What won’t the boys do to impress the ladies? Duke in the background, Piedra at right, and Juniper, Kestrel and her newest daughter.

Comanche keeping Duke at bay.

Duke running one way …

Comanche trotting back to his girls!

Oh, handsome!

Thank you to the rain dancers among you! We got rain today. Not a lot, not much, drops you could count in the dry, dry dirt. But rain. Oh, the scent of rain-on-the-air. And more in the forecast. Dance away!





One light, one dark

20 04 2012

Kreacher and Duke were hanging out by the dugout when I drove by the other day. I’ve seen the boys almost every visit, but they’ve been far away, so I’ve been keeping tabs on them via binoculars. This day, they were fairly close, so I walked out to say hello.

Duke. It had gotten windy, and how handsome this wild boy looks with his long locks!

They’re very comfortable together (they’ve been together for a while now), and Duke is the leader.

Basin boys.

Aspen has been hanging out alone. These boys had been keeping a watch on him earlier. Maybe they’ll bring Aspen into the fold.





Some near, some far

26 12 2011

A long view of Sundance’s band (“near”) and Kreacher and Duke. Apollo and Raven are the two dark horses at near left, then Sundance, Kootenai and Mysterium at right. Straight back “above” Sundance is Duke, and just down the slope – left – from Duke is Kreacher; he’s hard to see, grey against snow. The Spring Creek arroyo is between them.

Much nearer – Juniper. Fuzzy, furry, wooly little bear cub! How cute is she?!

Mama Kestrel … and not too far away, snow spilling over the eastern ridges – unnamed promontory and McKenna Peak.

Last view of the day, looking in the opposite direction from above – west – snow falling in clouds beyond Spring Creek Canyon.





Far and near

19 11 2011

Duke and Kreacher are still hanging out together. It’s a loose sort of alliance, but where you find one, you find the other not too far away.

Kreacher, highlighted against the eastern hills.

Love the warmth of the light on grey Kreach, the cool blue of the shadows on the hills.

Duke. Cropped to enhance the curve of his neck and glow of his eye in the early morning light.

Love the golden light that turns his bay coat copper and that serves so beautifully to enhance the wisdom through the window to his soul.





Miscellaneous

30 09 2011

These are just pix that jumped out at me when I was going through images. The pix of Sundance and Apollo were cropped from their original horizontal images.

Sundance, looking all kinda handsome.

Mysterium using mama Kootenai’s tail as a fly whisk.

Apollo – wow, huh? Look out, mares!

Duke – look how shiny he is! And those dapples coming out! Interestingly, he and Kreacher were fairly close … (interesting because Duke picked up Raven a couple of years ago right after she had Corona … he kept them until that fall, when Kreacher stole them back, injuring Duke in the process … now they’re both single guys, and someone else – Sundance – has Raven and Kootenai and the foals).

Kreacher wasn’t looking too worse for wear, though he does have quite a few new scars on his left side, from his cheek to his barrel. So he didn’t go lightly into his bachelorhood. He’s on a hill across a drainage from the hill I’m on, Duke behind me. I couldn’t see Duke anymore from where I stood here, but Kreach could see him (because we could see Kreach from where Duke was).

I think I’ve updated on all the new bands/bachelors – maybe more pix of Seven’s band. No pic of Corazon; he was way in, and I didn’t hike out to him. And like I said, I haven’t yet found three horses: David, Poco and Roach. I’m working on updating the “Find a wild horse” page; need to update the photos as well.

Good reports on all the adopted horses I’ve heard about. And really good news about adoptions/sales from Canon City. Of the four from the adoption (Pinon, Baylee, Iya and Liberty), I think all are or will be adopted but Pinon, and he’s not forgotten. I think things are being finalized for all the others that originally went.





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 …





Intermission

7 03 2011

Intermission – noun – a short interval between the acts of a play or parts of a public performance, usually a period of approximately 10 or 15 minutes, allowing the performers and audience a rest.

Sometimes with a dose of humor. 🙂

To lighten the mood after yesterday’s post about the colts play-fighting may or may not have gone awry, this seemed like an appropriate image to make folks laugh. It’s Duke in the middle of a snort. We chuckle because it’s a funny face – to us. I chuckle because he rarely gives me a “handsome pose” anymore – he’s too busy grazing and ignoring me. He seems to take his role with young Twister and younger Cuatro seriously, and they both still seem to look to him for guidance – Cuatro especially so.

I’ve known him with bachelors, with a family, alone and now as elder guiding younger. I always love to see handsome Duke.





The process of learning

6 03 2011

Relationships matter most …

Duke napping in the early morning sunshine with Hook’s band behind him.

Cuatro with Hook’s in the background. This was the beautiful sunshine we had early in the morning after sunrise before the cloud band came up.

Steeldust’s band – which I’m going to start more appropriately calling Luna’s band henceforth – was off to the northwest – watching Hook’s and Duke’s bands when I first saw them. Another band I wanted to visit was farther east, and I had been thinking about how I was going to visit both (so greedy) when Luna’s started coming toward us. The first evidence of this was Steeldust chasing Mouse.

It caught the attention of all of us:

Hook’s watching Steeldust and Mouse.

Hook’s watching Mouse and Storm bringing up the rear. You can see we’ve now been covered in shade while the east-west hill and north(ish) hills are still glowing in sunlight.

I thought it was particularly interesting that Gideon followed Alpha … mama Luna and Butch were up ahead. Steeldust is most likely his sire, though Butch has claimed Luna since a little before Gideon was born.

Duke and the boys watching Luna and Butch …

… watching Alpha, Gideon and Steeldust.

They came down almost to the bottom of the arroyo … where Luna apparently decided it was time for a nap and everybody stopped.

Then it started to get interesting (!):

Storm caught up and walked down past mama and Luna and the others, crossed the arroyo and headed up toward …

Duke, Twister and Cuatro. Twister waited till Storm was on his side, then walked down to meet him.

Typical first greeting … (and I don’t think this is actually the first time they’ve met) …

Getting right down to business …

Cuatro followed very quickly …

A different greeting with a younger colt …

Twister takes the rear, Cuatro takes the front! From left, Twister is almost 4, Storm will be 3 in July, and Cuatro will be 2 in May.

They started with a little of this …

They know right where to aim, but note their ears – relaxed.

Check out the shoulder-check. This is what I was talking about in an earlier post. Now check these out:

From the shoulder-check, he goes for Storm’s front legs – which causes Storm to “bow” to get away …

Which leaves his back legs vulnerable. Something else interesting – the benefit of just a year or? – Storm doesn’t go for *Twister’s* hind legs – right in front of him – he goes into defensive mode.

Which just allows Twister to come around him …

And get him on the other side! And look how close he stays.

Twister is clearly calling the shots, and Storm is reacting.

Twister comes around again – look how tight. Storm has tucked his hindquarters to avoid bites, but he’s too close to get up the momentum for a kick.

Have you been keeping an eye on young Cuatro?

Now Storm’s going for Twister’s front legs, forcing Twister into defensive posture – but Cuatro’s helping his pal from the rear angle.

Then the action got a little hotter, and Cuatro here is heading back toward big bud Duke.

And yes, there was some of this.

Are you fascinated by the thought process?? Storm is bigger, but Twister is a year older (which means he has a year on Storm in learning these things) and smart – and quick.

Meanwhile, across the arroyo (except Gideon, who’s at the edge) … The only one (actively) paying  attention is Butch, and this is still several minutes before he decided to join the goings-on.

Wondering where Mouse is during all of this? There he is at right – grazing on the edge of the arroyo. Another reason to show this – are you getting a sense of the size difference between these colts, one born in 2007, the other in summer 2008? It’s not great, but it’s enough to acknowledge. If Twister wasn’t an orphan, would it be so noticeable? If Twister wasn’t an orphan AND Storm wasn’t the son of an alpha mare who had no foals since Storm (because PZP-22 worked on her) and has been able to care for him exclusively these last couple of years – opposite ends of the spectrum – would it be so noticeable?

As Storm and Twister learned each others’ moves, there was some of this …

… and some of this …

… and eventually a few moments of this …

… and this. 🙂

They were by no means done. Duke waded in not long after this – followed closely by Cuatro – but his main attention seemed to be on Mouse, and soon after, Twister and Storm had apparently sufficiently rested to start again. Butch eventually joined briefly, too, and Gideon, which you’ve already seen pix of.

SO much more to this than the “obvious.” What significant, subtle conversation(s) am I missing? I’d wager it’s much more than I’m able to “see” and/or interpret.

Fascinating!





Stallion knot

4 03 2011

What’s going on here?

Yesterday was so full and beautiful and amazing I hardly know where to begin.

It started with sunshine and boys, but shortly after sunrise, clouds from the southeast rose and stretched and covered the sky in a single wide band that just so happened to block the sun. What kind of punch would these photos have had otherwise, eh? The good news is that it didn’t last all morning or all day, which turned again nearly clear, very sunny and very basin-beautiful.

You all know – I hope – that I don’t post photos of stallions fighting just to show pictures of stallions fighting. The above photo is to get you in the mood to see photos of stallions – young stallions – play fighting. It was an amazing thing to witness. Three bands were present – two family bands and a bachelor group – and the youngsters played while the elders observed, took care of business and seemed to “referee” (in Duke’s case). Twister, an orphan colt who will be 4 this year, was at the center of it all.

He’s with elder Duke, whom he seems to respect absolutely, and with youngster Cuatro, his bud. Cuatro will be 2 this year, and though he was intensely interested in what was going on and was frequently in the thick of things, he wasn’t the center like Twister was. Just fascinating behavior. (By the way, I didn’t name Twister as any sort of storm or hurricane reference but after Oliver Twist, orphan).

Hook’s band passed on the ridge above, with Hook observing. Steeldust once sent errant Fierro back to him, and Hook jumped in to snake him back to the band. Otherwise SD stayed out of it. Butch left Luna’s side briefly to engage Twister – then right back to Luna’s side. Interestingly, Steeldust gives Alpha plenty of space; Butch seems to need to be right with Luna all the time – talk about not-so-passive “leadership”! It was Luna who finally decided she’d had enough – maybe a long enough nap – and simply walked away, and that was the end of that. Not. I went on to visit another band, and I could hear squeals every now and then from beyond the ridge. Duke’s boys followed Luna, too … and Kreacher’s ended up close by. Hook’s meandered off on their own.

So do you know who’s in the picture above?

Mouse is in front. I’d guess him to be probably 7-8?

Storm is at left. He’ll be 3 this summer.

Duke is in back. He’s probably at least older than 10 (maybe a few years older than 10?).

Cuatro (2 this spring) has his face in Twister’s cheek at left (Twister will be 4).

They’re on uneven ground, moving, moving, moving … but can you get an idea how big Storm is? He was the first to walk out to meet Twister – Twister let him come and met him just in front of where he, Duke and Cuatro had been watching the band come. It’s not a fair comparison, really. Twister is an orphan (as I found him after the roundup), and Storm’s mother is an alpha mare and has been nursing him until fairly recently (I’m not sure whether that continues, but I don’t think so) because PZP-22 worked on her, and she has had only Storm to care for and nurture these past almost-three years. Healthy mom, extremely healthy colt. How will that affect his chances at stealing – and keeping – mares? Just something to make ya go “hmm.” 🙂

Earlier. 🙂