7 02 2012

Olivia sent these pix of gorgeous girl Eliana. She’s doing amazingly well – and she looks fabulous!

Olivia thought this was a cute shot of Eliana with her new herd mates – I agree!

Front view of Ellie and her buds Fudge and Roany.

Love the girl playing in the sunbeams!

Such an elegant girl.

Curious girl!

Beautiful girl

From Olivia: “November 1st, before Ellie was halter broke she was already lunging over a tarp without hesitation. I would ask her to move out and she did, then when she reached the tarp she would stop, look at me as if she was asking if it was okay to go ahead, then with a little coaxing she was trotting and walking over it no problem.”

Fuzzy winter girl wearing her halter.

“Last week, me sitting by Ellie while she laid down just pettin her. :)”

Eliana loves carrots. πŸ™‚ How cool is that??

Thank you so much, Olivia, for sending these awesome pix of Eliana!! Love seeing how she’s doing in her new home with you and her big buddies!

Heaven in a meadow

4 08 2011

The northwest “meadow” is the new east pocket.

There’s grass. There’s water.

Horses are there.

Four beautiful bands … and Kreacher’s – and Duke – were just to my left.

Beautiful day. How could I have thought he wouldn’t still be there?

Return …

2 08 2011

I realize that by the time I publish this, I’ve already published my “education” post, that you’ll read it – if you wade through it at all – after you look through these. Nonetheless, I’m calling this post “return” because hopefully it marks a return to photos of the horses and place I’m so passionate about.

Without further ado … These are from the day of the tour.

Bounce’s band, early morning before anyone else arrived, just west of the east pocket.

The helicopter. I never even took pix Grey’s band, just hung out while they napped.

Later in the day, after the tour … before I knew about Twister:

Comanche’s band was very near Hollywood’s – still – and had done a bit of traveling during the day (though I can’t comment definitively on the particular cause). Earlier in the day, we could see them north of Spring Creek Canyon; here, they were just off the road above the dugout (east of their earlier location).

Hollywood’s band

Piedra and Briosa. Comanche’s were just up the hill to the right. This was taken from just off the road.

Briosa. Isn’t she a stout big girl?

Eliana, Spring Creek Canyon in the background.




I so enjoyed visiting with them, taking these pix of the horses against the Colorado sky with the favorable clouds we’ve seen so little of this year. I didn’t want to leave, though I was headed to check on Twister. I wasn’t aware yet of what I would find with him.

After I’d finally gotten in touch with BLM about Twister, I couldn’t stay in the basin (I didn’t leave the area so I could lead BLM to Twister in the morning). Almost didn’t even stop to greet David’s band when I found them, just inside the fence along the Disappointment Road.

Shadow and Coal

Yearling Wind wiggling between mama and baby brother. You can see the fence strands in the foreground – that’s how close they were.

Handsome baby Coal

Horrible day … and yet a good day, too. Seems to be a contradiction that settles over my entire mustang experience. Can’t explain it … and I guess, overall, I really wouldn’t change it. The “good” is really just that phenomenal.


19 07 2011

Now for some girls. πŸ™‚ From the same evening with Comanche’s and Hollywood’s band.

Briosa and Eliana with Eli’s mom and Bri’s (likely) grandma – Mahogany.

A little girl (Juniper) in a great big country. The hill in the middle distance is Flat Top.

Juni walking up to big sister Winona.

Later … I’m not entirely sure whether she was whinnying at Hollywood or Bri and Eli.

Briosa with mama Piedra

Eliana with mama Mahogany

Mama/grandma Mahogany with her girls …

… She seems to have a little more patience for both of them together. Piedra has less patience with Eliana … but watching Eliana and Briosa, it’s easier to tell which of the mares outrank which – Eliana, the little princess, is clearly the leader between her and Briosa – even though Bri is older and bigger.

But Bri is a bit more curious!

They do hang out quite a bit together now. πŸ™‚

Besotted? Who, me?! πŸ™‚


18 07 2011

Some pix of Comanche and Hollywood from the other night. Their bands were close to each other in this beautiful little meadow at the top of the basin, on the northwest side. All was calm until curious Georgie – I mean, Winona – grazed her way close enough to Holls to not be able to contain that curiosity any longer! Comanche then strutted down to put an end to THAT nonsense. Ha! Later, Duke came whinnying out of the trees across the valley to the north, and that got the boys’ attention, too. Comanche did go racing off to greet him, but I had crossed an arroyo to seek shade and was blocked by trees. I wish this “boys” post included pix of him, but I pulled a dumb newbie mistake and didn’t have an empty memory card in my pocket like usual – and I had no idea I’d taken so many pix – until right after Eliana left the pond. I just sat and watched while the horses grazed into the overtaking shadows, but when I walked back to the Jeep past Duke, it was just to greet him and admire his sleek and shiny bayness – not to take any pix.

He had a little fit of pique when Juniper got “too close” to his own girls, and this is him encouraging her to return “home.”

Comanche with a most-recognizable backdrop – McKenna Peak and the unnamed promontory.

Watching Duke, but he didn’t leave his mares … which is interesting because I watched specifically to see if he would. But maybe he’s learning, and it seemed to me that he quite remembered Comanche stealing almost all his family earlier this year (not long after Cougar was born). He has lost Piedra at least twice before because of his penchant for running off to spar, leaving her unprotected.

So handsome. So wild. So awesome.


I love his walk!

Hollywood and his little girls – Briosa (back) is his daughter, and Eliana is Sundance’s daughter … but her mother is possibly Briosa’s mother’s mother, which makes Eliana Briosa’s aunt! And Mahogany – Eliana’s mama – Bri’s grandma!

Comanche with Kestrel and baby Juniper. Love that background!

The better news

15 07 2011

Before I found out about Indy, I found out the basin got a LOT of rain in the last week. I had heard it poured Sunday over Lone Cone, and Durango and my hometown of Mancos have been getting rain. I held off going out Wednesday … and I’m glad I did. There was evidence of rain – even some still-standing puddles.

But I didn’t realize quite how much we got! I was a little shocked to see the two “halves” of the trapsite pond with water … and the news got better from there. The Flat Top, east-pocket, roadside and northwest ponds also have water! They were completely dry. On the other hand, the roller-coaster ridge pond is completely dry (it had just a tiny puddle last week) and the double ponds are still dry. Round Top surprised me by being pretty shallow, and Sorrel Flats buoyed me by being less shallow than last week. Did you notice I mentioned the northwest pond has water? πŸ™‚ I drove up there for the first time this year to check it (it’s almost always dry, but what the heck, I thought) – and on the way was when I spied Hook’s band and came to the conclusion that Indy was not with them, nor Twister. I came up over the last hill … and voila! Hollywood’s and Comanche’s! And the pond – rippling with water. It’s shallow, and it never lasts long, but there’s actually grass up there, and the horses were going to town. Duke also visited late in the day.

After our mild winter, the monsoons have apparently come a little early – our Christmas in July. I know they can’t come soon enough or with enough moisture for those of us in the parched Southwest, but I’d say it’s a good start!

Eliana, up to her knees and hocks in the northwest pond – she sank a little in mud. πŸ™‚ Look at her little mane with the lighter line through it – reminds me of a fish’s fin! She waded way out almost to the middle, even after Briosa had had her fill and walked out to follow Mahogany. She kept reminding me of a moose calf, lifting her legs high, but I liked this image with the sparkle in her eye from the late afternoon sunshine.

She and Briosa are like sisters – they hang out together nearly constantly, and one mama is as good as their own mama, except when it comes to snack time. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰ ). 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.

Little red misses

27 05 2011

I’m liking this change:



What do they have in common?

! πŸ™‚

What else might they have in common?

Mahogany might be Piedra’s mother, which might make Eliana Piedra’s sister … Briosa’s aunt.

Mahogany and Eliana

Piedra and Briosa. The funniest thing about this photo is the backstory. Briosa had been nursing and must have slurped a bit too hard because mama delivered a swift reprimand in the form of a snap to her little heiney – which provoked a little kicking fit from both of them! “Don’t bite the udder that feeds you”?! Learned early! πŸ™‚

Hollywood was working to keep his girls close … because Aspen showed up on a hill a short distance away.

To recap, Sundance had Mahogany for a bit more than a year, then two weeks ago, he finally lost Mahogany and Eliana to Aspen the day after I first met Eli. Sometime in the last two weeks, Hollywood managed to steal them from Aspen. To go a little farther back, the winter before this last, Hook briefly stole Piedra and Sage from Hollywood. He had them a shorter than the winter before, when Aspen stole them!

Shall we go even further back in time?

Mahogany and Piedra were originally part of Steeldust’s band. When I first started documenting the horses, Hollywood had Jif … and then they started hanging out with Steeldust’s … that was in the days when the Bachelor 7 were running around with them, too. Then Grey/Traveler stole Jif to add to Houdini and Two Boots and Twister, and Holls turned his attention to lovely Piedra. Bri is their third baby!

Bri is a month old, and Eli is about 2 weeks old – enough age difference that Bri is more independent than her aunt Eli (!), who still sticks pretty close to mama.

So here’s a question: Who is alpha? Piedra, who has been with Hollywood for a few years now, or Mahogany, who is older – and possibly Piedra’s dam – but newly come to the family?

Oh, the wild ways of the wild ones!

Can you stand the cuteness?

How amazing it will be to watch these red babies grow together!

Little beauties. How amazing they are! And together!? Look out! πŸ™‚

Eliana and family

17 05 2011

Eliana is the daughter of Mahogany and Sundance. When the fracturing of Steeldust’s band started in earnest last spring, Mahogany ended up with Sundance – and bachelor Aspen. Just a day or two after Eliana was born – and the day after I first saw her – Aspen finally succeeded in stealing her from Sundance. Among the meanings of her name is “daughter of the sun” – and so she is, not to be forgotten, though Aspen now has her and Mahogany.

Mahogany lost her foal last year before I ever saw it. This adorableΒ  little red girl is healthy and strong and full of spunk!

Mama Mahogany and her beautiful, sunny girl.

I love how the babies’ ears are curled after they’re born.

Though I don’t like to think about how any of the babies may have died, I am glad Mahogany got a break last year. She’s an older mare, though I don’t know how old, and she looks much better with Eliana than she did last year.

Aspen, Sundance, Mahogany and Eliana.

Handsome daddy Sundance – this was the next day, when he was alone and nursing some wounds.

Check out that wavy mane … who else has a wavy mane like that? Maybe he has passed it to his daughter – daughter of the Sun.

Grand ol’ beautiful lady is also an excellent mama.

Baby girl has a wide blaze like mama’s, but Eliana’s tapers over to the right side. Since I’ve known Mahogany, she has had two dark bays like herself (Pinon may be even darker) and a black foal. Piedra – grey – *may* be her daughter … and David may be her son (scroll down a couple of posts to compare). Eliana is the first sorrel she has had in that time.

I love, too, how the mamas constantly touch and sniff their newborns. Constant contact builds strong bonds.

I adore this moment – for itself and because I have a nearly identical photo from when Pinon (now 3) was a baby – with the exact same expression on his face as mama Mahogany reassures herself that her baby is just fine. πŸ™‚