14 10 2011

First of all, Jif is fine. In fact, Jif is better than fine now.

Her story needed to wait to be told (to this point) because it was different than the others and had a bit of the law attached (quite a bit, actually, though I don’t know all the details).

Jif was branded.

Not a BLM brand, a ranch brand. Possibly registered in Wyoming.

So after the roundup, she became the responsibility of the state of Colorado while the law was followed in trying to find her owner and/or the owner of the brand. During that time, she was a “guest” of the sale barn outside Cortez.

Jif was one of the first horses I documented the day I started documenting the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin. She was with Hollywood. So I never knew her as anything but one of the herd. She was not rounded up in 2007. Grey/Traveler stole her in the spring of 2008 (out from under the noses of Hollywood, Steeldust, the two young stallions in his band (Butch and Sundance) and the Bachelor 7, who were all basically attached to Steeldust’s band at that time). In the fall of 2009, she was stolen by or went with Chrome, who had been dogging Traveler’s band since that summer. She was still part of his band during the roundup.

Wednesday night, she found a forever home, courtesy of K of the Telluride Animal Foundation. It was an ordeal, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. K and A came with a trailer, and they also took home a weanling colt and a bay gelding. Many, many thanks to D, who was involved from the beginning, and huge gratitude to K and A, who put in a very long day to see her home.


5 08 2011

Jif seems to have done it again … had a foal and then lost it before I ever saw it.

These two pix were taken July 6. I think she’s pretty obviously pregnant, and by her udder, I was thinking it was possible she’d foal by the end of the month.

This was taken July 14.

I saw her the week of the tour but didn’t take any pix. She was pregnant then.

This was taken yesterday, Aug. 4. That’s Boreas in the background, Two Boots’ almost-3-month-old colt.

I really have no idea why she’s lost either of her last two foals. It’s unlikely predator-caused; they’re in an area almost completely devoid of trees or other cover for a mountain lion, and I just don’t think even a couple of coyotes would be able to get to a foal in a band this size. Just another mystery. The band is isolated and has been hanging out in the same general area for quite a while now.

This makes six foal mortalities this year (we’ve also had more foals this year), and three mares are yet expecting. Chipeta is due Sept. 1, and Mona is due Sept. 15. Kootenai’s due date is unknown because this will be her first foal. She’s getting big but has no udder to speak of, so I’m guessing she’ll push into September also.

I have made sure BLM is well aware of these mares with regard to the roundup. Neither Mona nor Kootenai will be targeted because of their introduced status (let alone the fact that they’ll have very young foals), and Chipeta will likely be passed over both because of her location (deep in the southwest end of the basin – far from the trapsite) and because of her young foal.

Boreas and band

15 07 2011

I almost didn’t walk out to Chrome’s band during last week’s visit, but then I decided it would be rude to just drive on by! So I went out for a quick howdy.

Hayden and stepdaddy Chrome. They were napping, Boreas was napping, and the girls and Rio were grazing.

I think of Chrome as a stallion of few words. A very solid, calm and reassuring presence to his family.

Mama Jif, grazing for two as she grows ever wider.

Baby Boreas enjoying the kiss of sunshine while he naps.

Big stretch …!

Then he’s off to find mama and other mischief. 🙂

Rules of the road

9 07 2011

Chrome teaching his boys about the finer points of stud pile etiquette. Baby Boreas is his son; yearling Rio and almost-2-year-old Hayden are his stepsons.

Saw some great displays of stallion affection (and annoyance) this week, including the bachelor boys tiptoeing ever-s0-carefully around napping Varoujan and Kreacher needing all his patience to deal with cheeky son Apollo while he was trying to get sips from the trickle.

Just because, a cropped shot of the boys together:

Rio and Boreas have the same mama (Two Boots) – and an older brother, Cuatro – and Hayden and Rio may have the same daddy. Hayden’s sire is Grey/Traveler; Rio’s sire is Grey/Traveler or Twister. (And I know I’ve said this before, but the resemblance between Twister and Grey is astonishing. Twister is still with Hook’s band.) They look like they’re plotting something, don’t they? This was right before Chrome came down to the stud pile you see in the background (out, out darn pile!).

OK, here’s one of Boreas and his mama:

He’s already greying out over his hindquarters and back. Long-legged handsome little thing, isn’t he?

And it wouldn’t be complete without a pic of mama Jif … expecting …

Worth the wait

26 06 2011

Mama Two Boots grazed while Boreas napped and Rio guarded, and I watched and waited. When the little guy was tired, he laid down literally in the middle of the road – dirt softer than pricklies! Chrome and Jif and Hayden came down from their rock climbing to nap beneath a tree, and when Boreas got up, mama started grazing her way up the hill toward them.

Yearling Rio, baby brother Boreas and mama Two Boots, on the flanks of Filly Peak with nearly the whole of Spring Creek Basin stretching away before them to the dominating eastern ridges of the far boundary.

Chrome, Jif and Hayden under a tree right at the base of Filly Peak. Jif is showing obvious signs of her bundle-to-come. She (her belly, to clarify) looks bigger than Kootenai, but she’s also smaller and has had a foal (Hayden). My best guess for her is August-September. There was a question last year of who the sire of her foal was, but I would have known by the timing of the foal’s birth. Unfortunately, she’s one of the mares that lost her foal last year, and I’m not exactly sure when (I was also gone in late August for PZP training). Hayden will be 2 on Sept. 22.

Big baby boy Boreas and his sweet mama.

Hook’s band was just around the corner – also on the road – so I stopped and waited for them, too. They very graciously grazed off the road on the driver’s side of the Jeep, so I just aimed my camera right through the window. The best photos I got, though, were later that evening as I was leaving, with the sun rimming their handsome selves with layered hills and rocks in the background. To come. 🙂

Boreas … and a chill

5 06 2011

Some pix of Chrome’s band from a week ago …

Chrome’s band was so calm when I originally parked and walked out to them that Rio laid down.

He looks like such a *pony* now with his still-fuzzy coat and thick mane and forelock …

Handsome Chrome surveying his domain while his family grazes and naps.

Pretty Two Boots and big-boy Boreas

Striking little mister, isn’t he?

Showing off his mustang walk …

Snack break …

Tending an itch …

Prince’s plume  and globe mallow are plentiful this year. The paintbrush isn’t quite as plentiful as years past.

Pretty in a desert …

Hayden and Rio, playing as brothers will. Rio is a yearling, and Hayden will be 2 in September. They may be half-brothers … or maybe not?!

And then things changed …

The horses started looking at something …

Something I didn’t see until a flash of white a long way away caught my eye – a truck.

And then they were running, and the truck wasn’t even close.

After I sadly watched them go, I had time to walk back to the Jeep and drive down the road a bit and walk down to the troughs at the water catchment before the truck crested the rise. The horses ran, the truck followed. It stopped a couple of times, but the horses kept running. Other visitors, coming in, saw only the horses running, the truck behind them, before the horses were gone, all hopes of their enjoyment of that band gone.

That kind of thing makes me sad and angry. Respectful visits not only benefit individuals at the time but all those who come later …

Boreas and family

15 05 2011

Here are some pix of Boreas and his family. He was still so new to the world that when daddy Chrome woke him up from his nap, he was a little confused about which big body he belonged to. But mama Two Boots got him sorted out, and all was fine.

Big brother Rio greets his little brother.

Hayden was fascinated by the little guy, who wasn’t at all intimidated by the big red boy!

The little guy checked everyone out while mama hovered a little anxiously.

Two Boots’ oldest son is out on his own (that’s Cuatro, 2), but here she is with her other two boys. I love capturing these families … so important to the horses.

And there he goes, our little baby-god of the north wind … marching into the sky.

Sunset sentinel

23 04 2011


Mostly cloudy all day … then sunshine! … then, just before sunset, the sun dropped into a cloud bank. This photo of Chrome looking down at some muley girls was just before all the light dimmed … we had just the goldenest sliver of light … calm on the hill watching the deer … and then we had a flash of light again before the sun met the horizon.

Do you see Jif? 🙂

Two Boots (shedding out very light this year) and Rio were down to the right below Jif, and Hayden was up to the left.

I love this light. It’s so hard to see the dimension in the photos, I think, but being there in that softest-of-soft light just as day is turning to night is so gorgeous … almost a feeling-of-day rather than a time-of-day …

Always glorious!

Happy day of love

13 02 2011

You may remember this image from January … Jif and Chrome sharing a brief, quiet moment. I thought it was an appropriate image for Valentine’s Day.

Show someone some love today. Every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

All together

26 01 2011

When I crested the hill, I saw a light grey horse down the hill … then a dun back … and my first thought was Seven’s.

But then I saw Rio and shifted my identification – to Chrome’s. The hill they were on is cut by tree-lined drainages that run down to a valley, cut by a bigger arroyo fed by drainages from the base of Filly Peak. Chrome, Jif and Hayden were in one drainage. Up across the hill, across another drainage and on the next “hill” were Two Boots and Rio. It’s not unusual for the horses to separate while they graze, and they certainly weren’t worried.

I couldn’t seem to capture on digital memory the 3D look the scene had in reality, with the backlit shine and country stretching out behind them.

Sweet ponies.

Chrome striking a handsome pose while he watches Two Boots and Rio come across to the hill he’s on.

Mr. Handsome

Chrome got a little miffed when Hayden tried to share his grazing. Hayden’s feelings weren’t hurt, but he did finally leave stepdaddy to his treat.

Jif watching Two Boots and Rio.

Down the hill …

Hi, sweet mama!

I liked their faces …

Rio in the foreground … Seven, Roja, Mona and Shane are in the background.

I just like this one, peace, light, a little breeze, mountains, calm … beautiful.