All ready

25 11 2011

While you’re all getting ready for serious voting, here are some pix from the last two days in the basin …

From my visit with Poco and Roach … the La Sal Mountains seen above the northwest valley of the basin.

Roach and Poco



Poco and Roach. Not very often does Poco stand closer to me than Roach.

I had watched them (and Bounce, Tenaz and Seven, and Chrome’s – different directions) from a distance for quite a while as they napped. They both laid down – Poco flat out like a colt. I imagine that sunshine felt terrific (it did).

Poco against the mountains …

Roach against the mountains.

Aspen’s and Sundance’s bands were sharing the roller-coaster ridge pond for their midday drink, and the babies were enjoying some play time.

Killian at left and Apollo.

Coupla things going on here: Mona walked all the way around the pond to drink here, right under the noses of her former pals, Raven and Kootenai – not to mention Sundance. Aspen eventually escorted Roja as she also walked over to drink just there (and *why* just there??). And check out feisty little Mysterium, who has finally gotten fed up with her brother and the new little boy and is chasing him away.

One last pause before he follows mama …

See ya later, alligators! 🙂

Mysterium on the berm of the pond.

Sundance and Raven napping on the berm.

Sundance watching Aspen’s band move off to graze.


21 11 2011

Another collection of fairly random photos, related only by the horses and the basin.

Chipeta and Puzzle


Grey/Traveler and Houdini


Mona, Shane and Killian

Closer of Mona and Shane

Shane and Roja

Aspen and Killian




Enjoy! 🙂

Storm saga

20 11 2011

I’m taking advantage of more time this week to post lots more photos … I really didn’t get a lot posted from the previous week’s visit. That was the week I found Bounce, Tenaz, Seven and Storm together – a welcome change (to this human anyway) from Seven and Storm being alone. But Storm was fairly standoffish from the other boys, though, collectively, they were all fairly close to Hollywood’s and Comanche’s during my visit.

Another wow moment this week: Spotted Storm … then David … where’s Shadow? Oh, there she is – with Storm! Or rather, with Storm between her and David. This, I told my visitor, is one of the reasons I go back every week – to see what changes in the lives of these horses in the last few days! And to at least ask these kinds of questions (I’m not sure I’ll ever have answers):

Why, when David loses Shadow, does he hound them still, trying to get her back?

Why, when Seven lost his band, did he seem to lose all interest, not even in the same vicinity of his band, now led by Aspen?

Length of time?

David stole Shadow as a long yearling in the late summer/early fall of 2008.

Seven stole Molly and Roja from Kreacher when Grey/Traveler stole Houdini, Two Boots (H’s daughter) and orphan Twister from him in March 2008.


Seven did have a small, seemingly minor wound on his right gaskin, but it wasn’t bad enough to hinder his movement … shouldn’t have made him give up on his band?

Neither David nor Storm appears to have any injuries beyond minor cuts.


Well …? That’s maybe the better question … with no measurable answer.

Seven is still with Bounce and Tenaz. This marks the longest Aspen has had a band since I’ve known him. (He stole Piedra briefly from Hollywood a winter or two ago – that lasted a few weeks, I remember; he stole Mahogany and Eliana from Sundance for all of about a week this spring before he lost them to Hollywood.)

Shadow – the prize.

Storm – the current victor.

David – down, but don’t count him out.

And watching from the sidelines (almost):

Aspen, center, Roja and Killian at left, and Mona and Shane grazing at right.

Shadow didn’t try to get back to David, wasn’t trying to leave Storm. Storm followed her wherever she headed and stopped frequently to discourage David – and chased after him a few times to discourage him further. Didn’t work. The above photo of Storm is him trotting back to Shadow; the photo of David is him following.

Aspen, left, and David had a brief sniffing discussion (literally just seconds long) before David turned to follow Shadow and Storm, who had moved on to graze some distance away. Aspen’s band is back to the left.

One very interesting thing that I couldn’t capture with the camera because they were never close enough while I was there: the obvious size difference between Storm (3 in late July) and David (probably 8-10ish or older). This was easier seen Wednesday (when I didn’t have a camera – crazy, I know) – even from a distance, it was apparent. Storm looks compact, and David looks long and lean. Both are true, but Storm is noticeably bigger – taller, wider, stouter. An advantage of PZP-22 (it worked on Alpha alone of the mares it was administered to in 2007) and/or good genetics/nutrition/better forage from removal of some horses and less pressure on the basin? Never know. 🙂

(Clarification: We’re using native PZP here now, not PZP-22.)

Stuff to make ya go “hmmmm” … and keep me going back to follow their amazing lives. Most times quiet … sometimes, quite a saga.

Great heights

18 11 2011

After my visit with the pintos yesterday morning, I found Aspen’s band perfectly positioned with an awesome background. I love to photograph the horses against the La Sal Mountains, which rise to the northwest – especially when the mountains are bright with snow.

We’ve had excellent weather lately – and enough moisture to keep us happy and prepare us for winter to come.

Serious gorgeousity the last two days … and the weather was pretty nice, too. 🙂

Killian and mama Roja

Aspen. Behind him (way out) are the curving rimrocks above Spring Creek Canyon.

The Mona story

5 11 2011

Well, Mona. I’m fairly sure she’s not pregnant anymore – at least not about-to-foal pregnant. She’s sure healthy, and she waddles like a pregnant lady, but there’s no change in udder in the last three weeks. Given her good shape, and the fact that her due date was almost two months ago now, I don’t even know when she lost the foal – did she have it at some point? And before you jump on the bandwagon that the roundup caused her to abort (as some have already done), please remember that her band was NOT targeted, at our request, because of her pregnant status (or the fact that I thought she was).

They’re all still with Aspen. Seven was alone – not too far, really, as the mustang walks – napping in the sunshine when I saw him.

Roja, left, Killian and Shane

She grazed nearby for a bit, then decided she wanted to be with the others down the hill. I think it’s safe to say now that she’s just in really good shape! She got pretty thin nursing Shane last winter, so it’s not a bad thing …

Killian (his brother Ze is doing SO well!)

My absolute new favorite pic of Roja. 🙂

Aspen’s band

23 10 2011

Yes, you read that right; Aspen has deposed Seven and now has Roja and Killian, Mona and Shane. Seven has a shallow cut on his right gaskin but is otherwise fine, though alone and wandering. He had gone back to what was once familiar territory for him near Round Top.

Aspen seems to be keeping his new band on the move. I saw them Wednesday with local Alice (who is adopting Liberty!), but they weren’t interested in us.

This was the best view we had of them before they went down into Spring Creek for a drink, then moved on.

I saw them again Thursday, but not till the very end of the day as I was heading out in the shadows of evening.

Seemingly no change in Mona …

Never thought I’d see it, but I wouldn’t count Seven out. And Aspen has a history of stealing mares – though never so many – but not being able to hold onto them. We’ll see!

Mona belly update

17 10 2011

I’m fairly sure Mona is still pregnant … but she’s sure not huge (Roja looks more pregnant (after three babies), and she’s not due till May!), and so we’re really just in wait mode (when are we not?!).

Shane, Killian and Roja with a great view of the basin behind them.

Curious critters – Shane, Killian and Roja.

Pretty girl Shane. And she has some size – her first birthday was Sept. 15.

Baby hunk Killian with mama Roja.

And Mona walking into my photo. 🙂

Mona. I’d love to hear opinions …

Seven moving Roja and Killian away from Aspen.


Aspen with the quintessential Spring Creek Basin background – McKenna Peak and the unnamed promontory.

Working hard to keep Aspen at bay. I love this boy!

Seven’s band – and friends

2 10 2011

Seven’s were with their shadow, Aspen, and Hollywood’s and Comanche’s bands when I spotted them the second day of my visit last week. They were pretty close to the road, so I decided I could sit in the Jeep and wait for them, or I could try walking out and see what happened. As it turned out, it was one of my best visits ever with Seven’s wary band.

Hollywood’s and Comanche’s are particularly comfortable with each other, so maybe that made a difference, even with Aspen dogging Seven.

This was toward the end of the visit, but that’s Comanche at left, Hollywood closest and Piedra at right. Kestrel was to the left, Seven’s band were to the right, and Juniper was wandering between them all.

Killian, who is practically the spitting image of his big brother Ze, and mama Roja.

Seven would graze, then walk his “perimeter” between his family and Aspen. I’m not sure what the unspoken code was, but he was not in the slightest worried about Hollywood or Comanche or their mares.

Yearling Shane (born Sept. 15) and mama Mona; you can see Aspen in the background.

Aspen. He has previously stolen (at least) Piedra and Mahogany, but he didn’t hold either for long.

Seven and Shane

Shane and Mona. It was harder than you might think to get pix of the belly! Shane would block her or she’d linger behind a big greasewood … After a while, it got to be kind of funny. I had a great seat under a big juniper – not the best for the direction of the light – and it was pretty high and harsh anyway – but it was perfect for observation.

Mona and Roja

Juniper (near) looking at Shane …

This was when Killian and Shane came moseying up to try to have a chat with Juniper. I didn’t have a great angle – but I didn’t want to move!

Sweetheart. 🙂 She looks so much like daddy, but certain times, I catch her looking like big sister Winona.

Cute Killian – such a sweet baby face.

Talk about reminders. I’ve been thinking about all the horses so much lately (!) … going through past photos to send adopters … thinking of all the past visits … Roja reminds me so much of Molly. I thought Molly was Roja’s dam – the resemblance is right there. But I’m glad it’s looking like Killian got his daddy’s fine head! 🙂

A place in the grass

29 09 2011

The light was just starting to turn into that golden shower of color. I had been sitting in the Jeep at the east end of Wildcat Valley for a bit, taking notes and watching horses, waiting for that light …

Then came the pintos, and everybody scattered.

Hollywood and Comanche and their bands came out beyond where I ended up sitting in the grass … stopped … looked back at some others … and off they went.

Handsome Hollywood

Lovely Piedra

This was when I knew for sure that Comanche still had Kestrel and Juniper, even though they were so close to Hollywood and Piedra. You can see Traveler’s band in the upper right corner.

Wowza – that Comanche has big strides!

Comanche’s daughter, Juniper, floating on light.

Juniper’s mama, Kestrel. Another beautiful girl.

Seven and Aspen were visible, too. Piedra and Kestrel are looking back at Traveler’s and/or Sundance’s, and Comanche is turning to look at Seven and Aspen (Hollywood was just to the left, and he was already looking at them).

Piedra, looking.

Seven later chased Aspen back across to where the other horses had come from. He spent a lot of time and traveled a pretty good distance to try to shake Aspen, but when he finally returned to his band (out of sight for most of the chase), Aspen followed right behind.

Seven’s band (Shane, Mona, Killian and Roja) shortly after they had come into view and he had gotten back to them (they’re looking at him).

So after waiting for that golden light with bands all around … the ponies were scattered like the wind and out of reach. 🙂 Wouldn’t ya know.

Killian and family

28 09 2011

Killian, son of Seven and Roja, baby brother of Ze, who was adopted locally to an incredible home.

I had one of the best visits ever with his band yesterday. That’s Shane’s hip at right – and they’re pretty much attached at the hip. Cutest thing ever to see Killian walk hesitantly up with Shane to introduce themselves to Juniper. Little guy using big “sister” to bolster his curiosity. Juni wasn’t quite ready to play, though she gave them both a sniff, and then Piedra urged them back to their own mamas.

Wait, did I just mention horses from three different bands? 🙂

Piedra and Hollywood are reunited, and Juni and mama and daddy, Kestrel and Comanche, are reunited, and the two bands are as close as they were pre-roundup. They were grazing in a little “meadow” very near where Seven’s were napping under some trees when I spotted them. Seven ran Aspen like a crazy horse the evening before, but Aspen was napping right with them.

Mona and Roja. Mona doesn’t look terribly close, does she?

All three bands, from left: Mona, Roja, Shane and Killian, Seven, Hollywood, Piedra (Comanche behind her), Juniper and Kestrel, and Aspen at far right.