In the jungle

23 08 2010

Guess where I am. 🙂

OK, where I was. It was a too-short visit, and I know you don’t usually (ever) associate mustangs with the deepest, densest jungles. And yet, today, there I was.

The mister

The mister’s mother

The mister’s son

The mister’s other son (he liked to play peek-a-boo)

The mister’s (other) mare


And playful, too!

Where on Earth am I?


These sweet babies also call this range home.

Too-too short, the visit; well worth the visit. Many thanks to my wonderful friend who shared the visit. 🙂

Update note: My wonderful friend is, of course, Matt Dillon, director of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center in Lovell, Wyo. He keeps the Pryor Wild blog – was my inspiration in starting this blog – and knows the Pryor Mountain horses better than anyone (just ask him about kinship!). We also saw Blizzard’s band (one of my favorites, and I had a wonderful visit with them last fall) from a great distance (if you take a trip with Matt, you’ll be amazed at his eagle eyes!), as well as the bighorn sheep family (two ewes, mothers of the babes in the photo above, and a yearling). I wish I’d had longer to visit!

Pryor Mountain – Part 3 (Updated)

26 11 2009

I apologize in advance for the backwards-first nature of this particular post, but for goodness sake, my visit was two months ago! So I’m trying to get the rest of the photos from that day (Sept. 26, after the adoption) posted … but the order is going to be a little funky (time, time … give me more time …).

To recap a little, I drove up the Crooked Creek Road and first encountered horses near Krueger (?) Pond. After a wonderful visit with a few bands there (Bolder’s, Lakota’s, Doc’s and Jackson’s), I drove on and took the fork toward Penn’s cabin. There were a lot of horses in that area, down in a sort of draw and then by a little pond. I walked out and sat on a rock outcropping above the pond for most of this visit and took pictures of the horses as they grazed around me and came to water. From “yonder” at what seemed like the edge of the mountain, horses kept appearing and walking toward the pond. I was so focused on the horses while I was there that I never actually saw the cabin. Someone – Pam, maybe – said she was surprised I didn’t see the cabin. As it turned out, I *was* in view of it – it showed up in at least one of my pictures! I swear, I never saw the cabin for the horses! 🙂

I took so many pictures during my time on Pryor Mountain that I used two memory cards (all of one 8 gb and most of another 8, and maybe that helps explain my delay in processing and posting pix??). The following pictures are from the second card, so the end of my time there. Again, sorry for the order. Also, there were SO many horses up there, and they were so close to each other that I wasn’t entirely sure which horses were with which band – and I didn’t have Matt’s list at that point, so I was looking just at the horses and their behavior/interaction with each other. Our Spring Creek Basin horses don’t gather in such proximity – and definitely not as calmly as these horses! Another noticeable difference: In the basin, I go to the horses; on Pryor Mountain, I went to their general area, and they came to me. I walked out from the road to sit on the outcropping with some horses grazing out in the open toward the cabin (where I now know the cabin is) from the pond and more walking from quite a distance beyond that to the pond, and I ended up literally surrounded by horses. Talk about magic. I was in heaven.

As always, Matt and Pam and others knowledgeable about the Pryor horses, please correct me if needed. Even with Matt’s list of colors and descriptions, it wasn’t easy to figure out these horses because it was hard to figure out the “delineation” of bands!

I’ll start with Baja’s band, walking to water.

Baja, to me, seems to be one of the stallions that epitomize the Pryor mustangs with his dun color and “Spanish warhorse” build. Followed by Washakie, Bacardi and Bacardi’s lovely filly. Band members Graciana and her colt were bringing up the rear out of this image. The filly was feeling her oats on this beautiful evening; she would gallop up to near the head of the line then stop – for a scratch – then burst into a gallop again when the band seemed to “leave her behind.”

Here she is catching up to Baja and grandma (?) Washakie. Matt’s list indicates that Washakie is Bacardi’s dam, and Bacardi is Graciana’s dam.

Graciana’s colt was following the band ahead of his dam, but they were a fair distance behind. He kept stopping and looking back at his dam, but then he seemed to decide that he was tired of waiting for mama and missing the fun his sister (and aunt?) was having, so he hustled on after the band … and then Graciana broke into a trot also. 🙂 It was fun watching them.

Now here are two horses I’m not entirely sure I have right (it was hard to see some of their lower leg markings because of the grass): Felina (right) and her filly? In Morning Star’s band? They were toward the road when I first got there and walked out to the outcropping, then they walked down to water past/below me, then back up to where they had been before.

I really liked this mare’s striking color (Felina again, if I have her correctly identified), sort of darkish buck-dunny! And loved her shoulder and neck stripes, which you can see in the previous picture and which her filly seems to have inherited. The dun beside her must (might?) be Hataalii? If so, she’s a 2-year-old filly out of Sapo, the grulla dam of the buckskin filly in Bolder’s band (pix in part 2).

Prince. Matt wrote about this guy on his blog awhile back, noting that lip injury. It looks pretty ragged but doesn’t seem to bother him much; he’s very stout, hale and hearty and has a mare, red roan Ireland. He’s 16.

Cloud, one of the horses I could recognize without Matt’s list (really, is there anyone who couldn’t recognize this handsome stallion?), and his band came from “yonder” way out shortly after I sat down. At about the same time, Baja’s band was coming from a slightly different location “yonder.” Baja’s band went directly down the trail to water, but Cloud’s broke off the trail and came up down (sorry, I’m finding it hard to describe the directions!) where the outcropping followed the line of the hill below me.

He was completely uninterested in me, and in almost all the pictures I took of him, he’s grazing. I finally got this shot – one of my favorites – when he saw (I think) Baja’s band coming up from water. He took an interest in them and took a few steps toward them before just going back to grazing! Supremely confident, this lad. 🙂 (This was cropped into a vertical image from a horizontal picture.)

Quite a significant crop of the original pic … I loved the light on his shining forelock.

And then there was the dainty little nearly newborn baby girl … Halcyon’s filly. Truly, one of the most adorable babies ever (said she who knows every baby born is the most adorable ever)!

Soooo tired … head sooo heavy … Did I lie??

She and her mother (Halcyon) and grandmother (Blue Sioux) and another mare (Adona) are in Coronado’s band, and I think this might be the little one that was born just before the roundup and left on the mountain because she was too little to come down? (Thank goodness!)

My favorite moment/picture from the entire day. Absolutely and positively. Halcyon is just 2 years old, like our Two Boots. There will be an interesting little surprise in the next batch of pictures – from just a short time before this picture was taken.

And now, a little series:

After her dinner, mama and grandma walked away grazing, leaving baby momentarily behind. So she burst into dance …

… She got to mama, but she galloped on past …

… When she got to grandma Blue Sioux, she slowed down but kept going …

… She finally stopped when she got to daddy (?) Coronado! Daddy’s little girl! He paused in his grazing to shake his head, then went right back to it, completely unperturbed and leading by example. 🙂 Loved this!

Here’s one of her from earlier, after she got up from her nap. She was scratching with a back leg (that’s what you see in the very lower right corner), but I found her curly little mane fascinating! What a doll!

By this point, I was at least half an hour past the time I had told myself I needed to leave to head back down the mountain. How I would have loved to have stayed there on that magic mountain that evening, all the way to night darkness.

This is one of the last pictures I took that evening. I don’t know the horses. They were yet another band coming up from “yonder” at the “edge” of the mountain. Check out the country beyond! That’s looking eastish, I think – maybe eastish-southeastish? – toward the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area/Bighorn Mountains? Matt will have to help me with the geography. It’s one of the unique attributes of Pryor Mountain, that when you’re on top, you’re really on top of the world, and there really are “edges” (OK, not *really*) below which the rest of the world seems so far removed … and you wish it really was sometimes. Pam has a phenomenal photo of a Pryor stallion rearing on the mountain with a rainbow over him and seemingly all of Wyoming spread out at the bottom of the mountain below. When I think of the Pryor Mountain horses, I think of the horses “at the top of the world.”

Hopefully, I’ll finish this post by just adding new pictures – from before these (again, sorry) – here (and it may take me another little while). Magic is without order, after all. 🙂

OK, these pictures conclude my Pryor Mountain visit – these were taken before the ones above (sorry, again!).

From my perch above the pond … Morning Star’s band? You can see the road continuing on in the background (I parked back up the hill behind this vantage).

I included this one to give a little glimpse at how close some of the bands were to each other. Front left: Ireland and Prince. Morning Star (I think) behind them, and I think those are his mares and foals at far right (but I’m not entirely sure that foal is Felina’s now?). In the middle is Custer and his mare grulla Winnemucca and (the list says black) colt Irial … who is Ireland’s colt. Goodness.

Ireland and Prince … Irial and Custer?

Something caught Winnemucca’s eye, and she walked up the hill behind me. Such a pretty, feminine mare.

It wasn’t long before Custer was hot on her trail! Look at that long trot!

Happily reunited.

The trees kind of ruin the “edge of the world” look, but there’s Cloud taking in the view of his world.

As his band was appearing, so was Baja’s, from farther right. It was a crazy kind of thing … horses kept coming up from that “edge”! It was like they were coming up from Neverland and just appearing at the top of the mountain.

And there it is – the cabin! (Far upper right.)

I think these are in Cloud’s band: grulla Aztec and filly Jasmine and … and black …? Bailey’s or Pococeno?

This was the water hole below my perch. Morning Star’s band, I think?

And remember the little surprise regarding Halcyon?

Here’s her baby nursing …

Then, after her baby had nursed, Halcyon went over to HER mother, Blue Sioux, and nursed! And I thought our boy Storm nursing was weird! He’s 16 months old! Matt’s list says Halcyon was born in 2007.

Really, a lovely day. 🙂

Pryor Mountain, Part 2

14 11 2009

In the spirit of catching up, here are some more photos from my visit to the top of east Pryor Mountain when I was in Wyoming and Montana back in September.

Shortly after I crossed onto the wild horse range from the national forest, I saw horses. It was Bolder’s band, coming from Krueger Pond.


Bolder and Amethyst (as always, please correct me if I’ve incorrectly ID’d horses?)


Bolder’s mares Celt (black) and Fool’s Gold


Also in Bolder’s band: Grulla mare Sapo and her filly


Pretty, pretty girl!

I could hear ATVs that I thought would eventually get to us on the road, but they never appeared. I found them when I walked down toward the pond; they were AT the edge of the pond while three bands stood on the hillside.


Doc’s band – he’s at right, Inocentes is in front, her dam, Fiasco, at left and Flicka (18!) behind her.


Jackson’s band – he’s the coyote dun at right, Firestorm at left, black Galena and her seal brown colt Jasper, and grulla Brumby and her filly behind Jackson. I think Brumby is the mare that tied up when she was driven in by helicopter during the roundup; she looked great this day.


Lakota’s band – he’s the grullo at left, bay mare Half Moon, 18-year-old Quelle Colour, palomino Blanca and roan Heritage.

Because of the people at the pond, I sat down on a boulder to wait for them to leave, thinking the horses were waiting for the same thing. The pond sits in a sort of natural amphitheater, and I’m sure the people didn’t realize I could hear them talking as if I was standing next to them. The people didn’t leave right away, but the horses did – they came right toward and past me! I figured sitting still and quietly was my best course of (in)action.


Jackson’s band starting to leave the pond.


Love his color.


What a handsome stallion!


Brumby and her filly


Jasper. Cute ‘n curious.


Quelle Colour, Heritage and Blanca


Half Moon


Handsome Lakota … he’s been one of my favorites since my first visit two years ago.


Jackson and Doc


Brumby’s filly and Jackson


Doc … What a splendid shiny boy! If memory serves (and it’s entirely possible it doesn’t), Doc was a bachelor with Two Boots a couple of years ago when I was there.



My impressions were that the horses looked wonderful and were quite sound, and if I didn’t know about the recent roundup, I wouldn’t have because they were remarkably calm. I wasn’t too surprised that they decided not to go to the pond with the people and ATVs and dogs there, but I was surprised they walked right by me on their way up the hill; there was plenty of room away from me to get to the top of the hill.

They are amazing horses, and I’ll have a part three to come of the horses I saw close to Penn’s Cabin, but it was so nice and almost completely peaceful (except for the pond people, I was the only one there, it seemed), and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the families.

Pryor Mountain

30 10 2009

My vacation to Yellowstone happened to coincide with adoption day at Britton Springs for the Pryor Mountain mustangs, so for the second time – and less happy circumstances – I visited this area and its unique Spanish horses.

Matt Dillon at the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center in Lovell, Wyo., has been an inspiration to me with his documentation work, leading me to first document the Spring Creek Basin horses after our August 2007 roundup in the hopes that we can do it with less stress to the horses next time. If you talk to Matt about the horses, you cannot help but be immediately impressed by his knowledge and passion for the Pryor Mountain mustangs.

I arrived at Britton Springs on Friday, Sept. 25, and was able to walk around the pens with Matt and trainer Ken McNabb, who grew up on a private inholding on the range (please correct me if I didn’t word that right?) and now lives nearby with his family. I also watched Ken’s first training demo that day with a big bay colt named Hipshot before going out to find some of the Dryhead horses (after Matt and a HSUS rep emptied my can of fix-a-flat into my tire, which had gone nearly flat from a screw! I got it fixed in Lovell and still had daylight left).

I drove through the Bighorn National Recreation Area as the sun sank closer and closer to the horizon, stopping in some of the places Matt had shown me two years ago, but I didn’t spot any horses on my first pass. I do recommend stopping at the Bighorn Canyon overlook – wow! I’m not used to seeing canyons like that outside Utah!I saw bighorn sheep two years ago but not this year.

I can’t remember the name now, but I turned around at a historic ranch (?) … and that’s when I spotted them – on a hillside right below the road where I couldn’t see them from above. I drove back up and parked on the side of the road and walked across to a hillside that gave me an open view of the horses where I wasn’t too close to them.


Matt later identified them for me: Dun stallion Cappuccino and his roan mare Guinevere – who were together before the roundup. They were released with the other two mares, blue roan Damsel and bay Galadriel. Pretty roan Guinevere is 19!


These two stayed very close together.


And these two stayed close together.


Classic Pryor mustang!

I saw just two more horses that evening, down by the lake, but I’m not sure which horses they were.


I didn’t see any other horses with these two, but the next morning, I saw two that looked like this, plus a foal and a young bay mare. Could these two have been Sam and Hightail?

The next morning, I went out early, hoping to find horses to photograph in early morning light before it was time for the adoption. I don’t like crowds of people, and I don’t like to see wild horses in pens. So getting out to find horses was equal parts joy and fortification.


My welcoming committee to the wild horse range were pheasants.


Then I found this little guy’s band right beside the road. He looks like Hannah, too (are you seeing a theme?). I saw him first and stopped to shoot from the Jeep …


… then I saw Admiral crossing the road behind me!

There was also a young bay mare, Halo of the Sun, and …


… the colt’s dam, Seneca.

Don’t you love that light? It’s really heavenly on dun horses.


Peek-a-boo! I think this is the colt Matt has said is Exhilaration’s little brother – they look so much alike!

I drove on to Mustang Flats and saw a few different bands that Matt later ID’d as Durango’s (apricot dun roan), Seattle’s (black), Cappuccino’s again and Blizzard’s (apricot dun). Most of them were a fair distance away, but I was able to walk out a short distance and visit with beautiful Blizzard.


Sacajawea and Hidatsa (I’m going off Matt’s description list, and I could be completely wrong, so help me if so?!)


This little guy, Jemez, is CUTE!


And very curious. The horses didn’t seem to mind me sitting with them for a while in the warming sunshine. I certainly loved it.


What a gorgeous boy! Blizzard


Jemez greets Hidatsa, a 2-year-old.

Jemez’s dam, Strawberry, napped behind a tree the whole time I was there.

Have you seen a common theme in these horses? They look fantastic.

Then I headed to Britton Springs for the adoption. Trucks and trailers lined the gravel road a considerable distance away from the facility. I saw a license plate from West Virginia, and Matt said some folks came from as far away as Florida. Maybe the fact that all the horses were adopted should have been perfectly well expected. I arrived in time to see the last part of Ken McNabb’s training demo that morning with a yearling colt named Isildur.


Ken McNabb talking to the crowd.


I liked him. He had a really nice, gentle way with the horses.


Isildur seemed to like him, too.


In the pen: 2-year-old Holster, yearling Itasca and 13-year-old Bo


Yearling filly Isleta – probably my own favorite – and 21-year-old Grumpy Grulla


Ghost Dancer and her grulla filly. Note the crowd gathered for the adoption in the background.


There was, indeed, quite a crowd gathered.

I stayed only through the first round of bidding, and you all know the rest of the story – that all 57 horses found homes.

By then I needed some wild magic (call it medicine), so I headed up the Crooked Creek Road to the top of Pryor Mountain. It’s a rough road, but according to what I’ve heard, it’s the easiest! 🙂 More pix will come in a Part 2.