Squeezed

9 08 2011

I’m so easily distracted … I was looking at other photos when I came across this one:

Young master Varoujan tried to squeeze between big brother Gideon and mama Luna. I’m pretty sure it was Gideon who kept the squeeze on that never did let Varo inch his way totally between them.

In the background at right is Steeldust, Gideon’s sire and Varo’s grandsire (Butch, Varo’s sire, is Steeldust’s son). I swear, the old man sports new scars every time I see him. Mouse – seen through legs in the back at left – was dominant again.

This was toward the end of the day as a big storm cloud was threatening the sun. Earlier in the day, the band was arranged in almost a crescent around Varo, who was laid flat out taking a nap. I walked around them, and once in a while, someone would turn his or her head to look at me, but Varo was out cold – eyes shut tight and little lips slack. There’s a definite heirarchy, and little Varo is king – well, most of the time. 😉





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?





Boy band

13 07 2011

Is there anything as fun as watching bachelors? 🙂

Most of our older bachelors have found families, and we have a new generation of bachelors. They’ve been together, they’ve paired up, they’ve split, they’ve found older boys, they’ve found boys slightly less old. During last week’s visit, all the young boys were with Aspen and Sundance (who have their own history), and they were all hanging out close to Luna’s band, which has Lt. Steeldust (formerly the band stallion) and satellite Mouse (and those two have gone back and forth in recent weeks). This visit, Mouse was entertaining the boys while Steeldust and Butch stayed close to the girls (Luna and Alpha).

Bachelor boy butts. 🙂 Might as well start with a chuckle, eh? In back is Milagro, then left to right: Sundance, Cuatro, Ze, Sage and Aspen.

Luna’s band: Steeldust at back left, Butch, Gideon barely visible, Alpha, Luna and napping Varoujan. He kept lying down … and the girls would graze away, and he’d get up and follow … and lie back down … and they’d graze away …

The little with mama Luna and “auntie” Alpha.

Sage, Cuatro and Mouse

Butch finally decided to leave the girls (and Steeldust) and come check out the competition, all of whom were politely respectful. That’s Sage he’s stretching toward, Ze to Sage’s left, Mouse in back and Aspen at right. Who spots napping Varoujan?

Varo napping while Cuatro grazes.

Ze walking past napping Varo. He was followed by Aspen – most of the boys are to the left, and Varo’s band is to the right. None of the stallions made so much as a threatening flick of the ear toward the little boy.

Sundance mostly ignored the goings-on. Milagro tended to stick back with him. He’s quite a bit smaller than the other colts, as you can see in the first pic of their butts toward me. He, Sage, Ze and Cuatro are all 2 years old. Sundance is probably about 6; Aspen and Mouse are probably about 6-8ish.

Mouse, right, and Cuatro.

Mouse, front, and Sage.

Ze – that’s Cuatro, grazing, at right.

Ze and Cuatro again – comfortable with each other. They’ve been together and apart … the pal-pairs are Sage and Ze and Cuatro and Milagro.

Just makes me smile. 🙂 From left: Cuatro, Aspen, Sage and Mouse.

And wider, to show some of the beautiful background – looking eastish.

Varoujan napping, framed by grazing daddy Butch.

Can you even stand how cute he is?! Just a tired little boy who’s been playing in the mud and is now all tuckered out. 🙂

Taking steps to convince mama it’s lunch time. How DO little boys get so covered in mud?! 🙂

I caught up on some pix of ponies today – more coming.





Stallion action

21 06 2011

My friend Karen Keene Day came out to visit the horses with me last week, her first trip back to the basin since she and her husband are back in Colorado for the summer. We got to witness some changing of the guard between former dominant band stallion Steeldust and bachelor Mouse.

Steeldust was formerly in charge of the biggest band in the basin – the biggest after the roundup, with only Alpha having been rounded up (and released). (As an aside, for people who are worried about the effects of PZP and PZP-22 on mares, Alpha has been with the same band since her release, bred by just two stallions – Steeldust and Butch – and oddly enough, not only did PZP-22 apparently work really well on Alpha, she still has not foaled. (It didn’t work on the other three mares, ranging from no effect at all to a delay in foaling of two months.) The point is, she has been coming into heat since she last foaled in July 2008, and not only has she not been “raped,” the bachelors once with the band have all dispersed but one and found their own families, and the band has naturally broken up as youngsters grew up and dispersed. And, as it happens, she’s in fantastic condition – and so is her almost-3-year-old son, Storm, who has had his own band since this spring (as a 2.5-year-old).)

Mouse, the bachelor still with the band, managed to get between Steeldust and the band a few weeks ago, but Steeldust quickly re-established his dominance over Mouse, if not son Butch. Last week, Mouse had managed to turn the tables again.

Mouse, right, chases Steeldust. This photo is quite a bit cropped; the band is almost directly behind me.

Circle of life … It was hard to see Steeldust, still in his prime, so frantic to get back to “his” band, even knowing it’s nature’s way. Imagine all the stories those scars tell. When we left, though, the stallions were grazing calmly together, with Alpha and Luna and Gideon and Varoujan nearby.

The future … Varoujan

And a guy in his own prime – Kreacher

Life goes on …





Light and beauty, beauty and light

22 05 2011

Truly, sometimes I have no words. In the basin, with them, I just hang on tight to the moment, the moments, the glorious beauty all around me, us, them. They carry it with them … the world accentuates all that they are.

What’s the saying?

When God created the horse, he said to the magnificent creature: I have made thee as no other. All the treasures of the earth shall lie between thy eyes. Thou shalt cast thy enemies between thy hooves, but thou shalt carry my friends upon thy back. Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me. And thou fly without any wings, and conquer without any sword. ~ The Koran

How could it be said any better?

These images were all taken from about half an hour before sunset to a little past the same day as the pictures in the “Till Dawn” post.

It’s plentiful, it’s prickly, it has slender, rubbery “leaves,” and the horses seem to think of it as candy. I’ve seen them surrounded by grass – actual grass – and still nibbling (as Gideon here) on greasewood.

Grey/Traveler and his daughter Terra

Mama Houdini, baby Deniz and yearling Gemma were out of sight in a little draw down and behind Grey and Terra.

King, emperor, knight in shining silver of Spring Creek Basin.

Alpha, queen, empress, once his favorite …

Mouse

Varoujan and daddy Butch

And good night …





Till dawn

19 05 2011

Pre-dawn is a truly lovely time of day. These photos were taken from about half an hour before dawn to just after, when the light was just kissing the trees in our corner of heaven.

Cinch

Liberty gives Cinch an early morning nuzzle.

Pretty Gaia with Liberty

Luna’s band at one of the ponds. From left: Steeldust, Gideon, Alpha, Varoujan, Luna, Butch and Mouse.

Mama Luna and her boys. She’s actually drinking out of a puddle there. I’m not sure why she drank there rather than from the main part of the pond.

Love all their faces. Butch is looking at Comanche’s band, who are at the other side of the pond.

Mama Kestrel (Luna’s daughter), Juniper and Winona (Luna’s granddaughters!) get a drink at the pond.

Winona and Comanche

Comanche, watching Luna’s band.

Sweet Varoujan gives mama a nuzzle.

Off to graze.

Juniper and Kestrel

Good morning, beautiful girls!

Daddy, Juni and mama -dawn. You can’t miss that piece sticking out from his nostril … I’m not sure what he did there, but it does seem to be a piece of skin that he ripped somehow. Doesn’t seem to bother him for grazing or drinking. He’s looking at Grey/Traveler’s band.

Peaceful, beautiful, all right with the world. Out here … it’s easy to believe in everything that should be right with the world …

What more to say? 🙂





All up

30 03 2011

Also going back a couple of weeks to photos I didn’t have time to tweak and post. A visit to Luna’s was my last of this particular day.

They were napping out past the double ponds. One got dug out two years ago; the other wasn’t because of some sort of problem. The non-dugout one has been dry for a while already this year. I saw tadpoles there earlier this spring (later this winter?), and the one that got dug out is probably dry now (it was down to a puddle last week) – though it did have a shallow bit of water there when the horses were there.

When I walked out, Mouse was off a bit, napping, and the others were almost all in a row. Luna was grazing (baby is getting bigger all the time), but the others were watching me walk up – I had to go out of their view past the lower pond, into and through the arroyo and up the hill – and I climbed up to five amazing pairs of ears – all but Luna’s at first – greeting me!

You may notice I just changed the “banner” pic at the top of the blog. Aren’t they the cutest? I love Alpha and the boys. It may be because of Storm, but Gideon seems to really have become attached to Alpha. I love their big-to-little arrangement … though Storm’s as big as Alpha! Notice Steeldust. Guess where Mouse is.

I dropped to the ground as soon as I came up the hill to this amazing view – just had to take it all in! Mouse here is framed through the branches of the tree on my left. And between him and the band is … you guessed it. Steeldust.

Well, here, I have five ears of four horses … but only two eyes! The wind was blowing really hard from the south. They were somewhat protected here in this little valley – there’s a tall ridge/hill above the arroyo to the right – but it was still blasting. I love to see them so wonderfully relaxed.

Now different eyes, and Gideon’s letting me know what he thinks about the whole thing.

Before I knew it:

I really love it when they’re this relaxed.

Awww … but you know what’s coming …

That’s karma, kid! I couldn’t help laughing about the times he did exactly this to his younger “sisters” in the band.

Ugh – breath mint lately? he seems to ask.

And over he goes. 🙂 Isn’t he adorable? Soooooo sweet and innocent??? Alpha knows what’s coming, though …

… and she’s outta there. Check out Luna’s expression. Gideon had to step back when Storm rolled up – and yes, his forehead is right against Gid’ th’ Kid’s chest.

And what goes around comes around – literally. When Alpha walked behind them, it prompted Butch to move Luna – and there’s Storm about to come to his feet. Poor guy – his nap was so short-lived.

He went over to stand by mama. Look how big he is.

Gideon went to his mama, but she is in the grouchy don’t-bother-me stage of pregnancy. She IS a mama, though – HIS mama – and he did find some comfort:

Just don’t interrupt the girl’s nap. 🙂

And I left ’em to it and tiptoed away through the wind.