RIP Roach

1 06 2012

I’ve been worried about Roach for weeks. He’s usually with Poco, and they usually split briefly in the spring, then reunite.

It’s never unusual to go weeks without seeing these boys, but something was different this time. I saw Poco several times … but not Roach.

Earlier this spring, I had had a couple of possible sightings of Roach, but I hadn’t seen him for certain since the top photo was taken – April 23. I haven’t seen Poco now since early May. As much as he grieved for Bones …

Yesterday, I found Roach, at the bottom of a steep, narrow arroyo. The best I can hope is that it was quick.

The first time I saw Roach was in about 2004, with Poco, a dark bay mare I later documented as Ceal and her then-yearling colt. Roach was young, full of fire, with a roached mane and forelock and a skimpy, almost-nothing tail.

That was in the double ponds area, and since then, I saw him with Poco, almost always in that area, except these recent springs, when they’d split to go wandering. As far as I know, Roach never had a band/mare of his own, though he stayed with Poco when he had Bones and, later, Iya and Cougar.

I think he was 11-12 years old.

Oh, Roach. Spring Creek Basin has been and will be less without your presence.

Signs of spring

4 04 2012

These signs of spring bring me joy: grass greening, robins, phlox blooming, water flowing, Poco and Roach sightings.

I’ve seen them previously, but this was my first photo opportunity with these boys this spring. Such handsome misters.

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.

Poco & Roach

20 11 2011

Promise. 🙂

I first thought Roach was one of the big orange boulders scattered about … he was lying down. Minute changes convinced me it was him, and then Poco finally came into view on the ridge above him. He napped for quite a while, and I enjoyed the view as the sunshine shook the chill from the morning air.

See the shadowed hill face at lower center, and the two trees at the base of that hill but lit by sunlight in contrast to the shade? Roach is just below those trees, and Poco is the dark speck straight to the left. I’m sitting on the north side of Flat Top, and those are the eastern hills above which is the basin’s eastern boundary.

The Found Boys

3 11 2011

Yeah, I cried. For joy. For coming around a curve, and there was Poco … and as I inched a bit on, Roach … for finding them just as I knew I would … again …

Roach and Poco



Yes, those white bits in the backgrounds of the above photos are patches of snow!

Discussing a newly christened stud pile.

And where were the wayward wanderers?

Home, sweet home.

Where else? 🙂


4 06 2011

Got to spend some time with these cute critters last week, the first time since Cougar was even littler! His baby coat is shedding, and he’s like a little teddy bear right now – or a maybe a cuddly cute mountain kitty!

He seemed to head for a snack every few minutes. Big growing boy!

Sweet ponies

Poco is in charge.

Roach still is part of the family.

Nap time with Poco.

Mama and baby

The little guy found this dead pinon just about perfect as a scratching post, and he spent quite a bit of time there trying to get just the right spot!

The basin is too low and too dry for lupine, but for a brief time in the spring, we have these yellow flowers called prince’s plume. Perfect for a little prince!

Baby knows where to find shade!

Iya and Cougar. 🙂

Lovely visit with one cute “cat” and his family!

A family for …

6 05 2011

One of the first groups of horses I saw this week was the new – and growing – boy band, led somewhat intermittently by Duke. He seems to let them go when they wander outside what I’ve come to think of as his territory … but he blew that theory out of the water this week by leaving the boys “home” and wandering (alone) halfway across the basin. When I first saw them, Duke and Twister were standing together and three boys were playing together.

Wait, three? Was Storm back with Cuatro and Ze? No, wrong coloring (and he’s still with Baylee and Tenaz). But from the distance, I couldn’t tell.

When I got to a better vantage point, I found Duke above Spring Creek (which is NOT a flowing creek in the usual sense of the word – it never flows continuously – it has some water seeping up in places), looking down into it, and I thought the boys had found water. I waited, Duke walked along the top, crossed, came up the other side … climbed a hill – alone. Change happens just that fast! With no two-legged the wiser. I have no idea where they went, whether they outran Duke … or whether he let them.

The next day, I spotted four boys waaaaaaay over on the western edge of the basin, and I started to have an idea about that fourth mystery horse. I found Duke later, alone, far from “home.”

The current make-up of the boy band is a 4-year-old and three 2-year-olds (one will be 2 in about a week).

And this is the new familia:

Though Iya looks like Bones in color and her big blaze exclusively, it tugs at my heart to see her with Poco and Roach – in *their* home territory. By a friend’s weekend photos, this happened sometime after Sunday morning. You know who that fourth horse is now, with the boys? I never got close enough to their end of the basin before they left to take pix, but Sage has joined the boy band. (Insert guitar riff here. 🙂 )

I’ve decided to name the colt Cougar after our encounter last week with a mountain lion just southeast of the basin. I hope it will serve him as a talisman of protection, rather than a jinx. It’s a bit of a tough-guy name for a baby, but it’s a great name for the stallion  I hope he grows up to be …

Roach’s solo adventure of a week or so ago left him with a collection of healing scabs on his neck. And speaking of Roach … an odd happening with another stallion has me wondering whether Roach’s roach all those years ago may have been natural after all. I have no explanation for either. To come.

Rounding out the split

2 05 2011

Bringing more details to the “As Spring Creek Basin Turns” opera, let’s recap the biggest “story line” lately.

Hollywood’s band once included Piedra, Baylee, Iya, her new colt, Sage and Tenaz. Then Comanche snapped up all but Piedra and her even newer filly, leaving them with down but not out Hollywood.

Then Comanche lost them – or let them go? – and he was back to normal with Kestrel and Winona.

But Baylee, Iya, the colt, Sage and Tenaz didn’t stay together – and why did they split and/or who stole whom?

Baylee (possibly Piedra’s sister … ever-so possibly … possibly not) and Tenaz (Piedra’s and Hollywood’s yearling son) are now with Storm.

This all happened within the last two weeks.

This, unfortunately, is the “best” image I have of Storm, Tenaz and Baylee all together. Baylee seems comfortable with Storm – as long as he keeps his distance. But the angle does show that, even with her being 4 years old now, I am not expecting a foal from this girl this year! Storm will be 3 in late July – his first band! I’m so proud (we’ll see how long he keeps them)! (Though Storm’s ears look a little back here, he’s just sniffing the youngster, who very soon after this wandered off with Baylee to graze together, while Storm stood and watched after them for a few moments, then wandered off in his own direction.)

Iya and her colt – Hollywood’s baby son – are now with Sage – Hollywood’s 2-year-old son – and those three are with … drum roll please ………..

Sage, colt and Iya at left … who’s that bay guy?

A better look … Does something tug at you, seeing that solid bay with a big-blaze grey?

And there’s the giveaway – Roach, Poco, Iya, baby and Sage.

Wow, huh? Roach in his customary lieutenant-stallion spot … Poco guarding the mare and foal … and Sage. He baby-clacked to Poco earlier, but given his repeated attempts to breed Iya the week before – and still with her and the baby – how easily will he give up his “role” in this little family? And how long will this association last? I like seeing Poco and Roach with company (and I like seeing Roach back with his buddy, Poco).

Sweet mama with her firstborn. I do have a name in mind for him … just holding it for a little bit longer …

To come: Pix of Hollywood, Piedra and Bri.

Copper rush

24 04 2011

After heading back to the Jeep from a first-thing-in-the-morning visit with a newly formed/added-to band, I spotted Roach and looked for Poco. I didn’t see him right away, but that’s not unusual. But then Roach spotted me and came trotting up … no Poco in tow. So, after just talking about these boys and how they’ve been together for so long, they’re separated – at least for now. But they went in separate directions – was that last year? – and rejoined later. ‘Tis spring, and while Roach seems to have the urge to explore, I bet Poco has stayed very close to Bones Valley.

After Roach apparently realized I wasn’t his four-legged dream mare (and all alone to boot!), he changed course and went long-trotting to the west, across the hill. I watched him go, somewhat sadly at his obvious urgency, then continued on. When I looked for him again, he had gone up the hill and, while I watched, galloped back across the top to the east! The other band had dropped down into the arroyo-carved valley just below where he ended up, but I didn’t know whether he could see them or smell them … Even after I had returned to the Jeep and was driving on, he was standing at the top of the hill.

Did I mention the sun finally cleared the clouds just as I was leaving the band …?

Isn’t he spectacular? I love to see him calm, but boy can he fly!

‘Lost’ boys

16 04 2011

They were never lost, of course – they knew exactly where they were – it just wasn’t where I was looking for them the last month. They have a certain home territory, but I couldn’t imagine they’d still be there after the pond dried up (dug out the year before last), so I was looking wide – from there outward. Naturally, I found them right there, within sight of the pond (if you know where to look), within a stone’s throw of the road. Doesn’t it always happen like that. 🙂

Roach, illuminated by the morning sunlight, looking across the wide arroyo and up the hill – likely at a deer, though I never saw it. I passed two deer on the other side of the hill on my way to where the boys were.

Roach and Poco

Feeling feisty.

These boys have been together at least seven years (the first time I saw them together  – the first time I saw them – was seven years ago). At that time, they were with Ceal (named much later) and her sorrel colt that inspired this gorgeous painting (on the horizontal scroll bar, the sixth – “Moments with Wild Horses XXIV”) by my friend Karen Keene Day. After the roundup, I found them and grey Bones – who WAS skin and bones, likely recovering from whatever incident broke her pelvis (none of the three were caught). She and her baby died in April 2009. Is it weird to say Poco (at least) still mourns her? His expression … I think he still does.

Making up. Poco is dominant (likely older – maybe much older), but Roach is “braver” in his role as lieutenant.



Typical pose – Roach always in front, sentry, protector.

Home below hills and under sky

“Found” boys – with gratitude. 🙂