13 04 2011

Well, folks, bad news about Spring. I finally found Poco and Roach today – right off the road (of course!) – and she’s not with them. Unless she’s wandering around by herself – not likely, especially after all this time – the poor girl has ascended to a “higher pasture.” I only hope her passing was as quick and painless as possible.

The other big news is that Twister and Cuatro have “lost” Duke – who is back to his lone ways and sticking closer to “home” – but they’ve gained two new compadres: Storm and Ze! Twister is 4 this spring (the lone colt left of 2007); Storm will be 3 in July; Cuatro will be 2 in May; Ze just turned 2. Oh, what havoc will they wreak?! Ha – look out!

I saw David, Shadow (who was due Monday) and Wind – but just behind a hill and for about 30 seconds before they went totally out of sight. I hiked in from the Disappointment Road later than I had intended and then couldn’t find them, so although I *saw* them, I didn’t get a good enough look to see whether a little one is shadowing Shadow’s hooves.

Just checked the weather, and western Colorado is a swath of green (rain). Not much sleep last night but SO worth it! I left work at 10 till midnight, drove to the basin, arrived at about 2:20 a.m., breathed deep the glorious air, reveled in the stars so almost within reach, slept about three hours to be up before sunrise over the east ridges and Knife Edge – which caught me with the REAL reason that made the trip so worth while … coming up.


11 04 2011

Wow. Things have been so busy here – and the status of one little girl so unknown – that three birthdays have passed with no mention. I’m going to do them all – and the fourth – today – in this post and then try to do a better job for the youngsters whose birthdays are coming.

Spring – April 2

This is the last good photo I have of Spring – from November. The last time I saw her was Feb. 3 with Bruiser (very far pix against snow). Before that, I saw her Jan. 5 with her family (Seven’s band). She’s either with Poco and Roach (I haven’t been able to find them since March 3, though I’ve been looking very hard, for this very reason) … or she’s not with us anymore. She’s a yearling if she’s still with us.

Ze – April 6

Ze, right, is now 2 years old. You can see by his face that he’ll turn grey like daddy Seven. His sorrel mama, Roja, is behind them, and “little sister” Shane is at left (she’s Mona and Kreacher’s little girl; now they’re with Seven’s band).

Hannah – April 8

Hannah-girl, center, is also 2 now. Her mama is queen-mama Luna – so prominent that she not only has alpha-mare status, she commands her own band. Pinon, left, (3 next month) and Sable (2 next month) are likely her half-siblings – courtesy daddy Steeldust, who now claims Alpha while Butch claims Luna. Hannah and these two – and Ember and her boy, Fierro – are in Hook’s band, since last spring. Hannah was named after a very generous young lady named Hannah, who, for the last two years, has sent $100 of her babysitting money to the Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association.

I believe the silly girl is pregnant.

Always the comedienne. 🙂

Wind – April 11

This is the most recent photo I have of Wind, right, with daddy David (mama Shadow is lower to the left), taken March 17. I saw them all on March 31 – too far for pix. This is one of the most elusive bands and most wary of people, and I don’t bother them too much, even when I do see them – so I don’t have as many photos of Wind as of the other babies (though the same can be said of both Spring and Ze). He’s a year old today!

In September

Sharing a quiet moment with mama back in June. Look how dark he’s become – now very dark like Liberty and Spring.

Happy birthdays, all you beautiful babies!

Spring, spotted

3 02 2011

Across the basin or across another coupla-few months? Well, it was feeling like March here lately, until the storm that blasted most of the country and left us with just a skiff of new snow and much colder temps.

This was as close as I got to them, and “this” was not close to where I left the Jeep.

When I entered the basin this morning on frozen ground, it was a balmy 8 degrees. When I decided the thawing mud I was avoiding wasn’t going to be limited to where I was walking, I drove out on “soft” ground … The Jeep’s outside temperature gauge read a downright tropical 26 degrees.

So it’s really hard to see in the pic, but Spring’s with Bruiser! He’s been alone for a while, and I hadn’t seen him for a while, so I suppose it’s only fitting that I find them together (only fitting in human terms).

Very nearby:

Fairly far east of where they were last week – Seven’s band. From left: Seven, Roja, Ze, Shane and Mona (in a fairly straight line across the bottom of the photo).

I also some some other elusive creatures I was happy to spot (though I’ve seen them since I last saw Bruiser): Duke, Twister and Cuatro. Still together and fairly close to Kreacher’s band.

And I got to this spot because I had seen two dark horses beyond a hill and through some trees … but it wasn’t who I thought it might be (though I later saw those horses, too). 😉

I thought it would be a longer trip, but as fast as it warmed up, I really did not want to get stuck in the mud! I did see a number of bands from the interior and had a nice hike and quiet visit with the horses I did walk out to. We have more chance for snow this weekend. I almost hate to wish for it when so much of the country has been slammed (including my brother in the Chicago area and uncle/aunt/cousins in Ohio), but we could sure use some more snow!

Sun(light) & moon(rise)

20 11 2010

Watchful Roja


Swelling moon, up around 3:30 p.m., I think

Handsome Seven, chatting with Hook (you can barely see his tail through the tree at lower right)

Sweet Shane, nearly gave me a heart attack when I didn’t see her at first, from a distance

Did I mention Hook’s band was very nearby? Just a bit of snow left from the last storm … and we’re expecting more this weekend …

Mona and Shane and purple mountain majesty

They had stopped so Shane could have a snack; meanwhile, I took in the scenery!

Lessons from the herd

12 10 2010

Two fathers met in a wide valley and thought to meet with a swagger, each self-assured of his own dominance, while their families occupied themselves nearby – apart.

But then a wee daughter was curious and walked out toward the fray.

The fathers knew to protect the babe above all else – whether she was theirs or another’s.

Swagger dropped. Family men were calmed.

And all because of an innocent babe.

I have to admit I was nervous when I saw Winona walking directly toward Seven (seen at back left) and Comanche (center), who were together in the sniffing-striking posture. But I could see exactly when THEY became aware of her walking to them, and they broke apart, and that’s what you see here. Kestrel is grazing at left, in front of Seven. Cuatro (darker) and Twister are grazing at right. ‘Nona is with her adored stepdaddy, Comanche, center. Seven hung around just a little bit as if to say, well, I’m not afraid of you, and don’t take this as me backing down, but there are children present after all … then returned to his band.

Meanwhile, Bruiser in the foreground, and Spring, Shane, Mona and Ze in the background. The other horses are out farther and to the right.

Baby girl and ‘daddy, heading back to mama. She adores him, as I mentioned … and it’s clear the feeling is mutual. He’s simply a daddy wrapped around four tiny black hooves.

Back with mama, and all is well.

Meanwhile, look who came to visit:

Twister. 🙂 Isn’t he a handsome boy!

How do they know when to posture and when to nurture?

Elder … Not challenging, just watching Seven’s in the distance. This is what I was aiming at when Comanche then walked past, resulting in the photo a couple of posts earlier.

Followed by Winona and Kestrel.

Seven watching in return …

How astonishing are they?!

It seems to me you could illustrate a whole book on how humans *ought* to interact with each other and treat each other with photos – lessons – “from the herd” … Much like Cowboy Ethics, a collaboration by photographer David Stoecklein and writer James Owen.

Defend your family.

Children above all else.

Know when to walk away.

Be curious.

Know the land beneath your feet.

Learn from and respect your elders.

Live in the moment.


What else?

Wordless (almost)

9 10 2010

Mona and Shane

Raven, Corona and Kootenai

Seven’s band

Ze, Shane and Mona

Worth going in the fall?

Hollywood’s … and more

27 09 2010

Back in the “meadow” of the east pocket, I was concentrating on Mona and her new baby – with Seven’s! – but after a very short while, we all became aware of other visitors when Hollywood’s band burst out of the trees and over a ridge, heading straight for us. They stopped momentarily – surprised, I think – when they saw Seven’s (and they must know the makeup of families as well (better!) as I do, so I wonder what they made of the new additions) – then me – then they started off again – straight toward me!

You know that strange phenomenon … you’ve found the perfect campsite in a not-too-crowded campground, away from the other people – and a late arrival sets up right next to you. Or you’re alone on a bus, and the next fare chooses a seat – out of all the empty seats! – right next to yours. Hollywood and his family could have gone in any direction – away from Seven’s – and away from me, too, and yet here they came. That’s not the first time it’s happened, and I imagine (hope?!) it won’t be the last. Fear – the prey species drive – fuels these beautiful animals, has kept them alive – and thriving! – for centuries, and yet, they have this amazing curiosity that also directs them, allows them to know how close they can get to satisfy that curiosity … how far they must stay to appease that fear.

Here they come – Hollywood in the lead followed by alpha mare Piedra and baby Tenaz.

So graceful … I just love Piedra.

Coming to that edge … Piedra and Tenaz, Hollywood now waiting for everyone to catch up, Baylee at left.

Now some watch Seven’s – Sage, right, and Baylee – and some watch me! Iya at left. Holls has gone out a little to man the line between his family and Seven’s, who didn’t move a step away from his new girl.

Wider view to include Holls – and that amazing backdrop of what I call the east pocket! Those hills and ridges make up part of the natural eastern boundary of Spring Creek Basin.

Baylee, 3, and Iya, 2, are best of friends. They tend to stick fairly close to each other.

Mama Piedra, daddy Hollywood and their sons, Tenaz and Sage.

Piedra and her boys

Now she’s made her decision – nothing to fear, and she’s satisfied her curiosity – and is getting down to the important business of grazing.

Handsome Tenaz

Hollywood. So far, none of our duns have thrown their color. Only Luna – in the time I’ve been documenting the mustangs – has thrown her color, in 3-year-old Kestrel – and she reproduced it in her very first foal, Winona. Both foals this year with dun parents are bay.

Hollywood with his boys, Tenaz and Sage

Full-brothers Tenaz, 5 months, and Sage, yearling

Now for the *more* …

Look who decided to join the party. 🙂 Roja, masking her curiosity by nibbling on a saltbush.

And who is this darling girl we rarely get to see? That’s Spring, looking like a mini version of (I’m pretty sure) grandma Molly.

Spring has left mama to come see the baby … here she is with daddy Seven, lost in the bliss of saltbush nibbling.

Daddy with two of his babies (he also had a bay filly that was rounded up in 2007. She was named Hershey for her darker splotch; I believe she was adopted).

Handsome Seven – with son Ze – looking for Roja. Isn’t he incredible? Great genes!

Mama Mona and baby Shane showing off their similar face markings.

She is a doting mama …

… and fierce as a grizzly when provoked! And that curious-Ze just didn’t seem to get the message! This was a “bluff charge”; she never left Shane’s side. But I was happy to see this side of lovely, gentle, sweet, laidback Mona!

I do love the mamas and babies – are they beautiful or what?!