Patience

8 03 2011

A scattering of pix in this post … mostly it struck me how intent Fierro was on the goings-on, despite his family – and Steeldust – keeping him safely out of the fray.

The little guy with auntie Hannah (mama Ember’s little sister).

With other auntie Sable (mama’s little half-sister).

With Uncle Pinon (mama’s half-brother). I’m not at all sure why Pinon didn’t join the games … I suspect it has a little to do with the little mister and possibly a little more to do with the girls. He’s very attached to Ember – year-mates. Probably the only reason Hook tolerates him in the family … and I wonder, too, how long that will last … and until Pinon finds himself with Twister and Co. (or?) …

Hook and Fierro, Hannah, Sable and Ember below. Fierro had earlier tried to snuggle up to Hook, but Hook wasn’t having any of it at the time. Here, Hook walked up to Fierro, who is now looking back at stepdaddy’s attention.

Luna and Alpha trying their best to catch some shut-eye with all the goings-on (across the arroyo to the left). This was just after Butch had rejoined Luna after his little foray with the boys. Luna looks decent for a girl who has had multiple foals in a row (this will be her fifth foal since I’ve known her (Kestrel, Ember, Hannah, Gideon). I’d love to give her a rest … She should stay, not only because of her outside genetics (she and two others came from Sand Wash Basin in 2001) but because of her wise alpha-mare status (like Alpha above her).

Some of the boys’ roughhousing brought them down into the arroyo and up the hill a bit, and Steeldust charged down in warning – you can maybe see a little of the dust obscuring the saltbush below him. I found it so interesting that he didn’t need to wade in – knew it was play – and he had his own role – protecting Alpha. What a dynamic this little band has. How long will it be before Storm leaves mama? Will Steeldust and Alpha and Butch and Luna stay together? Mahogany and Sundance and Aspen left … at whose instigation? Will Butch eventually challenge Steeldust for Alpha, too? Steeldust backed down to him last spring … but Butch was focused on Luna and never challenged for Alpha. And with Butch’s “must-be-at-her-side-always” style, how many mares does he think he can care for? I think Alpha will stay with Luna as long as possible.

When Storm and Twister resumed their play after their intermission and greeting of baby Gideon – and Mouse stepped in – Gideon retreated to mama. Check out his body language. Doesn’t it scream “little brother sent home”? 🙂 Patience, little.

Clearly still finding comfort with mama, who has just as clearly weaned him and wasn’t in the mood to baby him. He sought a snuggle, and she pinned her ears at him for his efforts. Though she didn’t mind his nearness – nor Butch’s, immediately on her other side. (I’m not sure I’d be less grumpy with a baby in the belly.)

Fierro was looking for somebody to “practice” on, and Sable seemed to fit the bill – at least briefly.

Twister and Cuatro walking up away from the arroyo. Storm followed closely – Duke and Mouse stayed below (grazing).  They paused at a stud pile – which Twister contributed to, which prompted yet another “discussion.” 🙂

Hook eventually chased his group away over the ridge and to the next ridge – which led to them going the opposite direction as the others ended up going. But that little Fierro just couldn’t get enough!

And Hook couldn’t resist a last look, either. 🙂





Jumping, Part II

5 03 2011

This was too cute not to share right away (and then I got carried away …). I was looking back for pix of Gideon with the big boys after I did the last post and found these. He came across the arroyo and was sniffing noses with Twister when Mister Mouse came striding up and sent Gideon went scurrying around to the other side of Storm.

I just adore this:

Mouse sniffing Twister, Twister sniffing Gideon over Storm’s back while Storm looks up the ridge at Hook’s!

Talk about jumping around. And this would probably have made for exceptionally interesting video to really tie it all together as I’m obviously failing to do. This, right here, is how I know without a shadow of a doubt the boys’ “fighting” was play – practice for a year or so in the future when it will be for real – to win or keep or add mares – to prove their strength and courage – and intelligence. That really struck me as I watched them spar. There’s definitely *thinking* at work – it’s not just brute strength – there’s craftiness and cunning – and obviously learned behavior. They circle – closely – shove their shoulders into each other … What do we do when walking behind a horse? We give them a LOT of room – or “don’t walk behind the horse,” parents tell children at the fair – or we talk to them, keep a hand on their side, hip, hindquarter, tail, as we walk right around them – close – too close for a kick to land.

Play and learning, youth and exuberance – a little showmanship? They learn their moves, they learn the moves of their peers. Steeldust is the only one I’ve ever seen with his courbette move – charge – rear – vertical leap. How did he learn that one? Fighting against bigger stallions? It certainly seemed to have helped him (and the chaos of the last roundup, too?). He had the biggest – by far – band after the last roundup.

The “before” pic to the top pic … Mouse approaching while Twister greets Gideon during a break in his play with Storm (behind).

Mouse is the lone bachelor left following Steeldust’s band – which is really Luna’s band. Spoiler: Mahogany, Sundance and Aspen are together – separate. (Only distance pix for documentation.) Mouse has been with the band since before Gideon was born. Gideon has never not known Mouse, though he’s always been on the outskirts – and always protective.

When Mouse got closer, Gideon spooked and ducked behind Storm (who is family) – and then the top photo. I couldn’t tell what sparked that … and what was Mouse’s motive to walk over in the first place? Protection? Curiosity? “Pick on someone your own size”? Though clearly Twister was not threatening the little guy in any way.

A few moments later:

Mouse wandered off again, Storm turned around. Storm and Gideon are the same ages (about) as Pinon and Fierro.

And here comes Mouse again. Isn’t that interesting?

Wide view (how *exquisite* is that light on the far hills!): Mouse and boys in the lower foreground, and above, left to right: Pinon, Fierro, Hook, Sable (Ember and Hannah behind).

I missed the “drama” of Steeldust hustling Fierro back to his band because I was so focused on the interactions of the closer boys, but …

Gideon takes advantage of the action to sneak a sniff of Mouse – they’re watching as Fierro walked past Hook and seemed on his way down the ridge to join the fun … but Luna and Butch and Alpha and Steeldust are at right – Steeldust on duty. Steely Dan put the kibosh to curious George’s track … and then this:

Check out Hook’s look – directly at Steeldust. Is that a “hey, thanks, man, I owe you one”? It appears I wasn’t the only one distracted by the play of boys. 😉

(Again, that light in the background!)

And that’s all I have time for – work calls. More to come!





Basin wonderland

11 01 2011

The day I took these pictures, it was a little warmer in the basin than it had been the day before – 17 to 20 degrees vs. 15-17 degrees. And you thought I meant a lot warmer!

Steeldust, Butch, Luna and Storm

Steeldust’s band was closest this day, and I broke trail on a little-used road to get to within fairly close walking distance.

Winter is just a magical time. It’s soooooo quiet. Can you see the flakes reflecting the sunlight in the photo above? The ponies go about the business of living like any other time of the year. There were a lot of tracks around the Flat Top pond, but the center was untracked – frozen solid. How much snow do they have to eat to satisfy their moisture requirements? Whatever it is, they seem satisfied.

Steeldust

In the dry months, I look for light spots – the greys – against the khaki desert. In the snow months, I look for the dark spots – then look closer to determine equine from bovine.

Alpha is in her element here.

Alpha

She’s always watchful … curious, though she rarely acts on that curiosity, content just to see what I do, it seems.

I was watching and photographing bachelor Mouse, grazing nearby. I hadn’t yet seen Hollywood’s and Comanche’s bands, but I was watching Mouse graze intently enough that when I saw Piedra and other members of her band pawing through the snow during their grazing, I realized Mouse hadn’t been.

Mouse

Isn’t he a handsome boy?

And then I realized someone was watching, and closer than I had seen her approach.

Alpha

Isn’t she just divine? With her beautiful dark eyes and glowing wisdom, she’s the queen of her environment.

Storm came around for a look, too.

Look at that amazing scenery!

Look at that snow-covered schnoz! How this boy has grown.

Beauty all around.





Somebunny loves snowbunnies

6 01 2011

Snow-white Alpha at home in the snow.

What a super visit to kick off the new year! It was a visit of some firsts: first visit of the year, first visit ever to see wild horses … I had a special visitor today! We had tried a couple of times last year to get out to see the horses but were stymied by bad weather each time. Today proved worth waiting for with bright sunshine, pristine snow and freezing conditions perfect enough to drive right in!

She’ll be back for sure … C, I hope you enjoyed your first visit!

We saw lots of horses – very far away – and visited with just Steeldust’s and Kreacher’s bands. We helped a fellow in need, who was performing ice-breaking duty for the horses and for the cattle that are in through February. Always nice to have a set of eyes out there – and the ice-breaking is awesome! Thank you, B! All around, a wonderful day!

Aspen

Mahogany

Gideon, Steeldust, Alpha and Storm

Gideon

Storm and mama Alpha

Mahogany and her boys

Sundance

Steeldust

Very cold – in the mid-teens – but it didn’t feel that cold in the sunshine … until the sun was very low on the horizon. The snow is just amazing – pristine, glittering like infinite rainbows … and when the sun hit low and orange – WOW! Unbelievable gorgeousity!

Special thanks to another C, who gave the thumbs-up on driving in after her lovely visit on New Year’s Day!





A little lovin’

30 10 2010

Steeldust, gentleman that he is, gives Alpha some lovin’.

Look at her flirt, the coy vixen.

Gideon shared shade with Storm until Storm wandered out to …

… “What? You think this is wrong?” (name that commercial) The only side effect I’ve seen from the PZP-22 has been that the foals – Storm and Corona, daughter of Raven – continue to nurse because their mothers are not pregnant and their bodies don’t seem to kick in and tell them it’s time to wean the current foal. This seems to only strengthen their bonds, provide continued and additional nutrition to the growing youngsters and not affect the mares adversely. (Does Alpha look like she’s been adversely affected? 🙂 ) I’m not sure how much he’s getting. Alpha let him nurse for a couple of minutes, then walked off, and they both continued grazing. Gideon, deprived of one shade buddy, walked up the hill a bit to share shade with stepdaddy Butch. (Notice Luna, Gideon’s dam, in the upper left corner of this photo.)

From the top of this hill at the northern part of the basin, there was quite a cool view northwest to the snow-covered La Sal Mountains of Utah:

I often wonder if or how often the horses go below this “ridge” to the part of the herd area “behind” it.

Also from up there, the view of the entire basin is amazing. One of these days, I should take my wide(r)-angle lens up and take a series of shots that I can stitch together in Photoshop to give folks an overall, nearly eagle-eye view of Spring Creek Basin. It’s a glorious place!





Stallion samba

1 08 2010

Here’s the little series I’ve been wanting to show for a while …

It was a beautiful morning in early June. Remember this?:

Gideon napping while Mouse (bachelor) stands guard and Aspen (bachelor) grazes nearby.

Napping was the “activity” that morning:

Head … so … heavy … This was seconds before he was flat out …

Which Storm found utterly irresistible! However, Butch is a bit different than playmates Hannah and Pinon, and he was NOT amused, and Storm did NOT stick around to bother him – even though Butch didn’t get up.

Big guy … They look so vulnerable like this, don’t they …

Not far away: Gideon still napping … Mahogany grazing while Sundance, Mouse and Aspen (in that order) try to catch some winks behind her. They’re still following her like this (which was less than a month after she lost her foal).

And pretty soon, she also laid down … She’d kind of nibble around her … then have a great, legs-to-the-sky rollover … then quiet again …

Comfortable enough to stretch full out with the boys standing guard over her. Interestingly, I’m sure Sundance is the youngest of these stallions; I think Mouse and Aspen are roughly the same age. Sundance grew up with “rank” in the band, though, while Mouse and Aspen came in as bachelors.

But idyllic summer mornings don’t last long … Pretty soon, Mahogany was up again, which prompted some stallion action, which alerted Gideon, who realized Mama had grazed away a short distance …

While stallions’ “snaking” behavior looks rather fierce and “mean,” it’s really a protective gesture, meant to move horses in a particular direction – including wayward sons back to the protection of the band/their mothers. You can see by Gideon’s body language and ears that he’s alert to and responding to Aspen’s signal to move, but he’s not afraid of Aspen.

Then Mahogany cut across behind him (probably also a protective gesture on her part), which prompted Gideon into a gallop – but he’s still relaxed.

Such grace …

He found Mama nearly immediately and with the single-minded focus of foals was concerned – immediately – about connecting with his morning breakfast! But look at Luna – very tense and ears focused on the drama behind her. She did not allow him to nurse just then. Too much going on to fall into the trance state of baby nursing.

This is quite an illustration: They’ve come around and are now “in front of” Luna and Gideon and Butch (back to the right). Mahogany is looking for a way forward from Sundance (behind her) and Mouse (left) and away from Steeldust (right), who is blocking her from getting to “his” band, which includes Alpha and Storm and Luna & Co. – *because* she brings trouble – aka Sundance, Mouse and Aspen – with her. She had first tried to go to Steeldust’s right, but he blocked her, and now she’s going around his left.

That’s right – you’re on camera! Mouse now turned toward Aspen to keep him away from Mahogany – and Sundance. Poor Mouse … always the bachelor, never the, uh, groom.

I’ve mentioned before, but the dynamics of the band formerly known as Steeldust’s band have changed, and that’s what I’m trying to illustrate here (although I didn’t include pix of Alpha, she stays pretty close to Luna). Butch ignores Alpha in favor of Luna (and Gideon). In an interesting switcharoo, Steeldust has become the “lieutenant” to Butch – who is very likely his son – in his effort to keep Alpha, who has apparently bonded tightly to Luna (interestingly, the bond from Alpha to Luna is more apparent than vice versa … it may be because Luna has had foals the last two years, and Alpha has not (she got the PZP-22 at the 2007 roundup, and it worked only on her of four surviving mares; because of her likely age – 15+? – I’m grateful, at least, for the break in babies for her)). Mahogany found herself pretty much on the outskirts – with Kestrel for a while, until Kes had Winona – and surrounded by hale and hearty young stallions. They separated for a while – with Kestrel and her new stallion, Comanche (former first sergeant to Lt. Mouse), following at a slight distance – but just after Mahogany foaled and lost it, she was back with “Steeldust’s band,” which, I suppose, is more appropriately now called Luna’s band because, although the stallions very zealously guard their girls, Luna clearly is alpha in all senses.

So now we come to the little series I thought was so interesting and amazing at the time and had planned to post long before life took other directions (which simply means I didn’t have time, then forgot about it).

In the course of all the running around, Mahogany “pooped.” (Really, is there a delicate term?) And thus began the topic of this post: the stallion – and soon-to-be – samba:

Gideon and Butch were the first to discover the delightful pile – eau de Mahogany (sorry – really!).

But Butch asserted elder dominance and claimed it even while Gideon was *trying* to mark it – see Butch pawing and see Gideon “clacking”?

Gideon gave way, and there’s Butch with one more particular sniff before stepping forward to pee on it. (Look at Gideon’s face …)

Butch finished, Gideon took his turn … but look who’s coming up behind him …

Now this one, I just LOVE: Check out Steeldust – he is completely crowding the young mister, who is NOT giving way! Look at his face – the posture of his head and neck. He’s a little intimidated but determined! “I had to wait for Butch, Daddy, now you wait your turn!” This little one is one to watch!

Now look at him – all relaxed and happy! Steeldust pees while Butch pretends to graze while he shepherds the young man back to Mama – who is just ahead of him – I think you can see her shadow on the ground through his legs.

But wait!

Here’s Storm, almost 2, last in the samba line, giving it a determined sniff …

Circle of/cycle of life … importance of mamas AND daddies (even stepdaddies) and all ages to learn the ways of the world. It’s a small world, but it’s THEIR world.

Pretty damn incredible, right?





Gideon see, Gideon do

30 07 2010

These pictures never made it to the blog … victims of lack of time, I suppose. They’re from back in June, during T&L’s visit from Florida.

It’s pretty safe to say – in any context – that Gideon adores Butch. His mimicry of his stepdaddy is pronounced. I realized when I looked back at these photos that there’s another little series I had wanted to show and apparently never gotten around to … Maybe that will be my next post.

In the meantime, Steeldust’s band – which is sort of “back together,” but Steeldust is not particularly in charge – was up above a steep little canyon in the north hills. It’s rockier up there, with lots of cacti around, but there are trees – and grass, actual long-stemmed blades of the stuff.

When Chrome first laid down, Gideon walked up right behind him to investigate. Here’s the big guy – my size!

But when the big guy started throwing those long legs around, things got a little alarming!

Love this expression on Gideon’s face as he watches Butch roll.

A little rest after a successful roll. Mama Luna in the background, by the way.

The next thing we knew, after Butch got up, Gideon laid down in exactly the same spot!

Woo hoo! This IS fun!

A mid-roll check to make sure Mama hasn’t left the vicinity.

Oooh, it feels so good just to lie here in the sunshine … Alpha strolling in the background …

Gathering for the final effort …

And up he goes again!

It must have felt good to both of them. I’m just glad they didn’t hit one of these, which I found later, not toooo close …

Unfortunately, what led me to find this prickly beauty was a beer can some nincompoop had stuck bottoms-up on a dead tree, that I walked over to retrieve. Really? You’re going to carry it all the way up there, presumably sit and knock it back – enjoying the view – then leave it to spoil someone else’s?!

So I leave you with a better thought:

Gideon with (likely) daddy Steeldust, sharing a moment of hang-out time under a tree. 🙂





Farther up the hill

7 07 2010

Steeldust’s band was quiet on the hill. They’re “together” again, Mouse and Aspen still the boys tagging along, the other boys guarding their mares closely – still. Storm and Gideon move freely. At one point, Aspen came a little too close to napping Gideon, and Luna stepped up beside him. Although she was then right beside him, Butch also stepped up – between her and Gideon! The little mister gave a little shift but otherwise didn’t move, content and confident that stepdaddy would protect him without stepping ON him. And he didn’t. Really a remarkable little event.

As I mentioned, Bounce also came over to have a little visit, and he found Storm a willing playmate.

I was sitting on a slanted flattish rock in a little drainage on the treed slope, trying to take advantage of a bit of shade under a sky with swiftly moving clouds. Love how Bounce is watching me watching him while he lets Storm nibble on him.

It was interesting to watch the interaction of Bounce with Storm, almost 2, and with Steeldust, a mature band stallion as Bounce himself.

A little sniffing, a little posturing.

Then it was back for another round of playing with Storm. The quality of their interactions was really interesting. He and Steeldust eventually had a rearing collision, and Bounce decided the party was over.

Now for something different. Two legs, yes, and two wings!

What is it? I noticed it when it flew up from right beside me – flew out just a few yards and landed – and settled. Didn’t make any sound, and it was so quiet even when I surprised it to flight that I wasn’t at all startled. It stayed at least as long as I did. I wondered if it had a nest nearby (July?) because it stayed so close. Hmm. Can you see it?

How about now? Talk about adapted! The intricate pattern of its feathers is just about the most beautiful type of plumage on a bird I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s a “poorwill.” In the nightjar family, the book says. I’m not sold on that as the ID – the pic in the book is even worse than these of mine. I’d be happy if someone can tell me for sure!

I left the horses to their naps and went on up the hill, unsure if the grey I had seen earlier with Storm-chaser was Mouse or Hook. I was hoping it was Hook, but if it was, he was out of my sight. The horses were about halfway up the hill. I don’t very often think about snakes while I’m out in the basin. I did see a rattler in Sand Wash Basin, but the only rattlers I’ve seen in Spring Creek Basin have been on a road – at night – and I was safe in the Jeep! I grew up in rocky Texas hill country, so I’m not afraid of snakes, but I don’t want to surprise one as close as I did the bird!  No snakes, and I found a pretty little “park” below the cliff at the top of the hill – the confluence of at least two canyons.

I basically followed the edge back down: This is looking down at Wildcat Spring and on out to Round Top in the far distance. The hill in the middle distance is the north side of what I call the east-west hill.





Come again

1 06 2010

Is that a phrase that get used much anymore? There was quite a bit of disbelieving “huh” on my part when I realized Mahogany did NOT have a foal and WAS in heat and clearly HAD had her foal. And it refers also that the big band that had fractured had come (together) again … if perhaps only temporarily.

And whoever coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” clearly hadn’t met these ponies. I think it took me a thousand pictures to try to convey the goings-on.

These three – Comanche, Kestrel and Winona – are clearly “together” now … but not far from the others.

Um, Hollywood?! Where’d you come from? His band wasn’t all that far away, but they weren’t close.

While the other horses graze, Steeldust sees his duty to keep away the intruder (Hollywood). All the other horses are seen here, left to right: Luna, Gideon and Butch in the group at left; Storm, with Mahogany and Sundance directly behind him; Steeldust looking at Holls and Mouse directly behind him; Alpha; and Aspen at the back. Comanche, Kestrel and Winona were up a bit to the right.

Storm and Alpha

This was after Steely Dan had come back from chasing Holls away – which didn’t entirely work.

Gideon laid down … and there’s Mahogany and her hangers-on behind them now. While Winona was able to get several minutes at a time of shut-eye, Gideon was up and down several times because of the commotion all around.

Close-up of the sleepy boy.

When they weren’t fired up chasing her or fending each other off, this was a common sight – Mahogany grazing and Sundance and Mouse right behind her.

Close but far enough away to be out of the commotion – though Comanche did go down to have a chat with Hollywood at one point.

Even tough-guy manly stallions like to take some time to stop and smell the globe mallow.

Finally, it seemed he had had enough and was headed back to Piedra and the gang …

… but not before a stop to say hello. “What ARE ya doing?” “No, what are YOU doing?!” Funny boy. Then away he went.

When I turned back around, I realized the commotion had sent Gideon to his feet. Even Luna woke up long enough to watch him go.

Then this was really interesting – talk about stallions being very tolerant of babies. Gideon swung his butt around and then backed up so his butt was right up against Butch’s chest. I don’t know if you can quite tell it from the picture, but he is literally butt-to-chest with Butch, who now has his nose right at the crest of Gideon’s neck. He stood solid as a rock for a few moments, but it was like he didn’t quite know how to take it, this tiny little thing “cuddling” up to him, and he soon stepped aside and went to pursue “manly” things – like running off Sundance and Co. 🙂

So Gideon turned to mama for comfort …

One of my very favorite images from the whole day.

With all the commotion, these horses in particular seem to nap often.

Storm and Alpha – even though he kept getting a wild hair and going off to try to breed Mahogany, he kept coming back to mama. You can see he’s still shedding out a bit of reddish baby fuzz.

Love their relaxed faces.

Winona, Kestrel and Comanche …

… right before Winona laid down again. 🙂 She was mostly flat out on the ground, her little side heaving in the warm sunlight … and her front leg would occasionally “wave” out in circles … I think she was dreaming of racing the wind.

Kestrel and Comanche napping over baby Winona, clearly not his baby. He didn’t even acquire Kestrel until after she had foaled. He had been low man on the totem pole in the bachelor hierarchy. And yet he now *protects* her as if she were, indeed, his own. I repeat again, stallions do NOT go around willy nilly killing foals that aren’t theirs.

After about half an hour, Winona still stretched flat out, Kestrel and Comanche started to graze – away from sleeping babe.

She looked up a couple of times, then back down … until she finally realized she was “alone.” I don’t know if you can quite tell here, but she’s whinnying for mama to come back and “rescue” her – which mama Kestrel completely (as far as acquiescing to baby’s plaintive demands) ignored. Obviously, she wasn’t THAT far away.

When it became apparent that mama was not, in fact, coming back for her, Winona got up and headed over … Check out the sweat on her flank.

And reunited. 🙂

She had a snack …

… and down she went for another nap! On her opposite side. 🙂

And that was my cue to farewell the ponies for another day.

One big – calm for now – family …

Thanks for reading … ya’ll “come again,” ya hear? 🙂





Stallion action

29 05 2010

The following series of pictures are of stallions – Steeldust and Mouse – fighting. Editor’s note: I seldom take such pictures let alone post them because such events are fairly rare – though not during this particular time of year (mares foaling, then coming into heat to be rebred). But so many people seem to have this Hollywood idea that stallions fight all day long that I do my best not to play to that particular misconception. But as with most of what I try to convey, there’s more to this kind of behavior than simply trying to steal a mare. Steeldust was NOT going after Mahogany; he was protecting his band, which has the rather odd makeup of another stallion (likely at least 4?),  two mares, a foal and an almost-2-year-old stallion who is clearly maturing sexually – and Steeldust seems to now be playing the lieutenant role to the other, younger stallion (Butch), who, I’m more convinced than ever, is his son (the resemblance is showing itself more and more). Luckily, Alpha is now out of heat, so all the attention was on Mahogany.

My other aim is to simply show the strength, power and agility of these horses. This all happened in a matter of seconds while I was sitting slightly uphill with Kestrel and sleeping Winona and guardian Comanche, and I didn’t “see” what you’ll see right away until I looked at the pictures on the computer.

Steeldust postures between Mahogany, Sundance and Mouse – in front of him – and his small band – behind.

Clearly a message to stay back. Notice his ears. At left: Sundance in front and Mouse behind him. Mahogany is out of the frame, but SunD’s attention is mostly on her, while Mouse is clearly now focused on Steeldust – perhaps a challenge he can conquer? (As he’s not having much luck getting between SunD and Mahogany.)

Look at Steeldust’s hind hooves – completely off the ground.

My impression of the incident was of Steeldust rearing very high and Mouse also rearing and then bulling into him like a freight train. The momentum must have been tremendous.

Sundance kicking at them … Didn’t connect.

Look again at Steeldust!

As hard as Mouse must have hit him, I’m surprised Steeldust didn’t go down.

The elder won … for now … Notice his ears now.

Neither seemed any worse for wear, but I’m sure there were at least bruises left behind.