25 07 2011

Life is full of changes, some good, some bad, some that happen, some that require a leap, whether it’s a push or voluntary.

Change of the forcible kind hit me last week when the world jolted off its reassuring axis and crashed.

I have a fantastic blue-sky pendant made by a local silversmith-artisan-beautiful-person that is stamped on the back: “Freedom lies in being bold.” I bought it last year after looking at it and thinking about it, right before my trip to Montana, during which I crammed in two drive-throughs of America’s oldest national park and a friend’s wedding in one of the perfect places on Earth and my PZP training.

I wear it to try to be bold … wishing I could be as bold as it suggests. Knowing I fall well short of the mark. I wear it for courage, to take in the power of sunshine in the heavens … and I needed every ounce last week. His was more than mine.

I simply cannot – and so often don’t try to – express my gratitude enough that so many people love and enjoy the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin. Through ups and downs, amazement and sorrow, pain and frustration and the greatest joy I’ve ever known, I am grateful to all of you for coming along on this journey with me. For those of you I’ve met, for those of you I’ve met only through comments and emails, for those of you I’ve never met but have met the horses, fallen for them, tumbled head over heels for these incredible beings that live so simply, that have stirred the national conscience about what’s right and wrong with how we treat animals, each other, all our neighbors on this big blue round rocket in the infinite every-sphere we call home.

I am a loner. Pure and simple, I am the lonest of lone wolves. After almost four years of visiting the horses almost weekly, I finally realized one day this spring during a peaceful pleasant daydreaming hill-time with Alegre’s family (before Aurora’s arrival) that I think of myself as neither lonely NOR alone (“alone but not lonely”). I mean, duh. I’m with the horses.

But I love sharing them. With people. With YOU. Whether I know you or not, that you know the horses brings me the most incredible joy. When I’m not ranting (to myself) about the ills and craziness of the world (Norwegian dude goes and bombs people, then spends an hour and a half shooting people –  KIDS?! – while dressed as a cop?!), near and far, I am thinking about how to share the beauty of their world, them, the beauty of a particular place and beings in the world that I have come to know so well, want everyone to love as much as I do.

Sometimes, bad, horrible, awful, hurtful things just happen. No one is at fault, the world won’t end, most of the world won’t even know about it. But he was here and real and living and breathing and traveling and touching my life (heart, with his, huge) and that of others and beautiful and doing what he did, and he is gone, and though my heart has shattered (again), it is already healing with the help of what is left behind – those he knew and who knew him – and thought of him: loved.

Not yet … not yet …

I am an independent sort, and one of my biggest frustrations in this life is the need to rely on others for certain things – things that rarely get done as well as I think I could do them – if I could. Physically? No. The “yes you may” kind of being able to do what needs to be done. Permission. Allowance.

Because that’s the way of it.

It comes full circle in waiting for bureaucracy.

But sometimes, even in the most bureaucratic of bureaucracies, things get done because they must – because to do the thing is the right thing to do. I witnessed that last week, and it gave – gives – me hope.

Remember that when I found Hook’s band without Ember’s new foal – Indy – Twister also was missing? I thought he’d turn up. I thought he’d be with the youngsters or with Duke or maybe Sundance. I thought he’d be fine.

He did turn up. He wasn’t fine.

He was way up the hill above Wildcat Spring – near the place where I first visited with Indy – and he was hurt. Badly, horribly, no-turning-back hurt. He had lost a lot of weight. I don’t know when he’d had his last drink of water.

Some would tolerate that suffering. Some would not, and they came in the morning and freed a beautiful wild soul in the last – best – compassionate act they could perform for him. For that, they have my eternal gratitude.

Sometimes, you do need someone else, who not only has permission but ability – and the compassion to do what must be done – and well.

I know this has been a rambling post, off-kilter with things seemingly unconnected. I could have listed the things I knew about Twister – orphan, maybe a sire, probably a brother, definitely a son, a young stallion looking for his own family. A fuzzy little odd-colored colt with a wonky knee who adored a filly named Two Boots who took his son/brother under his wing and who grew into a silver reflection of our great stallion Traveler.

But that’s only what I knew. He was so much more. They all are. And that’s why we fight for them – for what we k-n-o-w, for all that we don’t know anything at all.

Now he’s always free. Always home. Always with us. Always ours.

And for what we knew, I’ll keep bringing you the stories I know, theirs to share with the greater world, so we know a little more beauty, to counter a little more of the hell we read about every day.

Twister with Corazon and Cinch

Twister & Corazon & Cinch

Twister (far right) with Two Boots, Houdini & Seven

Grey (right), Houdini, Twister & Two Boots

Twister & Two Boots

Grey, Twister, Two Boots, Houdini

Twister & Two Boots

Twister & Two Boots

Twister, Grey, Houdini, Jif

Jif, Two Boots, Twister, Iya & Houdini

Iya, Two Boots & Twister

Jif, Twister & Grey

Twister & Iya

Twister & Two Boots

Jif & Twister

Grey & Twister

Iya & Twister

Houdini, Iya, Jif, Two Boots & Twister

Twister & Iya

Grey & Twister

Twister & Two Boots


Twister, Cuatro, Two Boots

Twister & Two Boots with Cuatro

Bounce, Hook & Twister

Twister & Hook

Twister & Storm

Cinch & Twister

Bruiser & Twister

Cinch, Bruiser & Twister


Twister & Cuatro

Cuatro & Twister

Sundance, Twister & Aspen

Twister, Cuatro & Duke


Twister, Cuatro & Bruiser

Cuatro & Twister


Cuatro & Twister


Twister & Duke

Twister & Cuatro

Twister & Cuatro

Twister & Cuatro

Twister & Storm

Twister & Storm

Twister, far left, with Hook's band



Fly now with angels …

Some to love

27 06 2011

It occurred to me that I wouldn’t get any of these posted if I tried to do them in some kind of order – the always way of it these days – so here are some pix of some horses … Beautiful, all.

Houdini and Deniz.

I’ve been expecting the usual migration westward as the forage and water grows scarce back in the east. One of the two ponds back there is holding pretty steady, though, so several bands are (still) taking advantage of it. Grey/Traveler’s band, however, had made the trip, and I found them at afternoon water in the Wildcat Spring area. There’s enough water there this year – interestingly – that there are some stagnant pockets of it along the wash. I heard the girls (Terra, Gemma and Corona) playing in one such puddle, though I couldn’t get a clear look at them because of the obscuring greasewood on the banks. Mama and baby and Grey were above the arroyo. Deniz is going grey fast, like sister Gemma. She’s a big tall girl, eh?

Baby girls Briosa, left, and Eliana, with Bri’s mama Piedra in the background. Eli’s mama Mahogany was grazing down to the right (a pic is with the “Oppose sterilization” post of a few days ago). I wanted my wide-angle lens for, well, not the first time, I guess, to try to capture some of the beautiful background of the basin “behind” the fillies as they napped.

There’s some of it behind Hollywood, who was, I think, watching Aspen and Sundance, close-ish again. In the near background is part of the north side of the east-west hill, and in the far-ish background (not all the way back) is part of what I call Lizard Mesa.

Eli gives Bri a little post-nap nuzzle. They’re now at the age to be interested in each other. Bri, not quite a month older than Eli, is considerably bigger and stouter.

Sunny little Eliana is just a beautiful little princess of a filly.

Piedra was closest, and after she got up, Bri walked right over for a snack. Eli lingered, though, taking her sweet time walking down the slope, stopping, looking at mama, at stepdaddy (Sundance is Eliana’s sire), at me, back at Bri … before finally going on down for her own lunch. Bri’s a stout little girl, eh? Takes after daddy.

Speaking of daddies, here’s Varoujan with his daddy – Butch.

And with mama.

Kreacher’s band weren’t too far, and I waited for them, too, to mosey their way up to, across and off the road (it was like rush hour out there! 😉 ). This was a horizontally shot image I took through the passenger-side window and cropped into a vertical. I also took the image a post or so back of Apollo looking through his legs horizontally and cropped it vertically. I crop almost all my photos – some more than others.

Heading out of the basin for the evening: Hook’s band. I couldn’t decide between this one and …

… this one. Ponies gilded with light, those hills in the back! The near-ish hills are part of Spring Creek Basin, our northwest hills; the far-ish hills to the sky are outside the basin but still part of Disappointment Valley, basically, the far northeastern edge (the basin is tucked a little lower into the valley’s east-northeastern side). From left: black Sable and grey Twister, hanging with the band; almost yearling Fierro looking toward the camera and dark bay Pinon behind him; grey Ember, bay Hannah and Hook. Ember is due close to any time now.


12 06 2011

If you haven’t checked out the preliminary EA for our upcoming roundup, please do (give it a little while to come up – I’m on a fast connection, and it still took a few moments to appear). I’m still wading through it – so far, the first half-dozen pages are already littered with my sticky notes.

“Alternative 1 – Proposed Action” (Page 10) is what we want to support at this time. The information to comment by the deadline – July 11 – is here.

“Alternative 2” is a waste of money given the timing of the roundup and the lack of efficacy of PZP-22 here in the past during the same relative timing.

“Alternative 3” is simply unviable and would cause more harm to both the horses and the environment on which they depend.

We will continue to push bait trapping rather than helicopters for the future – as we have the last almost-four years – but for now, and with no movement on that front, we’re nearing a critical point between population and limited resources. At least five of our ponds are already dry, and the remaining ponds are shallow, which will eventually leave 80+ horses trying to get salty water from trickling seeps and springs or the one fresh-water source – the catchment. After the roundup, with a fertility-control plan firmly in place (for at least the next five years), we’ll continue to push bait trapping (and figure out the infrastructure necessary) as well as more and better quality water sources.

BLM plans a 60% stallions to 40% mares gender-skewed ratio. While we do not agree with this avenue of management, particularly in light of the PZP plan to be put in place, given everything else, it’s not a battle we plan to fight right now. Because of lack of knowledge on BLM’s part, it was 56%/21% after the 2007 roundup. All things considered, 60%/40% doesn’t seem so bad. Over the course of the years of PZP application, we’ll watch to see how that evens out and what it means to the herd as a whole, and perhaps in the future, we can nix that particular demand.

If anyone has questions, please leave a comment or email me at mtbgrrl (at) fone (dot) net.

Now some pix, in no particular order:

Juniper and mama Kestrel looking at daddy Comanche.

Handsome young Twister. He’s hanging out with Hook’s band now. He looks so much like Grey/Traveler, it’s amazing.

This was taken the next day and shows Twister, butt to the camera at left, with Hook’s band – that’s big grey Hook standing by Sable, heavy-pregnant Ember (due around early July), Hannah and Fierro. Pinon also is part of this band (he was off to the right, I think). In the background, Spook and Bruiser. A bit to the left were Seven’s, out as far as Spook and Bruiser but to the right were Bounce’s, and behind and leftish were Sundance and Aspen. Rarely are so many of our horses in the same general area except in the spring, when they’re back here with good forage and fairly good water. In fact, two of the remaining four ponds with water are back in this general area. Another reason to have good, scattered water sources – disperse the horses’ grazing.

Cuatro watching after his bachelor pals, a new generation of bachelors now that many of our bachelors have found mares. By pushing back the frequency of roundups by using PZP, I hope to see a clearer, more settled pattern of band dynamics emerge without the interruption of devastating roundups. We have several small bands now; I’ve heard people say there used to be just a few bands, but the were much larger (more horses). I wish I knew then the number of bachelors floating around. Most bands now have at least one foal, but only one band has two foals.

Look at these two handsome, oh-so-innocent devilishly sweet boys. That’s Ze, Seven’s son, on the left and Sage, Hollywood’s son, on the right. they’re hanging out with Cuatro and Milagro now – minus Duke. Milo stood either with his butt to me or nearly out of sight behind the bigger boys. They’re all 2, born between early April and early July; Ze and Sage are clearly the leaders, and between them, I tend to think Sage has a bit of an edge. Both going grey (as is Cuatro), but Ze’s holding his brown a lot longer. Sage clearly favors his beautiful mama, Piedra, but he’s stout like papa Hollywood.


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. 🙂

The process of learning

6 03 2011

Relationships matter most …

Duke napping in the early morning sunshine with Hook’s band behind him.

Cuatro with Hook’s in the background. This was the beautiful sunshine we had early in the morning after sunrise before the cloud band came up.

Steeldust’s band – which I’m going to start more appropriately calling Luna’s band henceforth – was off to the northwest – watching Hook’s and Duke’s bands when I first saw them. Another band I wanted to visit was farther east, and I had been thinking about how I was going to visit both (so greedy) when Luna’s started coming toward us. The first evidence of this was Steeldust chasing Mouse.

It caught the attention of all of us:

Hook’s watching Steeldust and Mouse.

Hook’s watching Mouse and Storm bringing up the rear. You can see we’ve now been covered in shade while the east-west hill and north(ish) hills are still glowing in sunlight.

I thought it was particularly interesting that Gideon followed Alpha … mama Luna and Butch were up ahead. Steeldust is most likely his sire, though Butch has claimed Luna since a little before Gideon was born.

Duke and the boys watching Luna and Butch …

… watching Alpha, Gideon and Steeldust.

They came down almost to the bottom of the arroyo … where Luna apparently decided it was time for a nap and everybody stopped.

Then it started to get interesting (!):

Storm caught up and walked down past mama and Luna and the others, crossed the arroyo and headed up toward …

Duke, Twister and Cuatro. Twister waited till Storm was on his side, then walked down to meet him.

Typical first greeting … (and I don’t think this is actually the first time they’ve met) …

Getting right down to business …

Cuatro followed very quickly …

A different greeting with a younger colt …

Twister takes the rear, Cuatro takes the front! From left, Twister is almost 4, Storm will be 3 in July, and Cuatro will be 2 in May.

They started with a little of this …

They know right where to aim, but note their ears – relaxed.

Check out the shoulder-check. This is what I was talking about in an earlier post. Now check these out:

From the shoulder-check, he goes for Storm’s front legs – which causes Storm to “bow” to get away …

Which leaves his back legs vulnerable. Something else interesting – the benefit of just a year or? – Storm doesn’t go for *Twister’s* hind legs – right in front of him – he goes into defensive mode.

Which just allows Twister to come around him …

And get him on the other side! And look how close he stays.

Twister is clearly calling the shots, and Storm is reacting.

Twister comes around again – look how tight. Storm has tucked his hindquarters to avoid bites, but he’s too close to get up the momentum for a kick.

Have you been keeping an eye on young Cuatro?

Now Storm’s going for Twister’s front legs, forcing Twister into defensive posture – but Cuatro’s helping his pal from the rear angle.

Then the action got a little hotter, and Cuatro here is heading back toward big bud Duke.

And yes, there was some of this.

Are you fascinated by the thought process?? Storm is bigger, but Twister is a year older (which means he has a year on Storm in learning these things) and smart – and quick.

Meanwhile, across the arroyo (except Gideon, who’s at the edge) … The only one (actively) paying  attention is Butch, and this is still several minutes before he decided to join the goings-on.

Wondering where Mouse is during all of this? There he is at right – grazing on the edge of the arroyo. Another reason to show this – are you getting a sense of the size difference between these colts, one born in 2007, the other in summer 2008? It’s not great, but it’s enough to acknowledge. If Twister wasn’t an orphan, would it be so noticeable? If Twister wasn’t an orphan AND Storm wasn’t the son of an alpha mare who had no foals since Storm (because PZP-22 worked on her) and has been able to care for him exclusively these last couple of years – opposite ends of the spectrum – would it be so noticeable?

As Storm and Twister learned each others’ moves, there was some of this …

… and some of this …

… and eventually a few moments of this …

… and this. 🙂

They were by no means done. Duke waded in not long after this – followed closely by Cuatro – but his main attention seemed to be on Mouse, and soon after, Twister and Storm had apparently sufficiently rested to start again. Butch eventually joined briefly, too, and Gideon, which you’ve already seen pix of.

SO much more to this than the “obvious.” What significant, subtle conversation(s) am I missing? I’d wager it’s much more than I’m able to “see” and/or interpret.


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!

Stallion knot

4 03 2011

What’s going on here?

Yesterday was so full and beautiful and amazing I hardly know where to begin.

It started with sunshine and boys, but shortly after sunrise, clouds from the southeast rose and stretched and covered the sky in a single wide band that just so happened to block the sun. What kind of punch would these photos have had otherwise, eh? The good news is that it didn’t last all morning or all day, which turned again nearly clear, very sunny and very basin-beautiful.

You all know – I hope – that I don’t post photos of stallions fighting just to show pictures of stallions fighting. The above photo is to get you in the mood to see photos of stallions – young stallions – play fighting. It was an amazing thing to witness. Three bands were present – two family bands and a bachelor group – and the youngsters played while the elders observed, took care of business and seemed to “referee” (in Duke’s case). Twister, an orphan colt who will be 4 this year, was at the center of it all.

He’s with elder Duke, whom he seems to respect absolutely, and with youngster Cuatro, his bud. Cuatro will be 2 this year, and though he was intensely interested in what was going on and was frequently in the thick of things, he wasn’t the center like Twister was. Just fascinating behavior. (By the way, I didn’t name Twister as any sort of storm or hurricane reference but after Oliver Twist, orphan).

Hook’s band passed on the ridge above, with Hook observing. Steeldust once sent errant Fierro back to him, and Hook jumped in to snake him back to the band. Otherwise SD stayed out of it. Butch left Luna’s side briefly to engage Twister – then right back to Luna’s side. Interestingly, Steeldust gives Alpha plenty of space; Butch seems to need to be right with Luna all the time – talk about not-so-passive “leadership”! It was Luna who finally decided she’d had enough – maybe a long enough nap – and simply walked away, and that was the end of that. Not. I went on to visit another band, and I could hear squeals every now and then from beyond the ridge. Duke’s boys followed Luna, too … and Kreacher’s ended up close by. Hook’s meandered off on their own.

So do you know who’s in the picture above?

Mouse is in front. I’d guess him to be probably 7-8?

Storm is at left. He’ll be 3 this summer.

Duke is in back. He’s probably at least older than 10 (maybe a few years older than 10?).

Cuatro (2 this spring) has his face in Twister’s cheek at left (Twister will be 4).

They’re on uneven ground, moving, moving, moving … but can you get an idea how big Storm is? He was the first to walk out to meet Twister – Twister let him come and met him just in front of where he, Duke and Cuatro had been watching the band come. It’s not a fair comparison, really. Twister is an orphan (as I found him after the roundup), and Storm’s mother is an alpha mare and has been nursing him until fairly recently (I’m not sure whether that continues, but I don’t think so) because PZP-22 worked on her, and she has had only Storm to care for and nurture these past almost-three years. Healthy mom, extremely healthy colt. How will that affect his chances at stealing – and keeping – mares? Just something to make ya go “hmm.” 🙂

Earlier. 🙂

Elder and younger = friends

2 12 2010

Two stallions, one younger, one elder.

What makes a friend? Care? Compassion? Comfort in the other’s presence?

By any definition, these two – elder Duke and younger Twister – are friends.

Is there any doubt? Different ages, yes. Bachelors, yes. Friends, yes? 🙂

Their paths have crossed lots of times this year, but they haven’t stayed together consistently. They’ve been together – with younger Cuatro – the last couple of weeks. In human terms, I like knowing they’re together. On their terms, I think they like being together. The youngsters have a wonderful mentor in wise Duke.

They’ve been hanging out with Hook’s merry little band lately, and that’s an interesting story as well because Hook tolerates them almost like they’re in his own band. Duke keeps his distance, but Hook doesn’t seem to mind the youngsters’ proximity.

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 11 2010

I am so thankful for the opportunity to get to know these incredible wild creatures. They give me so much more than I could ever return.

I am thankful …

I am thankful …

I am thankful …

I am thankful …

I am thankful …

I am thankful.

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?