Steeldust update

25 10 2011

He’s home! His forever home, with Melissa and his grandson Varoujan, now called Banjo. Can’t tell you all how my heart sings with this news.

From Melissa: “I sprung Steeldust from prison yesterday and got home at around 7:00pm. I pulled the trailer around to the round pen and Banjo came running up whinnying & greeting his granddaddy. I unloaded the Boss, and they nuzzled through the fence and greeted each other. I checked on them all night as they stayed side by side through the fence as the weather moved in & it spit snow & was windy. This morning I let Banjo into the pen with Steeldust and he did a run in a circle around him kicking & farting. I moved my chair into the pen along with a small pile of hay I placed under the chair. Banjo came trotting right up to eat of course. About 5 minutes later Steeldust decided I wasn’t going to eat him alive and cautiously came up and began to eat out of my hand. He had been here less than 12 hours but is eating out of my hand. I keep going in every hour or so to sit & offer more handfuls of hay. He has certainly lost weight in Canon City and he is ribby & hippy and sunken in a bit.”

How’s that for a 20-year-old former wild stallion! Banjo at right.

It’s a process …

Love this. 🙂

Feeding them both.

Banjo and his granddaddy, reunited.

More from Melissa: “You really CAN see his true age up close especially by his head & eyes. When I picked him up, there was a vet there drawing blood from the new group of horses. They put him in the squeeze chute to put his halter on and load him which went very fast & easy. His teeth are VERY worn. The vet said they need to be floated when he gets to the point that he can be handled but said that he is in remarkable shape for a 20 year old wild fellow who had held his position as a band stallion for so long. He concurred with the other vet that Steeldust is indeed around 20 yrs old and they put down 1991′ as his foaling year on the paperwork. He is a good size with nice strong, straight, long legs with good feet & canon bone. His eyes are hollow with weight loss and age but are very kind. He is not quite the fire breathing dragon right now in spite of his full body scars that give you the impression that he is. (we’ll see what he’s like when he gets weight back on him) but he is currently NOT the aggressive fellow that was expected after so many years as a fighting band stallion. It is expected that it will take about 20 months for all the testosterone to be out of his system. (one month per year of age) But I don’t have any mares anyway or any reason for him to feel the NEED to fight. I may not need to put up the extenders on the top of the pen if I don’t pressure him too much during the gentling process. Banjos presence seems to give him comfort & confidence without the need to fight for anything.

“There is weather expected and we should get a few inches of snow tonight. Last night I mixed up some bran with hot water & mixed in sweet mix and chunks of carrots & applesauce and mixed it all together in a hot mash with crunched up hay in a pan and gave that to him around 4:00am. It was all gone this morning so now that he has the taste for it, I will be able to give him a hot bran mash every night to get some core heat going during this cold snap till he can start to put some fat on. Our winters at 9,600ft can be bitter cold sometimes and this old man is going into winter without a lot of fat reserves on him.  I am hoping he settles into a peaceful retirement here in the mountains and am glad he didn’t end up in a can of dog food somewhere. He is truly the poster child of the tough, hardy, intelligent, wild mustang that belongs to America. I feel honored to have such a iconic old warrior in my front yard and be able to give him a safe place to live out the rest of his life if it was not to be as a “wild one”. As an old man he would probably not have had a very pleasant or comfortable end in the wild and his days as a band stallion were coming rapidly to an end. Here he will at least be well fed & cared for for the rest of his life as well as sharing it with a family member in Banjo.”

Happy days for this valiant elder. SUPER update! 🙂

Varoujan – now named Banjo

17 10 2011

A great update from Melissa, who adopted Varoujan, now named Banjo.

In her words: “As for the horses that have made their way into new homes, it sounds like there ARE a lot of happy ponies & people. We are definitely one of those happy families. Here are some pics of Varoujan (Banjo). He is really doing well. In these pics, you can see the things we have been working on, leading, bathing, the big soccer ball, trailer loading, picking up his feet and getting loved all over. He gets his exercise by ‘free following’ us when we go for rides. I was gone for 10 days doing the Tevis Cup 100 mile endurance cup race and so really didn’t start a consistent training regimen till I got back, and Geeze Louise, he was ‘doing it all’ in 48 hours. He is very level headed and brave. Not skittish at all and loves to be scratched. It is amazing how much he like the HOSE! Too funny. His color is constantly changing but when he is having his baths, it looks like he is really going to be a dark steel grey color next. All of his nicks and scrapes from the round-up & his initial trailer ride are coming in with a dark coat. He will be the ‘mystery horse’ for what his FINAL color will be. I will keep you updated on his progress.”

Easy to see that he loves the water!

I’ve heard from a couple of adopters that their mustangs can’t get enough of the clean, fresh water.

With the BIG soccer ball!

Calmly walking right into the trailer.

These ponies are SO smart.

Brushing for extra handsomeness!

I think Melissa takes the cake for “most beautiful location”!

Melissa and Banjo – LOVE the update! Thank you!

Cinch’s band – and distractions

11 09 2011

Cinch’s band, from left: Spook (3), Gaia (3), Cinch and Liberty (2).

In keeping with my random thought process, seeing Spook makes me think of Bruiser, which makes me think of Duke, which makes me think of the other bachelor boys. Which has nothing to do with Cinch’s band.

Duke was very near the bands up in the northwest … I think he has been enjoying the company. The horses have been rarely in this area in the last few years – the forage is usually good, but the water is not. The northwest pond is still on the list to be dug out, but it filled (as much as it was able, as shallow as it is) and held water quite awhile this summer (it’s down now to mud), and so horses have been taking advantage of it – and wandering between it and water that comes up in seeps in Spring Creek, particularly in and near the canyon, which isn’t far away. When Duke was hurt a couple of years ago (and lost Raven and Corona back to Kreacher), he favored this area … now he’s sharing it with lots of company.

Isn’t he handsome??

Bruiser, after losing Spook to Cinch, wandered between alone and with the young bachelor boys. He was with them, and they were with Chrome’s – playing with young Mr. Hayden – who will soon celebrate his second birthday, which makes him five months younger than the oldest and 2.5 months younger than the next youngest. (These boys being, in order of age from eldest to youngest (they’re all 2): Ze, Sage, Cuatro and Milagro.) Aspen was with them, then alone, the week before … but I haven’t seen lone Sundance for a couple of weeks.

Other things distracted me from a visit with Chrome’s and the boys, so no pix of them.

Speaking of distractions …

Hi, Varo! See how dark he’s gotten? His family was also on the hill, very close to Cinch’s. I napped with them later and studied the clouds and tried not to think about the trapsite, behind and below them.

So much of the day was trying to distract myself with the horses … knowing what’s coming, knowing they do not … Pretty freakin’ hard.

And back to Cinch’s. I think they were watching Mouse and Steeldust … Steeldust is dominant again – still? Cinch and the girls held their ground for a while, then the hill became too crowded (Hook’s came up, too), and they retreated to graze.

It all makes perfect sense … and I am in need of distractions. As positive as I’m trying to be, because it’s necessary, I cry often …


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.

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.