Ze & Asher update

8 06 2012

It has been too long since we’ve had an update about these two misters!

In Tif’s words: “Asher and Ze are still both doing incredibly well. Asher is now 9 months old, Ze is 3 years old. They finally play together! It’s so cute. It took Asher quite a long time to realize Ze wasn’t going to hurt him; it took Ze quite a long time to not feel he has to run everyone around. He’s definitely in charge here of everyone, but he does it with grace and ease. He’s amazing.”

It all starts around the water tub …

And then there’s an innocent little kiss …

Asher plays coy.

“I was told so many times that orphans don’t turn out well, they’re small, puny, misbehaved, etc. I’m thinking Asher is so big and strong because of the nutrients he got right from the start here. I was so worried about him, being 17 days old: Is he getting enough to eat? How is he going to fare with the others? Everything worked out as it was supposed to. We went from 2-hour feedings, to 4-hour, to 6-hour, etc. I kept him on all milk replacers until he was about 4 1/2 months old. He continued to get creep feed until he was 6 months old, and it worked! I’m sure the mustang genetics also played a role. He just is a success story and will continue to be.”

Ze goes for the leg – a tried and true tactic.

Asher plans a tactical retreat, but Ze is just getting started.

And the chase is on!

“Notice how BIG Asher is! He’s going to be incredible. He IS incredible. He was gelded at 6 months of age. It was time, and he recovered faster than even I expected. I vaccinated everyone here a few weeks ago. They’re up to date on worming and hoof trimming. Everything is as it should be.”

Rounding the back stretch!

And there’s the ambush. Cavalry to the rescue!

“I am truly blessed to have this experience, this opportunity. I have learned so much from these guys. Just when I think I have it all figured out, they teach me something else.

“Thanks, TJ and the Temples for your support, encouragement, knowledge and passion. Without it, where would we be?”

We think the same of you, Tif. 🙂

April 6

6 04 2012

In memory of a beloved horse who has been gone nearly 20 years now, a photo of a mustang boy who shares his birthday and is named after him:

Ze, adopted by my beautiful friend Tif and doing so amazingly well.

Today is a day that always brings me a little sadness, for the loss of my horse … a lot of celebration, for the wonderful years and adventures we shared … and a lot of hope, that everyone can experience a horse like him during their lifetimes. It’s also a day when our fortunes shifted for the better, when we met someone who altered the course of our mustang management for the better.

Happy Friday, folks. 🙂

Ze & Asher update!

22 02 2012

These ponies are doing awesomely well, and I’m happy to share some new pix and report from adopter Tif!

Asher – this view of him just makes me laugh because this IS the view of him, coming up, curious, wanting to know what you’re doing.

Ze and his lovey Pepper in the snow!

We had lovely weather in December and January – not very Colorado-like, but lovely – and now we have winter.

From Tif: “Ze and Asher are both doing great. Amazing animals they are. I haven’t done much work with them via the round pen because our weather here has been horrible! Icy conditions are pretty unsafe.

“I turn Ze out every day either by himself or with one or two of my other horses. Ze loves Pepper, most all creatures do, two and four-legged alike, so he’s with her a lot. I have to split her time between Asher and Ze, it’s like having a parenting schedule! Ze also loves my daughter’s horse Sundancer, who is about 30. He’s not so crazy about Asher at this point, some jealousy going on with Pepper stuck right in the middle.”

Asher with Quest, left, and Mimi.

“Asher gets turned out every day, too, with my gelding (Quest), alpha mare (Mimi) and whoever isn’t playing with Ze for the day!  🙂 I plan to get him gelded pretty soon. He still gets pellets morning and night and gets locked up at night, too. Bad things can happen around here at night, and we’ve had some pretty severe overnight weather. He is so big, it’s amazing. His forelock, mane and tail are coming in beautifully, and what personality he has! He is almost 5 1/2 months old and still going strong.”

“Both have had their feet trimmed, their vaccines, both are halter broke and can be handled very easily. Ze is wary, as is his nature, but my husband can go out and halter him when needed. It’s truly amazing to think where these guys were and where they are now. They’ve come so far.”

Ze with 30-plus-year-old Sundancer, sharing chow.

“BLM came to do an inspection awhile back. Asher was randomly chosen for them to check on. I suggested since BLM officials were already here to go ahead and do a checkup on Ze so he wouldn’t be left out! All in all things went well. I was very happy to know that our local BLM officials were doing the home inspections. This gave me peace of mind that our horses were being checked up on. Mine got the all clear … they won’t be confiscating them any time soon!”

“Both boys have just had their feet done again and did pretty good. Asher was a handful at first and then settled in okay. Still have lots of work to do with him and his patience! He’s big enough that his head can reach up and just about over a five foot panel. Ze did wonderfully, as I knew he would. He’s still funny about his left side with strangers, but he’s getting there. They’ve both come so far and are truly amazing.”

Yes, they are!! 🙂

“I promise to get better pics when we have better weather! A big thanks to everyone who is interested in these guys and who have helped in some way. We all appreciate it.”

And I’ll leave you with a photo from farrier day guaranteed to make your hearts melt:

“Pic of Keith (my farrier) and Ze – can you believe it?!?”

Awesome. 🙂

More Ze

2 12 2011

Part two of my recent visit with Tif, Asher and Ze.

What an amazing boy Ze is! To see the two of them together is just remarkable – they have their own magic. 🙂

This boy is such a thinker.

From Tif: “Ze … this guy has taught me quite a bit over the past couple of months.  He’s captured my heart, as is obvious to others!”

Oh yes, it’s obvious. 🙂

“I had him gelded, it was time. It was hard … harder on me than him I imagine. He came through everything fine, but we did have some mental setbacks. We’ll get through them. It’s mostly with strangers, but that’s to be expected. We’re back to our old routine of free work, long lining, going for walks around the property, playing with tarps, picking up and handling all four feet, ropes and pressure around his belly, like a cinch, and anything else I can think of to get him used to everything possible.”

The start of the tarp-play!

Unfolding the tarp – Ze doesn’t mind because there’s yumminess!

He follows Tif as she drags it into the round pen.

Not even raising it phases him.

He steps on the tarp to get the hay … and by raising it and shaking it gently, she can also get him to step back off of it.

No big deal for this big boy!

Maybe there’s still hay in there, he thinks?!

End of the tarp-play – he doesn’t look like he’s ready to be done, eh?

“He’s the most sensitive horse I’ve worked with, and my QH mare is sensitive, being able to sense when I clench my jaw, the slightest movement someone makes, quick to respond, quick to come back to me if something spooks him. Really amazing. We still have sticky spots at times, but I still can’t believe what this guy’s willing to do for me. I remember reading what someone else had written about what these guys react to, and it’s true. I have tons of experience with ‘domestic’ horses, these are my first mustangs, and mine do not react to things and situations the same. Something you’d think they should be fearful of, they’re not; other things that should be a piece of cake, aren’t. It’s been a great learning tool for myself, as well, as I’m always learning, always evolving.”

He wasn’t too thrilled with having his forelock combed out (and he does NOT like static shocks).

But he also wants to do what Tif asks of him. (Notice his lip, reaching for the reassurance of her arm.)

And here it is – the LOOK that sent us both into a fit of giggles! I was laughing so hard (and trying not to laugh out loud and scare him) I nearly dropped my camera – and I sure couldn’t take any more pix for a few minutes! Isn’t he fantastic?? 🙂

“Patience … not my strongest virtue, but I do not step into the round pen to work Ze unless I’m willing to have the ultimate patience, take whatever time necessary to work through something I assumed would take moments. 😉 It pays off, too. I’ll be ready to introduce him to the rest of my horses I’m thinking in a couple weeks, once his ‘studiness’ has totally subsided. Another milestone that I know we’ll come through with flying colors.”

Trotting around the round pen.

Showing off his “wild mustang-ness”!


“Stranger work has been essential with him, as he will do pretty much anything I ask, but get someone he doesn’t know next to him, and he’s a totally different horse. That’s where my farrier was integral in helping me through some things. Thanks, Keith, for your help. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. In addition to helping get Ze used to strangers, Keith also donated his time for Asher’s first trimming. He says it went well; I say the little guy was a handful! His feet look great, but it’s never too soon to start handling in every which way possible!”

This was from the beginning, when Tif was first getting ready to work with him. He did pretty well with this stranger!

“What a blessing Ze and Asher have been. Thanks to everyone for their support, their contributions to Asher, checking in on all of us. I want to send a special thank you to Pati Temple. Her guidance and tips on her experience with mustangs and their training really helped me with Ze. I tailored what she recommended to fit Ze, as I believe all horses are different, and I don’t think we would have been able to get through some of Ze’s barriers without her help. Collaboration is key, and the more we can help each other help these beautiful horses, the better off the horses will be.”

Beauty and her boy

Love. 🙂

Ze and Asher update

18 10 2011

I’m loving these updates! And I’m wondering how some of our other mustangs are doing, so if you’re willing to share, please do email me (mtbgrrl (at) fone (dot) net).

Tif reports: “Ze is doing remarkably well. I was able to get a halter on and off him twice today. He leads very well, still a bit touchy here and there, but wow, what he lets me do. He’s starting to get very comfortable, which can be a problem at times, always coming into my space, so I have to send him away and remind him who’s boss! I’m so proud of how far he’s come and how brave he is. He amazes me each and every day. How did I get so lucky?  :-)”

Getting him used to a string over his head and neck.

Getting him used to how a halter will feel in anticipation of this …

Look at that!

Love them! This boy, at 2.5, is a study in patience. He has come a long way and is clearly bonded to Tif. I soooooo love to see them together!

She lights up like a star when she talks about her boys, and the updates I get lots of are balms to my heart.

Little Asher also is awesome and growing like a weed!

“He’s doing great. Still loves milk and drinks it like crazy. Obviously he’s halter broke and does okay with it. The blanket is new and he’s not too fond of that yet. I explained to him he’ll appreciate it when it gets into the 20s again! He’s a sweetheart, learning that I’m not a horse and he can’t jump on me. 😉 He still hangs out with my gelding Quest, who just adores him, and my mare Pepper, although mostly it’s the ‘boys’ hangin’ in the upper pasture. He’s grown a ton, he’s had his first month old shots, which he took like a trooper, and all in all seems to be in excellent health. The mornings are his favorite time, when he gets let out to run around like a crazy kid. This morning, he got running so fast, right to the gate, and did a sliding stop about 6 inches from it. Heart attack! Man, he’s so athletic at almost 7 weeks old.”

We’ve already had snow here in Colorado, but lately the weather has been gorgeous, typical beautiful autumn.

Asher, Tif, Selene (sp?) and shadow of 10-year-old Madison! Saintly Mr. Quest in the background.

My beautiful, beautiful friend and hunka baby Asher!

How did she get so lucky? The universe returns what we put into it, and this lady has put so much of her heart and soul into advocating for our Spring Creek Basin mustangs, her “luck” amazes me not one bit. 🙂

Ze and Asher

5 10 2011

My gorgeous and huge-hearted friend Tif adopted Chipeta’s colt-  and has named him Asher (meaning “blessed”) – and Ze.

They are all doing so amazingly well. Every time I listen to Tif talk about them or read about them in an email or SEE her with them and them with her, it just about explodes my heart, it’s so beautiful. I wish this kind of wonderful, loving home for all our mustangs. Things come to us on life’s journey for a reason, and I believe that so firmly in this case, especially.

I visited them the other day with my camera and, with Tif’s permission, am sharing some of the pix here. Clearly, these two mustang boys are adored and loved!

Here’s what she says about them:

“My ‘boys’ are doing great. The foal has been named ‘Asher’ meaning Blessed. He and my paint mare are attached at the hip. They amaze me. She is his surrogate mom, teaching him how to be a horse. She disciplines him, protects him and checks on him constantly. Asher runs in the upper pasture everyday and comes in at night. He is incredibly strong and beautiful. He still gets milk three times a day, he’s eating foal pellets, but is really liking grass/alfalfa hay. He also has an unlimited supply of water on hand. His cuts from the fence are healing nicely and he’s ready for his month old shots. I hate to do that to him, but he’s in a much better place to handle it. I plan to keep him on the milk until he’s at least two months old, then we’ll see where he’s at. He is a regular foal, not wild at all.  I have the best of both worlds, the genetics of a mustang, but the taming of a domestic, if that makes sense.
“Ze is likewise incredible. I go in with him several times a day. He joins up with me, follows me everywhere, takes food from my hand, wants to be so close at times that I have to back him away. I have touched him and sometimes still do, but that’s still on his terms. He has the most soulful eyes; he’s curious, inquisitive and so wanting to be with me when I’m out there. He drinks water like crazy and loves food. Go figure!! I have the wonderful native grass hay that I got from the Temples and he loves it. I’m transitioning him to that from the certified grass hay. He’s still wary at times, which is to be expected, but he touches me, nuzzles me, tries to take my hat off, etc. Still on his own terms, but that’s how it’s going to be for awhile and I’m fine with that.”

Asher was taking a nap when I arrived. He’s in a cozy pasture with foster mom Pepper and big stepdaddy Quest. Look how shiny-beautiful he is!

Asher and Pepper, who has never had a foal of her own, bonded almost immediately after Tif brought him home.

Isn’t he just gorgeous?

She’s feeding him the “foal milk” and mashing up foal pellets, and he likes hay …

… and for comfort, sweet-girl Pepper.

Baby loves his two-legged foster mom, too!

Ze is doing amazingly well. There’s a super-obvious thread that connects him to Tif and vice versa, and it’s awesome to see.

Do you SEE it?? I love their expressions looking at each other.

Eating hay from her hand.

Licking her hand.

She does go in the roundpen with him and sits and works with him.

So quiet and patient … and he’s absorbing every bit of it.

Out, out, darn bar! But I love this image, still, because of their bond – so clear. They’re exchanging breaths.

If you would like to update me/readers about the horse or horses you’ve adopted, please drop me a note at mtbgrrl (at) fone (dot) net. I would love to hear from you.

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.


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.


24 05 2011

A couple of “miscellaneous” and several from an evening.

Piedra and Briosa looking south … I think that vibrant green cottonwood makes the whole scene. 🙂

Ties of family are strong, blood or no. Liberty and her mother, Molly, spent time with Bounce’s band shortly before Molly died in the fall of 2009. Afterward, Liberty went back to the band … then ended up with Cinch in the fall of 2010. Gaia ended up with them over the winter (January 2011?). Gaia is 3 (Alegre’s daughter, Bounce’s stepdaughter), Liberty is 2 (Seven x Molly). It’s not a huge surprise these girls ended up back together. 🙂

Sundance and Hollywood in sync.

I ended up right on the road in a great position to watch some awesome dynamics playing out. From a distance, I had seen Sundance (recently separated from Mahogany, Eliana and Aspen) with Sage and Ze, two young (2 years old) bachelors. Hollywood’s were close – as were Hook’s band.



Double trouble on the bubble – Sage and Ze wisely kept their distance, but all the boys – and girls – were well aware of them.

Sisters Hannah (bay) and Ember

Part of the magnificent background of Spring Creek Basin – Knife Edge, McKenna Peak and the unnamed promontory …

Hook’s band – Brumley Point in the background …

Fierro, Hannah and Sable. Hollywood actually stole Hannah briefly when she was a yearling (by briefly, I mean around an hour or so). That was shortly before she followed sister Ember and half-brother Pinon to Hook’s band … followed shortly thereafter by Sable.

Hollywood about to greet Pinon …

Hollywood left Piedra and Briosa for quite a long while during this melee … He later chased Sundance far to the east, and Hook’s and Sage and Ze eventually followed, and Holls eventually went back to his girls.

What a day!


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.