Burnt Timber Update, April 15, 2012

I let you know what I saw at the end of the day on Sunday up Burnt Timber ( New Foal), so I thought I would fill you  in on the rest of that day.

We started each day up the Dryhead, starting at 7:00 am.  I will let you know what I saw in the Dryhead on another post.  After spending some time there, we headed for Burnt Timber and were heading up Burnt Timber Road on Sunday by 10:00.  I was surprised at the lack of snow.  There was none.  On my last trip in March we encountered several feet on the road and could only go a few miles up the road.  (See my post: Burnt Timber March 3 and 4, 2012).  We traveled up the road about 7 or more miles before we saw any, and then it was just patches in the trees.  I hope the mountains get some late spring snow fall.

We were almost to the area where we had to turn around in March (because of the deep snow), when we saw Jackson’s band.  Most of the band was starting to go up a very bushy draw.  Firestorm and Brumby were down the road a little ways from the rest of the band.

Firestorm, April 15, 2012
Firestorm, April 15, 2012
Firestorm, April 15, 2012
Brumby, April 15, 2012
Brumby, April 15, 2012

They were heading up the draw pretty quickly, so I did not have a lot of time to snap these shots.

Galena, April 15, 2012
Galena, April 15, 2012
Galena and LeDoux, April 15, 2012
Lander, April 15, 2012

I have had a few people (who have never been on the range) ask me why I did not follow them to get more photos.  Well, it goes back to my post about Camping in the Pryors.  Please read this if you have not.  It is about respecting the horses.   It simply was not worth disrespecting them for a few more photo opportunities.  These people also felt I should have walked out and taken more photos of the new foal.  Again there are two things here.  If you have never been to the Pryors you don’t realize the lay out of the land.  If I had chosen to hike closer, they could have been gone in a draw or ravine and I would not have seen them.  If they had been there, they most likely would not have liked me being there with such a young foal.   But, again, it goes back to respecting the horses.  I feel lucky that I am allowed to spend time with them and I take whatever they choose to give me at the time.  Sometimes they give me a lot and I need to move away from them, sometimes they want to move away from me.  I have horses, I think over the years I have learned how to read their body language.  I transfer what my horses have taught me with how I act around these horses.   You learn to read their body language and follow that the best you can.

I did not see Jackson or Kaycee.  Kalahari was there, but I realized that my ATV was parked in such a way to make Brumby and Firestorm uncomfortable and unable to get to the rest of their band easily.  So while I was backing up the ATV out of their way, I missed getting a photo of Kalahari.

We continued up Burnt Timber to the first water guzzler.  This opened up to a big meadow.  The sun was shining and it was protected from the wind.  It was a perfect place to be on a cold and windy day.  We saw Cloud and his band there.  I parked and we hiked in towards them.  I had someone ask me today if I felt the horses learn to know me.  I think the answer is yes.  I do feel that as much as I go they do remember me and know I am OK.  This was the case of this band.  Once they realized who I was and we would cause them no harm, they settled in to just being horses and enjoying the day.  We spent over two hours with them.  While most of the adults napped in the shade of the bushes, the young horses enjoyed some play time.

The first horses I saw were Damsel (Dancer) and Innocentes (Ingrid).

Innocentes and Damsel, April 15, 2012

I thought Innocentes look better than the last time I saw.

The next horse I saw was Feldspar.  She never stopped eating while I was there.  She looks very pregnant.

Feldspar, April 15, 2012

While the adults grazed or napped, the younger members played.  Young Lynx was the first to try to get Kierra to play with him.  Watching him, he reminded me of a pesky younger brother.  When I first saw him that day I wondered why he was missing so much hair on his butt.  After watching his behavior, I quickly realized why!

Lynx, Kierra and Jasmine, April 15, 2012

Kierra decided to take a break and investigate something on the ground.

While she did that, Lynx decided it was time to bug Jasmine.

Then suddenly Kierra picked up something on the ground and flung it up in the air!

It surprised all three of them and they stopped and just stared!

Then Kierra decided to pick on Lynx.  This is how he was losing his hair!

Then it was on to investigate a bush and then to the water guzzler to hear the cool sounds it made when a hoof hit it.

While these 3 played, Feldspar and her daughter Krystal grazed.

Krystal (Agate), April 15, 2012
Feldspar, April 15, 2012
Krystal (Agate), April 15, 2012

After the 3 youngsters drank from the water guzzler, they headed over to nap with the adults.

Jasmine, April 15, 2012

Then suddenly, for some reason only known to her, Krystal decided to run full speed from where she was towards the sleeping group.  That caused everyone to run for their lives.  I just happened to have my camera pointed in the right direction at the time and was able to capture the moment.

Cloud was the only one that did not run and looked for what might have scared her.

Cloud, April 15, 2012

Not finding anything, everyone settled down.  They were all awake now, so they started grazing and moving on to another area.

Mother and Son. Innocentes and Lynx, April, 2012
Cloud and his band, April 15, 2012

As they moved further away, we decided we would continue up Burnt Timber.   We had not gone up the road far, when around a bend in the road we found Doc and his band.

Demure, Jenny and Broken Bow, April, 2012

Broken Bow kept a very close eye on us while we were there.  Doc barely lifted his head from eating.  At first I thought he had several wounds that were healing on him.  But after looking closer it appears that it is mostly dried mud on his side and neck.

Doc, April 15, 2012

Broken Bow, April, 2012
Broken Bow
Demure, April 15, 2012
Jenny, April 2012
You can see Cloud's band in the background. The water guzzler is on the right.

We continued up the road several miles before we saw more horses.  They were pretty far away.  It was Custer and his band.  Everyone was there.

Custer and his band, April 15, 2012

We continued further up the road.  There were patches of snow under some of the trees.  We would have liked to gone all the way to the top, but there was a storm coming in pretty fast.   So we headed back down the mountain.

As it turned out, it was a good thing we did.  That was when we saw the new foal.  If you missed that post you can click here: New Foal.

It was a good day.  But it was not over yet.  We were out of the range and heading down the dirt road.  As I came around a bend in the road there was a little baby calf.  He had somehow gotten through the fence away from the others and was trying to get back in.  I don’t know how he got out.  The barbed wire fence was really tight.  I did not know how he would get back in on his own.  So we stopped.  I thought about going to the house to let them know, but in order to do that it would have involved a few miles to go around the roads to get there.  I was afraid that this little guy would panic and hurt himself on the fence.  I have worked with cows several times on horseback, but never with a truck.  I took what I knew from that to help herd this little guy to safety.  I thought I saw a gate up the road a short way, so I drove up there.  I had Brigitte get out and open the gate, staying there so no more got out.  Then turned around and went back to the baby.  Cows have a “bubble” around them.  Some are more sensitive than others.  I wanted him to go slowly towards the gate, not panic and run the opposite way.  So I went slowly and watched his moves.  He did just as I hoped and headed towards the gate.  He went down in a ditch along the road once, so I had to get out of the truck and go over towards him and move him back up on the road.  It really went easier than I thought it would.  I motioned Brigitte to go to the other side of the road, away from the gate.   I was pretty sure this guy would not go in with her standing right by the gate.  I inched the truck forward.  Just as planned he scooted right in the gate and back to his mom!  Boy was he happy!  Boy were we happy!

It was a good day.

More updates on the Dryhead, Sykes and another time up Burnt Timber soon!

Remember you can click on the photos to make them larger!

13 thoughts on “Burnt Timber Update, April 15, 2012

  1. Great to know the horses are using and getting used to the guzzlers. Should be helpful to the ulitmate goal of better health of the Range. They all look so nice. THANKS for a peek into their world again.

      1. awww..;/ thanks for the update btw, I love it when we get to learn more detailed about the behavior of specific horses. Feels like I get to know them even more:)

  2. Great to see them looking so good and more foals on the way — thanks. It sounds like it was a good visit for you, too. Looking forward to the Dryhead update…

  3. Sure looks like Firestorm’s time for foaling is near. (She appears to have plenty of milk.) Maybe that’s why she didn’t seem anxious to have company. Interesting to see how light she gets with her winter coat. Love the pics of the youngsters and their antics. Looks like Kierra found a dead rabbit to toss around. The pics are all great, and those of us who really care about the horses understand and appreciate the way you respect the horses on THEIR range. Their welfare must come first. Kudos! And I AM anxious to see the Dryhead pics! Thanks again for sharing.

  4. Even some of the people that have been to the range don’t understand how to read the horses and not disturb them. I don’t mean I have seen people chasing them off at a run, but after observing the horses in an area for a while I have seen people get in close or among them for photos and watched them start grazing away. The people followed and the horses kept slowly going. I am sure that many would say the horses weren’t disturbed, because they kept eating and never ran. Maybe disturbed is the wrong word. Their behavior was altered, though.

    I have also seen photographers set up right on the waterhole near the cabin. The horses still ran in, but they stayed much shorter and at least to me looked a little nervous.

    That being said, I am sometimes fairly close to the horses myself. It is always as I read on the blogs, on their terms. A lot of times, if you try to approach them, they move on. On the other hand, if I am standing and they know I am there, they will often inquisitively come closer to look, or just pass by and ignore me. Each horse or stallion with his harem is different, too. Some horses, like Juneau, always seem to want that real close look. Cloud, Jackson, Cappuccino etc have always seemed very easy going. Duke or Custer have always seemed a little more aloof, at least the times I have seen them.

    I wanted to do 2 photos very similar to each other after 2 trips ago, and still haven’t, showing slightly different body language; which I think is key to knowing how the horse, or any animal, feels about your presence. I was watching Kalahari and I could see the back leg was sort of in that “I don’t quite feel so uncomfortable to run, but not happy you are there” position. By backing off a little the leg shortly went to a natural position and the horses all went about business as usual. I always feel good leaving an area with the horses doing what they were when i came and just being themselves; or being there before them and having them come and go on their own.

    Great explanation of why you didn’t follow the horses and also the on the camping in the Pryor’s post. I love the photos of them around the tents in that one. It is the best way to start a Pryor morning, although their munching throughout the night is a little louder than people that have not had a chance to visit may imagine.

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