Discovering that Lakota was injured (LAKOTA), was really hard. At times I felt myself thinking of only him. But I did see many other things and so I would like to share them with you.
I met my friend Linda just outside Bridger, Montana at the bottom of Pryor Mountain road. Linda had never driven up to the top of the mountain and I was happy to show her the way. We planned on camping on the top for 3 nights. We chose to go up this way for a few reasons. The biggest one was I felt it was the easiest way to go.
We encountered at least 50 ATV’s on the way up. That was pretty depressing. I always worry about people harassing the horses, and I hoped that none of these had. I did see one of them off the road as I drove unto the range. There are signs that clearly state that you are to remain on the road. Perhaps this guy could not read.
As we went over the cattle guard unto the range, I looked up along the fence and saw several horses up on the hill.
We decided to keep going to our campsite. If there were no horses in that area we planned to come back here and hike back to these. But we would not be doing that. There were plenty of horses for us to watch there. It started to rain. Seems it always rains when I am here. But I was glad for the range to be getting this moisture.
The first band to greet us was Custer and his band. I like Custer. He seems like a really caring stallion, always watching out for everyone in his band and taking good care of them. I was also very impressed with how Kaibab had grown. This must be his year. I have been worried about him for the last year. He just seemed to be so small, but that seems to be a thing of the past now. I am really happy about that. Little Leo seems to be in the pesky yearling stage and even bugged Custer a time or two. Custer was very patient! The photos are a little dark. It was still raining!
The next band we saw was Galaxy. Galaxy has just become a band stallion in the last 6 weeks. His new band was from the stallion, Prince. I would see Prince the next day.
I am very impressed with Galaxy. He seems to have slid into the role of band stallion very easily. He is a caring, and protective stallion. He is Lakota’s son after all, and he seems to have inherited all of Lakota’s greatest features. Everyone seemed to be content with him.
We would see them again the next day. It is still raining, but the next day I got better photos of Galaxy and his band that I will be sharing when I write that post.
Off in the distance I could see Blue Moon and his band and also Gringo who now has Tecumseh’s band. Tecumseh was near them. We would see Gringo and Tecumseh a lot in the next few days.
We continued down the road to Mystic Pond. Custer and his band had made it there at about the same time.
The rain had not stopped and the wind was starting to blow, so we decided we should go set up camp before it got worse. By the time we got there, another band was waiting to greet us, Baja.
I have not spent a lot of time with Baja. But what I have seen of him, I like. He runs a very strict band, and is very protective. He does not tolerate disrespect among his family. When I last saw them in May, Juneau and her foal were not with him. He had them back now. Jicarilla was pushing Juneau and her foal around and Baja quickly put a stop to that.
I could see Baja look to his right. He then urged his band to move on.
Down and to the right of Baja, I could see a head coming up the hill. It was Fiesta. That was why Baja was making his band move. Fiesta wanted to cause some trouble.
It was over with fast. Fiesta retreated and Baja trotted off to catch up with his band and keep them in line.
We looked over the small hill and saw Fiesta, Horizon and Juniper. With them was Joviana and her colt. Juniper seemed to really like Joviana and her foal. She even played with the foal off and on. Joviana looked really thin. I was worried about her. I was also worried how Juniper interacted with the foal. But then the foal would seem fine. It was almost as if the foal was Juniper’s and Horizon. The foal would go with them, leaving Joviana behind. Joviana never made a move to interfere or try to get her foal back by her side. It was almost as if she did not have the strength. I wondered if she even cared. The foal seemed too young to be acting this independent. The whole time we watched, I never saw the foal nurse, which also seemed odd to me. But yet he had the energy to run around. I hope the colt and Joviana will be okay.
Then the colt took off running with everyone following!
Horizon and Fiesta had a brief discussion and then they all were gone over the hill.
I wondered how long this band would last like this. We would see them again several times over the next few days, but at a distance.
We then decided to head towards Kreuger Pond and see if the horses had moved down from where we had seen them when we first entered the range several hours earlier.
The first band we saw was Doc. Doc is another stallion that I admire. He seems to take good care of his band and is a good father, even to foals that are not his own. Today was no different. I could see that he had formed a close bond with his stepson. I have wondered how Doc came to lose his band from last year. It consisted of Gold Rush, Ketchikan and his son, London. I wondered if he still had them if Gold Rush would be with him now. Gold Rush has been missing, and I am beginning to lose hope that she is still alive.
Broken Bow, Demure, he son, and Jenny were his band now. He seemed very attentive and they seemed content to be with him.
We looked past them and saw every horse that we had seen on the high hill above, down low by the fence. This was really hard to see. I don’t like this fence, it was installed the fall of 2010. The horses were used to going into the Custer Forest, especially this time of year, and the way they were lined up at the fence, made it clear to me that is where they wanted to be. I hope that someday something can be worked out to move this fence down further.
We wanted to stay longer here, but there was yet another storm coming. It was raining pretty hard now and it was starting to get dark. We headed back to the campsite.
After the storm passed we had a beautiful sunset. A couple of bands of horses walked by us. It had been a great first day.