Dryhead and Lower Sykes Report from Lori

On Saturday December 1, Brianna and I headed out to the Lower Sykes Area and hiked all over. We found Hidatsa and Johnston. They were busy eating whatever they could find and did not seem to mind us taking lots of photos of them.

December 1, 2012
December 1, 2012


They both look to be in good shape and so that is a good thing as we are now going into the hardest months for the horses. I do love these pictures though as you can see the vastness of the range in this area. Unfortunately, we spent so much time hiking all around here that we did not get to go up Burnt Timber road. We are supposed to get some bad weather and so I don’t think I will be able to get up there for a while now. I also don’t want to go that road alone and it is difficult to find others who want to venture up into the Pryor’s. Wish you were here Sandy, I know you would go with me!

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We then went out to Mustang Flats where we saw Issaquah, Hawk and Chief Joseph (I think) They were so far out that I could not tell for sure. Then we drove right by some deer and one posed just for me.

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Wednesday seemed to be the lucky day for me for finding some of the horses that I have not seen in a while. Especially Merlin!

Merlin, December 5, 2012
Merlin, December 5, 2012

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But the other group that I love to see was Seattle and his harem. Seattle does not like to be seen and always snakes his harem away from sight. This day was no different and I snapped these photos as Seattle & Co. were heading off to another hiding place.


Seattle and band, December 5, 2012
Seattle and band, December 5, 2012

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As they were heading out into the vastness of the Flats, Kemmerer turned and posed for me! I just love him, and am so happy that he is still on the range!

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Kemmerer, December 5, 2012
Kemmerer, December 5, 2012

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I also thought I would include some updated photos of Liesl, Kaibab and Exhilaration that I took on December 1.


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Thank you Lori for the photos and report!  I wish I had been there too.  Liesl and Kiabab look like they are thriving under your care!  Liesl is getting so big!


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell


79 thoughts on “Dryhead and Lower Sykes Report from Lori

  • So glad you found Merlin doing well!! Hopefully next time you try to get up BT you’ll be able to. And maybe since Merlin showed himself to you, Dancer may do the same if you get up there! Wouldn’t that be nice 🙂 Liesl, Kaibab, and Exhilaration are all looking great. I can’t believe how great Liesl looks! She really is doing so much better and seems to be very happy with her new life. Was Strawberry still with Seattle?

      • Yep Sarah…I guess Strawberry may be back with Fiero since I have not seen him Cascade or Bakken. We will just have to wait and see.
        the Pryor’s had quite a bit of snow in the last two days, so I dno’t know how the BT road will be…probably not good for awhile!

      • I think Blizzard has Cascade and Bakken back now. Or at least he did. Ginger said she saw them together in the last TCF newsletter. It also seems that those girls are pretty independent and basically do what they want haha

    • That was the end of October when they saw them with Blizzard! So who knows. Hopefully Lori will see them soon. I am thinking Strawberry is probably back with Fiero, but then again, who know! 🙂

      • Haha those girls seem to be the ones in charge and all the boys are just chasing after 🙂

  • I’d live to try the trecherous roads with you! 😀 LOL But maybe in a year or two or three….. 🙁

    • They have always done really well for me. The BLM gave them really good grass hay (300.00 a ton) and we also have really good grass hay for them. As far as any other feed, the first thing I do is get them used to liking a special sauce I make of Beet Pulp, flax and Rice Bran. It takes them a while to like that, some are faster than others. But from there I can add their wormer or if they need medication for whatever reason, that can go in their sauce too. I also add some probiotic to their sauce.

    • Your welcome Joy! I don’t know if they checked her for cataracts, but I do know the vet who checked out all of the horses and he just said that she can see out of her left eye better than the right. He did not seem to know the cause, but another gentleman who I met a couple of weeks ago seemed to think that she may have gotten kicked right in the middle of her head causing her this “handicap”. He noticed an indentation there and I have noticed it too.

    • poor little Liesl, she went through so much in that one year she spent on the range. I wonder when it happened. If it was before she got seperated. With Garcia being a new band stallion, she may have gotten too close to a scuffle involving him and another stallion challenging him. It could explain how she ended up getting seperated if she was already blind. I guess, like with many things out there, we’ll never know for sure what happened.

      • More likely it happened during her time with Bristol and Kitalpha — Linda has several photos of her in June without the scars, and I believe when she saw Liesl with them, they did not really get along. She was alone when she was removed and had the injuries then.

      • No Joy, actually Liesl was not alone when she was removed. She was with Kitalpha and Bristol. Kitalpha and Bristol made a run for it before they could get the gate closed on them. Thanks goodness for that though, because Kitalpha would have been removed.

      • Quite possibly Joy, I guess we will never know for sure how and when it happened.
        She had some wounds or scrapes on her head when she was removed and also some sticks in her bangs. So were those the wounds that caused her loss of eye sight? Not so sure, I would guess having seen her, that perhaps that wound was because of her loss of eye sight. She did get separated from her Greta and Garcia at some point, so if I was to make a guess on when it happened, I would say then. But, it is the wild, and like I said, we will never know for sure. When I look back at Linda’s photos of her, the way she is holding her head up (she does that a lot now to see better), I would say she was lacking eye sight then.
        If you would like to look at those photos I have posted the link:http://wildinthepryors.com/2012/07/17/removal-update-july-17th-2012/

      • When those pictures were first posted I had noticed she was holding her head oddly. I’ve noticed too that she still seems to do that. And I had thought maybe the cuts on her when she was removed was from her walking into things. If only she could tell us what happened. I’m so glad she’s in such a great place now though! I’m looking forward to your next post on how Kiowa and Kootenai are doing too!

    • There are two different things being discussed here… I was referring to the deep scar/indentation Lori mentioned. She didn’t have the injury when Linda saw her, but yes, had several later. It is assumed she was kicked out by Garcia for being different or wandered away, already not being able to see. But as everyone says, we will never know for sure.

  • Only hay for a government entity would cost $300/ton… 🙂 🙂 🙂 Good to see all the horses. 🙂
    I think Hidatsa likes being the object of a camera. 🙂 Wish I would have been out there hiking with you.

    • You are probably right Linda! 🙂 But this needed to be weed free and that part of the state had a huge hay loss due to fires and drought.
      Lori and I always think about you when we are out there hiking.

      • Also it is probably a situation for them where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they bought lower quality hay, people would have a fit that they are feeding the horses crappy hay, then if they buy the best, people complain they are spending too much …
        It should also be noted again, that Britton Springs is in an area that requires “certified weed free” hay only.

      • Yes…Sandy is right Linda..widh you were here too…I am always thinking of you when I am out there!
        We did get some real good grass hay and then some local farmers sold the Center some good mix, although it is mostly Alfalfa…they seem to do just fine with it and they both like it better than the grass. We have also been feeding both Liesl and Kaibab mare/foal pellet food which is high in protein and good for them. I have wormed them twice so far and I think they will be good until spring/summer as far as the wormer. The stuff I bought was in the form of alfalfa pellets and so I just mixed it with their food and they both ate it up. Of course I had to stay and make sure they each ate their own portion and it worked just fine.

  • PS ALL great pics Lori, and I LOVE to see how great Liesl and Kaibab are looking all well-fed and hairy for winter. Liesle looks like such a little teddy bear. 🙂

    • Thanks Linda!!! She is a fuzzy one…Kaibab is starting to get a little fuzzier too, but we have had such a mild Fall…now it is getting colder and the snow has started to fall…all of the horses will now get their winter coats growing. I just love that!!!

  • I would like to share just one of Lori’s photos on fb so that I can let people know that there is “not enough land” in these mountains for 150 horses…

    • Actually Peggy, personally I do beleive that there is enough land for 150 horses, but you are welcome to share that photo. There are other places on the range that do not look like that, but since the Pryor’s did not get enough moisture last winter or spring the horses are going to have a harder time finding food. They have been surviving for several hundred years on that range and I expect that they will continue to do the same. I would also love to see some range expansion in the northern part of the park where they used to be able to go a few years ago. There is lots of forage in that area. Also if the Forest Service would let the horses go where they used to go for many years, that would help, especially in situations like this when there has been very low moisture content. Maybe this year will be different. For now the horses look great and so that is why I do believe that there is enough land to up the AML to at least 150 adult horses. This is a very controversial subject!

      • Very well put Lori. It is also important to note that the Dryhead where these photos were taken is a desert. It does not suport the number of horses that the rest of the range does which, if I’m remembering my ecosystems correctly, is alpine medows.

      • Hi Livi, The Dryhead is very desert like, but those horses can and do go up the mountain pretty far to access lots of excellent forage (up Sykes). All the range progresses from desert like to meadows on the very top and a few along the way (especially on the Sykes side). But not really alpine meadows that one would imagine. The Pryors have a LOT of rock which prevents lush grass to grow. Because of that, the range needs to be closely monitored, because recovery of over grazed areas are hard and in some cases impossible.
        It is good to have you back on this blog commenting Livi! 🙂

      • Thanks for the information, Sandy. I’ve been enjoying reading the blog, but I haven’t had time to comment. Hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll have time to be more involved in something more than schoolwork.

  • I know what you mean about them being “damned if they do and damned if they don’t”. In some people’s minds, they’ll NEVER do the right thing, no matter what it is. It’s just that big government has a way of making everything way more complicated and costly than it would need to be, and American citizens are more than happy to inflate their prices when they deal with them. Since I can’t do anything about it, I may as well have a laugh or two. And, yes, weather conditions can make huge differences in the cost of feeding livestock. It’s one of the biggest issues I struggle with in considering adopting any horse. I don’t want it to have to adapt to yet another home because I can’t afford to care for it.

    If only we horse supporters could come up with a workable solution to the uncomfortable horses/land ratio that exists today. I know that there are safeguards in place to protect the future of the herd from catastrophic events, but it’s still less than ideal to have the numbers that are in force now. When I am completely retired, I swear I’m going to find a way to be more effective as an advocate for them, and I don’t mean by jumping up and down and having tantrums.

    In the meantime, the horses and the people who love them are doing a pretty darn bang-up job of holding on for dear life. Kudos to all 🙂

    • I thought your idea of people donating so much per head, similar to the cattle situation, in order to support them grazing on the land that is their home, was pretty good. Each HMA could have their own fund. At less than $2/horse, it’s pretty reasonable.

      • If only some folks with power and money would pick up on the idea and see if it could actually be workable…

      • I agree Linda. Your photo links are up on the right. I don’t know why, but your 2011 and 2012 were listed on different pages on Flickr, so I just made to links to them.

      • I found it pretty interesting that, in the recent article about Callie Hendrickson, there was a solution suggested similar to your idea, only the money would go to the RANCHERS to take care of the horses! Don’t get that… “She would like to explore the creation of a ‘virtual adoption’ program. Those who want to save horses could pay ranchers an annual fee to care for them.”

  • Ditto from me too LInda! While I agree “tantrums” do not help the situation at all, in fact it probably hinders things a bit. There is a lot to say for scientific data that helps the BLM manage these herds, but there also needs to be the passion that drives the decisions. A healthy balance of both and it needs to come from the people who love these horses and all wildlife. Some of us have been chosen to be the voice for the ones who cannot speak and we do our best!
    I just last night had an interesting conversation with Will Tillet (father was Floyd Tillet) and learned a few things that I did not know and some of those things I maybe did not want to know! There is quite a bit of controversy still to this day concerning these horses, but for the most part the locals want them here and I am sure would join in any effort to save them if ever the situation arises again.
    BTW…Sandy, I like the snow flake effect on your site.

  • Yep, Lori PASSION is ESSENTIAL, just not what I call “tantrums”. More than one definition of that 🙂

    I would love to have been in on that conversation you had with Mr. Tillett. I’ve tried to learn all there is to learn about that situation, but still feel woefully ignorant about the REAL facts from the ground up. I’m really looking forward to Christine Reed’s book coming out, also, to add to my facts to consider. I am with you in spirit—for sure. 🙂

    I like the snow effect, too, Sandy, but the bottom of my screen keeps flashing.

    Did I ever put the flickr link on here to my pics from 2012? I’m thinking I didn’t, so if anyone wants to check them out my photostream is at Linda Janusheske-Dombeck. Those snowy ones from “the first day of summer” are great for the winter months on my calendar and Christmas cards. LOL!! 🙂 🙂 WHAT AN ADVENTURE that was, I have to say AGAIN!

    • Thanks Linda! I just tried to find your photos on Flickr, and for some reason I am only getting the ones you posted in 2011. Can you provide the link here for us all to see them. I may actually make a link on the side of the blog (under websites) so that everyone can find them easily! I am looking forward to seeing them! Yes, last June was right up at the top of most incredible trips to the Pryors! HA, only thing that could have made it better would have been some coffee! 🙂
      ps, I wonder why the bottom of your screen is flashing. Hope it is not because of he snow. Anyone else have that happening?

      • Thanks Joy. 🙂 I was gone after making my post and thought all one needed was the name for the photostream. I’m still pretty new at all this “linking up”. I hope others enjoy my pics as much as I do—EVERY time I look at them. 🙂

        I don’t know what the deal is with my flashing screen—this is the only site that does it, but I can deal with it. 🙂

        There WILL be HOT COFFEE next time, Sandy. I know the trick now. LOL! I could even deal with some snow again if it’s “in the cards”. I’m REALLY looking forward to sharing another adventure on the mountain with you guys. 🙂

      • I am going to provide both of those links of yours Linda on the side of the blog sometime today. Maybe it is the Pryor energy that is making your screen flash, either that or maybe it is telling you that you need to come back to the Pryors soon! 🙂

    • I still have a lot to learn too Linda, and I keep on running into people who give me bits and pieces of information. I should and will start writing all of this down.
      I am anxious to read Christine’s book also. It should be very interesting and informative.
      I wish I was camping up there with you both (last June) instead of just the day trip, but I would take any time on the Pryor’s!! This next year I will have a lot time to go up the mountain and do what I love to do…spend time with the horses and take photos, and, share good times with great friends!

      • I would love that Sandy, and I am planning on it!!!
        Linda, I will say it again….awesome beautiful photos!!!! You have that knack for snapping that button at just the right moment!! Thanks for sharing, again!!!!!

  • I’ll have to check out the Callie Hendrickson thing. Anything that would accomplish the goal would be worth looking into. Seems strange to me, too, to have it done “thru” the ranchers???! You would think it would have to be administered by the Forest Service, or Park Service, depending on where the land in question is located, with the horse supporters and ranchers just being co-renters or leasers, on equal ground. Last I heard, Forest Service and Park Service lands are public lands belonging to ALL the taxpayers, not just a single interest group. But, I’m interested in hearing about anything that will directly or indirectly benefit the horses. 🙂

  • 65 comments.. Love it 😀
    Thank you all for providing me with such good reading:) I’ve been looking at Linda D’s photos and they are so beautiful. Is it in any way possible to see the one with Hernando and Irial in higher resolution? IMG_5151. The two of them, posing like that in the snow, is the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in a long time.. Would love it as background on my computer:)

  • Since the subject of Liesl and her blindness has come up again, I feel like I should clarify my take on the situation, especially since, in retrospect, I think I now better understand what I observed.

    First, I have read and heard that it is not uncommon for foals to be injured, sometimes fatally, most always unintentionally, during the running and kicking of breeding or prebreeding activity between mares and stallions, with the possibility of a kick from the mare herself being the injuring blow.

    Now, I have stated that I didn’t feel that Liesl was very “welcome” with Bristol and Kitalpha. I did not, however, observe any overtly hostile actions toward her from either of them. It was more what they DIDN’T do…they didn’t whinny to her when they saw her off in the distance looking for them; they didn’t touch noses with her as is customary when she rejoined them wherever she found them; they didn’t go to where she was anytime I observed and they didn’t do mutual grooming with her. There were a couple of times that they displayed a little impatience with her being in between them—by the “expressions” on their faces and a little toss of the head, but maybe she couldn’t even “see” that.

    As I said before, while I observed her on the Dryhead, she got around fine without bumping into things or falling, but I never saw her try to RUN anywhere, which most likely would have been a different story. I did see her hesitate to cross a ditch, and ultimately decide not to, which makes more sense now that I know she was functionally blind.

    I would be willing to bet that the injury that caused her blindness was from early on in the stallion exchange experience and the later scrapes were from events related to the gather confusion and activity. But, like everyone says, we’ll never know for sure.

    One thing I DO KNOW FOR SURE is that she is one lucky little girl that she was gathered before something really bad happened to her, which would have been inevitable in the wild. I’m thinking that her “purpose” is to be a liason between the horses and the people who are interested in them and that she will be a VERY GOOD ONE. And, she has found the people she needs.

    • She is very lucky! Now she gets to be a Pryor Mustang Ambassador for the herd. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t fall in love with that sweet girl the first time they meet her! And she shows how hardy these mustangs are 🙂

  • I totally agree with you Linda as to when Liesl’s blindness occurred, and that is why she ended up separated from her family. She is one lucky little horse to have survived until the gather happened, or should I say she is one tough little survivor. She has a great home now and will be taken care of, and Kaibab seems to love her as I observe them doing their mutual grooming. I did not see her actually “run for quite awhile, but now every once in awhile she is running. I do believe that she never had a “normal” life as a foal and never learned how to play or interact with other horses. It is amazing to me now when I watch her run and try to play. She is learning and she is thriving in her new environment, her new home!! You are right again Linda, I believe that it is her purpose to be at the Center and to be a liason between the horses & the people, after all her name in German means “God’s Promise”!

    • That is great news, Lori, that Liesl feels secure enough to “kick it up a notch” in her surroundings! 🙂 I’ll be happy thinking of her having fun with her buddy, Kaibab. 🙂

  • I so enjoy all of your little expressions and nicknames, Linda. Such as: “The Three Musketeers” and “kick it up a notch”. It sure makes me smile!

  • Thanks Lori for the Dryhead photos! Sandy asked me to post to her blog about my book project and I plan to send something over the holiday break, including some photos. Sandy, thank you for keeping your blog! It is a great way to stay connected.

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