Late July In The Pryors

Baja's Band and Garay's Band, July 22, 2013
Baja’s Band and Garay’s Band, July 22, 2013

After four short days at home, I headed back to the Pryors for a 3 day camping trip with 4 other woman.  It was a great trip in many ways and I made some new life long friendships.

When I was there just a few days before, the horses were concentrated more on the big open area and surrounding trees not far from my camp.  This trip was different.  When we arrived on top the only bands we saw were Garcia and Doc’s.

After setting up camp, we headed towards Kruger Pond.    There were a few horses around on the way and a few at the pond, but for the most part it was very quiet.  One of the things that I did notice was that Lariat was back with Garay.  We would see her come and go in that band over the course of our three days there.  Duke always seemed to “bring her home” for the night.  Then she would be allowed to go back to Garay in the morning.  I am sure it will be a permanent situation soon.  Lariat seems to enjoy being in the band and the other mares (Quelle Colour and Kohl) seem to really like her.


Chino, Grijala, Jasper and Custer
Chino, Grijala, Jasper and Custer


Garay, Lariat and Kohl
Garay, Lariat and Kohl
Quelle Colour
Quelle Colour

For this trip, the horses would be in the North Woods, we would spend hours each day hiking and exploring that area.  It was a nice change and it was fun to see the horses mixed in with the trees.

I remember talking with Matt one day, several years ago, about how the horses can just disappear and not come out all day.  He said “you just need to know where to look”.  Then a silence followed.  I never asked where and he never offered.  I often think of that conversation and was glad he never offered the information.  There are some things that need to be earned, and I believe that was one of them.  I now am pretty confident I am beginning to know “where to look”.    One of those paths led me to a Vision Quest site that I had never seen before.  The Pryors are a very special place and sometimes words just can not describe it.  The full moon on this trip even added more to the beauty it already possessed.

Full moon in the Pryors, July 22, 2013
Full moon in the Pryors, July 22, 2013

With Lauryn’s (TCF) directions we were able to locate Damsel’s remains and say our goodbyes to her.  This was also the anniversary of Lakota’s death, so we spent some time with him as well.  It doesn’t seem like it has been a year since his death.

Damsel, September 1, 2012
Damsel, September 1, 2012

On my last day there, I spoke with Ryan (BLM) and he told me they had found Starman’s remains.  We followed the directions he gave us, but only found what was Cabarate and band (I already knew their location).  I am hoping to get better details on those directions so that next trip I can locate him.

Starman was the first wild horse my husband Bill ever saw and he was also a frequent visitor to my campsite.  I will miss him.

Starman, July 2011.
Starman, July 2011.

Below are a some of the photos that I took while there.  On the last day as we were packing up.  100 horses came running past us into the open area that they frequent.  It was a special gift to see, but I also appreciated the special gift they had given me the previous days.  Looking for and finding them in an area I had not spent much time in.

I have a few weeks a home and then I will be heading back for another 10 day trip.


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Mini Cappuccino!
Mini Cappuccino!


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Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

53 thoughts on “Late July In The Pryors

  • Beautiful pictures as always!!! Sequoyah is so beautiful in that picture you took of her. And I love the close up of Feldspar and Encore running up the hill. Mandan looks good. It’s nice to see Doc’s band up close. All of the horses are really looking great right now! I love all of the pictures of them running, I bet that was a sight to see! And also the ones of them playing the water. I swear it’s in their DNA to love that water haha! I think Larait will end up staying with Garay permanently soon like you said. I’ve noticed many fillies transition that way. I think it must be a conflicting time for some of the band stallions. The desire to look after and protect their young daughters conflicting with the desire to let them go once they’re old enough. Haha in that picture of Doc charging the bachelors it looks like London’s expression is similar to “DAAAADDDD, it’s meeeeee!!” Haha! Does LaBrava pay a lot of attention to Nickel since losing Nacer? I also noticed in one one of the pictures where Diamond is grazing with Half Moon and Missoula that there is also another black horse with them. Does he have a new mare? I hope Hailstorm and Felina foal soon! Looks like Dove is pregnant again as well. Thanks for the update and sharing your beautiful pictures!! 🙂

    • Thanks Sarah. No, Teton’s band is the same. That black mare was most likely Polaris, as they were grazing close by that day.

      I have a special place in my heart for LaBrava after sharing that day with her. She did not ignore Nickel, nor did she really pay him any mind. One day London walked near her and she seemed very interested in him. We all hoped (although of course he is too young to have a mare) that they would go off together! HA Maybe someday.

  • Also, I think you mentioned somewhere earlier this week that the Dynamic between Horizon and Fiesta seems to be changing. I wonder if it’s partly because of the addition of Tonopah. How do she seem to be fitting in with the band? I noticed her and Jewel (buckskin) are both grazing close together with Horizon. I was wondering if you had the chance to spend some time with this band.

    • Tonapah adds a very much needed balance to this otherwise carefree trio! They are much quieter and don’t go storming into other horses business like they did before. She has become their strong lead mare and everyone seems to like her there. I think this is giving them the guidance that they needed to become a stronger band. Fiesta was more and more on the outside of them, which made me a bit sad. Though it was interesting to see one time when Horizon went off to play with the “boys” and Fiesta stayed behind. But he really let Horizon know how he felt about him leaving to go goof off. He chased him around the pond area and they nearly took out 3 people (not from our group). One of the woman had to make a dive for it to get out of their way.

      • I’m sure she can teach Horizon many things. Jewel too. I’m sure she would be a great help to Jewel if she’s still with them whenever she foals for the first time. Behind many of the great stallions there were great lead mares.

  • Do you think Sequoyah could be pregnant?? Do you know what month Kane was born?:)
    Love the photo with Nirvana, Miocene and Halcyon lined up;)

  • And it’s so sad to hear about the finding of Damsel and Starman even though it was expected.. he was found on the mountaintop? When do you think it happened?

    • Hi Anne, I never found Starman, so I need to get some clarification of where he might be. So without actually seeing his remains, I have no idea when he died.
      I don’t know what month Kane was born. This time of year it is really hard to say if they are pregnant or fat. Many of them look pregnant, including some of the stallions! HA

  • As hard as it is to find the remains of a horse you’ve loved it does at least give a definitive answer to wether they are gone or not. I think I would have a much harder time seeing the body of the horse opposed to seeing the clean bones after much time has passed and knowing who’s the were. As much as I knew the chances were slim, I still had the hope that Dancer would stroll back into view this year as if she’d never been gone. I’m glad that Starman has 3 beautiful daughters to carry on his line. Has there been any news on Two Boots?

    • No, I have not seen Two Boots. Still holding out some hope. If I don’t seem him next month, I will believe he is probably gone. I did look back at the post Lori did in April when she went up with Shawn. That was the last time I believe anyone saw him. He did not look good then.
      Yes, and I have Starman’s granddaughter.

      • I do remember seeing a picture of him in April looking thin. It was surprising to me because he always looks so good and went into winter looking great. I had been thinking he would be like the stallion Flash who lived to be 27.

    • It is hard to see the horses that died when there is still hide on them. But I always want to do it so that I have some very clear identifying photos for my records.

      • I think it’s one of those double edge swords. You want to know for sure, but it’s hard to see them that way. I’m assuming there must have still been some hide on both Dancer and Starman (even though you didn’t see him) for them to be identifiable. Was there any indication of a foal with her, or that she did die foaling?

      • No Sarah, I could not tell any evidence of a foal. It was pretty much just bones. The only hide left on her were her two white hinds.

        I am still waiting for better directions from Ryan to see exactly where Starman is. There would have to still be some identifying hide on him to make a certain ID.

        Do you remember if anyone ever saw Starman after he was moved back on the range in October? I know I did not and I am pretty sure Shawn did not. I contacted Lauryn, and she was not sure if they had. She was going to let me know after she reviewed their notes.

      • I think I remember someone seeing Starman after he was back on the range. I like never delete e-mails after I read them so I should still have all the TCF newsletters in my inbox somewhere. I’ll do a quick search through them.
        I’m thinking Starman most likely died over the winter so if he body was covered by snow it wouldn’t have been exposed to the elements like Dancer’s was so that may be why he’s still identifiable.

      • The area that Ryan lead us too, were only of the bones of Cabaret, so I need to see if perhaps I missed Starman somehow. The 5 of us (plus Nancy and Kassi) walked that area that he directed us to and did not find him.

  • These photos are marvelous, as always! I cannot imagine the thrill of being surrounded by the majestic scenery and horses! It must be nearly hypnotic to watch them. Your words transport us… Thank you, Sandy!

  • Great post and pics Sandy, from what had to a great trip. And, may you have many more! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Also, RIP Damsel; and RIP Starman. Now he can roam freely with no fences to keep his spirit from the forest lands he loved. Hope Two Boots shows up, but things can change quickly with the older horses, like they did with Tony, who looked pretty darn good not long before his apparent demise. I guess there’s not much hope for Prince, either, is there?

    • No, I believe Prince is most likely gone as well. The photos of Two Boots in April did not look good, but I was hoping he could bounce back. He will be missed too (but I am still holding out some hope for him). I am glad Two Boots spent most of last summer showing the young boys some of his wiseness. His valuable knowledge will help them become good band stallions.

  • Great post and photo’s Sandy! I am sad as well for Damsel, Starman, Prince, and possibly Two Boots, and of course little Nacer. This is the way of the wild and life in general, but still difficult to swallow sometimes. At least they all are running wild and free in the spirit world and can never be captured again!! This gives me some peace.
    Thank you Sandy for your dedication to these beautiful wild horses and their home!!

      • Maybe you could a collective post of the horses that are now gone or believed to be gone. A collection of pictures of these horses from the people that enjoy being a part of this blog. You, Lori, Shawn, Linda, Ahn, Nancy, etc. Starman, Dancer, Prince, Kindra, Meadowlark, possibly Two Boots… The past several months have taken many loved horses from us, including little Nacer and Demure’s filly.

      • Hi Sarah, Yes, I was planning on doing a post like that. Most likely in September. I still want to give it a little more time before we give up on some of them.

      • Yes, I would definitely love for Kindra, Meadowlark and Two Boots to pop back up. I was hoping maybe Kindra was hiding out with Bristol and Kitalpha. I was excited to see their new foal, but disappointed that Kindra wasn’t with them. You know, I don’t think Jemez has been spotted in quite some time. Maybe he has one of the girls with him.

  • Okay so this just made me smile…Sandy I was going to ask the name of one of the new foals in the Pryors…I think it is my New favorite since Kayenta was removed. I counted the pictures from bottom to top and the photo number is my all time FAVORITE number :). 32….what foal is this the gorgeous almost liver chestnut with an awesome blaze. Picture of the foal leaping to the right broadside by himself…herself?

    LOVE this foal.

  • Is that “mini Cappuccino”, McKeahnie??!! Holy cow he has grown up!!! Absolutely beautiful little colt!!! Love all of the photos of the little ones. I do love the ones of Doc chasing the bachelor boys out of the water…so cool! And yes Sarah…London looks like he is saying…”but Dad!!” 🙂

  • Yep…sure is and I just love Cappuccino…now his son looks just like him and will carry on his wonderful bloodline!! Thanks Sandy!

    • He sure is a mini me! I’ve also noticed that Lily inherited Cappuccino’s distinctive pointed should bar. They’re identical!

    • Hi Sharon,

      It appears that this band (who was used to living on the Custer Forest) was trapped on the top of the mountain in the 2010-11 winter. They were trying to get back to the land that they were used to wintering on. Since the new fence was put up in the fall of 2010, they were unable to go there and died together on top of the mountain, next to the new fence.

  • Lovely photos! I was just the other day revisiting some of my own photos from the Bighorn Canyon six years ago, including some of the horses and now coincidentally stumbled upon your blog.

    I couldn’t help but notice in one of your photos what looks like a couple of the Pryors nibbling on spruce trees. Is it common that they do? Do you have any theory of why? We have Nokota horses that we brought to our farm in Sweden from the North Dakota plains and they immediately developed a taste for the spruce after growing up not knowing it. I’ve heard people say that spruce has deworming properties and I could believe it.

    • Thank you so much! I can’t really say that I have seen them eating the trees, but I will have to pay more attention to that. I have watched them use them for scratching their tummy’s! 🙂 I will let you know what I find out on my next trip.

      I will also do some research to see what properties they may have.

      Thanks again!

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