August in The Pryors. Part One.

Galaxy, August 18, 2013
Galaxy, August 18, 2013

I just returned from 9 full days in the Pryors.  I spent time on top of the mountain and in the Dryhead.  I thought I would make one, maybe two posts, but after going through my photos and realizing that I was way over 200 photos and still had a few days left, I decided to break up the posts in several parts.

Maia
Maia

We arrived on the mountain top the afternoon of August 18.  Not a horse was in sight on the top.  Not too unusual, but that pattern would continue for the entire time we were there.

We were just done setting up camp, when I noticed some horses in the trees nearby.  It was Galaxy and Teton’s band.

Both bands were the same and all looked really good.  They moved on after about an hour.

Limerick
Limerick
Hera and Galaxy
Hera and Galaxy
Ireland
Ireland
Galaxy
Galaxy

 

Half Moon
Half Moon
Missoula
Missoula
Teton
Teton
Maia
Maia
Maia
Maia
Limerick
Limerick
Hera
Hera  

We then decided to head down to Kreuger Pond.  The only water source on top that still had water (besides the guzzler way up on top).  I really dislike hanging out by the water source and waiting for horses to appear.   But we would find that for this trip, it was some of the only times we would be able to see the horses.

The sun was about to set.  There were several bands hanging down by the fence.  I spent my time looking through my binoculars instead of taking photos.

We saw Baja, one of the bands that I expected to see a new foal with.  But poor Washakie was still pregnant.  I have a theory on why I think she is so late this year.  Meadowlark was born late July 2012.  When Washakie went into her foal heat, the gather was still happening, or had just finished.  I feel the stress from that kept her from conceiving then.  Putting her to conceive a month (or more) later than she should have.  I really hope she foals soon.  With every passing the day, the likelyhood of a foal going into winter so young is not good.  The survival rate decreases.  Because they lost Meadowlark last winter and also several from the removal, I would really like to see a healthy foal that lives this year.

The one band that we did spend some time with, just before it got dark, was Custers.   I could not believe how much Nodin had grown in just a few short weeks.

Nodin
Nodin
Winnemucca
Winnemucca
Nodin
Nodin

IMG_0364

The next day would start off watching a few bands graze down the hill from the pond.

Firestorm
Firestorm
Jackson
Jackson
Jackson
Jackson

From there we decided to take a long hike.  I had been wanting to go up to Bigfoots valley (the empty meadow) again.  It had been 2 years since I had hiked up there.  That is where a water guzzler is with a lot of great forage.  It still baffles me why the horses do not use it.

My plan was to hike up to the ledge and continue along the rim, looking for other Vision Quests (or Fasting Beds).  I then was hoping to drop down to Kreguer Pond and catch the horses drinking there in the afternoon.

The air was heavy with smoke from several nearby fires in Yellowstone and some of it was even coming from fires in Idaho.  Our view was not as clear and dramatic has I  before.

After stopping and paying respect to what was left of Bigfoots remains, we continued hiking along the rim.

View along the ledge at the top.
View along the ledge at the top.
Bigfoots Meadow
Bigfoots Meadow

IMG_0450 IMG_0452 IMG_0460

We continued to hike as far as we could along the rim. Then came to a thick woods area.  I picked a small path to follow. The path lead us to a  huge Vision Quest and a very apparent Fasting Bed.  It was a very secluded spot, not something that someone would just stumble on.   We did not stay long, it was a very sacred spot, that I felt I did not belong in.

By the time we arrived at the pond, several bands were coming to drink.

Morning Star band
Morning Star band
Custer and Band
Custer and Band

IMG_0569

Running for the water
Running for the water
Coronado's Band, including Santa Fe
Coronado’s Band, including Santa Fe
Santa Fe
Santa Fe

IMG_0578

Coroando's Band and Cloud's Band
Coroando’s Band and Cloud’s Band
Jacksons heading in.
Jacksons heading in.
Jacksons
Jacksons
Jacksons
Jacksons
Firestorm and Niabrara
Firestorm and Niabrara
Maelstrom and Niabrara
Maelstrom and Niabrara

We went back to camp for some dinner and a short break, then came back down and spent sunset with the horses.  There was not another human on the mountain that night.  Just us.  The horses were so relaxed and at peace.  It was one of the more special times I have ever shared with them.

IMG_0668

Noble
Noble
Lariat.  Back with her band.  I never saw her back with Garay this trip.
Lariat. Back with her band. I never saw her back with Garay this trip.
Meriweather
Meriweather
Noble
Noble
Noble
Noble
Naolin
Naolin
Naolin
Naolin
Manuelita
Manuelita
Naolin grooming his sister
Naolin grooming his sister
Naolin
Naolin
LaBrava
LaBrava
Manuelita
Manuelita
Baja and Washakie, August 19, 2013
Baja and Washakie, August 19, 2013
Washakie
Washakie
Amethyst
Amethyst
Sunset, August 19, 2013
Sunset, August 19, 2013
Dove and Maneulita
Dove and Maneulita

The days were getting shorter.  Darkness was coming fast.  We headed back to camp.  Tired from our hike, but filled with a peacefulness that only a mountain empty of people, but full of wild horses, can bring to you.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

24 thoughts on “August in The Pryors. Part One.

  1. Great post, Sandy! Thanks for sharing. It IS hard to be brief with this stuff, isn’t it, when there’s so much you want to share. 🙂

  2. Your posts continue to be inspired by the beauty you witness in the wonderful Pryor horses. You really write from the heart in such wonderful way. I really miss everything we saw up there but continue to live through your post. Thank you very much

  3. Love that photo of Jackson – those beautiful black-tipped ears. Great assortment of foal photos, really can see their markings. As always, thanks for sharing.

  4. AWESOME post Sandy! Can’t wait for more! I love Nodin’s mane! And how much Maelstrom and Niabrara look alike. Too cute 🙂

  5. Absolutely beautiful photo’s Sandy!
    Great foal shots, and my, how they all have grown!
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    I sure hope Washakie foals real soon.

  6. I have to admit I was happy to see you would be doing several posts. I like it when you have time to give us those extra details. I know you are very busy though! Maia looks so much older than just a yearling! She also has an interesting roaning pattern going on right now. Love the picture of Galaxy and Hera together. Very sweet! Electra really is just so stunning. Definitely one of the most beautiful mares on the mountain. I was thinking about it and there’s really no other red roans on the mountain that have her coloring. I was also thinking about how Galaxy’s mother, Quelle Color, is a chestnut so maybe if he and Electra did produce a foal it could potentially be a mini me of Electra. Wishful thinking! Nodin has transformed! not even just in size, but in color too! He was still hanging on to some of that baby fuzz last time and now he is definitely a grullo! It’s amazing how their color can completely change. As a baby he looked like he was for sure going to be a dun, or possibly even bay. Love the picture of Cloud’s and Red Raven’s bands together at the pond. I love to see stallions who have a mutual respect for each other and their bands can share close space (grazing, ponds, etc) without much dramatics. I also find it amusing though when the three brothers (Diamond, Cloud, Red Raven) like to antagonize each other a bit with little skirmishes. Haha I swear they do it because they’re brothers! It’s cute seeing Niobrara and Maelstrom together since they both look so much alike. Love both of the sunset pictures too!

    I’m wondering if maybe Lariat was in heat (possibly her first one) and that’s why she was seeking Garay out. Did you ever see him breed her? Maybe after she cycled she decided she wasn’t quite ready to leave her family yet. Another random question about her that I’ve been meaning to ask you, does she have any hint of a limp when she runs? I know she healed that broken leg and I’m pretty sure she seems totally sound on it, but I wasn’t sure if when she was really running the motion wasn’t totally smooth.

    And looking closely at the pictures of Washakie, it looks like the muscles along her topline and butt have become loose and are more slackened, kind of drooping down way. Haha I can’t figure out how to word that right! But that is a sign that she is VERY close to foaling. She may have even foaled since you left, if not it should be soon.

    1. Thanks Sarah! I have not noticed Lariat with a limp. She seems to be moving just fine. But I will make a note and really watch her when I am there next. To be honest, I had really forgotten she had injured her leg. She seems a bit small for her size, but otherwise very hearthy. I saw Garay make several attempts to breed Lariat, but I never actually saw them. I am fairly sure they did though.
      As of last night (a friend is on the mountain right now), Washakie has not foaled.

      1. It amazes me how resilient these horses can be! Oh Washakie, come and foal! I really hope this one is healthy and that it gets to live out a long life on the range. All of the Baja x Washakie offspring have been removed. Fettuccine was their first, I’m not sure about the “G, H, I” years whether there were foals or not, but I know there’s none of them on the range, and her 2009 foal died shortly after being born, then Lucachukai and Kachina were removed and sweet little Meadowlark disappeared.

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