2013 In The Pryors. A Year In Review.

Jasper and Grijala
Jasper and Grijala

Wow!!   It is hard to believe that another year has slipped away!  Thank you all for supporting my blog and facebook page.  I truly feel blessed in so many ways.

2014 looks to be a great year and I am looking forward to spending many 24/7 days with the wild ones.  In July alone of this next year, I will be spending 23 of 30 days on the mountain.  While it will be hard to leave my family, it will be incredible to spend that many days with the horses and share them with people that have never seen them before.

In August, beside my camping tours, I will be guiding a trip for some Natural Horsemanship Students from U OF M Dillion, MT.  What a joy that will be, to share these horses with like-minded people.  I can’t wait, and I feel so privileged to have been asked to do this.

There are a few camping spaces available for next summer click on CAMPING TOURS, to see those.

So let’s take a look at some of the things that occurred on the mountain in 2013.

Hailstorm
Hailstorm

January 2013

I did not go to the mountain in January of 2013.  Brianna did a great report on the Dryhead horses for then.  you can click on BRIANNA to go there.  The report gave us some information on the Dryhead horses.  Those bands seem to change day to day, even in the summer.  You just never know what you will see.

Shawn gave a couple reports, one for New Years day.  There was a bit of a change there.  Garcia had Kitalpha then.  It was great to see photos of her.  You can click on SHAWN if you would like to read that report.

January is the month where I do posts on “Who will have Foals this Year”, so stay tuned for that.  I also do a post called the “Name Game” where I ask everyone to suggest names for the new foals.  This year will be an “O” year.  Starting in 2000, the BLM started using the alphabet to name the foals.  It is an easy way to figure out how old a horse is simply by seeing what letter their name begins with.  So start thinking of those names.  We try to keep it somehow related to the mother or band stallion in some way, that way it is easy to remember what family they came from.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but for the most part, we try to stay on a theme.

Nye, April 30, 2013
Nye, April 30, 2013

February

I could not wait to get back to the mountain and made my first trip of the year in mid-February with my friend Anh.

The Pryors had received a lot of snow from top to bottom and even on the very lowest of parts of the range, the snow was 1-2 feet deep.

Sitting Bull, 2-18-13
Sitting Bull, 2-18-13
Lower Sykes, Feb.-2013
Lower Sykes, Feb.-2013

The snow made our travel difficult, but I was determined to find horses.  The snow was too deep to drive very far up Burnt Timber Road, so we hiked for miles looking for horses.  We were able to find a few bands, including Jackson and Cloud’s band.  Jackson had an injury and I left the mountain worrying about him.  These horses very easily have worked their way into my heart, so I do worry about them.  In the past I have tried to remind myself that they are wild, and have taken care of themselves for many years, but it doesn’t make it any easier NOT to worry.  That is just the person I am. I have quite trying to change that.

Moorcroft licks Jacksons wound.
Moorcroft licks Jacksons wound.
McKennie, Feb. 2013
McKennie, Feb. 2013

I got my last look at Two Boots, age 25.  He was last seen in April.

Two Boots, 2-17-13
Two Boots, 2-17-13

Our day on Lower Sykes was all hiking.  The road had drifted shut and we could not drive up it at all.

Lower Sykes area, February 2013
Lower Sykes area, February 2013

You can read more about my February trips by clicking on Burnt Timber and Lower Sykes

Sunset over the Pryors, 2-18-13
Sunset over the Pryors, 2-18-13

March

March brought another trip to the mountain for me.  This time I was able to make it almost to Cheyenne Flats with the ATV.  The bands seemed to be staying the same for the most part.  There were a few temporary switches here and there.  Santa Fe had Firestorm for a brief time, then he had Cloud’s son, Mica for a short while.  While I was there in March, I worried that Mescalero was trying to take Teton’s band.  I was glad I was wrong on that one.  But Teton will be 20 this next year, so it is bound to happen, a day I dread to see, as he is one of those stallions that I don’t think will take the loss of his band very well.

Mecalero and Teton spar with Missoula inbetween.  March, 2013
Mecalero and Teton spar with Missoula inbetween. March, 2013
Jesse James, March 2013
Jesse James, March 2013
Galaxy, March 2013
Galaxy, March 2013
Doc and Mandan, March 2013
Doc and Mandan, March 2013

April

April came with the new discovery of the first foal of the year (first found anyway), Noble.  Daughter of Helenium and Duke.  She was discovered by the NPS.  She has grown into a stunning filly and I look forward to watching her grow. You can read about all of the foals born in 2013, but clicking on 2013 FOALS

Photo by NPS
Photo by NPS
Noble, August 2013
Noble, August 2013

My trip in April came at the end of the month, where along with my friend Anh, we discovered 3 new foals. Nodin, Norte and Nye.  I never set out to actually find new foals, they just seem to present themselves to me, and each one is a wonderful experience.  A bit hard to put into words.

Nodin, April 30, 2013
Nodin, April 29, 2013
Norte, April 29, 2013
Norte, April 29, 2013
Nye, April 30, 2013
Nye, April 30, 2013

Anh and I braved the Sykes Ridge Road trip, to see two of those foals and several other horses I had not seen since the fall before.  One of those bands was Hidalgo, who had recently acquired all of Fool’s Crows band.  It was very much worth the tense drive, you can read more about that trip by clicking on SYKES.

Hidalgo and band, April 2013
Hidalgo and band, April 2013

Anh and I also witnessed a frantic Doc, when Cappuccinno took her just a few weeks before she was to foal.  It was heart breaking to hear his cries for her.

Doc searches for Demure, April 2013
Doc searches for Demure, April 2013

Cloud was dogged by Santa Fe and the young bachelor, Jupiter.  Nothing was accomplished that day or this past year, but with Cloud turning 19 this year, it will be happening soon.  Another one that will not take retirement lightly, I am sure.

Cloud and Santa Fe, April 2013
Cloud and Santa Fe, April 2013
Jupiter, Cloud and Santa Fe
Jupiter, Cloud and Santa Fe
Innocentes and Feldspar, about a week before she gave birth to Nimbus.
Innocentes and Feldspar, about a week before she gave birth to Nimbus.
Cloud, April 2013
Cloud, April 2013

May

The month of May brought the birth of six new foals: Nimbus, Niyaha, Nirvana, Naara, Niobrara and Naive (decreased).  Bringing the total number of foals born to ten, with nine of those still living.

Nimbus, August 2013
Nimbus, August 2013
Niyaha, June 2013
Niyaha, June 2013
Nirvana, July 2013
Nirvana, July 2013
Naara, July, 2013
Naara, July, 2013
Niobrara, June 2013
Niobrara, June 2013
Naive, May 2013.  Photo by Shawn Ivie.
Naive, May 2013. Photo by Shawn Ivie.

Lori gave us several great updates of the Dryhead horses, with one of the highlights being the sighting of Medicine Bow, who has become very elusive this year.  You can read about her updates by clicking on LORI, and DRYHEAD.

Medicine Bow, May 2013.  Photo by Lori G.
Medicine Bow, May 2013. Photo by Lori G.

June

June brought the births of three more foals:  Norma Jean, Nickel and Naolin.  Bringing the foal count to 13.

Norma Jean, August 2013
Norma Jean, August 2013
Nickel, July 2013.
Nickel, July 2013.
Naolin, July 2013
Naolin, July 2013

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June is also one of the most active and exciting months of the year on the mountain.  Weather dependent, most of the mountain horses have traveled to the top of the mountain and with it brings conflict and love.

It is breeding season, which brings about constant action, between the band stallions and the bachelor stallions.   The light of the day is long in June, giving plenty of opportunity to take hundreds of action shots.  The wildflowers are just starting to show their faces, but depending on the weather, will be showing them soon and fast.  It is a magical time to be on the mountain and I look forward to my first camping trip of the season this month.

Over the winter or spring, Garay had acquired Grijala’s band ( Kohl and Quelle Colour), Santa Fe was now dogging Coronado and poor Tecumseh was still dogging the band he had lost in June 2012, now Gringo’s.

Kohl and Quelle Colour
Kohl and Quelle Colour
Arrowleave Balsam Root flowers.
Arrowleave Balsam Root flowers.
Coronado chasing Santa Fe
Coronado chasing Santa Fe
Nye and Niobrara
Nye and Niobrara
Meadow of Shooting Stars
Meadow of Shooting Stars
Pasque flowers starting to pop!
Pasque flowers starting to pop!
Irial and Jasper
Irial and Jasper
Grijala and Inali
Grijala and Inali
Garay and Galaxy
Garay and Galaxy
Blue Moon and Isadora
Blue Moon and Isadora
Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Grijala and the boys
Grijala and the boys
Krueger Pond, June 2013
Krueger Pond, June 2013

June also brought some minor changes in the Dryhead.  The Dryhead would change like the wind this year, everyday seemed to bring about band changes.  You can read about those June changes by clicking on NANCY.

Lori also gave us a great update on Seattle, Merlin and Fiero.  Click on LORI to read that.  It is a rare sight to see father and son together in one photo.  Thank you Lori for that!

Fiero in back, Merlin in front, June 2013.  Photo by Lori G.
Fiero in back, Merlin in front, June 2013. Photo by Lori G.

July

July brought the discovery of two more foals: Nacer (deceased) and Nova.  Bringing the total count to 15 with 13 of those living.

Nacer’s brief life has a very deep meaning to me.  Born near my tent in the early morning of July 9, I will always think of her each and every time I am there.  You can read more about her by clicking on NACER.

Nacer, July 9, 2013
Nacer, July 9, 2013
Nova, July 21, 2013
Nova, July 21, 2013

July also brought the one year anniversary of Lakota’s death.  It is hard to believe that it has been a year.  I still miss seeing him and know I always will.

Lakota, July, 2011
Lakota, July, 2011

There was a rumor that Starman’s remains had been found.  But after I and Nancy searched the area throughly, it was not true, but ended up still being the remains of Cabaret and his band from 2011.  However Starman has not been seen, and so we must admit, that this great stallion has died, another tragic loss to the mountain top.

Starman, July 2011.
Starman, July 2011.

The remains of Damsel were discovered this month.  She will also be missed.

Baileys and Damsel
Baileys and Damsel, March 2012

A few note worthy observations this month were: Lariat joined Garay’s band for several days (only in the daylight hours), I spotted Seattle and also Corona and his band ( Dryhead Horses) up on top for about a week.

Hamlet with Seattle
Hamlet with Seattle
Garay, Lariat and Kohl
Garay, Lariat and Kohl
Corona and band
Corona and band
Corona band, July 2013
Corona band, July 2013

July is another busy month for the mountain.  A few more births, a lot of sparring and a bunch of bachelor antics!

I was fortunate to be able to spend many days on the mountain and Dryhead in July.  The peacefulness of the mountain after the day trip crowds leave, are amazing and something  I will never grow tired of.  I met several new people, many of those have become good friends.

The Boys of Summer!
The Boys of Summer!
Mystic Pond
Mystic Pond
Teton and his son Missoula
Teton and his son Missoula
Duke flirts with Sequoyah
Duke flirts with Sequoyah

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Jasper
Jasper
Noble and Naolin
Noble and Naolin
Chino, Grijala, Jasper and Custer
Chino, Grijala, Jasper and Custer
Coronado and LaBrava
Coronado and LaBrava
Kreguer Pond
Kreguer Pond
Noble
Noble
Full Moon on top of the mountain
Full Moon on top of the mountain

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Morning Star
Morning Star
Garcia
Garcia
Dukes Band
Dukes Band

August

No foals were born in the month of August this year.  Instead of new foals, August brought lots of flies.  They never really bothered me, but they plagued the horses, driving them into the trees for a good portion of the day, coming out for drinks at the pond and in the evenings.

It did give me a good chance to really get to know the range and all of the possible hiding places the horses may be.  I enjoyed many hikes and discovered things I had never seen before.

The days were becoming shorter, but the sunsets even more spectacular.  Each month in the Pryors has its own special feature.  Even though the horses were not visible all day long, there was still plenty of opportunity to spend hours with them each day.   But this is not always the case each year.  My August trips in 2012 showed me horses all day long.  Each year can be different.

During one of my days in August, the stallion Santa Fe would decide it was time to stop dogging Coronado.  My heart aches a bit of Santa Fe, I hope he can gain a mare again soon.

Duke
Duke
Rosarita
Rosarita

img_16911

Doc
Doc
Santa Fe
Santa Fe
Mystic Pond is almost completly dry.
Mystic Pond is almost completly dry.
Moorcroft and Mica
Moorcroft and Mica
Cappuccino ran with the boys one day.
Cappuccino ran with the boys one day.
Butterflies on some flowers near the pond
Butterflies on some flowers near the pond

img_1816 img_0193 img_0364 img_1201 img_1277

Gringo
Gringo
Gringo
Gringo
Aurora
Aurora
One of the hiking views
One of the hiking views

img_0570

Maelstrom and Niobrara
Maelstrom and Niobrara

img_0808

Manuelita
Manuelita
Baja and Bacardi
Baja and Bacardi
Galaxy and Ireland
Galaxy and Ireland
Galaxy
Galaxy
Chino, Santa Fe and Jupiter
Chino, Santa Fe and Jupiter
Cloud
Cloud
Docs and Irial
Docs and Irial
Nimbus
Nimbus
Norma Jean and Millicent
Norma Jean and Millicent
Gringos
Gringos
Garcia comes to check us out early in the morning on the way up Burnt Timber
Garcia comes to check us out early in the morning on the way up Burnt Timber
Galadrial and Beulah
Galadrial and Beulah
Cloud
Cloud
Nirvana
Nirvana

I also explored the Dryhead and Lower Sykes, discovering new things about both of those areas.

Mercuria and Morgana
Mercuria and Morgana
Hidalgo
Hidalgo
Hidalgo
Hidalgo
Kitalpha, Nova and Bristol
Kitalpha, Nova and Bristol

IMG_2500

Fools Crow Band
Fools Crow Band
Ceceila, Mato and Sitting Bull, August 22, 2013
Ceceila, Mato and Sitting Bull, August 22, 2013

September

September brought the birth of one more foal, Nawah, bringing the 2012 foal count to 16 (14 living).  My friend Anh discovered him on September 18. No-one to my knowledge has seen Nawah again since then,  I pray he is still alive.

Nahwa and Washakie
Nahwa and Washakie  Photo by Anh N.
Nahwa and Topper Too.
Nahwa and Topper Too. Photo by Anh N.

September also brings the most incredible lighting.  The range has become dry, but the light throws an amazing gold color, making the range look like spun gold.  The blue hour photos become more intense, the sunsets a deeper pink.  The days are shorter yet, making the daylight hours even more special.

img_33681 img_4262

Jackson
Jackson

img_3678 img_3674

Gringos
Gringos

img_3388

A noteworthy discovery that I made this month, was seeing several bachelors up on the high meadow (Skyline Meadow).  This is an area seldom used by the horses and it would be great if they were starting to utilize this part of the range again.

Bachelors in Skyline Meadow, September 2013
Bachelors in Skyline Meadow, September 2013

The weather can quickly change during this month, so keeping a watch on the weather report is essential.  Late in September this year, a snow storm came.

A look at the September snow storm.  Photo by Brianna H.
A look at the September snow storm. Photo by Brianna H.

I spent several evening on my trip in September with the horses near-by.  They felt comfortable to be near-by and graze and play, many bands intermingling with one another.  Many of them would remain outside my tent during the night, and I would lie awake hearing the sounds of their crunching.

Galena and Nye
Galena and Nye
Morning Stars
Morning Stars
Missoula and Half Moon
Missoula and Half Moon

img_3381

Limerick
Limerick
Manuelita and Dove
Manuelita and Dove

img_4031

Nickel
Nickel
Madonna and Meriweather
Madonna and Meriweather
Manuelita
Manuelita
Hailstorm
Hailstorm
Bolders
Bolders
Killian
Killian

Below are some of the great photos that my friend Anh took late in September.

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I would spend one day in the Dryhead this trip, seeing several bands including Bristol, Blizzard and the very pregnant Bakken.

Bakken, September 7, 2013
Bakken, September 7, 2013
Blizzard and Cascade
Blizzard and Cascade
Bristol, Nova and Kitalpha
Bristol, Nova and Kitalpha

October

October brought the last-known foal of the year.  Niña.  She was discovered the NPS, October 24.  She brought the final foal count of 2013 to 17, with 15 known survivors.

Bakken and Niña, October 24, 2013.  Photo by NPS.
Bakken and Niña, October 24, 2013. Photo by NPS.

Bakken and Niña continue to be seen and are doing well.

I returned to the Pryors late in October, just a few days after Niña was discovered.  I never know what horses I will see this time of year.  The mountain horses have left the mountain top and are scattered down the mountain, either on the Burnt Timber side or the Sykes side.  I always feel fortunate to be able to see anyone and my friend Jeannie and I were able to see over 50 horses.

I rented a wide-angle lens this trip and had a lot of fun capturing the vast landscape of the Pryors.

Jasper
Jasper
Hickok
Hickok

img_7003

Hernando
Hernando

img_7056 img_7092 img_6972 img_7028

Grijala and Hernando
Grijala and Hernando
Naara
Naara
Cheyenne Flats
Cheyenne Flats

img_7072

Heading down Burnt Timber
Heading down Burnt Timber

November

I did not go to the Pryors in November.  There were a few updates from Ginger (Click on GINGER) to go to that post.  Nancy also had one update as well.  Click on NANCY to go there.

December

And now here we are in December. I did not go to the Pryors this month.   Shawn had one update this month.  Click on Shawn to go there.

So that is 2013 in the Pryors.  I want to end this post acknowledging those horses that are missing or dead.

1.  Starman, last recorded sighting:  October 2012.   Remains not found. Born in 1989.

Starman, June 2012  Visting us at our campsite.
Starman, June 2012 Visting us at our campsite.

2.  Prince.  Last recorded sighting, November,  2012.  Remains not found.  Born in 1993.

Prince, June, 2012
Prince, June, 2012

3.  Kindra.  Last seen, early spring, 2013.  Remains not found.  Born in 2010.

Kindra, August 1, 2012
Kindra, August 1, 2012

4.  Meadowlark, last seen March, 2013.  Remains not found.  Born in 2012.

Meadowlark, September 2012
Meadowlark, September 2012

5.  Two Boots.  Last seen in April, 2013.  Remains not found.  Born in 1988.

Two Boots, September 1, 2012
Two Boots, September 1, 2012

6.  Damsel.  Last seen in September 2012.  Remains found in July.  Born in 2003.

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

Thank you all for reading my blog.  If you want to read more about 2013, click on the Archives tab to the right.  I am looking forward to 2014 in the Pryors, I hope to see some of you there!

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

18 thoughts on “2013 In The Pryors. A Year In Review.

  1. I “met” Two Boots in 2010 with his mare and foal. I was on the trail heading down to Krueger Pond. I heard hoof beats behind me. I stopped and quietly said “I thought I heard you”. They just stopped and waited patiently. I quietly asked them to give me a moment and I would move out of their way since this was THEIR trail and home. I shuffled and stumbled a few feet off the trail. They just looked at me–lady you are so NOT a problem. If you can’t walk straight–you certainly catch us!

    So the mare passed by me. Her unseen foal (by me till afterwards)was GLUED to her offside. She passed me so close I could almost reach out and touch. I was so touched that they would trust me not to misbehave. Two Boots was a bit more reticent and stepped a couple steps further from me. But yet, he made NO aggressive move towards me.

    To this day I remember that small “encounter”. It was incredible to have horses that didn’t know me and I didn’t know–trust me like that. It means so much that when Cloud reprimanded me for being to close–just by laying his ears back–but relaxing the moment I said I’m sorry, I forgot. The horses acted like–okay human you make mistakes, but we can feel that you aren’t here to hurt us. You want to soak up what we have to offer you. You want to learn about us, our families and freedom. We will show you.

    You remain quiet throughout. Loud voices just don’t mix with the top of the mountain. It’s different. It’s quiet and peaceful one moment and the next–all heck breaks out because of stallions fighting. Let the horses teach you. Don’t forget to scribble notes all day–cause you won’t remember EVERYTHING! But that’s the joy of the Pryors and the horses. They let us in to observe and watch. To be a temporary band member but you have to mind.

    Horses can tell if you’re a horse person or not. If you get scared or are nervous they know in a heartbeat. They smell it or they sense it. They know if you’re an animal person. And when they let you in–even for a brief moment–its something you will carry with you. Two Boots trusted me. He didn’t know me but he knew I met no harm. I’m still awed by the memory.

  2. Thank you for putting this together! It’s nice to look back at the year. I know there are several band stallions moving into their later years and I don’t look forward to the day any of them lose their bands. Like you said, its painful to watch. I’m hopeful there will be more of a transition period for many of them. Often they don’t lose their entire band suddenly. They lose a part of their band but hold on to a mare or two and have a couple more years as a less dominant band stallion. I also hope many of them will age as gracefully as Two Boots did and maintain the spirit that Bigfoot did for many years.

    I’m hopeful for Nahwa. Washakie is a great Mom who has raised many many babies. And Bacardi and Topper Too have raised many themselves too. And Baja is experienced as well. I think the fact that they are a tight knit band will help out too. Nina seems to be thriving so I’m hoping that Nahwa is as well, just out of sight.

    I look forward to the “Who will have foals” and “Name Game” posts, I was just thinking about them earlier today 🙂 “O” is going to be an interesting year. I’m glad you did a tribute to the horses we lost this year. I say “we” because I feel like these are all really our horses, as we care for them so much. I wonder if anyone has checked Two Boot’s favorite winter spot for his remains.
    Thanks again for putting this together! I look forward to all of your 2014 adventures!

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you! Two Boots was seen in April several miles from where I would see him during the winter months, but I may take a walk over there this next spring to check. And yes, they are “our horses”! Like family! 🙂

  3. GREAT post, Sandy. So many memories—happy AND sad, ALL precious. Something that struck me looking at the pics this time is that it looks like Naïve had a wound of some kind on the top of her neck. I hadn’t noticed that before. She would have been another beauty. 😦 I am also in awe of how strong and beautiful Jasper is looking. I sure hope I get to see him again sometime. Thanks so much for organizing all this, and for all the links. And I salute those who have passed over the rainbow bridge.

  4. thanks sandy for such a good job and the pic and all the comments on the horses have a good rest so you can bring us more pic on our horses tks ross

  5. A fabulous post, one with much love as well as work. There is not one photo I can say I like the best. Each wonderful one adds to the story of these horses, though I remain enchanted by the one of Galaxy and Ireland. I have used the word bittersweet before, and so it must be for you when reviewing the year. Thank yo so much!

    Nanine

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! It must have taken you quite some time to do this:) it’s amazing to relive all of this! There’s just too much to comment on, but I have to say that the first picture of Noble and Naolin is one of my all-time favorite of your pics.. It’s just too adorable with their fluffy baby-tails and Nobles bright red punk-mane;) Can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring! This year I’ll make my first foal-name suggestion, weeeee! 😉 Happy new year, Sandy!!!

  7. What a wonderful summary of 2013 Sandy! Thank you for all you do for these horses and for sharing with us all so many awesome photo’s! Your dedication is unsurpassable. I know I could never be away from my family (two legged & four) for that long for any reason, they are my life. I love the wild ones and respect them for what and who they are as I know you do also, but my own come first. It will be interesting to see how the young 2013 foals have grown up this year and also what surprises lie ahead for any new band stallions strong enough to push out the older ones. Life in the wild is always a challenge for these horses, and the fact that they have survived for as many years as they have is just proof of how tough these little wild mustangs really are.
    Happy New year to you and thanks again!

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