February In The Pryors, Day 3: Searching

View of Turkey Flats, looking back towards Twin Red Hills.
View of Turkey Flats, looking back towards Twin Red Hills.

Our third day we decided to spend hiking around Turkey Flats, with an early morning drive up the Dryhead first.

For the first time in a long time, I saw the Greeters in “proper” place.  Just a short distance after we entered the range.  Way up on a hillside.  This day was starting out very cloudy and we hoped it would clear enough to give us some good light for photos.

Kimerlee and Anh watching the Greeters.
Kimerlee and Anh watching the Greeters.

I was really pleased to see Hightail looking so good.  Born in 1990, Hightail will be 24 this year.  Both Seneca and Hickok looked good too.

Hickok, February 16, 2014
Hickok, February 17, 2014
Seneca and Hightail
Seneca and Hightail
Seneca and Hightail, 2-16-14
Seneca and Hightail, 2-17-14
Hightail
Hightail
Hickok
Hickok
Hickok
Hickok
Hickok
Hickok

Wild in the Pryors

Hightail and Seneca
Hightail and Seneca
A view of where the Greeters were.
A wide-angle view of where the Greeters were.

We continued driving down the road to look for more horses.  I have never had much luck seeing horses in the Dryhead this time of year.  But so far this trip I had seen 4.

I turned to go to the Devil’s Lookout area and was surprised to see the river completely frozen over below.  The dark sky and the frozen water in the canyon made for some very forbidding photos.  This was the first time I had my wide-angle lens with me and I loved the images I was able to capture.  Like putting the canyon in my pocket and taking it home with me.

Wild in the Pryors
Sykes Ridge on the left.
Wild in the Pryors
2-17-14

Wild in the Pryors

Seeing no other horses in this part of the range, we headed towards the Range entrance at Lower Sykes.  Remembering what the road looked like the afternoon before, I wondered how it would be this morning.  It was 28 right now, so I was hoping it had firmed up.

We loaded my UTV (Ophelia ) up with our camera gear and supplies and headed up the red dirt road.  The beautiful of this area is breathtaking, no matter what time of year I come here.

Wild in the Pryors

I parked Ophelia  a couple of miles up the road and we got out to go search for horses.  I will admit, it seems that this time of year, I do not have much luck finding horses here.  First, let me say:  Turkey Flats is NOT flat.  Sure, there are areas that are flatter than the tall hills that surround them, but for the most part, it is made of ravines that dip in and out of a vast landscape.  I climbed a tall hill to look around with my binoculars.  Quickly locating Jesse James on a far-away butte.  I always snap a photo, just for record keeping, no matter the distance, just in case I am not able to locate them later if I am closer.  The photo below of Jesses James is when I was a bit closer, but still taken at 310 mm.

My view from the hill.
My view from the hill.
Jesse James
Jesse James

My luck would be no different today.  We hiked for hours.  I scampered up several hills and did see 3 horses moving off.  By the time I went back to get Anh and Kimerlee, they had vanished into the landscape.  If I was to guess, I would say it was Mica, Inocentes and Feldspar and from the location that Ginger had given us of where she saw Cloud just a few days before, I could be right.  But for the first time, I did not snap that photo and I will never really know for sure.

Turkey Flats
Turkey Flats
Turkey Flats
Turkey Flats

We continued hiking closer to Jesse James and I was pleased to see another horse with him, a black one. I could not make out if it was Issaquah or Joseph, but it was not Hawk.  I am leaning towards thinking it was Issaquah, but not being able to see the legs to determine if there was a right hind sock (Joseph), I can’t be 100%.

It always amazes me how steep of terrain these horses can graze on.  I hope these shots give you some feel of just how steep it really was.

Issaquah(?) and Jesse James. 2-16.14
Issaquah(?) and Jesse James. 2-17-14
Watching the boys.
Watching the boys.

Wild in the Pryors

Jesse James
Jesse James

It was almost 3 pm.  We made a group decision to give up on Turkey Flats for the day and head up Burnt Timber road for the rest of the afternoon.  We turned to hike back to the road.  It was a bit late in the day to head up BT, but the sky was clear and I knew I would not be going up too far.

View of red hills with my telephoto lens.
View of red hills with my telephoto lens.

With some luck and a little extra persuasion, Ophelia was able to climb up the road past where we had gotten stuck in the snow the day before.  My hope was to get to the mine area where I could have an excellent view of where there may be horses.  As we climbed up, I saw Jackson and band making their way over a ridge further up.  It was too late in the day to go up that far, so we stopped and turned our attention to what might lie below us.

I spotted 10 horses on a ridge far below us.  It was getting late, so we decided to head down and try to locate them.  We all mentally noted some landscape landmarks and hoped to be able locate them as we made our way back down the road.  Several miles back down the road, I pulled over, hoping my guess would be right.  I hiked up a ridge and there they were!  It was Cappuccino and band along with two new members: Aztec and Jasmine.  Grijala and Jasper were near by a bit further down the ridge.

It was a beautiful spot to stop, watch horses for a while and enjoy a sunset.  I knew I could safely make it down the rest of the way (only about 2 miles) without a problem, even in the fading light.  We had not seen many horses that day and wanted to just sit and soak up their beauty.

Everyone looked good.  Gabrielle is definitely pregnant and appears to look better than she did last year at this same time.  Cappuccino looked a bit thin, but Aztec was keeping him very busy breeding her.

Blanca
Blanca
Aztec and Cappuccino
Aztec and Cappuccino
Naara and Gabrielle
McKeahnie  and Gabrielle
Jasper and Grijala
Jasper and Grijala
Blanca
Blanca
McKeahnie and Gabrielle
McKeahnie and Gabrielle
Aztec
Aztec
Cappuccino
Cappuccino
Naara, Blanca and Jasmine
Naara, Blanca and Jasmine
Naara, Jasmine and Blanca
Naara, Jasmine and Blanca
Moenkopi
Moenkopi
Moenkopi
Moenkopi

 

Wild in the Pryors
A wide-angle view towards the horses.
Anh and Kimerlee
Anh and Kimerlee
Sandy and Kimerlee.  Photo taken by Anh.
Sandy and Kimerlee. Photo taken by Anh.
Another wide-angle shot of the Cappuccinos band over on the next ridge.
Another wide-angle shot of the Cappuccinos band over on the next ridge.
The horses and some people that love them.
The horses and some people that love them.
Wild in the Pryors
A wide-angle look the other way.
McKeahnie in the setting sun, February 16, 2014
McKeahnie in the setting sun, February 17, 2014

It was time to head down the road towards the truck.  We stopped several time to take photos of the beautiful landscape in the setting sun.

2-17-14
2-17-14
My favorite rock along BT Road!!
My favorite rock along BT Road!!
BT Road
BT Road
2-17-14
2-17-14
Almost down.
Almost down.

It had been a busy day of hiking and exploring the range.   I felt good about the horses I had seen.  There were areas where the snow was past our thighs, but also some bare areas where the horses were able to find forage. They all looked good and I hoped that winter would be kind to them for another couple months.  Our plan for the next day would be to head up Burnt Timber once again.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

23 thoughts on “February In The Pryors, Day 3: Searching

  1. I’m glad to see Hightail looking so good since she was not looking her best last winter. And that Gabrielle looks better too. It seems a lot of them are fairing a bit better than last year even with all the winter storms we’ve gotten this year. Hickok is so handsome with that rich bay color. I hope we get to see a foal from him one of these days (or years). Glad you spotted Jesse James too. He seems to have been much more illusive this past year. I hope Jemez also decides to show himself more this year. I’m glad you got to see Cappuccino’s band. He was one I was hoping you would see. Mariah looks so pretty up on that ridge! Something about Aztec seems to illicit that response from the stallions. Haha maybe it’s because she’s so pretty! As the same thing happened with Jackson in November of last winter. And I’m thinking she’s probably not in heat now and wasn’t in heat that November either. I’m sure Aztec keeping Cappuccino busy and a possible confrontation with Jackson is why Capp is looking a little thin. Although I’m sure on the part of Aztec he doesn’t mind haha! I’m glad to see that Aztec and Jasmine are doing well and none of the mares seem to be excessively unhappy about the two new additions, especially at this time of year. It will be interesting to see if Aztec and Jasmine stay in this band as we get into spring. I think Cappuccino likes to go shopping in the winter 🙂 since last year be also brought home Jacinta briefly. Not sure if it’s the lighting or not, but Moenkopi looks like she may have that subtle bump the 2 year olds often have when they’re pregnant. I hope not. I know during one of your later summer trips Mariah was doing her best to make sure that it didn’t happen. I think it just may be the way the light is shining behind her, highlighting her belly. But I figured I would mention it and see what you thought. Looking forward to the rest of you trip! And thanks again for sharing! 🙂

      1. I hope she’s not too. It could just be the way she’s standing. Hopefully we won’t see a January 2015 Aztec x Cappuccino foal either. Aztec’s hormonal system has been very affected by pzp treatments. She was barren for many “untreated” years after having received it when she was young then had her first foal out of season in September. And after having Jasmine in ’09 and then Breeze/ Kierra in ’10 we’ve seen her cycling out of normal season several times. I hope though that the infertility issues she’s had in the past may still be at play and prevent her from getting pregnant with an out of season foal. I’m thinking it may (theoretically) take several years of not receiving pzp for her to potentially return to fertility. Which would mean (hopefully) that even if she hadn’t been darted yet this year it wouldn’t likely lead to a pregnancy. She seems to be one that pzp is effective with regarding pregnancy prevention versus a mare like Washakie. She’s an interesting case to look at regarding pzp effects in both short term/ long term ways and positive/negative ways. I’m glad she was able to have her three beautiful fillies. She is such a great Mom, it would really have been a shame if she never got to have that role. I wish some others who have had issues with being barren from pzp, like Baileys and Aurora, had had some of the later luck with being able to foal, such as Aztec had. Haha does my late night rambling make sense?

      2. I think that’s probably why she took Nacer too. She normally was very sweet and motherly to the other foals in her band, which is why when you initially said Nacer was with Bolder’s band, I was like oh good Baileys will take care of her. And like you had said, there was no foal in that band last year, there was no one for Baileys to dote on. And I think she saw a chance with an “unclaimed” foal and wanted to claim her for herself. I mean she immediately took charge of Nacer and backed everyone else off and away of Nacer. And even stood toe to toe with Bolder telling him he needed to back off. I think she wanted Nacer, but at the same time knew she wasn’t really hers and I think that’s where some of the aggression came in. She wanted her, but wasn’t sure how to have her. I still find some of her behavior so troubling and I feel like, out of her usual character. I hope we don’t see any similar situations this year.

  2. Love the pics Sandy! The shots of you folks with the horses in the distance really gives a great perspective. Then the telephotos of the horses looking like they are posing right in front of you – that is just amazing! Wow! Thanks for the ride!!

  3. I too love the pictures of Blanca in the evening light-talk about gorgeous! I was going to ask if Aztec seemed in heat and whether you suspected abnormal behaviour/cycling from PZP use? Have you witnessed other similar situations in years past at this season? I know mares allowing stallions to breed them when not in heat has been documented but I thought I’d ask! Glad that Aztec and Jasmine seem to be fitting in at any rate! So glad the horses seem to be faring well!

    1. Hi Abbie, Thank you! Yes, I felt that Aztec showed the typical signs of being in heat. I witnessed her peeing and discharging, standing ready and very excepting of Cappuccino. And yes, I do feel that PZP is responsible for her being in heat. Let’s hope the PZP is working. A January foal born next year would not be a good thing.

  4. Fantastic photographs! The landscape looks so cold and forbidding, yet incredibly beautiful. I’m glad to hear you think the horses are doing well through the winter. I also enjoyed seeing you and the others in shots to get a sense of perspective and the expanse of the range.

  5. Entertaining post, to say the least, Sandy. Sure wish I could have been there, too. 🙂 And I’m glad you’ve seen all the horses you have. I sure wish you’d have been able to see Baja and family. Hightail does look better than last year, but she’s a bit thin, compared to previous years. But, after all, she is an old lady and it’s bound to take it’s toll in winter. She definitely has a special place in my heart. 🙂 I think it’s so cool that Aztec and Jasmine have ended up together. There are so many interesting stories among these beautiful creatures. Anyway, thanks again for being “boots on the ground” and sharing!!

      1. Thanks for the link, but I did see that this morning and am sooo glad Baja and band are doing well, especially that late foal! 🙂 Maybe the fact that there has been more moisture just lately, and the horses seem to be doing more spread out foraging with the new guzzler locations, is going to help them through even seemingly tough winters. Whatever the reasons, I’m glad they’re finding sufficient forage. One thing that for sure helps in winter with plenty of snow is that they don’t have to expend large amounts of energy just getting to where the water is. 🙂

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