Burnt Timber Day 1: Lucky.

Ophelia on Cheyenne Flats
Ophelia on Cheyenne Flats

My friend Liz and I left Potomac, Montana at 6 am Friday morning.   It was a beautiful day and by 2:00 pm, we were heading up Burnt Timber Road.

This would be my UTV, Ophelia’s second trip up the mountain.  My latest routine when I start up the mountain is to get far enough up to be able to scan the vast range below me, trying to locate where there may be horses.

As I parked in my favorite place to do this, I looked up the hill and saw a horse.  Quickly getting my binoculars, I realized it was Chino and took a quick couple photos of him before he headed over the ridge.

Chino, April 25, 2014
Chino, April 25, 2014

It was good to see him.  I had not seen him since last summer and wondered if he had made it through this tough winter.  Chino was born in 1993 and will be 21 years old this year.  I felt lucky to spot him.  I hoped I would see him up close later, and my wish would come true a few days later.

The horses can be hard to spot this time of year.  I have found that if I go with no expectations,  I feel lucky with each and every horse I see.  And contrary to what some people think, I do not go “hunting” for new foals.  Each and every one that I have been blessed to discover have just appeared before me and I feel honored and blessed if I am able to spot one.  But my trips to the Pryors are much deeper than that.  I go to see any and all horses, not just some, not just new foals.  Every minute I spend on the mountain is a gift to me and I come home with a renewed soul.

Scanning down towards the water guzzlers, I spotted several horses below.  We decided to head back down the road and hike back to that area.

Wide Angle view of the beginning of our hike.
Wide Angle view of the beginning of our hike.

I really enjoy hiking in this area.  There a several horse paths to follow and we quickly came upon Mescalero’s band.  Over the last couple months,  Mescalero has acquired a few more band members.  Half Moon and Missoula from Teton’s band and Broken Bow from Doc’s band.  They all looked pretty good.  Some thinner than others, but hopefully it won’t be long before they are able to put some weight back on.

Polaris, Half Moon, Rosarita and Mescalero
Polaris, Half Moon, Rosarita and Mescalero
Mecalero and Half Moon
Mecalero and Half Moon
Missoula
Missoula

Wild in the Pryors

Half Moon, Broken Bow, Mescalero, Polaris and Rosarita.
Half Moon, Broken Bow, Mescalero, Polaris and Rosarita.
Missoula, Rosarita and Mescalero
Missoula, Rosarita and Mescalero
Broken Bow
Broken Bow

From there we decided to hike over to the mineral lick.  As I turned the first corner, I saw Doc and Demure.   Demure’s colt, Mandan (born in May 2012) was not with them.  I tried not to worry.  Perhaps Doc had kicked him out and he was on his own.

Demure looked very pregnant.  I remembered that Shawn had discovered Demure’s filly Naive (who died) at the end of May last year.  Although Demure looked about to foal, I think she may have another week or so.  I hope this foal is healthy and survives.   Mandan is Demure’s only living offspring on the range.  I saw the mark of the PZP dart on her right hip, and knew this year would be the last year that she would be able to foal.

Demure, April 25, 2014
Demure, April 25, 2014
Doc
Doc

They were making their way to the water guzzler and we continued down the path to the mineral lick.

Doc and Demure
Doc and Demure

It was then that I looked up and saw Cloud’s band.  They seemed to be moving quickly.  It wasn’t long before I discovered why.  Santa Fe was now dogging this band.  Cloud looked thinner than I have ever seen him look.  I wondered how long Santa Fe had been dogging this band.

Wide Angle view of Cloud's band
Wide Angle view of Cloud’s band
Santa Fe
Santa Fe
Clouds
Clouds
Santa Fe watching Cloud's band
Santa Fe watching Cloud’s band

Wild in the Pryors

Cloud hung back to watch Santa Fe, while the rest of his band seemed unaffected and raced to the mineral lick.

Cloud watches Santa Fe
Cloud watches Santa Fe
Nimbus
Nimbus
Mica and Inocentes
Mica and Inocentes

Wild in the Pryors

Racing towards the mineral lick
Racing towards the mineral lick

Wild in the Pryors

We hiked closer to the mineral lick and saw some more horses already there.  It was Gringo’s band along with Tecumseh, the former band stallion of this band.  Tecumseh lost this band to Gringo in June 2012.  He has not given up since that day, constantly following them.  He has the battle scars to prove his determination.  But today, they seemed to have worked out a new deal.  Things were calm and Tecumseh and Galadrial stood close to each other, with this action not causing Gringo to show any sign of anger.  I hoped for Tecumseh’s sake that they had reached a more peaceful deal.  After almost 2 years, he needed a break.  Tecumseh’s weight looked better than when I had last seen him, so I hoped that I was right.

Galadrial and Tecumseh, April 25, 2014
Galadrial and Tecumseh, April 25, 2014
Galadrial and Tecumseh
Galadrial and Tecumseh
Wide Angle view of Gringo/Tecumseh band
Wide Angle view of Gringo/Tecumseh band

It did not take long for Cloud’s band to realize that someone was where they wanted to be.  They quickly came to a stop, trying to decide what to do.

Inocentes, Nimbus and Mica
Inocentes, Nimbus and Mica

Cloud had chased Santa Fe and he then came down and told his band to keep moving.  They were out of sight in just a few seconds.

We stayed and watched Gringo’s band until they decided to leave.  There was one member of this band that was missing.  Jacinta.  I wondered where she was and if she was okay.  Was she off having a foal?

Ketchikan
Ketchikan
Gringo and Ketchikan
Gringo and Ketchikan
Ketchikan and Gringo
Ketchikan and Gringo
Beulah, Gringo and Ketchikan
Beulah, Gringo and Ketchikan

Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors

We waited a few minutes and then followed the same path.  It would take us back towards the water guzzler where we would spot Cloud and Santa Fe again.

Santa Fe watches Clouds band at the guzzler.
Santa Fe watches Clouds band at the guzzler.

We decided to hike back to Ophelia and head back up the road to see who else we might spot.  We were quickly rewarded, spotting Cappuccino and his band by the next water guzzler.  Another member of this band was missing.  McKeahnie.  Had Cappuccino kicked him out too?

Cappuccino's band.  Cappuccino is just out of sight.
Cappuccino’s band. Cappuccino is just out of sight.

This band was uneasy with us there, and so we decided to leave them alone and continue back up the road.

Nearing the place where we had spent hours with Jackson and his band in February, we spotted Galaxy and his band.  Ireland and Galaxy were enjoying some snow to quench their thrist.  Again,  except for Ireland and Galaxy, the rest of the band was very jumpy.  I spotted the mark of the PZP dart on Maia.  Her first year to be treated with the birth control drug.  It looked like she was having a mild reaction to it.  I was not able to get close enough to take a good photo of it, but I would have the opportunity to do it another day.

I am going to make a couple of guesses here.  I believe Maia may be pregnant and I also believe that Hera is not.

Galaxy and Ireland with Pococino peaking over the bushes.
Galaxy and Ireland with Pococeno peaking over the bushes.

Wild in the Pryors

Galaxy
Galaxy
Galaxy and Ireland
Galaxy and Ireland
Galaxy's
Galaxy’s
Galaxy's
Galaxy’s
Galaxy stretching.
Galaxy stretching.

Galaxy seemed to become irritated with our presence.  It was getting late now, so we decided to turn around and head back down the mountain for the night.  By the time we reached the truck at the bottom of Burnt Timber, it was almost 7:30.  I love these long days.

We were looking forward to the next day when our friend Anh would be joining us.  It had been a great first afternoon of our trip.  The weather did not look too promising for the next few days, but I have learned to take each day as it comes, many times the weather changes.  No need to worry about that now.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

22 thoughts on “Burnt Timber Day 1: Lucky.

  1. Thanks for sharing. I hope this isn’t the last time for Demure, PZP doesn’t always work. I also hope Maia doesn’t have a foal this year. She’s lovely and I would love to see Galaxy have a foal, but Maia seems too young to me.

  2. Thank you for sharing! Missoula is going to be so striking once he fattens up a bit and sheds out. I do hope Demure’s foal survives this year – it would be nice for her to have another living offspring on the range. Just one is rather risky!

    Also, I really love the picture of Galaxy stretching. He looks pretty supple!

  3. Happy Spring, Sandy! What a nice day you had in that landscape so alive with horses! It appears that they’re in good health and apart from those m.i.a., life goes on as nature dictates in those hills. Your descriptions and pics transport us along for the ride, and I thank you for that! Bless you for sharing their stories, and the “eye-candy pics.” (I’m smitten with Mescalero.) Happy Trails!

  4. I’m happy that Chino was spotted! Although I know I had been wishing he had Topper. How close was Doc and Demure to Mescalero’s band? I’m pretty confident Broken Bow will end up back with Doc and Demure. I would like to see Half Moon go back to him too. They would have such stunning babies together! Although I’m sure she enjoys being in her Mom’s company. I’ve never got the feeling that Half Moon likes Mescalero too much. Since she really has no ties to him I have a feeling if he decides to kick Missoula out, he won’t be able to hold onto her. That kind of brings me to a theory about Demure and Mandan. Half Moon is obviously in heat since we’ve seen Mescalero breeding her. I wonder if maybe Mandan became a little too interested in her and Doc kicked him out. With him being Demure’s only offspring and her not having a new foal at her side yet, she may have decided to go with him. She does have some independent tendencies. And then while Doc was concerned about getting Demure back, Mescalero took in Broken Bow, Half Moon, and Missoula. I’m sure if that’s what happened it probably played out over the course of several days, not all at once. I’ve also heard that if a mare’s foal dies very young (like Naïve) then the mare will come back into heat sooner than if the foal was still alive. So that may explain why Demure seems to be ready to foal a couple weeks before she did last year. I’m so glad that, at least for now, Gringo and Tecumseh have reached a more peaceful agreement. I hope it stays this way. I think sometime around now-ish is when Jacinta foaled last year so she may be off foaling. Or maybe like in the case of Audubon last year, she went off to foal and then was picked up by another stallion before getting back to her band. I noticed Cappuccino also doesn’t have Heritage and Jasmine anymore and that Aztec isn’t with Cloud. I’m going to assume they’re probably back with Jackson. I’m sure that will be one of the stories you tell in a future post from this trip. 🙂 I think you may be right about Maia. Some of the pictures I saw of her earlier this year had me thinking that it may be a possibility. I really want Hera to be pregnant! But I know you saw Galaxy breeding her in September of last year, so probably not. And Galaxy is looking stunning as usual! It looks like he may have been in a fight somewhat recently. The bite marks seem to be healing/healed but the hair hasn’t grown back in yet. Thanks for updating us! And I look forward to the other posts! I know you said there was a lot of news to share! 🙂

      1. hmm interesting. I also forgot to say, do you think Ketchikan may be pregnant again this year? The photo of her standing in the lick she looks a bit rounded, but it’s hard to tell.

      2. Hi Sarah! I am just not sure about Ketchikan. Some angles she looks like she is, other angles, not so sure. Time will give us the answer! 🙂 I saw them again a couple days later and I will share those photos in another post.

  5. Thanks so much Sandy! Loved your post and all the news of comings and goings!! I’m not gonna change my spread sheet until they all get settled (like that will ever happen)!! Also anxious to hear if you found any of the M.I.A.’s. Beautiful photos, as always. Accompanied by great text! Thanks again!

    1. Thank you so much Ruby! You are very welcome!! I always update my sheet after a trip, so I have a record for comparison at a later date if I need it! I will be pretty busy the next few days, but I will get the other posts out as soon as I can!

  6. Thanks so much Sandy, Things are always changing up in that sacred place and we can count on you to keep us updated. I love all the pictures but your information that you share is so very much appreciated. Looks like Dunraven Pass will be open the week of the 20th but I will keep you updated. Can’t wait to hear more news from my favorite place in the world.

  7. Yay Chino! And I’m so glad Demure is back (and with Doc too!) She’s looking super round-glad she’s pregnant. Hope Mandan is found soon! I, too, would like to see Broken Bow back with them. Missoula is really growing up to be a nice colt 🙂 And I still can’t believe how light Mica gets! Love Innocentes, Mica and Nimbus’ expressions when they realized that the lick was already in use. Wonder if Aztec is back with Jasmine somewhere? I hate seeing Santa Fe and Cloud so thin, I know it’s the way of the wild but it’s pretty shocking to see them like that…. And poor Santa Fe, he tries so hard. And hopefully Jacinta was just off foaling 🙂

    I’m happy for Tecumseh too, maybe this will finally work out for him (he’s been trying long enough!)

      1. I look forward to it 🙂 They are another two of my (admittedly many) favourites 🙂 And as much as I liked Aztec with Cloud, she couldn’t pick a better “new guy!”

  8. Galaxy’s mane and tail are so wavy and it has so much body! He has become my favorite stallion simply because he seems to rock the hair he has, which is very similar to mine!

    1. Yes, he is really amazing, not only in looks, but as a band stallion! Although I wish it were Hera and not her two year old daughter, I am VERY excited about a Galaxy foal this year!!

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