Burnt Timber, Day Three. Cold and Windy

Wild in the Pryors

We did not know what to expect on this third day up Burnt Timber.  The weather forecast was not good:  high of 40 degrees with 20-30 mph winds and gusts to 40 mph.   I wondered if we would even see any horses today.

I dressed just like I did when I was there in February and even then, the wind cut through.  There were periods of snow falling as well, but there was also some sun.   Just enough sun to warm us and make us want to continue.

Our trip up the Dryhead was pretty successful considering the weather, so I was feeling a little more confident that we would see some horses up Burnt Timber.  I reminded myself that every day was a gift and every horse that showed itself to me was a gift.  I was having a great trip and thankful for those I did see.  No expectations, then you are never disappointed.

No one was at the first water guzzler, so we continued far enough up the road so that we could see where, and if there were horses anywhere to hike to.

We all wondered what was happening with Cloud and Santa Fe.  The day before we had spent on Sykes Ridge, so we had no idea if Santa Fe was still dogging Cloud.

I stopped in my favorite “scanning” place and looked around.  No horses.  Really not surprising.  They were all tucked away out of this wind and the snow that was now falling.

We continued up the road and that was when I spotted Tecumseh/Gringos to the left.  They were in a small protected area amongst some low-lying bushes.

Gringo/Tecumseh Band
Gringo/Tecumseh Band
Gringo
Gringo

I noticed right away, that Jacinta was still not with them.  Three days since I had last seen them.  I had hoped she would be back.  Perhaps she got taken by one of the bachelors.  I hope she is alright.

As we stood there and watched, I noticed that Tecumseh had some fresh wounds on him.  They may have been there 3 days ago, they looked like they were healing some.  Gringo had none.  Was it as peaceful as I had thought?  Was Tecumseh still keeping his role as Satellite bachelor, protecting and fighting off anyone who comes near?  I do believe it is the latter.  It still seemed that Gringo and Tecumseh were at peace.  Grazing near one-another with no conflict.

Gringo and Tecumseh
Gringo and Tecumseh
Galadrial
Galadrial
Beulah
Beulah
Ketchikan
Ketchikan
Ketchikan and Beulah
Ketchikan and Beulah

I continued to drive up to Cheyenne Flats.  No horses were visible over on Sykes today.  We all decided that it would be a good day to hike down to the water guzzler here.  It would be out of the wind and seemed like a perfect place for some horses to be.

We reached it and saw no one.  Not even any fresh tracks in the soft ground.

Cheyenne Flats, April 28, 2014
Cheyenne Flats, April 28, 2014

We had just returned to Ophelia when I spotted a horse in the trees not far away.  It was Mica, looking particularly handsome in a patch of white snow.

Wild in the Pryors

Mica
Mica

It did not take us long to hear some commotion coming from behind those trees.  It was Cloud and another horse.  Santa Fe must still be at it.  But when I saw the other horse, it was not Santa Fe.  It was 21-year-old Chino.

Chino, April 28, 2014
Chino, April 28, 2014

We followed and watched the scene unfold.  It appeared to me that Chino was more aggressive than Santa Fe had been.  Keeping Cloud and his band on the move.  We would later see them (about 1/2 hour later) about 5 miles down Burnt Timber.

The one thing I did notice, was that Cloud seemed to look ever so slightly better than when I had seen him two days before.  Not quite as thin.  I think that is most likely due to being able to hydrate.  I know that when a horse is very dehydrated, they look very “sucked in”.  What ever the reason, it was good to see him look a little better and I was glad that he may have had a break.

The rest of Cloud’s band just continued to graze unless Cloud snaked them further from Chino.

Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Charging towards them
Charging towards them
Chino
Chino
Clouds band just kept grazing unless Cloud snaked them.
Feldspar, Mica and Nimbus.

Wild in the Pryors

Chino
Chino
Cloud
Cloud
Cloud
Cloud

Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors

Chino watching them drink
Chino watching them at the water guzzler.
Chino and Cloud and his band at the water guzzler, APril 28, 2014.
Chino and Cloud and his band at the water guzzler, APril 28, 2014.

We had hiked quite some distance following them.  They were clearly heading down the mountain, so we turned to go back and head down the road.

As I neared the lower water guzzler, I noticed a band there. It was Galaxy and his band.  We parked and started to unload.  It was then that I turned and saw all of Galaxy’s band looking in the distance, past the guzzler to the east.  I could see a lone dun horse running fast towards them.  It took me a minute to realize that is was MacKeahnie, Cappuccino and Gabrielle’s two-year old colt.

I think he was just thirsty and decided to run towards the water, not realizing that Galaxy was there.   He quickly learned the error of his way.

Galaxy and his Girls with MacKeahnie in the forground.
Galaxy and his Girls with MacKeahnie in the foreground.
MacKeahnie
MacKeahnie

Wild in the Pryors

Galaxy chased him off, but MacKeahnies thirst or perhaps it was his loneliness made him try a second time.  It appeared to me that MacKeahnie had been kicked out of his family band.  The first few months are hard for a young colt.  They no longer have the comfort of being in the protection of their family.  But hopefull in a short while, he will find some comfort in a new band.  A bachelor band.  They will become his new family, and in some ways, this can be a carefree time, until he reaches the age of wanting to start a band of his own.  Endless summer days of sparring and eating, sleeping and doing it all over again.  He will become a new “Boys of Summer”.  I am looking forward to watching MacKeahnie become one.

But on this day, it was impossible not to feel sorry for him.  He was alone.  Galaxy refused to give him any slack.  When MacKeahnie decided to try again, Galaxy chased him off yet again, but this time it was in a more aggressive way.

Wild in the Pryors

MacKeahnie and Galaxy, April 28, 2014
MacKeahnie and Galaxy, April 28, 2014

Wild in the Pryors

Galaxy heads back to his girls
Galaxy heads back to his girls

MacKeahnie next decision was to take some comfort by staying closer to us.  We sat by Ophelia and watched him work his way closer to us.  It seemed to give him comfort to be by ANYONE.  My heart hurt for him.  But other than being alone, he looked good.

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

He stayed by us for over an hour.  It was good to relax and just be in the moment.  We decided to stay until he chose to move on.  I was sure he had enough of horses leaving and rejecting him in the time that he had been kicked out of his family.  I did not want to be yet another that turned his back on him.   After an hour or so, he again (but this time gradually) made his way towards the guzzler.  I could see that Galaxy was beginning to move on and hoped that MacKeahnie would finally be able to get the drink he wanted.

Liz and Anh
Liz and Anh

We then drove the short way to park and hike back to the mineral lick.  But no horses were there.  It was time to head back down for the night.

It had been an amazing trip, we had seen 91 horse, many of those I had not seen since last fall.  No expectations, then you won’t be disappointed.  

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

15 thoughts on “Burnt Timber, Day Three. Cold and Windy

  1. I gather there was no sign of Teton. Has anyone seen him? Hope he’s alright. And I certainly enjoyed all of your updates. Can’t wait for your next trip.

  2. I wonder if Tecumseh’s wounds may be related to Jacinta’s absence. Although Gringo would probably have some too if that was the case. And I agree, Mica is just really so gorgeous. I look forward to seeing him grow into an amazing band stallion. I agree that Cloud does seem to look a little bit better, and I am glad too. And although he’s thin he still has that undeniable spirit in his eyes. I’m glad to see that he does and there’s not a listlessness there that you often see when the horses aren’t in the best condition. Chino isn’t looking in the best shape either, he’s looking pretty thin. That and the fact that he seems to have some wounds that are healing (so most likely not from this altercation with Cloud) makes me think that Cloud’s band may not be the only one he’s been dogging recently. Maybe that’s where the marks on Tecumseh came from. Hopefully McKeahnie will find some company soon. I wonder if Cappuccino kicked him out when he had the new mares (Aztec, Jasmine, Heritage) and McKeahnie was maybe a little too interested in them. Or it could have even happened between the fights and exchanges with Jackson and Cappuccino. I’m glad he got to spend some time with you though. I’m sure this summer he won’t be the only new member of The Boys of Summer.

    1. You might be right Sarah. I emailed the BLM to see when the last time was that they saw Jacinta. They have not seen her since November. I still hope she is out there and just with one of the bachelors.

  3. Have thoroughly enjoyed all your posts Sandy! Excellent!! Thank you so much for all the time you spend choosing/posting pictures and writing text. Really appreciate your effort in keeping us all informed. Sure hoping the “missing” horses turn up soon, and that all the foals survive the turmoil of the stallions. And I hope MacKeahnie finds a friend soon!

    1. Thank you Ruby!! I am not going to worry too much about the missing ones. There are not many people going up on the mountain right now. We can all start to worry if we don’t see them in June when they all will be starting to come up on the mountain top.

  4. Yes, thank you so much for the reports! Always so exciting to see a new update! 🙂 Poor MacKeahnie, must be rough for him just starting out on him own. Do you know if anyone has seen Madonna or Tonopah? It really is amazing how Cloud seems to have improved in just 3 days, even with the weather dropping again. And Chino looks like a sooty buckskin in those photos, he got so dark over the winter!

    1. Thanks Abbie. I have not heard of anyone seeing Madonna, Tonopah, Mandan, Teton, Topper or Jacinta. But remember, there are not that many people going up the mountain right now. So we won’t worry until June when we have the opportunity to see everyone on the mountain top.

  5. Poor MacKeahnie! I have to say I don’t envy the lives of wild horses, getting kicked out of your band/family and then all the soap opera back and forth of switching bands when the stallions go at it. I realize it may be normal for them but I am very glad it’s not my life, so much drama! I hope he finds some bachelor friends soon.

    A few posts ago, you talked about stallions potentially breeding their female offspring. Does this often happen if a filly stays long enough with her father’s band? I guess horses lack the foresight to know that trying to breed your own offspring is not such a good idea.

    1. Hi Amelie!

      The natural progression is for the stallions to kick their offspring out at 2-3 years old. Including the fillies. But some stallions like to hold on to their offspring for longer. I guess we will never know the answer to why, we can only speculate the reasons. Yes, that was the case with Damsel in Clouds band. She would not leave and he would not kick her out. I believe they did try to move her during the 2009 round-up, but she ended up back with him again. In 2011 she gave birth to a blind/deformed foal who only lived for a couple days. Of course, again this is only speculation, because of the deformities, I would conclude that the foal was most likely Clouds.

      And also in the case of my Kootenai. It has been concluded that he is Lakotas son and grandson. He is lucky that he did not have any major deformities ( stronger genes????) But he is a bit smaller and possibly partially deaf.

      1. Interesting, thanks for clearing that up! I feel sorry for Damsel for having gone through that. Is she still with Cloud’s band? For her sake, I hope not so she can eventually have a healthy foal (unless she got removed from the range in a roundup).

  6. Hi. There seems to be a big change in Jacksons band with Jasmine and Heritage now with Cappucino. Who are now in Jacksons band? Doesnt he have the biggest band on the range now.

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