Mountain Update From Ginger (TCF)

Nimbus, August 2013
Nimbus, August 2013

TCF just released an update from Ginger’s recent trip.  You can read it by clicking on TCF.

Shawn is over there today and has reported that Nimbus in now with the bachelor stallions: Inali, London and Knight.  Nimbus is only a yearling and should be with her family band.  I hope she finds comfort in a band soon.  Being with young bachelors at this young age is not a good situation.

I will let you know if I learn anymore.  Thank you Ginger and Shawn for the updates.

Sandy

Nimbus with her family band on April 28, 2014
Nimbus with her family band on April 28, 2014
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

35 thoughts on “Mountain Update From Ginger (TCF)

  1. Oh man I’m so scared for Cloud. He’s the reason I’m coming this summer. I’ll be heartbroken. Please let us know what you here. Nimbus is such a cutey. Not sure how she ended with the boys but hopefully Cloud will reappear and set all to rights.

      1. Nancy just posted at fb that Cloud was seen today! He is with Feldspar and Innocentes. Feldspar has a brand new lookalike foal too!

        He’s still nursing that hurt leg. Hopefully it’s nothing major and with time it’ll heal just fine.

        Thank you everyone who has been praying for this marvelous stallion!

    1. Nimbus it the name that the BLM and Mustang Center use. I communicate with both of them often, so I use those names. Each year since 2000, the horses are named after a letter. Last year was N. That is why her name is Nimbus. It is easier for me to remember what year she was born by using her official given name.

    2. Sheri Tresko, in addition to the info Sandy has given you about this subject, I encourage you to visit the website of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center at info@pryormustangs.org, or http://www.pryormustangs.org to learn about the long history of this herd and the Range they live on. That history is very interesting and touching, to say the least. Local people from where the Range is located have been keeping track of the individual horses and “looking out” for the herd for many, many years—long before the beautiful Cloud movies were made. In 1968, the Pryor Mt. Wild Horse Range was designated as the first PUBLIC wild horse range in the country, thanks to the efforts of those local people, and others from around the nation, including Wild Horse Annie and MANY others. The BLM was charged with looking after the horses and the land, and local supportive organizations worked out a relationship with them that has resulted in probably the most progressive handling of a wild horse situation in the country. It’s not perfect, no matter what your point of view is, but it’s been an example for others to work toward. The horses continue to this day to be assigned an ID number and are named by the BLM staff in Billings and the Mustang Center staff, (with contributions of names from interested individuals who discover the new foals on their visits—like Sandy and Shawn) and for research/official purposes, those are their names. Ginger is not encumbered by the officialisms of that arrangement, and thus, can use whatever names she chooses in her publications. I hope you get to visit the Range and horses one day, if you haven’t already. 🙂

  2. I really hope Shawn sees Cloud while he’s there. My anxiety for him has just become much worse. I’ve been worrying about him with these challengers. I feel like these serious challenges have come at an inopportune time, when Cloud wasn’t in the best shape after being dogged by Santa Fe during the time that the horses are usually in their worst shape coming out of winter. I so wish the timing was different! But it is the way of the wild, for these stallions to look for an opportunity to take advantage of. I’ve known that the time Cloud would lose his band/ struggle to hold onto his band would be a very hard time for me. He brought me into this wonderful world of his with all of these other wonderful horses. And I so so wanted to be able to see him in person while he was still in his band stallion years. Although I am still hopeful he may regain his mares back, or even just one of them. I’m not ready for him to be retired yet! I don’t think he is ready either. I was already worried for Encore/Nimbus this morning when Shawn reported it, but now it’s more worrisome that it’s been a few days. Hopefully her situation will prove to be temporary. It would be great if Hernando took her in, I bet Phoenix would take great care of her. I’m thinking that for sure a band stallion will come upon the situation and take her into their band. I feel like it wouldn’t be too hard because the group of bachelors running wild together with her aren’t very organized. And they’re likely to all turn on each other rather than work together to defend her from a challenging band stallion. Even if Hamlet just decided to keep her himself and run off the other bachelors that wouldn’t be bad. I also find Doc’s behavior weird. That didn’t really seem to be in charge and that he let the bachelors take Encore/Nimbus. I’m sure it would not have been difficult to keep her with the others. I also wonder if maybe Mato Ska was with her and then when the older bachelors came upon the situation they decided that Mato Ska needed to get lost and they were going to keep her. They’ve seemed so close and he’s been protective of her, I would think he would have left her in that situation without a second thought. Hopefully he won’t be alone for long and will end up with some bachelor friends. Or back with his sister and those bachelors. He might be able to make that situation a little safer for her. I’m wondering where Demure is now. Hopefully wherever she is she’s ok. I really hope Shawn will see Cloud and that he is ok. It would be nice to see Demure, Mandan, and Diamond too.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Without being there, I can only speculate what happened. But if a swarm of bachelors wanted the in-heat Nimbus, there was most likely nothing that Doc could have done to prevent that. Those boys are tough and they have been waiting for an opportunity like this. I was surprised they were not there when I saw Santa Fe and then Chino challenge Cloud. I hope we hear some good news soon, I know we could all use it.

      On another note, I see that MacKeahnie was back with his band. I wonder how long that will last.

      1. I did notice that MacKeahnie was back with his band. At first I was thinking him and Mato Ska/ Mica would maybe end up together. I’m sure he’s enjoying being back with his band, but if he’s showing a lot of interest in Mariah he may not be home for long. I think he may have gotten kicked out the first time when Aztec, Jasmine, and Heritage were in the band and he may have been a little too interested in them for Cappuccino’s liking. I know Aztec was for sure in heat, Jasmine may have been as she doesn’t seem to be pregnant. I know we think Heritage may be pregnant, so she wouldn’t have been in heat. It gives me hope that Mato Ska/ Mica might be allowed to return to the company of Feldspar and Ingrid/ Innocentes. I’d imagine he wasn’t trying to be dominant towards Doc. Like you said it’s speculation since none of us are there, but maybe when the bachelors took Encore/ Nimbus he followed them trying to protect his sister. They’ve seemed so close. Of course as a two year old he wouldn’t be able to take on those older boys so that may be how he ended up alone. Hopefully Ginger and Nancy will find Cloud and hopefully that the Encore/ Nimbus situation has changed for the better.

      2. I’ve also been back and forth about how this situation will effect if Encore/ Nimbus foals this year. At first I was thinking that with all of the stallions that are now involved (and including Santa Fe, Chino, and Doc) that she’s probably got no hope of not ending up pregnant. But then I was also thinking that with the stress of the situation could prevent her from getting pregnant. I guess we shall see. Also that Meriwether and Lariat are not with Duke gives me hope about Madonna. When NPS said she wasn’t with Duke, but her daughters were it gave me a bad feeling, because she is so close to her daughters I doubted she would have left them behind to join another band. But then now that they’re not with Duke it makes me think that they may be with Madonna wherever she is. So hopefully it’s a good sign.

      3. Yes, hopefully we will have some great surprises when all the horses make their way to the mountain top where they are easier to spot. I am ready for some mysteries to be solved!

      4. Yes there are definitely some mysteries that I am looking forward to having solved! I’m ready for the horses to hike it up to the mountain top! And Nancy did remind us today that a few years ago when Diamond/ Teton was injured (I think around the time of the 2006 bait trap) he disappeared for almost a whole year healing without being seen and then popped back up. So that also makes me feel better.

  3. I read the TCF post and am sorry they didn’t see Cloud, and that he seems to have lost his band, at least for the time being. I’m sure Ginger’s heart is heavy with concern, even tho she knows what will be, will be. The Range is a huge place with so many variations in the topography, and Cloud may have crossed behind or beside them many times as they traveled, without them seeing him. There are so many of the horses who have not been seen, but there are also so many places they can be and possible reasons why they’ve not been seen. It seems unfair that this long, hard winter, which is going to provide such improved forage for the survivors, may also have taken a big toll on the weaker, less fortunate animals. But, Nature rules. Hopefully, as more visitors are able to access the Range, we will be hearing many happy answers to our questions. The thought has occurred to me that, especially if Nimbus is no longer in heat, she is much better off with the bachelors than if she were alone. Especially since it seems that Knight intends to “look after” her. It is, of course, worrisome to think of any younger horse being separated from their familiar group, and all the dangers they face. Both London and Knight (along with numerous others), defied the odds and are still here, and maybe they sense that Nimbus “needs somebody”. I hope they are able to pass along some of what they’ve learned to the other youngsters who find themselves in a similarly precarious situation. It’s going to be interesting to see how Mica/Mato Ska develops. I’m sure he’s going to be a very beautiful horse and as precocious as he was as a baby, (at least while I was observing him). I can’t help but think he’ll develop into a force to be reckoned with as he matures. Anyway, let’s keep the faith and hope for the best for all the horses. I’m not giving up on ANY of them until I HAVE to.

    1. Hi Linda, Shawn said in his post yesterday, that Nimbus was still in heat. So that is why I am more concerned with this situation. Remember Haley?(Caberete and Duchess) I was told that she was stolen by some bachelors and she was never seen again. So immediately I thought of Nimbus and her current situation. I just hope we all hear some good news soon.

      1. This is definitely a scary spring, and the Range is keeping many secrets from us. I hope for as many good and happy outcomes as Nature allows. Many thanks to all those who share their observations with us. I try to think about the good stuff from the past, like Kitalpha. Maybe Knight will get Nimbus away from the group and that would more likely be better for her. I hope her heat ends soon, at the very least.

  4. What a heart-wrenching update. Cloud was the horse who introduced me to the Pryor mustangs through Ginger’s documentaries, so I’m saddened to hear he’s lost his band, and really hope he’s doing ok. The situation with Nimbus bothers me, and I do hope she finds her way back to Feldspar or the company of other mares. I do agree with Linda, though – better to be with the bachelors than to be alone. I wonder how she landed up with them in the first place. The whole situation seems odd, from Doc letting Feldspar and Innocentes wander, Nimbus being separated from the band, and Demure apparently still missing. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    1. Hi Kate,

      While I was there, Nimbus was in heat. I believe that is what may have caused all the stallions dogging Cloud. So being with the bachelors is not the best thing for Nimbus, especially if she is still in heat. Shawn said she was still in heat when he saw her yesterday. A yearling getting bred by a stallion is never a good thing, but to be bred by several is even worse. It is heart-wrenching and I hope we all have some good news soon.

      1. Thank you for your explanation. I’ve been following your posts, and am a little shamefaced to say that Nimbus being in heat slipped my mind. That does make sense – and in that case, yes, being with the bachelors isn’t a good situation for her at all. I seem to recall that one of Raven’s daughters (I want to say maybe Ireland?) was taken by another band stallion as a yearling in one of the Cloud documentaries, but I could be wrong about that.

        One thing that I have noticed is that there seem to have been quite a few two-year-olds foaling over the last few years. Is that normal? From at least one article on population dynamics I’ve read I was under the impression that pregnancies in juveniles were often a sign of a population under stress, so between Nimbus’ current situation and the two-year-old fillies foaling this year and last, I’ve been wondering about that.

        Anyway, my fingers are crossed for Nimbus. I’m really hoping that she will somehow find her way back to Feldspar, or at least fall in with a band.

      2. Hi Kate,

        Yes, I believe it is a result of stress. When humans mess with nature too much (fences, birth control, removels, etc..) there are bound to be some consequences from it.

      3. I agree, I also think it’s a response to stress. In particular a response to the pzp program controlling reproduction. The fertility in some mares of the herd will actually rise due to a birth control program. That’s why many of the mares who are in the “no pzp window” foal consecutively every year without a break between years. When the population was self sustaining naturally it was actually uncommon to see mares foaling at two years old. Where now these past few years we have seen two year olds foaling ever year. I’m not saying we should quit the pzp program immediately. At the moment it is necessary since the populations is not self sustaining naturally. I know a lot of us would like to see if get back to that point where there are less removals needed at lesser numbers. Nature doesn’t like to be manipulated and there are consequences to it. I think this side effect (2 year olds foaling) is one of the consequences of the pzp use. It’s just important to keep in mind so we continue to be careful while using it.

        Also you are correct. The yearling filly you are thinking of who left Raven’s band is Ireland (who Ginger calls Electra.) She was taken by the stallion Tuscon, but he didn’t have her long because his mares did not want her to be a part of their band. I think it was Mateo that she ended up with soon after. Luckily she didn’t foal as a two year old.

      4. Thank you both for your answers. It would be nice if the herd could return to a situation where it naturally regulates itself, but given limited space, I guess that may be a long time coming, if ever. I was a volunteer field assistant for a research project on the effects of PZP on the social behaviour of the horses of Shackleford Banks some years back, and Dr Sue Stuska explained the reasons for using birth control pretty well. I believe that the upshot of that study was that contracepted mares moved from band to band more often than non-contracepted mares, possibly because they did not have foals. Another point raised was that on Shackleford it had been observed that mares who were contracepted for seven years in a row usually seemed to be infertile after that, and the PZP could be discontinued without risking the mare foaling again.

        Interesting to hear that many of the mares in the no-PZP window are responding by foaling every year. It must be pretty tough making the decisions on how to implement the birth control program, trying to find the right balance between keeping the numbers at an appropriate level but not placing the herd under enough pressure to trigger compensatory reproduction patterns, which seems to be what’s happening at the moment.

        Ah, so it was Ireland. Thank you for filling in the other details I didn’t know. She’s a lovely mare. I’ve always liked her distinctive lightning bolt star, and she is such a pretty roan colour too!

      5. Thank you Kate for sharing with us about your experience with the PZP study. I would love if at sometime you could do a “guest” post for me on some of your findings of the study and your opinion on what is going on with this herd currently. I would understand if you would not want to take the time to do it, but I know that many of my blog followers would love to hear our observations.

        Right now there is a proposal on the table (the BLM is reviewing it now), that would increase the use of PZP beyond what the current plan is. While I understand that at this time the herd does need to be controlled because of the limited space, I am very much against an increased in the current program. We are already seeing some side effects from this program that has been in place since 2011.

        One other quick question. While doing your study (or have you ever heard) of a mare or mares stealing newborn foals from other mares because they could not conceive one of their own (like mules for example). I watched this happen last July while I was there. A two year old filly gave birth. I won’t get into anymore detail in this comment about it, if you would like to read that post, go to my archives for July 2013 and read the “Nacer’s Story”.

        Thanks so much for your comment!

        Sandy

      6. I think we’ve definitely seen some of the behavior of the non-reproducing (given the contraception) mares changing bands more frequently and often time breaking long time partnerships with their stallions. If you had the time to guest blog I know I would love to hear more about your study.

      7. I’m honoured that you’d ask me to write a guest post, and would be very happy to do it. I feel I should clarify that the Shackleford Banks work wasn’t my research; I was just one of a team of field assistants observing the horses and collecting data that fed into the research of Dr Stuska and Dr Madosky. The article on the effects of PZP is available in the journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, “The effects of immunocontraception on harem fidelity in a feral horse (Equus caballus) population” by Madosky et al., if you would like to read the actual research.

        Nacer’s story is very sad and very distressing to read. I can’t bear to think of what it must have been like to watch. I’ll ask Dr Stuska if she’s ever seen that with the contracepted Shackleford mares; it certainly wasn’t mentioned at the time. We were, however, told of a mare, Shira, who had been seen nursing on her mother Sapphire as a six-year-old, possibly because Shira was Sapphire’s last foal, which seems similar to the situation with Celt and Killian. So I guess it’s possible that if mares are denied foals of their own they might steal another’s – the desire to mother seems to be quite strong.

      8. I had asked an opinion on a facebook page about herd aggression and if it was related to pzp use regarding the South Steens herd in Oregon. They lost three dominant band stallions in a very short time period due to injuries from fighting about two years ago. They’re also having an issue with two year olds foaling. I think some very serious things need to be taken into consideration here. I’m not one who says just let them breed and do their thing, even though I do feel that the population will regulate itself if we quit trying to manipulate it. We’ve seen the effects on the herd from cutting off part of their range, however, our forms of “management” are causing an equally devastating effect. We’re messing with their desire to procreate and causing a sort of desparation in them that’s causing them to be aggressive, such as the instance with Nacer, but also with scewing the sex ratio, too many stallions and not enough mares in a population that’s struggling to survive is going to continue to create these situations. Teton has lost his band, mares that he’s had for many years, Cloud has lost his band and quite possibly his life. This is what happens in the wild, but if a large number of young mares had not been removed from the population two years ago, would the bachelors have been as aggressive in going after a yearling? Especially against a band stallion like Cloud? These are just things that I’ve observed from sitting at my computer, so maybe I just have a biased view point but surely these are things that should be taken into consideration as welll, no?

      9. Hi! Yes, I agree! I think we need to step back and make sure the decisions are not hurried and that all things should be considered and looked at more carefully. ps: Cloud has been found and is back with his mares. However his yearling filly is still with the bachelors.

  5. Hi
    Since Cloud is back with his mares I am wondering about Doc? Wasn´t he with Broken Bow? Is he back with her also?

    1. Broken Bow has been with Mescalero for a while now (I saw her with him when I was there in April. The last I saw (before Doc took Clouds band) he only had Demure. I wish someone would see her. She should have a foal with her too. Also Mandan (Demure’s colt) has not been seen for sometime and along with several other horses.

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