Summer In The Pryors, 2014, Part 3.

Wild in the Pryors

My last camping trip of the year was at the end of August.  I would be on the mountain for my single longest trip to date, 7 days.  I must admit, I was having a hard time thinking about coming off this mountain.  It had been my home, pretty much, for the entire summer, and I worried how coming down would affect me.

It had been an incredible summer, great guests, some new, some returning, reconnecting with a dear friend from over 30 years ago,  it seemed perfect in so many ways, and I found myself dreading the drive off the mountain in this final camping trip of the year.

But on this last trip up the mountain, I had with me a friend whom I had just met in June.  Bonded by the wild horses, Meg has quickly become a very close friend.  This trip was to also be with the University of Montana/ Western students, but Meg and I decided to head up the mountain a day early.

Wild in the Pryors

The air had a feeling of fall to it, and even though it was just August, I knew there could be some season changing weather ahead of us this week.

The 12 students arrived late the following afternoon.  Meg and I eagerly pitched in to help them set up camp.  accompanying them were 3 faculty members, including a vet.  I knew that this group would be too large to camp in my normal spot.  The horses frequented my campsite, and I did not want them to have to change their patterns for such a large group.  I had them set up camp tucked in the trees towards Krueger Pond.  Anyone that knows me, knows that first and foremost, above anything else, my concern is about the horses, and it did not take me long to realize, this was just going to be too big a group.

The students were wonderful, caring, kind, and their enthusiasm was a joy to be around.   On one of the first days there, I grab one student and Meg and I took her to get a bit more of an up-close and personal experience with the horses.  My plan was to do that several times a day,  so that by the end of their 4 days on the mountain, they would each have that experience. But the weather did not co-operate with us, the rain came down hard and with that came the University’s decision to pull up stakes and head down the mountain a day early.

In the few days that the students were on the mountain, one interesting thing did occur.  Heritage left Doc and went with Custer.  Although I am not sure that is how it worked (maybe Custer took her).  She did not seem happy with this new situation and was back with Doc after just a couple days.  She continued to still look unhappy, (distancing herself from the band a little), even after she returned to Doc.

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

Despite the mud, rain and cold (the high was around 45 most days), Meg and I decided to stay.  We were rewarded many times with the mountain to ourselves.  It doesn’t get much better, being on the mountain top, with just the horses as company.  And by the end of the week, we WERE the only people, both day and night.

Each night I crawled into my tent, which by now had a very distinct horse odor to it, and lied there listing to the rain hit it.  Reflecting on how good life was up here on the mountain and how blessed I am to be able to be a part of these horses lives.

The horses were staying hidden on these rainy days, they were no longer hanging at the campsite, but tucked away deep in the trees to avoid the wet and cold.

Meg and I started each morning with a hot cup of coffee and some personal time to do some meditating.  On my tour before this one, I had a guest ( thank you Julia) that showed me some meditating yoga moves and I loved starting out each day doing them.  Most mornings I hiked a short way, usually to a rocky ridge.  This view usually gave me a clear view of the range (and beyond)  to reflect and also perhaps to see into my own soul.  My own personal church.

Wild in the Pryors

Even in the pouring rain, Meg and I found the horses.  The road was getting very difficult to drive, but we still slowly made our way down to where the horses might be.  Most times we were lucky, and spent many hours watching, and just being in their presence .

A muddy greeting every morning.
A muddy greeting every morning.
Blue Moon
Blue Moon
Halcyon and Amethyst
Halcyon and Amethyst
Halcyon, Olivia and Amethyst
Halcyon, Olivia and Amethyst
Nirvana
Nirvana
Nirvana and Miocene
Nirvana and Miocene

One afternoon we watched Miss Olivia (Halcyon and Blue Moon) approach and “greet” Ohanzee.  I am going to say she played with him, but rather just put him in his place and let him know who was the boss.  Ohanzee wasn’t quite sure what to think of her bold and bossy ways.  Olivia is an amazing and very self-assured filly.  I look forward to watching her become her “own”.  She seems to have the most bold personally that I have seen in a young filly.

Olivia
Olivia
Olivia and Ohanzee
Olivia and Ohanzee
Olivia and Ohanzee
Olivia and Ohanzee

Wild in the Pryors

Olivia and Ohanzee
Olivia and Ohanzee
Ohanzee and Olivia
Ohanzee and Olivia

Another afternoon we spent some personal close up time with Blue Moon’s band and Gringo’s band.  Galadrial looked so close to foaling then, but as of today, I have not heard that she has foaled.  These mares love to keep us guessing!

Blue Moon
Blue Moon
Halcyon and Amethyst
Halcyon and Amethyst
Halcyon, Olivia and Amethyst
Halcyon, Olivia and Amethyst
Nirvana
Nirvana
Galadrial and Beulah
Galadrial and Beulah
Galadrial
Galadrial
Gringos
Gringos
Galadrial
Galadrial
Galadrial
Galadrial
Ketchikan and Tecumseh
Ketchikan and Tecumseh
Beulah
Beulah
Galadrial
Galadrial
Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Ketchikan
Ketchikan

On our last night on the mountain, it poured rain all night.  The temperature was 45 and the wind was blowing hard.  I moved my bedroom into the truck that night (Meg was also in her jeep), and I was happy I had made that decision.  The rain never stopped and the next morning the road was so muddy I could barely stand up on it.

There of course were no horses in sight.  We made our coffee and drank it in the truck, hoping that maybe the sun would come out and the rain would stop.  It didn’t.  So we put on our rain gear, jumped in Meg’s jeep and slid down the muddy road in search of horses.

It was as if they were waiting for us that morning.  Nine bands were lined up on the edge of the woods, protected by the rain, under trees.  Even though it was pouring rain, Meg and I felt joy.  Our love for these horses made any kind of weather tolerable and we found ourselves laughing with happiness.  The mountain is special, no matter what the day.

We spent 6 undisturbed hours with these bands.  No other people we on the mountain and no one wanted to come up that day.  It was perfect actually.

Dukes
Dukes
Dukes
Dukes
OutlawLass
OutlawLass
OutlawLass
OutlawLass
Helenium
Helenium
Helenium and OutlawLass
Helenium and OutlawLass
Noble
Noble
OutlawLass
OutlawLass

Wild in the Pryors

OutlawLass and Odakota
OutlawLass and Odakota
Helenium
Helenium

 

Kohl
Kohl
Kohl
Kohl
Garay
Garay
Garay
Garay
Jacinta and Garay
Jacinta and Garay
Jacinta and Garay
Jacinta and Garay
Jacinta
Jacinta
Jacinta
Jacinta

 

Irial's
Irial’s
Irial's
Irial’s
Irial
Irial

 

Manualita
Manualita

 

Manuelita
Manuelita
Fools Gold and Nickle
Fools Gold and Nickle
Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Gringos
Gringos
Innocentes
Innocentes
Clouds
Clouds
Heritage
Heritage
Docs
Docs
Custer
Custer
Custer and Fiasco
Custer and Fiasco
Custers
Custers
Custers
Custers

Wild in the Pryors

Bolders
Bolders
Bolders
Bolders
Bolders
Bolders
Bolders
Bolders

Meg and I had planned to stay one more night.  But when we drove back to our campsite, the wind was blowing 30-40 mph and starting to snow.  I knew if we did not get out now, we might not get out for a few days.  We packed up as fast as we could and were heading down the mountain.  I took Sage Creek Road down, knowing Burnt Timber and Crooked Creek would be too unsafe.  It was the scariest drive I have done on this mountain.  Even going slowly, the mud made the final decision on which way to go, causing me to go a bit too close to the edge a few times.  Heading through the Crow Reservation, the mud was easily 1 1/2 feet deep, I prayed I wouldn’t get stuck.

But just as I was about to exit the Crow Reservation Road, a Falcon appeared right on the side of my truck.  It dove and soared right next to me for about 500 feet, escorting me off the Reservation.  A took that as a very good sign, and I am pretty sure it was.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell.  Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell. Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.

14 thoughts on “Summer In The Pryors, 2014, Part 3.

  1. Oh my gosh, Sandy, what a wonderful experience—to top off the season—even with the inclement weather. (I kind of like a challenge of that type. You get to see things you don’t see otherwise.) 🙂 And to have someone to share it all with makes it “living a dream” in my book. As a matter of fact, it would make a good book… Anyway, as always, the pictures are great and thank you so much for sharing what you saw, and what you felt. I’m curious about how many of the University students were guys, and how many girls. Seems like it was mostly girls—imagine that. 🙂 I’m hopeful that the future of these horses is more secure as a result of those people’s time on the mountain with you. I believe that it will be. About Heritage—it would sure be nice if Jackson would be around when she’s in the mood to move out, where she could go to him, and maybe he’d fight to keep her. It may be that he is what she has on her mind if she doesn’t seem happy elsewhere. Something to ponder and hope for. And it’s going to be so fun to see Olivia’s development, both physical and personality. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just be “among them” all the time? Oh, it’s good to see Tecumseh getting fattened up, too. 🙂

  2. Thank you, Sandy, for this blog with information and photos in a different mode. It is good to be reminded that the wild horse habitat really is not one of the flowing manes and long streaming tails on the horses that we mostly want for our photos. These wild horses live in extreme conditions that change quickly and often in an unpredictable, harsh way. Thank you for the blog details and photos with muddy roads, muddy horses and you, Meg and the horses in the cold rain. All are beautiful !!
    I know the experience with the horses that you provided for the University gals will be a trip they will always remember and maybe will help lead them in a way that helps protect the future of the horses. Thank you!!

  3. Man Flint is fat!! Haha it always seems like he gets so big this time of year. I think part of it is that his body frame is already more short and stocky so then when he puts on the late summer weight he really looks big. I’m happy to see Halcyon looking much better this year too. I love the picture of Miocene and Nirvana grazing together. They’re twinsies just like Maelstrom and Niobrara. It would be so great to get a pic of all three of them together once Olivia is all roaned out too. I loved hearing about Olivia’s sassy personality. Haha definitely going to be a lead mare! I love seeing the foals interact together and then wonder if we’ll see them in the same band in the future 🙂 Olivia and Ohanzee could further murge the Cloud and Shaman families. I really want to see those babies from Galadrial and Ketchikan!! I’m hoping that since the band is much calmer and more peaceful between Gringo and Tecumseh, that will mean good things for these foals. I really think the fighting last year had a lot to do with the loss of the bands two foals (Jacinta and Ketchikan.) Unfortunately it’s already late for foaling season, but hopefully the mares will foal soon and their foals will survive.

    M’lita and Nickel have both really gotten big! What do you think about the dynamics with Irial and his new band?

    1. Thank you Sarah! Irial’s new band seem to be adjusting pretty well with him. It really amazed me just how fast it all became “normal”. It seemed to only really take a day or two. Surprising and a bit sad to witness them accepting it so fast. Same with Doc’s band. I was really hoping for a mutiny from both of those bands!

      1. I’m still hoping for some mutiny from Blue Sioux! I keep reminding myself that Cloud had her for a long time, I think at least half a year, before she returned to Red Raven. She waited for an opportunity and she even left Sand behind. So I really hope they end up back together. I wonder if maybe with all of the back and forth they’re just waiting for RR and Irial to swap again. With all of the back and forth and then Santa Fe running around in the midst as well it’s going to be hard figuring out who the likely sire of any foals might be. Especially since RR and Irial both have the ability to throw chestnut foals and roan foals. We shall see. I do hope we see another foal for Fools Gold. I like to think Brumby is biding her time too. I am surprised that Doc was able to keep that whole new band together. I think it probably had a lot to do with the mares wanting to be together too. I mean Doc is a strong stallion and he’s in his prime, but I think I expected more resistance from the mares and even just a little resistance with trying to keep that big a group together can cause a lot of trouble. I know I have spent everyday thinking and wondering about how their everyday dynamics are playing out!

    1. Hi Kristin! Garay is beginning to show that he can be a responsible band stallion. I believe that Quelle Colour had something to do with that. The year that she was with him before she died seemed to help ground him. Although as I type this, it reminds me how many mares have died with him over the winter months. Quelle Colour makes number 3. Kindra was number 2 and Gold Rush was number 1. Perhaps it is just being unlucky. I think Garay is an amazingly handsome stallion. I hope he can live up to his looks in personality and responsibility!

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