I don’t know how much sleep I will be able to get tonight. Tomorrow is the adoption and I am hoping that all the horses get adopted to good homes. I was able to spend several hours with the horses in the pens today, some of it was alone, which I really enjoyed. I was hoping when I visited last Saturday that I would be able to get some clarity of who would be my final pick, but that was not to be for what ever reason. Today I got that opportunity. I tucked a piece of Lakota’s tail hair in my pocket today, hoping that in some way that would help me. I started out with a top 10 pick, then narrowed it down to a top 4 and today, I have my number one. I won’t share who that is yet, but I think it will all work out. Some of you that I spoke to today, know who I am talking about. Depending on how it goes, I may come home with more than one.
It was hard for me to decided. Knowing almost all of the horses so well, it made it harder, so much harder.
I also had the opportunity to watch a demo by a wonderful horseman, Dave Weeding. He has competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover several times. In 2 1/2 hours he was able to take Kane (son of Sequoyah and Two Boots) from a scared and unsure wild horse and turn him into a willing (but still a bit stubborn) accepting and calm horse. Dave even laid on his back. It was very amazing. I have studied Natural Horsemanship for 12 year now and I always enjoy seeing it in action. I love watching someone new and hope that I can somehow soak in their knowledge. I find the more I know the more I learn. I hope that makes sense. It was a wonderful two hours and I hope that sometime I may be able to take a clinic with Dave or work with him personally. Tomorrow morning before the adoption he will be working with another horse and I am going to make sure I get there in time to witness it.
I am going to end this post by saying that I know that a lot of emotions ran high during the time of this removal and adoption. But I want to thank those that were involved. I got to meet and talk with several of those people today. Cass from the NPS was there today and I really enjoyed getting to know her. Don, who has taken such great care of the horses during their time at Britton Springs. I really enjoyed talking with him and learning about how much he cared for the horses and the Pryors. (yes, lets hope some new signage can go up to educate people on range and what they should not be doing up there!!!) The horses all look good and well cared for. Thanks Don! Jared and Ryan for the care that they showed the horses during the gather and after. Nancy, who has a hard job with all the cordinating of the adoption. She has a beautiful horse from Calico that I got to meet today.
These are real people that care for the horses and I think that people really need to take the time to realize this and reach out to them, it would benefit the horses and everyone involved with them.
I will make a quick post tomorrow to let you know who I will be bringing home on Sunday. I am also going to try to keep track of who adopts who. I hope I have a lot of good news for you tomorrow!
It is Jalisco. Jalisco is the 2009 son of Buffalo Girl and Durango. You can see more photos of Jalisco by clicking JALISCO. This will take you to the adoption page and the photos of all the horses removed.
I am asking you to please stop the removals now. Thank you. I have supported the removal of the horses in the Pryors. I did not like seeing them go, but I supported it and still do. But now I ask you to please stop. These are my concerns:
Any horses removed (you state up to 6 horses) will now have to have a separate adoption.
I understand that they need to have 3 weeks in between the prepping of the horses(gelding, vaccinations and freeze brand) before the adoption can take place. The reason for the 3 weeks is so they can give them their second vaccination before traveling. There also may be some issue with blood work, but I don’t know anything about that.
I was okay with them going back to the Dryhead to remove a few more horses a couple of weeks ago. I hated to see any more go, but I was okay with it. IF they could be in the upcoming adoption. But now, that the day has passed (tomorrow will be 3 weeks before the adoption), I am not okay with any more removals.
I worry about the adoption success with just a handful (up to 6) horses. I want them all to go to good homes. I want this removal to be a success in every way.
Please reconsider continuing this removal. I feel it would be better to wait and see what the winter brings, and then if necessary go in next year and remove those 6 plus a few more and have another adoption. I know that would probably involve a lot of paper work if it goes into next year. But I am asking you to consider it.
How would that be different?
Well, there are probably going to be people from all over the country coming to this adoption on September 8. I doubt any of them from a distance will want to turn around and come back in late September or October to adopt these few horses that you may trap in the Dryhead.
I know, because of the delays that were caused by lawsuits, this removal was held back, but I ask you to please not remove any more horses this year.
There are those that are breathing a sigh of relief for the removal ending on the mountain top. I won’t breathe a sigh of relief until the entire removal is over.
After spending some time with the horses down in Britton Springs, Lori and I headed up Crooked Creek Road. I had not been up Crooked Creek for 2 years. Last year it was closed most of the time while they did some work on it. I could feel my heart starting to beat a little faster as I turned to go up it. I have a bit of a fear of heights, so this road really tests that fear.
They did do a good job improving the road. However, it could have been wider! HA I know that would be an almost impossible task to do, given the steep cliff side that the road is on. It is still a road that I would not like to meet anyone coming towards me from the opposite way. I still prefer Sage Creek Road over this one. Even Burnt Timber is better for me.
We made it up to the top and stopped and looked at the trap site. It was pretty quiet there. We decided to go to my camp site and set up our tents.
I was unloading my camp stuff when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It must be a horse I thought, so I turned to look. Well, it was not a horse, but a bear. He was standing up on his hind legs looking at me, no more than 50 feet away. Perhaps I should have grabbed my bear spray, but instead I grabbed my camera. While I was fumbling with the camera, he stood up again and started to run off. He turned to look at us one more time. I snapped this photo of him right before he ran into the woods.
There are a lot of bears in the Pryors, especially this year. I have seen at least one every trip I have taken. This trip I would see 5. I also will add that all 5 were seen from my campsite. I keep a very clean camp. I used to cook some food at night, but this year I only eat cold food. The only time I use my camp stove is to boil water for coffee in the morning. I have never had a bear get in my stuff. I would like to think that is because of my clean camp. I hope everyone else that camps up here will be as careful. Lori and I decided that we would sleep in our vehicles instead of our tents. I am sure we would have been fine in our tents, but I believe we got more sleep by sleeping in our trucks.
We continued to set up camp. Custer’s band came over to watch us and then turned and headed towards the pond where the trap was set up. It would be the last time I would be able to photograph Leo in the wild.
The light was pretty bright, so the photos are not the best. But I like to take photos any time of day on the mountain. I don’t really care if the light is perfect, I just want the memories.
I thought Fiasco looked like she might be pregnant. I know she had Kaibab and Leo in August, so I am hoping she may have a foal yet this year.
We finished setting up camp and headed towards the pond. I wanted to see if Jared Bybee was there yet. I had sent him an email to thank him for ending Lakota’s suffering, but I wanted to thank him in person.
When we got to the trap site, we were surprised and disappointed to see Leo in there. Custer was driving his mares away from the trap. It was pretty painful to watch, so after talking with Jared for a few minutes we decided to leave.
Just before we left I saw Santa Fe.
As we headed down the road back to our camp, we saw Custer and his mares standing calmly. I learned over the few days that I watched the removal, that the horses would settle down pretty fast when they were away from the trap site. But when they were near by and hearing the whinnies of the horses, or the sound of the trailer, it could get pretty intense. But it was nice to know that once they were a distances from it that life seemed to go on. It was a small comfort. Life will be fine on the mountain.
I knew the next thing I needed to do was to go and see Lakota. I know I already told you a bit about his memorial in my post a few days ago. If you want to read that click on Lakota. There were a few things I wanted to add. The feather that I added to the rocks was one that I found. (it is not the most visible feather that you see, it is dropped down in the middle of the rocks and you can just see the very top of it). I was riding my horse Oreo in the mountains above our land on Monday, July 23, the day that Lakota died. I happened to look down and there laid a perfect feather from a Red Tail Hawk. I got off and picked it up. It was beautiful. I did not know what I would do with it, but later that week I realized it would be perfect for Lakota.
My hope is that those that knew Lakota will stop and add a rock or feather to his memorial. I also hope that those that pass, will not take his bones. I know some will disappear, but I hope that most will remain there.
A saw 3 horses off in the distances towards Penn’s Cabin. It was Garcia’s band. This is one band that I never seem to see very often. I drove over to see them.
We decided to take a break and sit in the shade, it had been a pretty emotional day. As we sat there, we heard something. It dawned on me what it was. I told Lori to grab her camera. The sound of thundering hoofs was coming our way. We could not see them yet, but I knew it would not be long before we did.
Once again, the light was way to bright for these photos above, but I wanted the memories. It would be the last time I would see many of these horses running together. I didn’t care about the light.
It was getting late and we decided to eat something. We had forgotten to eat lunch (something that seems to be pretty easy to do up here!) It seemed quiet and we wondered if they were done for the day. Some people stopped by to talk and wanted to know where they might see some horses. Shawn came by and said that they were still working the trap. Lori and I decide to head down there and see who they had removed.
It was almost 7 by now. Jared and Ryan were patiently working the trap. Despite what is said in other posts and blogs right now about this removal, I was here first hand watching and I was impressed with Jared and Ryan. They were patient, respectful and caring towards the horses.
Tonopah was whinning nearby. They had Jedediah in the trap.
All of the horses in the area were watching.
Grijala was very worked up. His whole band of “Special K’s”, minus Kalahari were in the trap. Quelle Colour was in it as well. Kalahari wanted to run away, but Grijala kept snaking her back and running around in a panic. I knew they weren’t going to keep all the K’s, Kindra and Kohl would be let out of the trap along with Quelle Colour. But Grijala did not have any way of knowing this. He would loss Katrina and Kachina that day. But as soon as they let QC, Kohl and Kindra out, he settled right down. I would see them the next day.
A few other bands came in to watch. Doc’s band remained calm. But Horizon, Fiesta and Juniper were constantly trying to stir things up.
Gringo and his band were pretty worked up as well. I knew that they had LaSalle.
When the trailer started to back up to the pens it seemed to trigger a memory for Baja. He came out of nowhere calling.
Custer’s band watched silently and Garciana and Jacinta called for their offspring.
Neither Lori or I wanted to stay any longer. It was very hard to see this. I did and still do support this removal. But that does not mean that I or anyone else who supports it, did not feel the pain.
I felt a lot pain that day. Pain for the removal of band members, pain for the loss of Lakota. Pain for the unrest that filled the air.
At day’s end July 30, 2012, six horses were removed. They were: Katrina and Kachina from Grijala’s band. LaSalle from Gringo’s band. Leo from Custer’s band. Kane from Blue Moon’s band and Jedediah from Duke’s band.
It had been a very long and emotional day. I did not sleep well that night.
I thought I would give you a brief mountain update. Much more to come in the next several days, but here is just a taste.
Lori and I had a fantastic trip up the mountain. We laughed, we cried. It was a very emotional trip on many levels.
We had a memorial for Lakota. Lori,Shawn and I stacked several rocks into a small pile near his body. Lori and I added a few personal small things to it. A couple of feathers, a crystal. I have some of his tail hair to keep. It still does not seem real to me.
Lakota continues to touch my soul. He chose his final resting place not far from where I camp (about 1/4 mile away). Thousands and thousands of acres, and he is in clear view from my campsite. That is truly amazing to me and another gift that he was able to give me. That may sound strange to some, but being able to look out across the meadow and see him several times a day, gave me peace. To know that I will see him every time I go, gave me peace.
I went to visit him and added a rock each day I was there.
The removal was also going on. It was hard and painful to watch, and we did not spend much time there. But I will say that what I did see was that Jared Bybee and his assistant Ryan were caring, compassionate and respectful to the horses and they handled them with care. It will be over soon and life can go back to the normal peace of the mountain. As we left the mountain this afternoon, they had July and her colt in the pen.
Below are a small collection of photos for you. I promise I will give you many more in the days to follow.