Lower Sykes. A Mountain Report from Shawn.

Since I am not able to go over to see the horses right now, I asked my friend Shawn Ivie if he would write up a report.  Shawn was there last week.  I know there are a lot of you (including myself) who would like to hear news about the horses.  I will have several posts on his trip.  This is the first.

Thanks so much Shawn!


Mato and Cecelia, November 21, 2012

Wednesday – Lower Sykes
I was anxious to get back to the Pryors, it had been a long time since I last visited, and I had 3 goals for my trip (besides just checking on all of the horses): 1 – Find Damsel, 2- Find Merlin, 3- See Mato(lower sykes) for the first time.

Knowing that the days in the mountains are short at this time of year, I camped in the lower Sykes area Tuesday night so I could search for Mato. As the sun came up, I made my way to one of my favorite look-out hills in the area. The first animals I spotted were actually deer, 10 in the group. While marching around the area throughout the morning I noticed that there was a lot of deer track, which was not evident during my summer hikes.
I did not see any horses in some of the usual areas, but it is easy for a horse to disappear in this area. As I searched a little further out, I finally found 3 horses and made my way toward them. I had expected to find either Sitting Bull’s band or Bristol and Kitalpha. As I made my way to the horses I noticed a grullo stallion and thought I must have found Bristol, but then I noticed the snip and a third horse would not make sense. I was more than a little surprised once I realized that it was Garcia, Greta and Millicent that I had found.

Garcia, November 21, 2012

In the spring they were way over at the Burnt Timber Canyon guzzler. If this wide range is their usual pattern, it may explain why I have heard they aren’t the easiest to find, although I always seem to run into them. Garcia came over to the side of the draw I was on to investigate me, and finally passed on after I gently held up my hand to make sure he didn’t approach too close.

Garcia, Greta and Millicient, November 21, 2012
Millicent, November 21, 2012


From the top of a nearby mound I was able to locate some horses back on the white hillsides on the other side of where I park and camp. I knew there was too many for it to be Sitting Bull, but I decided to jog back over and up to them. The first I was able to recognize was Jesse James. The greeters were shirking their duties at the gate. As if they knew they weren’t supposed to be there, they quickly moved down the hill and at least in the direction of their posts. I did not see them for the rest of the trip, so they must have been taking a vacation from their jobs, too.

Before descending, I decided to take advantage of my elevated status and see if I could find anyone else. Back a little to the North of where I started I could see 2 horses. A quick stop at the FJ to drop some gear, and I was making my way through the washes to where I had seen them. My heart sank a little as crested a hill and only saw Sitting Bull and Cecelia standing there. I had heard that Mato may have had a limp, and I was worried that something had happened to him. Looking at some of my pictures now, I can see that he was there on the ground behind Cecelia the whole time, but it caused me a few moments of anxiety that morning. I was still a ways off, so decided to scramble down the hillside.

Mato and Cecelia, November 21, 2012
Sitting Bull, Mato and Cecelia, November 21, 2012

By the time I had climbed out from the draw to the next finger of higher ground, all 3 horses were in sight. I was relieved to finally see Mato. I had witnessed his mother carrying him around throughout the summer, but I had not been able to find them the 1 time I was back on the range after he was born. It was also good to have accomplished one of my tasks with good news. It gave me hope that I would soon run across Merlin. After a check of Sykes Coulee and the Bad Pass Springs area with no horses, I decided to head up the mountain while the weather was nice.


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

A Day On The Lower Mountain, A Report From Lori.

Brianna and I had a great trip yesterday and spent almost all day out on the range.

Brianna and I met at about 9:30 at the Center. There was a young man & woman who were talking to Kaibab and Liesl and waiting for the Center to open.

We let them in and they bought one Sandy’sWild Caballo DVD’s! They loved it.

They wanted to go with us (follow us) out to the range…so that is what we did.
They both were very nice and appreciative. They are from Michigan and were on their honeymoon.

So off we went. We first saw the greeters. They were very spread out and we could not get close…but Jesse James, Seneca, Hightail and Hickok were all there.

Seneca, October 19, 2012
Hickok heading over the hill!
The Greeters, October 19, 2012

Next we drove in to the Devil’s Canyon Overlook and saw Fiero, Cascade and Bakken.

We did not see Strawberry and we hiked around to try to see if we could find her, but no Strawberry. I was really worried about not seeing her with Fiero. They were all just resting, but kept looking towards the Canyon area. We hiked out a ways thinking maybe Strawberry was there, but nothing.

Fiero, October 19, 2012
Cascade and Bakken, October 19, 2012
Cascade and Bakken

We continued on our way and for some reason we looked around by the turnoff by Bad Pass Trail. We hiked out a ways because Brianna saw a dun horse…well it was Kemmerer, way down in the canyon, but on a cliff.

Then Brianna hiked out further and she saw Sacajawea on the cliff with Kemmerer.

Brianna then (and we were following her) saw Seattle and another horse down there…it was Strawberry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So we took lots of pictures and watched as Seattle “bred” with her.

I could not believe that. I don’t know how this happened from just Sunday when I was out there…but Seattle has Strawberry!!!! I wonder how long this is going to last and how Sacajawea is feeling about Strawberry in the harem.

I also wonder if there was a fight between Seattle and Fiero, but did not see any “war wounds” on Fiero.  Possibly, as Sandy pointed out, Strawberry did not like Cascade in Fiero’s harem! We will just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Kemmerer and Sacajawea, October 19, 2012
Brianna hiking down to look below!
Kemmerer and Sacajewa
Sacajewa and Kemmerer
Strawberry and Seattle, October 19, 2012
Strawberry and Seattle
October 19, 2012

So there is a lot of drama in the Dry Head again!!!

We never found Merlin…we looked and looked but no Merlin.

On our way out we decided to go to Bad Pass Spring in the lower Sykes area..and we hiked for awhile. We saw Medicine Bow all alone. He was on the side of a cliff.

Medicine Bow, October 19, 2012

I almost did not see him, but just happened to look up and saw him. We never saw anyone else in that area, but lots of hoof prints.
Then after leaving that area we decided to go to another part of the lower Sykes area, but just as far as my car would go. On our way we spotted a black horse, so we got out and hiked to see who it was. Surprise of all surprises…it was Cecelia…and we did not see anyone else.

Cecelia, October 19, 2012

I was so worried because we did not see the foal or Siting Bull. Then we drove a bit further and turned around. On our way back we saw Cecelia again and then we saw Sitting Bull. Now I am really worried…we did not see a foal with them.

Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull and Cecelia, October 19, 2012

Well then Joe and Devin (who were with us) hiked a bit further up over the ridge and pointed down as if to say he saw another horse. He saw the foal. Thank God…he found Cecelia’s foal (who has no name yet). Note: we just found out today that Matt has named him Mato.

Anyway….the little guy was laying under a tree and Cecelia and Sitting Bull were a ways from him. I wondered why. I suppose he was just resting, but when he got up he was limping on his right rear leg. His leg seemed to be hurt, but I did not see anything that looked too bad. I did not see any swelling, or anything that looked like a break…no blood or anything…so hopefully he just has a sprain or pulled muscle in his leg.

I am not an expert on these things, but he was putting some weight on it and moving it, so hopefully he will heal. These injuries just worry me.

He is so beautiful, a grullo color with a snip. He then ran a little bit..limping..but able to run, to his momma. At first she seemed to nip at him but then let him nurse, and then he continued to graze with her.

Sitting Bull was nearby too, but they were very spread out. I was worried for the little guy.

Then Cecelia just kept on walking while grazing and he was left behind a bit. Sitting Bull came close to him and they touched noses..it was so so cute. I felt better while the grazed together. The more he moved around the better he was walking,. I think it was stiff from resting. Maybe that is how they just go along…grazing a distance from each other. but I will still worry about his limp and Cecelia taking care of him.

Ceceila’s colt, October 19, 2012
Cecelia and Sitting Bull’s cot, October 19, 2012
Cecelia and her colt.
Cecelia and Mato
Mato, October 19, 2012
Sitting Bull with his son, October 19, 2012
Father and Son
Sitting Bull and Mato October 19, 2012

It was a real good day as far as seeing the horses, but I still felt sad that we did not find Merlin.


Thank you Lori for the great update!  I love your photos.  It is so nice to see photos of Sitting Bull and Cecelia’s colt.  I hope he heals fast and grows old in the Dryhead.

I remember when I saw Fiero alone in March of this year.  You can read that post by clicking FIERO.  I felt really bad for him being alone, but then just a few days later someone reported that he was with Strawberry again.  I think she does that quite often.  Leave him and go off doing her own thing for a while.  It will be interesting to see  if she is back with him.

I am heading to the Pryors tomorrow.  Lori and I are going go to the top of the mountain via Burnt Timber Road.  I hope to be able to check on everyone along the way, and  visit Lakota once more before the snow blankets him.  Then  go up the Dryhead and lower Skyes to check on everyone there.


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Cecelia, August 2, 2012

I thought I would do a short post to let everyone know that as of this morning at 6:45 Cecelia has not had her foal.

If you did not read my post about Cecelia and Sitting Bull click CECELIA and you can read it.

Sitting Bull and Ceceila, July 29, 2012

My intention was to come down from the top of the mountain and look for her yesterday.  But it had been a very emotional trip up there (Lakota’s memorial and the removals), that when I stepped out of my truck on lower Sykes in the desert at 5 in the afternoon yesterday, I decided to wait until morning.  The heat hit me like a 375 degree oven ready for cookie dough.  I figured the chances of finding them was probably pretty slim, as they could be behind any bush trying to stay cool.

So I went into Lovell to the Horseshoe motel and set my alarm for 4:30 am.

I actually woke up before it went off.  I was packed up and heading towards Sykes at 5:00.  It was still dark.  I saw several mule deer with their babies scampering through the fields playing.  I stopped and watched them for a minute.

The moon was still high in the sky by the time  I got to lower Sykes and I  packed up my camera and water.  I was determined to find her and hoping she would have her foal by her side.  I did not care how long it took.

Full Moon in the early morning over lower Sykes.

I was prepared for a long hike.  The morning was beautiful.  The full moon, the cool temps, the quiet, no other people, it all reconfirmed why I love this place.

I hiked over one hill and “glassed” around, nothing.  I hike up another hill and there was Sitting Bull on a small hill!  I could not believe my luck.  Well, let me back up a bit.  I kind of knew where they might be. Obviously Cecelia would not want to move much, but they did have to go for water.  Let me also point out that lower Sykes is filled with deeps and hills..it can be very hard to see anyone.

Sitting Bull in the early morning light, August 2, 2012

I “glassed” again and saw Cecelia’s back just below the ridge.  I REALLY wanted to see a foal with her.  It would just make this trip end on a pleasant note.  She walked over the ridge and to my disappointment still looked HUGE!

Cecelia, August 2, 2012

I stayed watching them from a distance until the sun rose.  I decided I would not go closer.  There was no foal and I did not want to bother their perfect quiet of the morning.  I knew they saw me, but they pretended they didn’t, which was what I wanted and how it should be.

Cecelia and Sitting Bull

The moon came out from behind the cloud and I snapped one more photo of the peaceful beauty.

I stayed until the sun rose enough to shine on this elusive couple.  I watched them for a few minutes longer and turned and walked back to the truck.

The rising sun hits Cecelia and Sitting Bull, August 2, 2012

I was so wishing to see new life on the last morning of my trip.  But it was not to be so.  But the quiet and beauty of the morning was also a gift that helped lift my spirits.

The Pryors are a magical place and I believe that it is more  magical for some, than others, and that is okay.  I feel that I am one of the lucky ones.


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Dryhead and Lower Sykes Update,July 29, 2012. A Day of Firsts.

I thought with all of the sad news of the removals that we all needed to read a good post.  So I decided to take the time tonight and update everyone on my day.

I arrived in Lovell, Wyoming early this afternoon. I was eager to head up the Dryhead.  I had not seen these horses since May.

The first horses I saw were Hidatsa, Issaquah and Hawk.  They were way off in the distance on Mustang Flats.  I drove just a short way and saw one horse that I had never seen before, Hidalgo.  Just this past week he lost his band (Cascade and Lewis) to the stallion Blizzard.

Hidalgo was with another bachelor, Jemez.  I had not seen Jemez since last fall.  It was good to see them both.

Hidalgo, July 29, 2012
Jemez, July 29, 2012
Jemez and Hidalgo, July 29, 2012
Jemez, July 29, 2012

After a couple hours in the Dryhead, I received a text message.  It was from Shawn.  He was in lower Sykes and had found Sitting Bull and Cecelia.  Theses were two more horses that I had never seen.  It seems not many people see them.  My friend Linda had told me where she had seen them in June. (thanks Linda!!) So I had emailed Shawn the details on where to possibly find them.  There are so many dips and gully’s on lower Sykes (and all over the whole range actually), that it was hard to locate any horses here, let alone the two most elusive.   Shawn was very lucky!   I also knew that Cecelia was very close to having her foal.

I left the Dryhead and headed towards Sykes.  I was a couple miles away when I received another text from Shawn. Cecelia and Sitting Bull were starting to move!  Oh no!!  I was afraid they would disappear over a ridge and I would not see them.  I hurried (as hurried as you can be up Sykes, which is not very!!)  I saw Shawn and pulled over and parked.  We hiked in the direction that Shawn had said they had gone.  We came over a ridge and were rewarded.

There they were!  Poor Cecelia is huge and looks very uncomfortable.  I am sure it will be very soon.  We hoped it would be while we watch.  We stayed there for a couple hours, then decided to leave them be.  I headed back to Lovell.  Shawn is staying nearby and is going to keep an eye on them.  Hopefully he will be rewarded with a new foal!  If that is the case, I know where I will be in the first light of the day tomorrow!

I can now say that I have seen every horse on the range!!  Well, there are a couple new foals that I have not seen, but otherwise I have seen everyone!  I feel so blessed to have been able to see them all!  They each leave their own memory for me.

Sitting Bull and Cecelia, July 29, 2012
Sitting Bull and Cecelia, July 29, 2012
Sitting Bull and Cecelia!
Sitting Bull and Cecelia, July 29, 2012



Tomorrow morning and I am going to take an early ride up the Dryhead (or Sykes!!!) and then meet Lori at Britton Springs.  Our plan is to head up the mountain for a few days!

It was a good first day and a great way to forget everything else!


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell