New Life And A Guardian Angel

Chino, Jacinta and Patriot, July 4, 2015 Chino, Jacinta and Patriot, July 4, 2015

It was the evening of July 4,  just yesterday, that I witnessed a new life come to the Pryor Mountains.  And along with that new life came a guardian angel in the form of the oldest stallion on the mountain, Chino.  Chino was born in 1992, the son of Hightail and Hercules and he arrived on this day, just in time.

I was busy taking photos of little Pegasus, who I saw shortly after her birth the previous week.  When I looked up and saw my friend and assistant for this trip, Jeanne (who had gone to the truck), waving her hand at me to come over.  I immediately walked over, and that is when she told me a foal was being born.  No one there knew who it was, but when someone told me she had a blaze, I knew it was Jacinta.  I hurried over towards where they pointed.

Meriweather watches over Jacinta and Patriot Meriweather watches over Jacinta and Patriot

For those of you that have been on the range, it was in the “tiered” field to your right just as you enter the range from the Sage Creek Road.  There were over 100 horses around near that, and the first thought had been:

1.  how odd that she was foaling at 6 pm with so many horses around and

2.  I hope nothing happens to the foal with so many horses around.

It was just 2 years ago that I witnessed a similar birth at my campsite with LaBrava and it did not end well.  Please read my Nacer post if you want to learn more about that.   Since then, I admit, I have tried to look at the horses with more of a “watching a National Geographic special” sort of state of mind, when it comes to these intense happenings on the range, but so far my love and emotions have won out and I can’t quite capture the “don’t feel the pain” emotion.  I guess that is who I am, and I guess it is how I will always be, and I am not ashamed to say, I cry a lot on the range.

It wasn’t long after I arrived and spotted them, when “all hell broke loose”.  I am not  sure what set the horses off, but while Jacinta tried to encourage her filly to stand for the first time, 75-100 horses decided to race above them.  I do apologize for the quality of these shots.  The sun was setting and unfortunately in the wrong place for good photos.

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And as if a giant hand swooped down to pick them up, the next thing I knew was the other members of Garay’s band (where Jacinta belong), disappeared in the mist along with them.  This set Garay into a blind frenzy.  He wanted his other band members (Kohl, Peite Colur and Meriweather), but also wanted to be there for Jacinta and Patriot.

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His desire for his other band members won out and he gallop off towards where they had run.  I wondered how he would sort them out of 100 horses and get them back.  It seemed liked an impossible task, and I doubted he would be able to do it.

And it was then, that I looked at Jacinta and watched her standing alone, with a new-born foal.  I found myself a bit angry that Garay had chosen to run away when she needed him the most.

Jacinta and Patriot Jacinta and Patriot

Then, I looked to the left and saw Chino, trotting right towards them.  I wasn’t sure this was a good thing, or if it would end well, but I barely had those thoughts when Jacinta took charge.

Chino makes his move towards Jacinta and Patriot Chino makes his move towards Jacinta and Patriot

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I held my breath as they danced dangerously close to the newborn foal.  But it was then that I looked in the opposite direction and saw 4 bachelors, (yes one was Jackson, and yes, he had the filly Nirvana for 24 hours but then lost  her)  running directly towards them.  I knew in my heart that this story would have a painful ending if a miracle did not happen.

IMG_8918 A small miracle did occur, 3 of the bachelors moved to the left, but London stayed behind.

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IMG_8922 London, Jacinta and Patriot

And that is when little Patriot’s guardian angel appeared in the form of the oldest stallion on the range.

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This old stallion has been through a lot in his life, the only stallion or horse for that matter that has ever lived on every part of the range.  He is a legend just by being himself to this point in his long wild life, but what I witnessed next, placed him even higher in my heart and soul.

I am sure he did not think about what could happen to his old self, all he cared about was saving Jacinta and Patriot, and watched it unfold before my eyes.

He charged at London like a stallion 1/3 his age and he never backed down.

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Jacinta also did her best to keep him away.  I have had two children, and I can’t imagine getting up and doing kick boxing minutes after their birth.  How do these horses do it?  The will to survive and protect what is theirs clearly wins out whatever pain she was feeling after the birth of her daughter.  And all the while that she was fighting London off, she was frantically trying to get her little one to stand for the first time.

Chino, London and Jacinta Chino, London and Jacinta

Chino decided that he needed to be even more aggressive to fight off London, and he gave it his all.

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I am normally a quiet observer on the range, and ask that my guests do the same, but I found myself crying out ” Please, don’t let this little one get hurt or die, please…”

Patriot was up now, and Jacinta was using her body to push her further away from the stallions.

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Finally London decided he had met his match, and he trotted away.  I wondered how Jacinta would react to Chino now.  She had fought him off earlier, would she do it again?  My answer was granted in just a few seconds, as I watched her gratefully accept what Chino had done for her and her new foal.

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Chino stood guard while the bachelors continued to circle, but never had the courage to come closer have his with Chino’s incredible show of courage and strength.

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But Chino’s guardian Angel role was short-lived, as Garay returned with the rest of his band.  (How did he do that,  gained his band members back among 100 horses??  That is story no human witnessed and can never be answered).

But with his return, Chino exited the scene as quickly has he had entered it.  With tearful eyes, I watched this amazing stallion gracefully conceded and walk away without a fight.  He had done the job he was asked to do and excepted it as if he did it everyday of his life.  I wondered how many more times he had stepped up and done the same without a human to witness and write about it.

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I found myself feeling sad for Chino, as he turned and looked over his shoulder towards Jacinta and her filly.  But he did not stay there long, he turned and walked towards me, and I told him out loud how wonderful I thought he was.

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He stopped and yawned, and continued on his way, because for Chino, it was  just a day in the life of a legend stallion.

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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.

Mountain Top Update, Day 2, July 31, 2012 A Quiet Day

The first night that Lori and I spent on the mountain was really quiet.  No horses running around or whinnying.

Today, they would not be trapping the horses.  Lori and I were looking forward to a quiet day.

The next morning, I headed down towards Krueger Pond.  I saw several horses in the trees on my way.  It is almost August now, and it seems the horses spend a lot of their days in the trees.  They start to come out in the later afternoon.

I saw Chino, Topper One and Topper Too.  I could almost see the Topper’s rolling their eyes.  They looked at me in disgust as if to say “Great, a perfect morning, ruined”.  Then turned their back ends towards me and stepped further in the woods.  Chino stayed where he was, obviously used to their behavior.  I looked to my right and saw Gringo and his band.  They were out a little way from the trees eating.  Grijala and his smaller group of Special K’s along with Quelle Colour were not too far away from them.

Gringo’s band, July 31, 2012

After a few minutes I returned to my camp site, sat and had a second cup of coffee and watched a bear run along the ridge, not too far from Lakota.

An hour later, Lori and I decided to head back down to the pond.  We found Tecumseh in one of the pens, eating.  Tecumseh looks a little rough.  He seems to have some back-end/ hip problems.  It is very apparent when he walks, especially going down a hill.

Tecumseh, July 31, 2012

I looked past Tecumseh and saw Topper Too in a pen with Chino.  This was as close as I had ever seen them before.  She did not notice me right away.  But when she did she quickly left the pen.  I got the best photo of her ever.  But as soon as she regained her composure  she and Topper headed quickly down the hill to the pond.  Chino continued to eat in the pen.

Topper Too, July 31, 2012
The Toppers, July 31, 2012

After a few minutes Chino ran to catch up with them.  He is 21 this year, and looks amazing.

Chino, July 31, 2012
Chino’s band, July 31, 2012

We only saw these 4 horses.  I knew others were in the trees surrounding the pond.  But I did not bother looking for them.  I thought they deserved a quiet day too, and I did not want to disturb them.  They would show themselves when they were ready.

On our way back down the road I saw Duke’s band tucked in the trees.  Little Maverick was sleeping in the sun just out of the trees.  We stopped and watched until he got up.

Maverick, July 31, 2012
Maverick, July 31, 2012

Lori headed back to camp and I continued on to spend some time with Lakota (bear spray in hand).  I thought about how great Chino looked, one year older than Lakota was.  I knew that if Lakota had not broken his leg, he would have looked just as great.  But for whatever reason, it was Lakota’s time to go and I tried to accept it.

We ate lunch and headed back to the pond.

By now it was starting to get pretty active.  We watched several bands coming down to drink and play in the pond.

Gringo’s band, July 31, 2012
Coronado’s Band, July 31, 2012

Dove was lagging a bit behind the rest of the band.  She looked huge, I thought she might be pregnant.

Dove, July 31, 2012
Coronado’s Band

Several of the horses enjoyed a good roll in the dirt after playing in the pond.

Coronado, July 31, 2012

Once they drank, they headed back into the trees.

Bolder’s band was hanging around the pens.  Bolder was in one of them eating.

The next band to head down to the pond was Blue Moon’s and Mecalero’s.

Blue Moon’s band, July 31, 2012
Mescalero’s band

Part of Bolder’s band got tired of waiting for him to get out of the pen and decided to head down for some water.

Celt
Killian
Scarlett
Part of Bolder’s band with Mescalero band, July 31, 2012

With Bolder no where to be seen, Mescalero decided to visit with the mares and Killian.  Celt decided she would have none of that and quickly chased Mescalero off.

Mescalero checks out some of Bolder’s Band
Celt sends Mescalero running.

Bolder decided to finally head down to his mares and came running.  They stopped half way to greet each other and then headed back to the pond.

Bolder
Mesa and Lobo, July 31, 2012

By now Duke’s Band and Teton’s Band were coming down to the pond too.  I got to get a closer look at Missoula.  He sure is a beauty!

Dukes Band, July 31, 2012
Dukes Band
Missoula, July 31, 2012

We saw Morning Star’s band and Doc’s band come down before it got quiet again.

Hataalli, July 31, 2012
Felina
Gaelic Princess and Hailstorm
Audobon
Hailstorm
Morning Star

I will miss Jenny, the next day she would be removed. It seemed like she was a bit of an outsider with this band for most of the spring and summer.  Broken Bow was pretty hard on her, it seemed, and she always stood a bit off most of the time.  In fact I got the feeling Jenny wanted to leave this band.  The last time I was here in early July, Doc had to keep snaking her back into the band.  But this day she seemed content and one of the band.  I was happy for her.

Doc’s Band, July 31, 2012
Malpais and Broken Bow, July 31, 2012
Doc
Doc’s Band
Jenny, July 31, 2012

We watched Tecumseh slowly make his way back up the hill from drinking.

Tecumseh, July 31, 2012

As we headed up from the pond we saw White Cloud and his band come running in.  In the three weeks since I had seen Mica, he had grown and changed so much.  He ran next to his father, and then passed him.

White Cloud’s Band
Mica’s gets ready to run right past his dad, July 31, 2012

Shortly before sunset that day Lori and I drove back down towards the pond.  We saw 4 horses as we approached the fence.  They were Two Boots, Jasper, Garay and Santa Fe.

I am happy that Jasper was not removed.  He is the son of Galena and Jackson, Lakota’s grandson.  He has been hanging out with Two Boots (his grandfather) for a few months now.  I hope he continues to do so.  Two Boots is 24 this year.  He will be able to teach the three year old Jasper a lot.

Jasper was a “Tier Two A” removal.  I am not sure why he was not removed.  But if I was to take a guess, because Jasper was with Two Boots, I would bet that they never even saw them.

Jasper has a lot going for him, Jackson’s son, Lakota and Two Boot’s grandson, being shown the ropes by an old and wise stallion.  I am looking forward to watching him grow old on the mountain.

Jasper, July 31, 2012
Two Boots, July 31, 2012
Garay
Santa Fe
Jasper and Garay, July 31, 2012

That night Lori and I had a band of horses lie down right by our trucks.  It was too dark to see who they were, but it was a comfort and a peace to have them there.

Sandy

Sunset, July 31, 2012
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell