Jackson was spotted with a few of his former mares this past weekend. Jack Sterling, a frequent visitor to the range spotted them about 3 miles up Burnt Timber road. Thank you Jack for sharing your photo.
Firestorm looks thin, but for the last several years, she seems to look this way this time of year. Obviously pregnant, it takes a lot of her during the winter. I am hoping Heritage is pregnant this year. Depending on when and if she foals, will give us a good idea whether it is Doc’s foal or Jackson’s. Jackson lost his band to Doc in May last year. His weight looks really good compared to last year at this time.
This report makes me really happy. Jackson is an amazing and caring stallion, I am so happy that he has some of his mares back. The one question that remains: Will his very devoted mare Brumby be joining him soon? I look forward to finding out the answer.
While hiking on the range a couple of weeks ago, I got a frantic text from my assistant. It read: “We have 3 black cows in our camp and I don’t know who to call”.
I had to read this twice. Cows are not allowed on the Pryor Mountain Range, one of the things that make this range even more special. I wasn’t too alarmed about this discovery. With the price of beef right now, I figured the owner would be up to claim them pretty fast.
By the time I got back to camp, the cows were gone. They had moved down the road towards Mystic.
I learned real fast who NOT to call when there are cows on the range. Given the limited phone numbers and lack of choices, before I returned to camp, my assistant had called 911. For future reference everyone, DON’T DO THIS!!
I do need to add, the day before the cows came to camp, we had a very nice FWP guy stop by to chat with us. He informed us then, that if we ever had any trouble up here to call 911. So Jeanne, given those instructions and your current situation without me there, I do not fault you for your decision! 🙂
Apparently this call did cause quite a stir with the law enforcement in Cody. (where the 911 dispatch was). They contacted Jim Sparks (BLM) and the next day when I got down the mountain, I had a rather long message (followed by a phone call) from Jim on why this is not a 911 emergency! HA
Sorry Jim and thank you for understanding.
The ranchers did come up looking for the 2 cows and calve, but were unable to find them. I got their name and number and promised them I would call if I saw them.
I did not see them again until August 19. They were at Mystic enjoying a drink. It was amusing and interesting to see Custer and his band see them for the first time. Remember, no cows are allowed on this range, so these horses most likely have never seen a cow.
Custer and his band not knowing the cows were there, walked towards Mystic for their evening drink. The cows and the horses saw each other for the first time, not sure who was more startled, but it was interesting to witness their reactions to each other. The cows, being cows, settled down more quickly. It took the horses a bit longer, but I was surprised and relieved that they did figure it out quickly and went down to the water’s edge. On the opposite side and keeping a close eye on these intruders, but they did stay and drink.
I called the rancher to let him know that I had seen his cows and for the next few days, I tracked their patterns so when he arrived, I could tell him where they were. They were very much creatures of habit and I did not have to spend much time to figure out where they would be at any given time of the day.
During that time, probably the most entertaining of horse/cow interaction that I saw was early the following morning. Jackson, being the strong, confident stallion that I knew he was, had the cows “put in their place” all on his own. (See photo at top) Who says Mustangs can’t be good cow horses? Not sure if any of my domestic horses would have done that on their own. After keeping them where he wanted them for a while, he calmly turned and continued on his way.
A couple days later the rancher came up looking for his cows. The cows of course, were no where in sight. I told him they were in the trees behind Penn’s Cabin. He was on foot (another person was in an ATV that stayed on the road). Once he located the cows were unwilling to co-operate. As I watched the cows sprint towards Mystic, I jumped out of my truck and ran on foot to assist him. We were able to push the cows up on the road, where he then continued to take them off the range.
Cows are now off the range. Not sure how they got there, but the horses now have the range to themselves again.
This past Monday (May 26, 2014) I noticed a photo posted on Facebook. It was from a person who had gone up as a guest for a day tour with PMWMC. Here is the photo, (taken from the internet):
The first thing I noticed was that this was part of Jackson’s band, with Santa Fe and Doc chasing close behind. I thought about this for while, thinking that perhaps Jackson was just out of the photo. I have photos were there are many bands intermingled running, so I was not too overly concerned.
But this morning (5-27-14), I woke up worried. With all the changes that seem to be taking place on the mountain, I thought maybe Jackson had lost his band.
I decided to email Nancy and ask her about the photo. She got back to me quickly, explaining what had happened. Jackson had lost his band sometime between May 4th and May 18th. My fears had come true, Jackson had losthis band.
I was hoping the Center would make a post about Jackson either by blog or Facebook, but they have not and Nancy said it was okay if I did. Update: The Center made a post about Jackson. You can read it by clicking on Nancy.
Jackson’s band is now split between Doc and Santa Fe right now, but we all know how quickly that may change.
When I saw Jackson (who was born in 1998) in February, he looked thin, but so did many other horses. When I saw him again the end of April, he seemed a little better and at that time had the biggest band on the mountain (11 including Jackson). However, many of those band members were offspring, but even so, it was still a large band.
I always have admired how Jackson can continue to keep a large band together. I always have said “Jackson runs a tight ship, he has to”. But at the age of 16 and with the long hard winter, I think that was perhaps taking its toll. Not to mention all of the younger band stallions and bachelors (young and old), determined to gain some mares this spring. It is “chaos on the mountain” this year. I have some theories on why so much of this is happening, but I will not take the time to talk about that right now.
I do know that when I read Nancy’s email, I burst into tears. Not just because he had lost his band, but more because he was not there by any of his band members. God please don’t let anything happen to Jackson. But really, I am not sure why I started to cry. I have learned to be tough. Right? I have to be. I see so much happen, that if I got upset over every little thing that occurred on the mountain, I would be crying all the time. But why am I now?
I have always had a soft spot for Jackson. Admired his strong, but caring personality that he shows each member of his band. Ask me if he was my favorite horse, and I would deny it. But could the reason be because I have denied myself the opportunity to care so much for another wild horse after my heartbreak with Lakota?
I am pretty sure that could be the reason. I spend so much time with these horses, that it is hard to not to care deeply for all of them. But some seem to wiggle their way a bit deeper into my heart despite how hard I try not to let it happen.
Jackson is without a band right now. My hope for him is that he is off healing his wounds, which are most likely not only on the outside, but emotionally on the inside as well. He, like so many other stallions on the mountain, lives for his band. He won’t lie back and take this change, that I am sure of.
Once his wounds heal, I look for him to swoop in and take back some of his band. Will he get them all back? Most likely not. But that in itself could be a good thing.
The personal politics of his herd is getting more complex than ever right now. This herd is loved by many people who have just as much right to know what is going on with the horses as I do. I strongly feel this way. For many that read about the Pryor Horses, it is their only glimpse into the life of them that they may get. Does that mean that just because you may not physically get to see them, you don’t have the right to know what is going on? I don’t think so. I think we all deserve the same advantages.
I know that when I started this blog, I vowed to myself that I would report the happenings on the mountain as soon as I saw them first hand. Why should there be secrets? Why should news be withheld? Now, if I was personally asked to “wait” a day or two, perhaps I would do that (for whatever reason). But as we all know, a social media posting only takes a minute, not requiring a waiting period at all. I have done it several times, many times while on the mountain. So why wait to report? Why keep secrets?
There are many that will read that last paragraph and say “people don’t need to know everything that goes on with the horses”. I agree, there are little things I don’t report, make notes and watch before I post my observations. But when something significant happens, I don’t hesitate to let all the people who follow and love this herd know. They are after all, everyone’s horses. No one should have the right to decided what should be shared and what shouldn’t.
But it is not all bad. A few years ago, I asked and wondered why we all could not get along for the sake of the horses. Try to work with everyone involved. Included in this idea was one small thing that I wished for. That wish was that everyone involved could agree on one name for the foals. Silly and small to some, but important when you are communicating about them on a regular basis. AND one small little act may lead to bigger and better communication. Well, now this year, that appears to be happening!! That makes me really happy.
Now if we all can just honor and respect each other on a daily basis, and just because we may not agree 100% on how this herd should be managed, it doesn’t mean that we should stop communicating with each other. Pick up the phone, text, email, let’s work together, Forthe horses. I look forward to that day.
I am in love with the Pryor Horses, and I won’t be going anywhere.
Shawn made the trip to the Pryors late last week. Here is his update!
It is really good to see that Jackson’s wound is healing. If you compare Shawn’s photos of Jackson to mine in my post I made a couple weeks ago (Click HERE to go there) you can see that the swelling has gone down a lot.
Thanks Shawn for making the trip!
I finally had a weekend without a teacher day on Friday or a school activity Saturday, so I decided to run over to the range. Cass had reported that Jackson had been seen with his band, but I still wanted to see how everyone was doing since it had been a few months since I had visited.
I woke up early Friday and left the campground for Burnt Timber. I knew it was going to be a long hike so I wanted to get right to it and figured I could hit the dryhead and sykes on Saturday. The furthest I thought I would be able to drive is the kiosk, but unfortunately I didn’t even make it that far and had to park right at the turnoff from Crooked Creek. My original plan was to hike the road to the first guzzler on the right, but before I even reached the range I could see a lone black horse to the left on a ridge.
Once inside the range, I cut over to find Two Boots. He glanced at me across the canyon and went back to browsing. I did not want to disturb him, so I watched him a little across the canyon and then decided to just cut up the ridge I was on until I reached the big ridge that would allow me to catch the road.
As I worked my way there I found tracks cutting to and fro in the snow. Sometimes I would look and think one way was the “best” way to go, but the horse tracks would follow a different path. Guess which way was usually the best to go? I’ll give you a hint: it was not the biped’s first instinct that would have been right.
I followed the tracks, ridges and canyons until I got to the long, tall ridge. I could finally get on the road. A least that is what I thought, but then I noticed another dark horse by itself on the top of a knob. I scanned and saw 3 more horses on a ridge to the left. Not wanting to miss any horses, the best way to go seemed to be down canyon and then up a ridge to the horse on the right, and then move to the ones on the left. As Malaki and I made our way down through some deeper snow, I saw another horse with the one that I thought was alone and was glad I had chosen that route.
Coming around the back of the ridge the 2 horses were on, I ran right into Jackson, Galena and Aztec. Jackson was moving well, and his swelling did not seem too bad. Beyond them was the rest of Jackson’s current harem: Heritage, Jasmine, Moorcroft and Maelstrom in the brush, and up by herself was Brumby. I am not sure if she just happened to be eating there or if she wasn’t the happiest about Jasmine and Aztec. I seem to remember that last spring she was a little disgruntled when Jackson had some of Cloud’s.
I did not stay too long because I did not want to bother Jackson as he healed.
The next band I had viewed was Blue Moon’s. I was a little surprised to see him here, because last Spring I had to hike down the side of Burnt Timber and up an arm on Sykes to see him when Miocene was born. This is the first I think I have seen him on the BT side except up toward the top where they all cross back and forth to various water holes. At one point Isadora and Miocene must have felt that the others had moved too far from their side and they ran across the snow to “catch up” to Amethyst, who is currently back with Blue Moon. The last time I had visited the range, Malaki had been afraid of the horses and would stay right by my side as he watched them. He has lost that fear, and I was glad I put him on his leash whenever we got near horses because I have a feeling he would have joined in with them if he could.
Blue moon ignored them and kept eating in the direction they had just left, giving me my first clear view of him without shrubs in the way. There weren’t and cuts or scars, but the lines and nicks in his coat make me think that he has been active recently.
I continued over the hill to above the guzzler. From the top, I could see tracks going over ridges in all directions, but no horses. I finally spotted some horses across a canyon on a steeper side and though that one was either Cloud or Mariah. As I tried to determine the 2 horses with them I saw Teton and War Bonnet peaking over a ridge on my side of the canyon at me. For a little while I thought that maybe it was Phoenix and Half Moon on the other side, but when I finally hiked over to where Teton was I found his whole band with him and the others were still on the other side. I never got a good picture of it, but with the way the light was hitting it there were times where Missoula’s mane looked really blue in the middle with the red tips.
As Teton’s band made their way toward the guzzler, I went around them to the canyon edge to get a better view of the horses on the other side. I was fooled by the front one, because I thought I saw a thin blaze and that it was Dove. The rest of the time I watched that horse mostly had its side or butt to me as it ate. Thinking it had been Dove, I started thinking it was Coronado and wondered where everyone else was.
When I finally looked at my pictures later I found that I did have one good shot of the blaze and it was not thin and Dove, but that it was Feldspar. This really makes me think that I can’t go 2 months away from the range or my skills of i.d. start to go down; but it also makes me realize how weird it is for me to see Cloud with only 2 horses. I knew Mica was not with him now, but this is the first I have seen him with just Feldspar and Inocentes.
Another pair had left the area where Cloud was when I first got on the top to look over at him. They had moved off quickly up the canyon bottom and then up top closer to the guzzler. This was a change that I had not noticed in blogs, but seeing how quickly the horses moved away from camera range it made perfect sense to me when Sandy let me know that Chino only had 1 Topper with him now.
On my way out, I checked on Jackson’s group from up high one last time, made my way by Blue Moon and then hiked back out on the road in the ATV tracks from the park service. It was much easier hiking out than in, but by the time I got to the FJ I had decided I wasn’t going all the way back in on Saturday.
I made a horseless pass through the park. Having not seen any horses out in Turkey Flats from up top, I didn’t think it would be worth making a hike out there on Saturday, either. I stopped in to see Liesl and Kaibab, and was fortunate again this time to get there about 3 minutes before Lori came to feed them. I was able to talk to her for a while before heading to Cody to see some bighorn rams. I should be able to visit the horses again soon over spring break before hitting a track season that will keep me away longer than I wish.
It was great to be back in the Pryors. Anh and I arrived Saturday afternoon and made a quick trip up the Dryhead to see if we could find anyone. The road was covered with 4-5 inches of snow. The snow made the road slick, but it was helpful to be able to see the horse foots prints. We almost immediately saw the ever faithful Greeters, up on one of their favorite hill sides.
We drove the length of the range slowy. I wondered why they did not plow this road. We did not see a single horse or anymore prints. They were tucked away in the trees somewhere.
From there we stopped by the Center to meet Lori and Brianna along with Kiabab and Liesl. Liesl and Kiabab were not interested in posing for us, they were more interested in their food. Liesl’s wound looked good. They both looked good.
After a great dinner at Lori’s we headed back to get a good night sleep. We were both anxious to see more horses. My thoughts were with my October trip and I hoped I would have better luck this time. The weather was looking okay. 30% chance of snow, not bad. We would just keep our eye on the sky for any sudden changes coming our way.
We were heading towards Burnt Timber Road by 7:30 the next morning. When I turned off the paved road unto the dirt, I was surprised to see the amount of snow on the road. I wondered if Big Horn County owned any snow plows.
We drove through 5-8 inches of snow to the bottom of Burnt Timber. When I stepped out of the truck to unload the ATV, I realized that the depth of the snow was more like a foot. Would we even be able to drive the ATV up the road?
We were joined by a third person today, Monica. I was happy to have another person for the moral support. I have to admit, I was a bit stressed. Driving Burnt Timber on a good day is hard enough, adding a foot of snow was even more daunting.
We made it to the entrance of the range with very little problem. The wind had blown here, and made the snow quite a bit shallower. I was feeling encouraged that we would be able to make it further.
Just as we were about to cross the cattle guard onto the range, I looked up and saw Cappuccino and his band. Cappuccino and another horse ran over a ridge. I could not make out who the other horse was. We left the ATV and hiked the short way to get a better look at the remaining band members. We wanted to disturb them as little as possible and decided the best way would be to leave the ATV parked and hike closer.
A way off to the left, I saw Two Boots. It seems I always see him here in the winter months.
Further away on the same side as Two Boots, I saw Quelle Colour with Kohl. Grijala by them, but not close.
The first horses from Cappuccino’s band that I saw were Blanca and next to her was Galena’s filly, Moenkopi. Moenkopi had somehow gotten separated from Jackson’s band. I had learned of this from TCF newsletter. I was happy to see her, and she seemed to okay. Blanca seemed to be in charge of taking care of her. I think she is in good hands.
Gabrielle and McKeahnie were not to far from them.
Gabrielle looked pregnant to me. She also seemed a bit thin.
We stood quietly and watch them.
We would not have to wait long to find out where Cappuccino had been. I looked up the hill from were we stood and saw a blaze face looking down on me. It was a very round Jacinta. She did not look happy. Cappuccino had to work to keep her going closer to the rest of the band. Jacinta is from Gringo’s band.
I decided that the horses were used to us by now and would probably not be disturbed if we restarted the ATV and kept going up the road. I was right, we slipped right past them without them moving.
We traveled up the road for another mile before the snow got deep, really deep. I stopped the ATV and we all got off and unanimously decided we should not risk going another foot. We Monica dug out the tires (yes, we were stuck) and I backed up and turned around. We wanted it heading back down the hill so we did not have to deal with it later.
We put our backpacks on and started hiking…slowly. The snow was almost up to our knees and it was not a light fluffy snow, more like the constancy of too thick mash potatoes. At times it was up to our knees. I should have packed the snow shoes.
Our goal was to hike to the first guzzler on the left. We started to trudge up the road. It was pretty much all up hill.
The wind started to blow and we all silently hoped that all this effort would be rewarded when we reach our destination.
Finally, we reached the guzzler. From the road it looked like there were no horses there. But we walked closer and saw Jackson’s band tucked away against the blowing snow.
We sat down next to a bush away from the wind and snow and ate lunch. I was trying to count horse heads and see how many were there. I knew that Jasmine had been missing from his band just a few weeks ago. I thought I saw her there, but it was too hard to tell and I did not want to go closer until they got used to us being there.
After lunch the wind and blowing snow calmed down and we moved closer. Jackson kept a close eye on us, but other wise seemed unconcerned with us being there. It seemed his mares were staying very close to him, closer than I had ever seen. I wondered what the cause of it was, but decided it must be the weather.
Just as we moved closer something caught my eye to the right, up the hill. I turned and saw Cloud standing above us.
The rest of the band was not far behind him.
I worked my way slowly towards Jacksons band. They were beginning to come out and move around some.
I never know what to expect when I come to the mountain, so every horse that I see is a gift.
It took us a while to discover why Jackson’s band was so attentive to him. I kept seeing Galena and Moorcroft licking Jackson. I thought it was a bit odd. Then I saw the wound.
It explained what was going on. I found it very touching. I continued to watch this close family band. Still unsure if that was Jasmine lying behind him.
This peaceful setting was about to change as I watched Cloud and Aztec inching their way closer to Jackson and his band.
Hertiage was digging in the snow and moving away from Jackson a bit. Cloud took this opportunity to move in. Aztec wanted to be part of it, but Cloud quickly told her to go back. He approached Hertiage, who politely greeted him and told him she had the stallion she wanted and turned her back to him.
Despite his injury, Jackson approached Cloud and told him to back off. It was over in a minute. With a little posturing and a scream.
The peace returned and the bands went back to digging in the deep snow for any forage they could find, or taking a nap in the sun that had finally came out. I able to confirm that it was Jasmine once again in the band.
Brumby and Jackson’s son Moorcroft was quickly becoming a new favorite of mine.
Then Jackson decided it was time for the band to move on. I think he was tired of having Cloud’s eye on him. I hoped that Cloud would give Jackson a break and let him heal without causing any turmoil. Shortly after Jackson and his band moved on Cloud and his band moved into the nap spot.
Cloud stayed for only a short time in the napping area before he turned to watch Jackson. It was not long after that that both bands started to work themselves up the hill and over the ridge.
I tried not to worry to0 much about Jackson’s wound. He was moving a little stiffly, but otherwise seemed good. I tried not to worry that this was only the middle of February and there were still several months left before spring. I tired not to worry that Cloud was dogging Jackson and taking advantage of Jacksons small weakness.
The wind started to blow and the sky behind us was turning dark. We decided to start heading back down the mountain before the weather set in. And so we turned one last time to see the bands, then started trudging for an hour and a half back down the mountain in the deep snow and the blowing wind.
We were just about to exit the range when I saw a blaze face to my left. It was Jacinta again. But this time she was alone. She saw us and headed right towards us. I turned off the ATV and let her cross in front of us. She seemed to know where she was heading. I wondered if it was back to Gringo and the rest of her former band.
We watched her go and continued down the range. Looking forward to what the next day might bring.
The afternoon was just as wonderful as the morning. What made it more special was that my good friend Lori was going to join us for a few hours and along with her was a new friend Chris. They met us shortly after I had seen Lakota.
The four of us were the only ones on the mountain so far that day. As we headed up the road after checking on Lakota I saw two horses to my left napping in the sun. It was Santa Fe and Judith! If you don’t remember Santa Fe and Judith, you can read about them by clicking; SANTA FE. I had seen them in May and at that time Santa Fe was having a hard time keeping Judith around. It seemed like she had finally settled in to being with him.
As I followed the road towards Penn’s Cabin, I was able to get closer to them.
The next band that we encountered was Cloud’s band again. But this time Mica saw me. I only stayed for a few minutes and moved on. He was getting way to close to me and I did not want it to become a habit.
Mica is the only foal that I have ever met that deliberately walks right towards me. It does make me feel pretty special, but I do not encourage it in any way.
I left and went down the road and parked. I walked over and peered over the cliff above Mystic Pond. This is what I saw:
Jackson’s band had a new member since I last saw them. Kaycee had a beautiful little filly.
The snow above Mystic was a fraction of what it was a month ago when I saw it last. It was also much smaller than last year, when I saw it the end of July. I am sure it will be gone in the next week.
We spent a long time watching all of the bands. It was really interesting to see some of the interaction. It was not as quiet and peaceful as it had been when I was watching everyone nap a few hours ago. If you missed that post, click HORSES, and it will take you to that post.
I am going to share several photos with you of what I saw.
Judith and Santa Fe had come down to join the bands.
Garay came walking up and caused some commotion. Nothing too bad, but very interesting to watch. Garay was a lone. I wondered where London was. I would see London the next day.
Garay and Grijala used to hang out together before Grijala got his band last summer. I was interested to see how this meeting would go.
The meeting went just fine. There was even a little mutual grooming.
There were so many horses around, it was hard to watch everything. I looked up over to the left and saw Galaxy moving his band down to the water.
I looked to the right and saw Duke’s band heading for water.
I then turned and saw Grijala and Santa Fe having a discussion. Each time I turned my head I saw something happening some where. It was an amazing sight to witness!
Grijala then realized that Santa Fe meant business and left to return to his band. Only to encounter a very grumby Jackson who did not allow anyone to step over an imaginary line that he had drawn in the snow. When they crossed that line, he would let them know!
I wasn’t prepared for how many photos I took down here. My camera chip was down to my last 20 shots and I had to hike back to the ATV to get more. On my way up I saw Coronado and his band.
And then my chip was full. I did see this band again the next day, so you will see more photos of them when I do that post.
I was then told by my hungry visitors that I would have to stop and eat lunch. I reluctantly agreed. We went up to Penn’s and ate.
On our way back up the road I saw two black horses coming my way. It was Two Boots and Jasper. Two Boots looked great! I can’t believe he is 24 this year. I thought it was great that the young Jasper was with him. He was learning from one of the best.
I then saw Tecumseh. He headed up to greet them. It wasn’t long before Two Boots decided he would rather not continue this greeting.
After saying good bye to Lori and Chis we went to check on Lakota. Then headed back towards Penn’s cabin. The first horse I saw was on of Jackson’s mares, Kiowa.
I was hoping to spend some up close time with Jackson’s band and I would not be disappointed.
I like to sit and watch the horses. I find it really interesting to watch how they each interact with each other. I never get tired of it.
I turned and saw Baja’s band.
We decided to head back to the campsite for a while. I saw a car driving towards us. It was Shawn Ivie and his daughter. It was really great to finally meet him. He mentioned that he thought he saw Prince on his way up. I had not seen Prince up close for some time. The last time I had seen him was in May and it was from a long way. I hurried down Burnt Timber road to find him.
It was Prince and he did not look good. Very thin. Prince is 19 this year.
We checked on Lakota one more time. It looked like a storm was coming, so we headed back to our campsite and called it a day. A good day!
All photos are available for purchase. Contact me at: email@example.com for more information.