Last week in my post “Late July in the Pryors”, I reported that Ryan had informed me that the remains of Starman had been found.
Myself and 4 other woman spent over an hour hiking the area that Ryan had said Starman was. The only bones we found were that of Cabarets, Duchess and their foal. (I had already known of these,including their yearling son Jericho. I had taken photos of them in September 2011 when there was still identifying hide on them). But I thought maybe I had not followed Ryan’s directions correctly. So when I got home I emailed Jared and Ryan for some clarification. Jared informed me that he had not been up there to confirm.
Here is the email I received from Ryan this morning:
The bones I was talking about must be Cabaret then because they are just down from the bones near the fence. One of the visitors told me they were Starman. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. “
Thank you Ryan. I appreciate you getting back to me.
So, this means there is still a chance (although small), that Starman could still be alive. I will still hold out hope, at least for a while. I would love to see his big blazed face come walking towards my campsite. I will let you know if I learn any more.
I have been wanting to do a post on Starman for a long time now. But with the new foals, all of my trips and the removal updates, I have not had a chance. Now that things have slowed down a bit I thought it would be a good time to do it.
I think this is especially important because Starman is not on the range right now. He is on the “wrong” side of the giant fence. He is on the Custer National Forest side.
The last time I saw him on the range side of the fence was in June. Since then the openings in the fence have been repaired and he was the only horse left on the other side. The last I saw him was on my way out on my trip the beginning of July. I have seen his “stud piles” each time I head up the road on my way to the range, so I knew he was still there. When I saw him in July, he looked really great. Starman has been happy being a loner since he lost his band in 2011. I am sure he enjoyed his vacation away from conflict of other horses, he probably enjoyed eating all the untouched forage, but it is time for him to be back on the range.
I am hoping to be able to report soon that the BLM has safely moved him back to the range. I am not sure if Starman will be able to survive a winter on the “wrong” side of the fence. At the age of 23 he deserves to live out the rest of his life on the range.
Starman was born on the Pryor Mountain Range in 1989 to the mare “Loner Mare” and the stallion “Head Light”. I don’t know his whole story, but I believe he was named by the Reverend Floyd Schwieger.
Starman also has a very faint freeze brand on his neck (you can see it in some of the photos I posted). I would like to know the story behind that and how it came that he was released after apparently being removed.
Even without knowing his whole story, Starman is very special to me. He has crossed paths with me many times over the last few years. He is also the grandfather of my horse, Kiowa, who I just adopted.
Starman has three daughters on the range, all three are with his former mare, Rosarita. His daughters are: Half Moon, born in 2007. Half Moon is the mother of Kiowa. She also is the mother of Missoula. She is currently in Teton’s band. Before that she was with Lakota.
Another one of Starman’s daughters still on the range is the beautiful Feldspar. Feldspar was born in 2005 and is currently in White Cloud’s band.
The third daughter is Isadora. Isadora was born in 2008 and is currently in Blue Moon’s band.
I first came to know Starman in September 2010. My husband Bill and I were heading down the road, towards the range,on the Custer Forest side (this was before the permanent fence was complete). We saw Starman and his mare Rosarita and their daughter Isadora walking down the road towards us. I stopped the truck and we watched them walk by us. I instantly really liked this stallion. He seemed so wise. I found myself drawn to him and every trip after that I looked for him. Bill also became fond of Starman. Starman was the first wild horse that Bill ever saw.
I saw Starman again, a few weeks later in October 2010. This was one of the first days that the new fence was complete.
The next time I would see Starman would be the following July. By then he had lost his little band and would be alone. I never got the sense from Starman that he missed being a band stallion. He seemed to enjoy being alone and that is how I would see him most of the time over the next year.
I only saw Starman that one time in the summer of 2011. I hoped he was okay.
My next close encounter with him would be in May 2012. Again, Bill was with me. We had driven up Sykes Ridge road that day. We were just passing Penn’s Cabin when I looked off towards Mystic Pond. There in the distance I could see a lone horse trotting down towards the pond. I instantly recognized that blaze. It was Starman! I had heard from several other people that he looked pretty thin. He did look thin, but he seemed to feel pretty good. He was trotting and this was the day that he would show Santa Fe that he still had plenty of spunk left. You can read that post by clicking HERE. He and Santa Fe spent some time sparing over Santa Fe’s mare Judith.
Both Bill and I were impressed with his spirit. He seemed to enjoy baiting Santa Fe into sparing with him. He sure did not seem like 23 years old to me!
I saw Starman again in June. I was told that he was going back and forth between the range side of the fence and the forest side. My friend Linda and I would see him on both sides of the fence this trip. He seemed to easily slip back and forth in one of the damaged openings in the fence. I knew that they were planning on repairing the fence in the next few days and I was relieved when I saw him by my campsite one of my last mornings that trip. We would see him again on our last night heading back towards the fence. I hoped he would stay on the range side.
I noticed this time that he was missing part of his left ear. I wondered when that had happened. As I looked back at photos for this post, I saw that he had all his ear in 2010 and was missing it in 2011. Maybe he had lost it in a fight trying to keep his band.
I would see Starman a couple weeks later, the beginning of July. Stuck on the wrong side of the fence.
It is time for Starman to come back to the range. I would like to suggest that they use a bait trapping method, similar to the removal this summer. I am sure by putting some goodies out and maybe even some water, that it won’t take Starman long to go in the trap. I would love to get a call from Jared, Jim or Ryan telling me that they have been successful in accomplishing this! You guys have my phone number! Thanks so much!
I will keep you updated on any news of Starman that I may receive!
If you would like to contact the BLM and ask them about Starman, click on BLM and it will take you to all the contact information.
On May 20, when we reached the top of the mountain, it was warm and sunny. Windy, but not bad. Since then the weather has changed up there. I heard that they now have well over a foot of snow on top. The storm came in on Thursday and continued Friday. It will be good for the mountain to have more moisture. Hopefully it will fill the water guzzlers too. I am a bit worried about the really young foals. But in just a few days the temperatures will be back up and the snow will probably melt quickly.
When we got to the top, just below Penns cabin and in the trees I saw Demure, Broken Bow and Demure’s new colt, Mandan.
They are part of Doc’s band now. Jenny is the 5th member of that band. She was napping in the sun close by.
I could see Madonna through the trees just beyond Demure and Broken Bow. I had learned from Shawn that Madonna was looking close to foaling. I wondered if I would see a new foal with her.
I am waiting for official confirmation, but I learned yesterday that Madonna had her foal a couple days ago. I am worried about her. She will be 23 this year. I hope she will be okay and able to survive the birth of another foal.
Below are some photos I took of Doc’s and Dukes’s bands. Duke’s band was pretty leery of us being there and quickly moved on. Doc’s band stayed. You can see more photos of these foals by reading my post about the last 4 foals born. Click FOALS to read that post.
The other band that we saw in this area was Custer. I had seen Custer’s band from a distance when I was here in April. It was good to see them up close. Everyone looked good. Kaibab still looked small. Leo had really changed since I saw him close up in October, 2011.
When I first saw them Winnemucca (who will be 25 this year!) and Leo were grooming each other.
The band did not want to raise their heads up from grazing. It was pretty hard to get a good photo of them.
We decided to continue on. We stopped at Penn’s Cabin to eat lunch. While we were eating, I saw a lone horse moving down towards Mystic Pond. I knew as soon as I saw the white blazed face who it was. It was Starman! I also saw two other horses on the other side of the pond. It was Judith and Santa Fe.
Santa Fe’s former band, including his new son Mandan, (Demure, Broken Bow and Jenny) were just down over the next hill. I wondered if Santa Fe knew they were there. I was pretty sure he did. How could he not? Santa Fe will be 17 this year.
Mystic Pond looked cold and chilly that day. The snow was deep on the side of the hill above it.
Starman made his way down towards the pond. I was not sure if he knew that Santa Fe and Judith were close by. He seemed to be just walking by, heading down past the pond and towards Penn’s. He was just minding his own business and enjoying the day. Starman is going to be 23 this year. He is another one of my favorite horses. I was so happy to see him. I had not seen him since last July. He looked like he was putting on a little more weight since the last photo I saw of him. He had a cut above his nose, but other wise looked good.
Starman turned and looked up the hill towards Judith and Santa Fe. That was all Santa Fe needed. He charged down the hill and headed towards Starman. I was worried about Starman. But, he held his own.
After a few minutes of sparing, Santa Fe headed back to Judith almost as fast has he headed towards Starman.
That wasn’t so bad, I thought. Starman seemed fine. Just move on Starman..But Starman just stood and stared back at Judith and Santa Fe.
Then, Judith started running towards Starman, but veered off towards the pond. Santa Fe ran for Starman, again. This time he seemed more angry.
Starman decided he had enough and started running away. Santa Fe chased him out of sight, beyond Penn’s and then came charging back to find Judith.
Santa Fe ran towards the pond and a second later, Judith popped up running full speed.
It seems like every time I hear about Judith and Santa Fe, it involves Judith running. I think Santa Fe has his work cut out for him. I also think that we will soon see him with some more mares. I don’t think he ready to retire. I think maybe Starman was rethinking his retirement that day as well.
Judith disappeared over a hill with Santa Fe close behind. It was the last we would see of them that day.
We started to head down Burnt Timber. I will share what I saw there in my next post.