Yesterday the wild horse and burro expert for the area called to tell that he was going to try and get Phoenix back with her family today (August 30, 2007). This morning we headed up to see her return. (Click here for the post showing her removal.)
When we arrived on the mountain, we saw Teton and the rest of her family resting near the pond.
A little while later, Stiles came out of the forest and challenged Teton a little.
This caused Teton to move the family up a little higher. Since the family looked content at this new place, we went ahead to see if we could find any other horses before Phoenix and the foal arrived. It isn’t so unexpected that we did not see any other horses besides Teton’s family as the horses have moved to some remote areas lately. It is very lucky that Teton’s family happened to be near the road on the day Phoenix and the foal were to return. Again, the BLM’s plan had always been to release them very close to Teton’s family when there wasn’t any other families around that could complicate the return. This would allow for the most stable of situations. The situation could not have been much more stable today.
We met up with the BLM horse and burro expert with Phoenix and the foal, and followed him in. It was about 12:30 by the time we reached the hillside with her family. As the trailer was backed just off the road, Teton and his family became alert and watched.
As soon as the trailer was positioned below the family, Phoenix and the foal were released. They ran away from the trailer, smelling the air.
As they got closer to Teton, they started to call out to him.
Teton and the dun mare quickly ran out to her, and the two year old colt was close behind.
As the family ran out to Phoenix, Stiles ran up to challenge Teton again. The two sparred a little before Stiles moved away.
After this, the family was able to be together and graze for a short while.
Phoenix and the foal seemed to quickly readjust to life back on the mountain.
After grazing for a little while, they all went down to water. Phoenix has resumed her role as lead mare, and she led them down with the dun mare and her foal right behind. Teton and the two year old colt took up the rear.
They drank and played in the water for a few minutes.
After that, Phoenix led the family out into the woods north of the pond, and Stiles was close behind.
It was about twenty minutes from the time Phoenix was released to the time the family moved into the forest. I was taking most of my photographs from adjacent forestland, so I didn’t interrupt the family. Thus, it was difficult to get real clear photographs of her wound. Here are a couple cropped down shots of it from when she was running out of the trailer.
As I have mentioned, finding the mountain horses is a lot harder now than it was just a few weeks ago. The only other family I ended up seeing was that of Coronado (Red Raven) as they came to drink at the pond.
I hope to get back up there soon to do some exploring and see how the other horses are doing.