October 16, 2007 – Mountain Horses

On October 16 we made a trip on the mountain to help a photographer find the Pryor horses. We arrived early and saw only a couple of families. Because we had the extra time we decided to see if we could see any of the elusive Forest Service horses. We continued to drive along looking for these horses, and I caught a glimpse of a black horse in between some trees down from the road. We walked down there and found that there were actually three families of horses in the area.

FS horses

The closest family was Trigger’s.


Trigger’s foals are doing well. They are the two on the left. Though I didn’t get to capture it in any pictures, the younger of the foals has amazing wither bars. The horse on the right is a yearling who is biologically the son of Star.

Trigger’s foals

I was also happy to see his dun yearling back with the family. She is the one who had previously been with Flint.


Pierre’s family, now with Shane, was near Trigger’s family.


The family is doing well. Pierre’s two year old colt is still with the family, and he is looking great as he matures into his final blue roan color.


The blue roan colt foal and black filly foal are also growing up well.

Pierre’s colt

Pierre’s filly foal

Eclipse was further up on the hill overlooking the families.


His filly foal was playing in the sagebrush while his mare slept beneath a tree.

Eclipse’s filly

Driving back, a number of families had moved out to the meadows near Penn’s Cabin. Bradson/Bolder, Teton, Littlefoot, Mescalero, and Morning Star’s families were there. We could see Lakota, Duke, and Santa Fe’s families as well. Morning Star’s September foal seems to be growing up well.

MS’s foal

As we drove back down Burnt Timber, we saw Baja’s family as well near where we had seen Starman’s family earlier in the day. We had an excellent day that day; and that is fortunate as the following days were stormy.

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 1:45 pm  Comments (1)  

October 14, 2007 – Sykes Ridge

On October 14th, we decided to head up Sykes Ridge to see if there was any activity there. This is among the least accessible parts of the wild horse range due to the quality of the road, but there are definitely some horses who live in the area.

Driving along, we saw a family in a drainage. As we popped up over a hill near them, I recognized the family as Starbuck’s family. Starbuck was grazing on a hill above them.


As his family moved out, I saw that he had a new member – Durango’s two year old grulla daughter.

F and H

Starbuck’s family

We left them and drove up the road a little further. As we entered a place where the road goes into a canyon, we saw two horses running a distance ahead of us. They ran up a hill, and I recognized them as Bristol and his young filly.

Bristol and GG

Bristol only stopped for a short time to watch us, and then the two disappeared over the hill.


Up the road, two bighorn sheep rams were just visible near some trees.


They kept looking down the drainage, so I figured there must be some more sheep down there. I peeked over the hill; and there were two others right below the sheep, but they were horses.

Tony is a black stallion with a blaze. He is now a bachelor living on Sykes Ridge, though he was often seen with his family in Bighorn Canyon when he had them. His two year old son was removed in last year’s roundup, and the rest of his family is now with Chino.


Tony is most often seen hanging around another old grulla bachelor named Lone Wolf. Lone Wolf had been living off the range until last year in some mystery area of Bighorn Canyon. He had some short-lived success in getting a family, but he is older and didn’t hold on to them for too long.

Lone Wolf

It was a nice surprise seeing all of these horses on Sykes Ridge. That was the second time I’d seen Starbuck’s family, the third time I’d seen Bristol’s family, and the first time I’d seen Tony and Lone Wolf without the aid of a spotting scope all summer. There are still a couple more families in the area that I was hoping to see, but there are many hiding places along Sykes Ridge.

There was a lot of other recent horse sign further up the road, but we didn’t find anymore horses. It is probable that this was from horses who had moved down the ridge due to bad weather but had recently moved back up.  When we arrived on the top of the mountain, we saw the families of Prince, Teton, Coronado, and Santa Fe. We headed down the mountain on the Burnt Timber road and saw Mescalero’s family a little lower there.

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

October 13, 2007 – Baja’s family

After a week of sunny days, today turned out to be a little more chilly and rainy. However, it didn’t look as bad as it had been in previous weekends.

Heading up the road, we saw Starman and Mescalero’s families. Higher up, the road was muddy and the fog was thick; so I turned around. On the way back down, Baja’s family was out in an area called Cheyenne Flats. Baja, the son of Looking Glass, is a tough dun stallion.


Baja has two mares, a blue roan and a dun.



He also has a two year old grulla filly, who is from Chino’s family.


Baja also has two grulla yearlings in his family.

Baja’s yearlings

One is a colt and one is a filly, and they can often be hard to tell apart. Though the colt has developed a two tone mane that helps, I still find myself using their wither bars to differentiate them. (Wither bars are stripes that come down the shoulder area perpendicular to the dorsal stripe.)

The colt has very sharp with bars. The pointy mark on his shoulder is the left wither bar; it isn’t part of his mane. He also has a couple smaller ones behind that main bar.

Baja’s colt

The filly’s wither bars are more broad and smudgy.

Baja’s yearling

There are also two foals in Baja’s family, a colt and a filly. The colt is a very light grulla color.


The filly is dun and looks a lot like her big sister did when she was a foal. Her big sister is the filly that is now with White Cloud.

Baja’s filly foal

Seeing the family was great. They had a large area to themselves in the mid-elevation areas of the mountain. They also had some nice puddles in the road to give them a private water source. Starman’s family was even lower while Mescalero was also moving down the mountain onto ridges. These are areas that the horses use in the cooler parts of the year as long as there is water or snow available for them. When you hear of the Pryor horses being divided into three subherds, this is what splits the mountain horses into two subherds. Some go down Sykes Ridge while others, like Baja, come down the Burnt Timber area. With the recent precipitation and cool weather, we may see more horses move down the ridges to their winter range.

Published in: on October 13, 2007 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

October 9, 2007 – Merlin’s family

On October 9, I woke up to a really beautiful morning. I had some extra time, so I went out to Bighorn Canyon to see if I could find any horses. I saw Admiral and Sam at Crooked Creek Bay, but I didn’t see any horses at all on Mustang Flats. As I was coming back, I saw horses walking down the road near the turnoff to Devil’s Canyon Overlook. I recognized the family as Merlin. Though I’d heard of other people seeing them, the last time I’d seen them was July 13. I stopped on the side of the road to watch where they were going.

Merlin’s grulla mare was leading the family. She is a very beautiful horse with many stripes and a two tone mane.

The family’s grulla stallion Merlin was in the rear. He is a half brother to Sitting Bull and Durango, and his mother now lives in the mountains as Teton’s dun mare.


The two have a beautiful grulla colt this year. He has many stripes on both his front and back legs. He also has wither bars coming down each shoulder.


The family moved past me and turned down the Devil’s Canyon Overlook Road. I watched them from the top of a hill.

Merlin’s family

They eventually moved off the road and down into a drainage. I moved a little closer to find them resting in some junipers.


Sacajawea and Hidatsa

I had to get back to town and couldn’t see what they ended up doing. This isn’t an area you often see the horses in, so I wondered if they were just passing through. However, I talked to two other people through the week who also saw the family in this area on separate days. There is a water source that isn’t too far away, so the family may stay in this area for a little more time. It is lucky to find them in such an accessible area as they had been more elusive this summer.

Published in: on October 13, 2007 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment