January 8, 2008 – Lower Sykes Ridge

I made a quick trip to lower Sykes this morning. It was chilly but nice and sunny. The overall quality of today’s photographs isn’t the best – The AF sensor on my camera went out, and so that, combined with the really cold wind, made it hard to keep my eyes clear for good manual focusing.

I saw a dun horse standing alone on a hill, and I thought it could possibly be Shaman. However, upon getting a little closer, I saw that it was Starbuck. He’s still a bachelor, and so this really makes me wonder where Merlin’s former family is. The Dryhead bachelors were also near him in the junipers.

Starbuck

I was really excited to see Corona’s family. The only time I’d seen them all year was through binoculars or a spotting scope as they are one of the most elusive families.

Corona’s family

Corona is a dark bay stallion with an unmistakable face marking. He is the son of Sam and Sorita, which makes him the full brother to the mare with Sitting Bull.

Corona

Corona was one of the first horses that I saw after I started seriously watching the horses. Back then he was a bachelor. Before I knew his “real” name, I always thought of him as Tornado as his face marking reminds me of a tornado. More often than not, Corona would be alone as a bachelor. We also seemed to find him in the most remote areas. I guess this personality is still reflected today in that he is so hard to find.

Corona

Corona’s mare has one of the more unique colors of Pryor horses.

Waif

I’ve typically seen her described as a bay. She does look like a normal bay; however, she has a dorsal stripe.

Waif

My first real horse interaction viewing took place with her. Driving through Bighorn Canyon, she came running down the road being chased by a young dun stallion named Cibeque. He had apparently taken her from another stallion. The sounds of their hooves on the road and their high pitched calls to each other were pretty memorable. As far as I know, no one else saw this happen as he only had her for a couple days. The BLM does not even have record of this happening. This makes me wonder what else happens that no one else ever knows about.

Their daughter was one of the first foals of 2007 born. She was born a red bay color with a big star on her head, and so she was named Halo of the Sun in honor of her star and her father’s name.

Halo is now a more complex color – She is looking a lot like her mother. I was also surprised how mature she is already.

Halo

She also seems to have a dorsal stripe like her mother.

Halo

Seeing Corona’s family was definitely a great experience. I am really looking forward to seeing how Halo turns out, but I also really hope that they always are elusive. I wish more horses were like them, where you only get a good look at them about once a year.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

January 4, 2008 – Burnt Timber & Lower Sykes

Our original plan on the 4th was to head up Burnt Timber. We just weren’t seeing a lot there, but we could see that there were many horses around lower Sykes Ridge. We headed back down and saw Lakota’s family on our way.

Lakota’s family

I noticed that the dun yearling wasn’t with them. The next day, I found out she had gone back to her family with Santa Fe. I’m still unsure of where Lakota’s black yearling daughter is, but there are many Burnt Timber horses we haven’t seen since she left.

Lakota’s foals are looking great and are very striking. The filly is looking like she may be a liver chestnut roan like her mother is.

Lakota foals

Once on lower Sykes, the first family we found was Sitting Bull’s.

Sitting Bull

Their daughter is looking a lot like her mother still. Remember that this is the December foal from last year; she is now a yearling.

Cec Gab

Bolder’s family was nearby them.

Bolder

Bolder family

However, Shaman wasn’t with the family. At this time, I am still unsure of where he is.

Bristol and his yearling filly mate were near them.

Bristol

GG

Walking from them, I saw Coronado’s family. His filly foal is looking just like him.

Coronado’s family

It appeared that they were getting their minerals from the red dirt.

Coronado family

Teton’s family was also nearby.

Teton’s family

A distance away, I had a nice surprise – I found Merlin.  And he had Starbuck’s family.

Merlin family

The gash on Merlin’s mouth looked pretty well healed.

Merlin

The two year old filly, Durango’s daughter, seems to be looking prettier each time I see her.

Fresia

The mare and her colt foal are also looking good.

Belle Starr

Hickok

By the time we got back to the road, it was getting dark. I saw Sam and Hightail, though; and there was enough light to photograph them.

Sam

Hightail

It was an excellent day for viewing, but there are still some unanswered questions that I am curious about.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

December 29, 2007 – Burnt Timber

On the 29th, we decided to see what we could see on Burnt Timber. The first horse we spotted was the bachelor Doc. He was alone then; he’d been spending most of his time with the older bachelor Two Boots this summer and fall. I won’t be surprised if the two are back together again next time I see them, though.

Doc

Higher up, we found Littlefoot and White Cloud’s families. They were on an island ridge in the middle of Big Coulee. It was a long ways away, but we could use our binoculars to determine that they were all present.

Littlefoot and his filly were up higher on the ridge.

Littlefoot and Cass

White Cloud and his family were lower in the trees.

White Cloud

White Cloud family

That was about as high as we needed to go, so we started back down. On the way down, we spotted Lakota’s family.

Lakota family

Santa Fe’s family emerged and started moving toward Lakota’s family.

Santa Fe family

As they moved closer, the filly foal in Santa Fe’s family saw the yearling filly in Lakota’s family that had been part of her family. She ran to her and interacted with her.

Gabrielle and Halle

While her family watched, their foal hung out with Lakota’s family.

Lakota family

The proximity of the two families soon caused tension to arise between the two stallions.

Santa Fe and Lakota

Santa Fe and Lakota

This caused the filly foal to run back to her family.

Halle

Once the families were all together again, they drifted apart. Lakota’s family went into the trees while Santa Fe’s grazed in the area.

Santa Fe’s family

By this time, it was pretty late; and so we went home. We could see down into the Lower Sykes Ridge area and saw a number of horses, but it was too dark to identify them at that point.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

December 22, 2007 – Lower Sykes Ridge

We made a trip to lower Sykes Ridge in hopes of learning more about Merlin and Starbuck’s families. The first horses we encountered were Exhiliration and his former family members.

He was sleeping in front of a juniper.

Exhiliration

Admiral, his mare, and her daughter were nearby. Admiral’s winter coat really shows his golden-red highlights.

Admiral

Seneca and Ghost Dancer

Seattle’s family was higher up in some junipers. I didn’t really get any pictures of them as I’d seen them earlier, and it would have been hard to not bother them where they were.

Seattle’s family

Further up from them we found the Dryhead bachelors – Medicine Bow, Fools Crow, and Fiero. Medicine Bow’s winter coat really shows his dun factor; his dorsal stripe is really dark this year.

Medicine Bow and Fools Crow

Fiero

Further up from them, we walked out onto a point that provides a good view of some areas that horses are often at. In the distance, we spotted Durango’s family. I was very eager to see them, especially the foal.

Durango’s colt foal was watching his father graze below when I arrived.

Hidalgo

If I were to pick the most outstanding foal of 2007, I think I’d definitely pick this one.

Hidalgo

The colt eventually roamed down the hill to his father, and his mother soon followed.

Durango family

I’m very eager to watch as Durango’s colt grows up and moves into his final color. With the pictures I have posted of Durango’s offspring, it is pretty obvious that he has some strong genetics that create very pretty horses. Durango’s father, Sir Lancelot, was also a very striking stallion; he looked a lot like Durango and his son Blizzard.

Seeing the bachelors and Durango’s family was a perfect Christmas present. But there are still some unsolved events on Lower Sykes Ridge that will be reason to return.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment