October 9, 2009 – Mountain Update

It’s been really unpleasant here this week. It has been cold, windy, and snow has been falling all around the area. We had a semi-decent day yesterday, which has turned out to be the literal calm before the storm. (There’s a big Canadian cold front moving through now, and it’s even more unpleasant!)
I took advantage of yesterday and headed out to the range to get some observations in. It ended up being a very successful, though chilly, day out there.

I started out by doing some scoping into the Burnt Timber area. The first harem I saw was Doc’s.

This is the best I could do with my camera, but I actually can get right in on them with my spotting scope. Many cold-weather observations are done through my scope as this is the most efficient way to do it. Also, I can see just about everything I need to see with the scope. If I see anything that seems off about a horse through the scope, then that may warrant a trip where I get closer to that particular horse.

During this scoping, I also saw Baja and Two Boots’ harems. Here was a case where something was off; I noticed that Two Boots’ colt foal wasn’t visible. I then headed over to Burnt Timber itself. This would allow me to get a closer look at Two Boots’ harem while also letting me find more horses in Burnt Timber while being able to go to some vantage points from which I could scope out Sykes.

The first horses I saw on Burnt Timber were Lakota’s harem.

Nearby was Prince and Ireland, and just up from there were Mescalero and his two mares. Down from Mescalero was Santa Fe and his harem. Scoping out into Burnt Timber again, I could see Duke’s harem and the bachelor Ferdinand. Further in was Jackson’s harem; Littlefoot was down the ridge from them. Jackson’s mare Brumby is one I get a lot of inquiries on; she is the mare who tied up during the roundup. She and her foal are doing quite well now.

I hiked down to Two Boots to see them next.

I just want to once again express how impressed I am by Two Boots. Would you ever guess that he’s 20 years old? As I got down there and walked around the harem, I saw that the colt foal really was missing. I’d last seen him with the harem on September 23rd. It’s hard to say why he disappeared. Maybe it was weather related, it isn’t uncommon for young horses to disappear during big storm events. The foal’s mother is the mare Sequoyah.

Her daughter in the harem also had a foal this year, and she was looking pretty good yesterday.

Scoping to Sykes, I was able to see the harems of Blue Moon, Custer, White Cloud, and Coronado. Some of these horses were really high on Sykes while some where nearly to the lower, arid parts of the ridge. All seemed to be just fine, even the tiny foal in Coronado’s harem.

The last horses I saw were the bachelors Galaxy and Fiesta. They looked pretty intent on getting whereever they were headed. By this point, the sun was pretty low; and it was getting a lot colder.

Besides the blue paint and missing family members, you’d not really know these horses have recently been through a huge roundup. I’m not really seeing any soreness, and the horses are acting like you’d expect them to act this time of year. I really like being able to get a large set of observations in this time of year. It was only six harems and one bachelor I was unable to find in Burnt Timber and Sykes, so that is a pretty good day considering the weather. I’m going to be out of town for the next week, and so I look forward to getting back to the mountain to see how all of the horses are doing.

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Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 9:45 am  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Have you seen Cloud since the roundup? Hoping his injury is healing.

  2. Matt,
    Thanks for the update on the Wild Bunch. I noticed you mentioned Santa Fe, who you were still looking for when I was down there a few weeks back. Sounds like everyone is settling in, after the roundup.
    Prepare yourself for a bitter weather system. Living just southwest of Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills of the Rockies, I am looking outside at about four inches of snow, and temperature of 10 degrees F. This blew in with a strong northwest wind, the coldest kind!
    And so that is what you are now getting. While the sun is out again, it remains cold. The elk have moved down onto the flats, so that’s always a sign of winter moving in.
    Have left you some phone and email messages; am working on a magazine story, so will try to get you after next week, when you are back at the Centre.
    Have a good week!
    Wendy D

  3. Wendy D: If you’d care to share, where will we be able to see your article? I’ll spread the word.

    Linda D

  4. Thank you for your update and photographs.

  5. Matt, I was browsing thru the old posts from ’07, etc., and I’m wondering what has become of Pierre’s blue roan son? Is he still on the Range? What is he called?

    Linda D

    • Pierre’s two blue roan sons were Floyd and Hickory; both were unfortunately removed during this roundup. Pierre does have a little bit of representation on the range still, though.

  6. Matt –
    When you return, would it be possible to talk about your blog? I’ve noticed over the last couple of years or so, that there’s no real identification via captions of which horse is which. It’s very difficult to follow your commentary and match it up with the photos, especially for those of us not very familiar with the Pryor horses.

    Thanks,
    Lynn
    New Mexico

    • Hello,
      Thanks for the message. I’ll certainly try to get a little more thorough with this.

  7. Another issue that befuddled me early on was the diference in the horses’ official names. Often the horses are known by two names, Red Raven and Coronado being a good example. If there was a list some where that gave both names it could help identify the actaul horses being talked about. I know you are pretty busy but in your SPARE time, maybe you could publish such a list. Or maybe Ginger Katherines could?

    • The naming can get confusing. To give a little background, though, we continue to use the system the BLM started. We just keep adding data on to all of the many years of data collected over the years.

      For us, the system has two components – ID numbers and names. The ID numbers are basically the year the horse was born along with the order in which it was born/found. This was started by Dr. Sponenberg in 1994. The naming system was use is based on the BLM’s new system introduced in 2000. Prior to 2000 horses were just given names. Starting in 2000, horses were named alphabetically. Thus, Admiral was born in 2000, Blizzard was born in 2001, Cappuccino was born in 2002, Doc was born in 2003, etc.. This year all the horses born have a name starting with J.

      There are definitely some horses out there with multiple names. These horses aren’t necessarily being named with a comprehensive approach like we use; some are named with these different names while others aren’t. We ID and name each and every horse on the range. I did attempt to put together a list showing the different names different individuals had once. I will update it again once I determine the other names some of the younger horses have.

      There used to be a lot of concerns over the public knowing the names of the horses, and I think it had a lot to do with the BLM not wanting people to think of the horses as pets because they were named. I am open to giving out names and such, but I do really get frustrated when people take my research and discuss it without giving proper credit to me and the many others before me who collected data over the years.

      • I can understand that frustration. I appreciate the hours you spend watching the horses and documenting their family bonds and relations. thanks for all your hard work!


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