February 26, 2010 – Bighorn Canyon

It’s been a while since I did a blog post on the Pryor horses. I have been making my weekly trips to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, and I’ve seen some pretty neat things. I had a really good trip yesterday, and this will be the topic of today’s post. Yesterday I went out to Bighorn Canyon. We’re getting to the time of year when horses should start migrating back into the recreation area.

I was happy to first get a glimpse of Sam and Hightail.

Sam and Hightail

They have been fairly visible, but they’ve been in an area that isn’t easy to get to. Yesterday, they weren’t that far away; so I walked out to them. On the way to them, I crossed over a drainage and found some fairly recent mountain lion tracks.

Mountain Lion Tracks

Judging from the size of the tracks, these were made by a younger mountain lion.

Mountain Lion Track

I was pretty close to the edge of Bighorn Canyon at this point, and so it is possible that the lion was around hunting for bighorn sheep. Just up from the tracks, I was able to get a better look at Sam and Hightail. As is often the case, Sam was very shy, and so I only got a good photograph of Hightail.

Hightail

To the west of Sam and Hightail was Seattle’s harem. I also went out to see them. Seattle was alert as I approached them.

Seattle

Seattle and his harem weren’t alone here, though. There were fresh tracks with the horse tracks.

Sheep & Horse Tracks

As you probably guessed, those are bighorn sheep tracks. There was a nice group of sheep right there with the harem.

Ram

Bighorn Sheep

At first, the horses and sheep were down in a small drainage. After a while, though, they started to come out onto the flat I was on. They just grazed and rested together up there. Below are photographs of the mares Beauty, Bakken, and Cascade with the sheep.

Beauty & Sheep

Bakken & Sheep

Cascade & Sheep

The only horses that seemed to be paying that much attention to the sheep were the colts Joseph and Johnston.

Johnston watched them intently for a while before going back to grazing.

Johnston & Sheep

Joseph was more interested, though. He kept watching a small group of sheep that were near him. He would approach them a little before getting shy and quickly backing away.

Chief Joseph

Eventually, this group of sheep laid down. After a few minutes, Joseph did the same.

Sheep

Chief Joseph and Sheep

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the horses with bighorn sheep. One of my earlier posts actually featured some photographs of two older rams who were with Tony and Lone Wolf, two older stallions. There are often stories out there that make certain statements about the bad relationship that wild horses have with other wildlife. It is during times like this when I make my own conclusions about such matters.

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Published in: on February 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. MATT TKS VERY MUCH FOR YOUR REPORT ON THE HORSES… YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HAPPY I WAS TO SEE YOUR FIRST REPORT ON TH HORSES ..THEY LOOK GOOD I CANNOT WAITE FOR YOUR REPORT ON THE REST OF THOSE HORSES… HOPE
    THE M/LIONS WILL FILL UP ON SHEEP AND LEAVE ..TKS VERY MUCH ROSS…

  2. Seattle is one of my favorite stallions. Saw him lots when we were there a couple of years ago. Loved the pictures of him. Thanks so muc and for all the things you do too. We hope to come back this summer.

  3. great post matt!!!! love the interaction.. do the mountain lions still go after yearlings or are they too big now?

  4. AWESOME PHOTOS MATT!!!!! I absolutely Love getting these updates! I get so excited when I see a new update come into my email!

  5. Great observations and photos!

  6. Matt,
    Thanks for sharing the updates and photos. Love seeing those fuzzy animals in the winter. But spring is not far behind!

  7. Matt, Enjoyed your recent update on the horses! I am sureprised that there isn’t more snow. Thanks, and keep it up. Duane

  8. What an interesting relationship the horses and the sheep could develop – with horses being taller, the bighorn sheep might just figure out that it’s in their best interest to hang out with the herds.

    Beautiful photos as always!

  9. Hey, Matt. Great pics, as always! But, of course, there’s never enough. I often browse the archive files just to satisfy my urge to “see” the horses, and I always find something interesting that I missed the last time. My last session included some of Tony and Lone Wolf, in better days.

    Good to see Hightail in good body condition instead of emaciated from the rigors of constant “child bearing”, even if it is a natural process. She and Sam were welcoming ambassadors for the range when I made my first visit. I was so impressed with her “old style” coloring and markings!

    Were the lion tracks anywhere near the Lockhart ranch site? When I was there, another visitor was telling me that on another visit he had seen tracks leading into the spring house on the ranch site, but none coming back out, so he didn’t hang around long. That’s probably a good hangout for them; water and shelter in one spot.

    Keep us posted with info and pics whenever you can. We do appreciate your efforts.

    Linda

  10. March 4, 2010
    Love the wild horses!!! and all of the information regarding the history, colorings, the center, and the geographical location. I had previously read the pryor mountain range wild horses and found this so fascinating. I honor the horses – the world is a far better place when in the presence of horses.
    Sincerely,
    Karen Harris
    Loveland, CO

  11. Very nice to see the interaction of the horses and big horn. maybe this is mutually beneficial? mar

    • Good point. They might even be complementary to help nature get its winter fix.
      Great photos, Matt. Love the photos of the tracks as well.
      Is Bakken the grey horse who looks like a teddy bear?
      How long to you get snow up at Bighorn?
      Keep up the good work.

  12. I’m so tickled and so touched, I can’t hardly express it – beautiful, absolutely stunning pictures and how cool is it to see the big horns and the horses being neighborly?
    Made my whole month!


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