May 21, 2010 – Foals Update

We are definitely in the middle of foaling season right now. I have seen at least one new foal on each of my trips to the Range recently. I’ve found 21 foals so far, but I’m sure there will be a few more when I next go up. I’ve had some questions about what these new foals look like, so I thought I’d put up a few photos of them today.

I first saw Firestorm’s foal when she was about a week old. She’s a really pretty color. I’m wondering if she’ll turn out to be a coyote dun like her likely sire Jackson.

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Published in: on May 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm  Comments (8)  

May 18, 2010 – Medicine Bow

The sabino stallion Medicine Bow, a rarity in this herd, has had a tough life. His mother died while he was young, and he was found attacked by a mountain lion during the summer of 2004. This year, he didn’t come out of the winter looking quite as good as the rest of the harem he was in. In early April, I was disappointed to see he was still not looking as good; and he had a fresh wound on his back left leg. When we find injured horses, we get right in touch with the BLM to alert them to the situation. After that, we just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get too bad.

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Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm  Comments (10)  

May 18, 2010 – Field Trips

Education has been a key part of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center since its early days. As part of this, one of the Center’s traditions has been to accompany local students on field trips to see the wild horses. The Lovell ones typically start with us giving an in-class presentation on the herd followed by an actual trip to the wild horse range. Today, we had a beautiful day for a trip out there; and my mom and I worked together to talk about the horses we saw.

We spent most of our time with Blizzard’s harem out on Mustang Flats. This harem actually allowed for some interesting lessons on the behavior of wild horses. This spring, Blizzard has taken Seattle’s harem while also losing his mare Strawberry and her colt foal (Kokopelli). Thus, at this time, Blizzard has a pretty good sized harem.

We walked out a little closer so that everyone could see better without bothering the horses.

We also set up our spotting scope so that everyone can take turns viewing the horses. In this case, Sacajawea’s colt foal was the most-viewed of the horses.

All the while, the students were able to learn more about the horses by actually spending time with them. For example, they were able to see Beauty acting as a lead mare while learning a little bit about her history. They also saw the two yearling colts playing together. Perhaps the most interesting thing to see was that there is some apparent conflict between Seattle’s former harem and Sacajawea. In the above photograph, you can see how Sacajawea and her foal are on the left while Seattle’s former harem is on the right. Blizzard is in the very middle. Though we didn’t see it today, it hasn’t been uncommon to find these two distinct groups on different sides of Mustang Flats while Blizzard goes back and forth between the two.

This big story with Seattle and Blizzard is still unfolding, and so it will definitely be something that I’ll post more information on as I learn it.

Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm  Comments (3)  

May 18, 2010 – Back On Track

I have had a lot of trouble thinking of something new to write about here following the range of comments that were written in the previous post about Flicka. This blog was originally developed with two major goals: First, I wanted to be able to share the ups and downs of life on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Second, I wanted to show that each of the horses is special and has a story worth telling. In doing this, I hoped that the blog viewers may be able to learn more about wild horses. I’ve used two main types of blog posts to meet these goals. The post, Circles, was intended to meet both of these goals by sharing this poignant side to watching wild horses.  Other similar posts show day-to-day wild horse life through stories and photos observed on the range. The second type of post deals with education. In the recent past, I have discussed topics at length that are of scientific interest or importance. I have been blessed to learn from some of the best in their fields, and I think that it is well worth sharing this knowledge as it sometimes gets twisted as it is run through the political machine.

It was a purposeful decision to attempt to avoid dealing with the political aspects of wild horses here because I feel that there is plenty of coverage of these topics elsewhere, and I think that such content often turns counterproductive. I strongly believe that wild horses should be managed with the best available scientific methods, and this is why I have written the educational posts.

In some of the comments, there were some hints at corruption among Pryor people. I can honestly say that this is something that isn’t going on. It isn’t the first time I’ve heard of it, and it likely won’t be the last. As near as I can tell, these discussions have their origins in things that may or may not have happened when I was at the all powerful age of 11. Again, though, there are other blogs that are more centered on that type of speculative content; this isn’t the place for that. With that, I’d really like to get back on track with what is a very eventful time of year for wild horses. Recall that wild horses are very peculiar in that their breeding and foaling seasons coincide; this is why spring and early summer is such a dramatic time for them.

Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm  Comments (7)